All posts by Peggy Epley

Gospel Meditation

September 15, 2019
24th Sunday in Ordinary Time

“Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus, but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain?” In this Sunday’s Gospel, we learn the context for the forthcoming parables about the lost and found. A great mixed crowd surrounds Jesus. The religious elite are present, along with all manner of local lowlifes. The Pharisees seem a bit upset that this wasn’t the lecture series they were hoping for. Why would Jesus welcome sinners?

Jesus responds as if it’s the most obvious thing in the world. “Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep… rejoice because I have found the coin that I lost ? let us celebrate with a feast, because this son of mine… was lost, and has been found!” Each of the parables features a dramatic example. Of 99 sheep, one has gone astray. Of 10 coins, one has gone missing. The welcomed son has previously been a covetous scoundrel. Jesus’ point to the Pharisees is clear. If the Gospel really is “good news,” if our faith really has the power to save, why wouldn’t we want everyone drawing near? Why wouldn’t we do everything in our power to eke out that possibility for every single person, no matter where they have wandered? After all, if this message is not of value to everyone, why is it of value to anyone?

Our Christian faith is not a matter of rule adherence for the perfectionist elite. In our own ways, each of us is the lost sheep, the prodigal son. There is no one who “has no need of repentance.” The Church is a mixed crowd. And we are mixed people. And the Gospel has good news for each of us today! There is no one Jesus doesn’t go after, no one he does not catch sight of “while… still a long way off,” no one to whom he does not run to embrace and welcome home.

©LPi

MEDITACION DEL EVANGELIO

15 de septiembre de 2019
24º Domingo del Tiempo Ordinario

En este Evangelio, la audiencia de Jesús cambia. El domingo pasado caminaba con el un gran gentío; hoy los publicanos y los pecadores se acercaban para escucharle. Los Fariseos y los escribas, por el otro lado, lo observaban y lo criticaban entre sí. Todo su fin era ponerlo aprueba o tenderle una trampa. Jesús, por su parte, les contesta con tres parábolas: La oveja perdida, la mujer que pierde una moneda de las diez que tiene y el hijo pródigo. Jesús les dramatiza los mensajes con el amor y compasión de Dios hasta lo máximo. Cuando Dios ofrece misericordia, la respuesta es el arrepentimiento del pecador. “Yo les digo que de igual modo habrá más alegría en el cielo por un solo pecador que vuelve a Dios que por noventa y nueve justos que no tienen necesidad de convertirse.” (Lucas 15:7).

Reflexionando en las parábolas de Jesús, vino a mi mente la siguiente pregunta: ¿Cómo responde ahora la Iglesia a las personas que le siguen? La Constitución Pastoral Gaudium Et Spes, (La Iglesia en el Mundo Actual) da respuesta de la siguiente forma: 1. Los gozos y las esperanzas, las tristezas y las angustias de los hombres de nuestro tiempo, sobre todo de los pobres y de cuantos sufren, son a la vez gozos y esperanzas, tristezas y angustias de los discípulos de Cristo. Nada hay verdaderamente humano que no encuentre eco en su corazón. La comunidad cristiana está integrada por hombres que, reunidos en Cristo, son guiados por el Espíritu Santo en su peregrinar hacia el reino del Padre y han recibido la buena nueva de la salvación para comunicarla a todos. ¡La Misericordia de Dios sigue presente en su Iglesia!

©LPi

Live the Liturgy ~ Inspiration for the Week

We all struggle with worshipping things that are not God. These are things that we place in our lives and reverence more than God himself. Things such as our self-image, power, status, possessions, securities, and even ideologies can be allowed to make great claims on us. Sometimes, who “god” is for us is what we make this “god” out to be. Our self-constructed gods serve little purpose, other than placating us and making us feel better about ourselves and our world. This is not the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, nor the God whom Jesus called Father. The true God challenges us out of our comfort zones and pushes us to discover our potential. But, He does so patiently and with great love. He knows how fickle we can be and is always eager to welcome us home.

©LPi

VIVIR LA LITURGIA ~ INSPIRACIÓN DE LA SEMANA

Todos luchamos con adorar a otras cosas que no son Dios. Estas son cosas que colocamos en nuestras vidas y reverenciamos más que a Dios mismo. Podemos permitir que cosas tales como: nuestra autoimagen, el poder, el estatus, las posesiones, las seguridades e incluso ideologías tomen una parte importante de nosotros. A veces, quién es “dios” para nosotros es lo que hacemos que este “dios” sea. Nuestros dioses construidos por nosotros mismos tienen poco propósito, aparte de aplacarnos y hacernos sentir mejor con nosotros mismos y nuestro mundo. Este no es el Dios de Abraham, Isaac y Jacob, ni el Dios a quien Jesús llamó Padre. El verdadero Dios nos desafía a salir de nuestras zonas de confort y nos empuja a descubrir nuestro potencial. Pero, lo hace con paciencia y con gran amor. Él sabe cuán caprichos podemos ser y siempre está dispuesto a darnos la bienvenida a casa.

