News Category: In Step with the Readings



September 25, 2022 ~ 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

“If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.” Regardless of how the message of faith is received, a total conversion of mind and heart is needed for it to take root and have meaning. It is easy to become complacent and comfortable with all that life can afford us. Life can become “all about me,” preserving my livelihood and protecting my securities. Often, this drive can become so strong that we eagerly strive to protect our self-interests at the expense of others. Other people are necessary only to the extent that they are “useful” to us and profitable.

Merriam-Webster defines entitlement as “the belief that one is deserving of or entitled to certain privileges.” In a world that pretends to offer us so many necessities, this is perhaps the greatest contemporary sin. When we feel “entitled” to something, even if it is perceived necessary, our relationships can get skewed. Unless we adopt a global vision of entitlement wherein everyone is entitled to the same things, we risk becoming extremely self-focused and selfish. All we care about is defending our rights and protecting our turf. This impulse can be so strong that we pursue it even at the expense of another. Is this what God intends for his children?

Holding on to this myopic vision, the plight and station of others are off our radar and of no real concern to us. Relying on our own merits and becoming resilient to life’s challenges, we replace the true and real God with the one we created ourselves. Jesus and the prophets before him have consistently reminded us of the dangers of wealth, ignoring the poor and the needy, and becoming too fiercely independent and arrogant. Yet, we conduct our lives as if that message has never been preached. We give our faith a nod and never consider for a moment that we may be wrong in terms of what we see as important. “The things that we love tell us what we are (attributed to St. Thomas Aquinas).” Ponder those words a bit and remember that when we leave this world and go to the next one, what we loved here is what we will look for there. What we sought here may not be there. ©LPi


25 de septiembre de 2022 ~ 26º Domingo del Tiempo Ordinario

Jesús fue muy valiente de echar en cara la hipocresía de algunos fariseos y de gente rica y usurera de su tiempo. Les gustaba aparentar lo que no hacían en cuestión de caridad y justicia con los más pobres. Vivían muy despreocupados, ensimismados en sus cosas triviales, sin importancia. Decían conocer a Dios, pero en realidad no reflexionaban ni vivían su palabra. Cuando asistimos a Misa y escuchamos la Palabra de Dios, o cuando leemos la Biblia en casa o en algún grupo, estamos comprometidos a escuchar e interiorizar lo que se lee en ella, para tener fruto por la gracia del Espíritu Santo y así hacer el bien.

“Si queremos ser hombres y mujeres de Dios, como le pide san Pablo a Timoteo, debemos guardar el mandamiento sin mancha ni reproche hasta la manifestación de nuestro Señor Jesucristo (1 Timoteo 6,14). Y el mandamiento es amar a Dios y amar al prójimo. No podemos separarlos (Papa Francisco). Dicho de otra manera, es el compromiso de cada persona con la otra. De construir en vez de destruir, de cuidar el mundo, de ayudar a la sociedad a construir para el beneficio de todos. Se llama el bien común. La oración colecta de hoy nos invita a orar y confiar en Dios para llevar a cabo lo que Dios nos pide: “Señor, Dios, que manifiestas tu poder de una manera admirable sobre todo cuando perdonas y ejerces tu misericordia, multiplica tu gracia sobre nosotros… Para que seamos fieles cristianos atentos para hacer justicia a los que lo necesiten. ¡Amen! ©LPi



We can be blindly arrogant and selfish. For some, the lens through which we view life is the lens of self-benefit. Having this myopic vision, the plight and station of others are off our radar and of no genuine concern. Being self-sufficient and resilient, we can wonder if all of this “God-talk” is for real. If we believe we are solely responsible for our destiny and well-being, what place is there for God? Tangible faith requires an actual change of heart, a conversion. It involves walking a courageous journey of transformation that consists of a shift in priorities and focus. Humility becomes the order of the day. An authentic loving relationship with God blossoms within a person’s soul. God becomes an ever-faithful companion. Whether this faith is stumbled upon because of messages heard from prophets in our midst or from someone coming back from the dead, the journey is the same. Faith has to be owned and become something permanent. If we are unwilling to lose the arrogance, any truth-filled message will fall on deaf ears. ©LPi


Podemos ser ciegamente arrogantes y egoístas. Para algunos, el lente a través del cual vemos la vida es el lente del beneficio propio. Teniendo esta visión miope, la difícil situación y la posición de los demás están fuera de nuestro radar y no son una preocupación genuina. Siendo autosuficientes y resistentes, podemos preguntarnos si todo este “hablar de Dios” es real. Si creemos que somos los únicos responsables de nuestro destino y bienestar, ¿qué lugar hay para Dios? La fe tangible requiere un verdadero cambio de corazón, una conversión. Implica emprender un valiente viaje de transformación que consiste en un cambio de prioridades y enfoque. La humildad se convierte en el orden del día. Una auténtica relación de amor con Dios florece en el alma de una persona. Dios se convierte en un compañero siempre fiel. Ya sea que se tropiece con esta fe debido a los mensajes escuchados de los profetas entre nosotros o de alguien que regresa de entre los muertos, el viaje es el mismo. La fe tiene que serse apropiada y convertirse en algo permanente. Si no estamos dispuestos a perder la arrogancia, cualquier mensaje lleno de verdad caerá en oídos sordos. ©LPi

