Sunday, September 28, 2014

3 Things About The Parable of The Two Sons

This weekend's Gospel includes the Parable of the Two Sons. 

Three things hit me as I reflected on it:

1)  One downside to hearing the Gospels in pieces like we do week to week (versus reading them straight through), is that I often lose sight of context.  It didn't dawn on me until later that, if you read Matthew's Gospel as chronological, Jesus is probably days away from His death when He tells this parable.  

2)  Similarly, it is easy to miss the connection between this passage, and one earlier in Matthew's Gospel where Jesus tells us "Not everyone who says to me 'Lord! Lord!' will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but only the one that does the will of my Father who is in Heaven."

3)  Every time I hear this reading my first reaction is to assume I am the son that does the right thing, even if he initially says the wrong thing.  In reality, I am probably more often like the son that says he will do the right thing, but then does not.  How many promises do I make to God that I don't follow up on? 

God Bless you.

P.S.  For those of you that missed it, our fellow blogger friend Victor has published a new book called The Priest and the Prostitute.  You can see the trailer (yes, there's a trailer!) for it here.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

First, Last, and the iPhone 6

"Thus the last will be first, and the first will be last."
                         - Today's Gospel Mt 20:16

Unless you have been on media lockdown the past few days, you probably know that the iPhone 6 debuted, with long lines of people clamoring to be one of the first to get their hands on one.  This has been a normal occurrence when the latest i-gadget comes out.

I caught a soundbite from one of the late night talk show hosts, and while I cannot remember which one it was, the message certainly stuck with me.  

The host basically commented on what it must be like for a homeless person to see the lines of people sleeping outside for these gadgets.  The homeless people long to get off the streets, for a roof over their heads. The i-folks voluntarily leave their comfortable homes to sleep on the street to be one of the first ... and then fork over enough money for their gadget to pay for a months worth of food for the homeless person.

I am not one of those people that got an iPhone 6, but surely am guilty of similar decisions.  

God Bless you.

P.S.  For a more positive spin, check out how a charity in the UK used the iPhone 6 lines to raise money for the homeless.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Let The Bells Ring

Last Sunday I was in Switzerland, and was having breakfast at a streetside cafe.  

At about 10 minutes before 9, I heard one of my favorite sounds ... church bells.  In my opinion, this sound is one of the best things about Europe.  Since many towns there were built around churches, you hear them almost everywhere you go - many times not only at the hour but half hour as well.  

But these bells were different.  They rang, and rang, and rang.  (Or is it tolled and tolled and tolled?)   About five minutes into the ringing, I looked at my watch and realized it was not the top of the hour, but merely five minutes of.  I was confused.  

As the bells continued their melodious song, I overheard a fellow tourist ask the waitress what the bells were for.  She replied "They let everyone know that Mass is going to start soon.  This way residents know they need to get going, and visitors know where to find the Church. They just need to follow the bells!"  

What a beautiful thought!  Imagine if all our Churches adopted this policy.  Rather than the 30 seconds of bells that signify Mass is starting in most of the U.S., what if they rang for a full 10 minutes, summoning everyone within earshot?  

Maybe more people would be on time for mass.  Or maybe, just maybe, a lost soul will find there way there for the first time ...

God Bless you.