©LPi

Everyday Stewardship

Patience in All Things

St. Francis De Sales said, “Have patience with all things, but, first of all with yourself.” Life has a way of knocking us down or off the path we are traveling. If it is a path that God has called us to, then it will be easier to get back to the journey, but nevertheless, it is difficult. The hardest thing to bear is that too often what we blame on life is really about our own choices or shortcomings. The refrain of many a blues singer sounds something like, “Nobody to blame but me!”

What is the Good News? God’s patience is far superior to our own. We do need to follow the words above and cultivate in ourselves a greater sense of patience in all things. However, we should take great comfort in knowing that God’s patience will always be there as we struggle to grow and advance in our life as a disciple.

You’re trying to live a stewardship way of life but keep falling onto the side of the road? God wants you to reach Him on the road but will wait for you. You want to be holier and more committed to your faith? God will take what you give Him. The danger is when you lose your patience and stop moving toward Him. You decide that it doesn’t really matter and that what you can offer God doesn’t amount to anything of worth. We must never cease our journey. You and I may get fed up, but our God never will.

-Tracy Earl Welliver, MTS

©LPi

LA ORRESPONSABILIDAD DIARIA

Paciencia en Todas las Cosas

San Francisco de Sales dijo: “Ten paciencia con todas las cosas, pero, ante todo contigo mismo.” La vida tiene una manera de derribarnos o desviarnos del camino por el que viajamos. Si es un camino al que Dios nos ha llamado, entonces será más fácil regresar al viaje, pero, no obstante, es difícil. Lo más difícil de soportar es que, con demasiada frecuencia, de lo que culpamos a la vida, son en realidad nuestras propias decisiones o defectos. El estribillo de muchos cantantes de blues suena algo como: “¡Nadie a quien culpar, excepto a mí!”

¿Cuál es la Buena Nueva? La paciencia de Dios es muy superior a la nuestra. Necesitamos seguir las palabras de arriba y cultivar en nosotros mismos un mayor sentido de paciencia en todas las cosas. Sin embargo, debemos sentirnos consolados al saber que la paciencia de Dios siempre estará presente mientras luchamos por crecer y avanzar en nuestra vida como discípulos.

¿Estás tratando de vivir una forma de vida de corresponsabilidad, pero sigues cayendo a un lado del camino? Dios quiere que lo alcances en el camino, pero te esperará. ¿Quieres ser más santo y más comprometido con tu fe? Dios tomará lo que le des. El peligro es cuando pierdes la paciencia y dejas de avanzar hacia Él. Decides que realmente no importa y que lo que puedes ofrecer a Dios no tiene valor alguno. Nunca debemos cesar nuestro viaje. Tú y yo podemos estar hartos, pero nuestro Dios nunca lo estará.

-Tracy Earl Welliver, MTS

©LPi

NEW GRACE FROM GOD

For Sunday, September 15, 2019 
24th Sunday in Ordinary Time

New Grace from God

Exodus 32:7-11, 13-14
1 Timothy 1:12-17
Luke 15:1-32

When I was a senior in high school, my family took an international vacation, but I slept through my 3 a.m. alarm on the day of departure. When I finally awoke, there was a frenzied panic as I tried to troubleshoot as many possible options to get me to the airport two hours away to meet my family on time for the flight. Hope was slim, but it was there after a few hours of looking through phone books (remember those?) to find an available shuttle ride. But even as I stepped onto the shuttle, I wasn’t sure that this plan was going to work out. My panic increased because now I was at the mercy of time. There was nothing else that I could do but to see how things would play out.

We’ve all had moments like this in our lives, moments when our throat sinks into our belly, and paralyzing apprehension takes over. It happens to us when we realize that we didn’t show up for that scheduled appointment, when we forgot to pick up our son from school, when we left that report at home, or when we lock our keys in the car. It’s a realization that we lost something of significance, and there’s going to be a consequence following. We go into a panic mode of sorts, often acting uncharacteristically or erratically, like we’re kinda going crazy!

Maybe this feeling is what the shepherd, woman, and Prodigal Son felt. What they had lost was of utmost value to them, and there was a heightened awareness of the aftermath if their lost item was not found. A desperate search ensues.

I remember sitting in that shuttle utterly disappointed that I didn’t wake up in time and ashamed that I had put myself through those panicked few hours. I was terrified of missing my flight and afraid of my family’s reaction were I to miss our vacation abroad. The interior dialogue was deafening during that two-hour ride to the airport. Things didn’t get any better when I arrived. Everything heightened as I had to check my luggage and go through security. “What if something else goes wrong?”

In our Gospel text, the word rejoice (and its derivative, joy) appears five times. But note where in the context of the stories it appears … after a period of turmoil. In other words, joy always follows the anguish. I like what Jean Vanier had to say about this: “Tensions or difficulty can signal the approach of a new grace of God.” This new grace can come to us in many and varied ways, but so often, our hearts are not ready to receive that new grace, and the opportunity slips by unnoticed.

I did get to the airport just in the nick of time, and my family was waiting for me at the gate. I was still a little anxious as I waited with them to board the plane. It was only when I took my seat and my father, seated next to me, said, “I’m glad you’re here” that a sudden flood of relief and joy came into my heart.

Today, this very familiar Gospel passage speaks to me of joy, and it poses a few very simple questions: “Do I really encounter it?” “What am I willing to endure in order to experience it more deeply?” And “How do I foster joy in others?”

Br. John-Marmion Villa, BSC