Connect Sunday


September 16, 2022  •   Br. Silas Henderson
“There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day. And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scrapsthat fell from the rich man's table.” - Pope Pius XII

Amos 6:1a, 4-7
1 Timothy 6:11-16
Luke 16:19-31

“There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day. And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps
that fell from the rich man’s table.”
— Luke 16:19-21

Jesus was undoubtedly a gifted storyteller and the parable of Lazarus that we hear proclaimed this coming Sunday is certainly among one of the most powerful that we hear in the gospels. Falling as it does within a section of Luke’s Gospel that contains several teachings on wealth and material goods, it is easy to reduce the story of Lazarus and the Rich Man (traditionally named “Dives”) into a sort of mortality tale about the dangers of greed and selfishness. However, the liturgy for this Sunday invites us to take a broader view, particularly when we consider the story alongside the second reading, taken form the First Letter to Timothy.

In this passage, Saint Paul urges his young disciple, Timothy, to “pursue righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness. Compete well for the faith. Lay hold of eternal life, to which you were called when you made the noble confession in the presence of many witnesses” (6:11-12). Paul is reminding Timothy — and each of us — that our faith demands total dedication to God and faithful witness to Christ. While few of us have pastoral responsibilities like Timothy, each of us does have a part to play in the life and mission of the Church. Not only do we see this demonstrated in wonderful ways in the lives of the saints, but, as Pope Francis has reminded us, “Each Christian and every community must discern the path that the Lord points out, but all of us are asked to obey his call to go forth from our own comfort zone in order to reach all the ‘peripheries’ in need of the light of the Gospel” (The Joy of the Gospel, no. 20). Each of us is being invited to seek those things that are of God and “compete well for the faith.” This means that we are called to persevere in living out our individual, unique vocation of service to God and the Church. In accepting the Lord’s invitation, each of us accepts the demands of a discipleship that takes us out of ourselves, and which calls for us to move beyond our preferences, comforts, and complacency.

This sacrifice and service is what the story of Lazarus and the Rich Man is really about. As Pope Benedict observed in his encyclical Spe Salvi: “Jesus admonishes us through the image of a soul destroyed by arrogance and opulence, who has created an impassable chasm between himself and the poor man; the chasm of being trapped within material pleasures, the chasm of forgetting the other, of incapacity to love, which then becomes a burning and unquenchable thirst” (no. 44).

Competing “well for the faith” — living our call to be disciples and to manifest the presence of Christ in the world — doesn’t allow for selfish ambition, apathy, complacency, or indifference to the plight of others (cf. Amos 6:1a, 4-7). This isn’t about political agendas, government budgets, or some radical ideology. Rather, this call is grounded in the Gospel which forms the starting point and is the focus of our faith: “Being Church means being God’s people, in accordance with the great plan of his fatherly love. This means that we are to be God’s leaven in the midst of humanity. It means proclaiming and bringing God’s salvation into our world, which often goes astray and needs to be encouraged, given hope, and strengthened on the way. The Church must be a place of mercy freely given, where everyone can feel welcomed, loved, forgiven, and encouraged to live the good life of the Gospel” (The Joy of the Gospel, no. 114). — Bro. Silas Henderson, S.D.S.



Competing Like a Steward

Picture it: family game night. What are you playing? Monopoly? Clue? Chess? Poker?

Whatever your game of choice, I’ll bet the night is a lot more fun when everyone tries their best to win. Sure, no one likes an obnoxiously competitive opponent — but if we’re being honest with ourselves, it’s actually more annoying to face off with someone who just doesn’t care. A little competition gives the activity a pulse. It keeps everyone interested. It speaks to the worthiness of the endeavor.

We are told to “compete well for the faith.” These are confusing words, perhaps, since cutthroat competition doesn’t jive with the spiritual ideals of submission and humility. So why is God asking this of us? He isn’t setting up some kind of cosmic contest to reward the smartest, strongest, and fastest among us with His mercy and grace.

Competition doesn’t have to mean aggressive self-interest. It doesn’t have to mean ferocity and lack of principle. Competition can — and should — mean witness. Think of the Olympics. There’s a competition that isn’t a conquest or a performance but rather a testimony — a feat of strength! A celebration of ability, hard work, and effort. Does anything glorify God more than that?

Let’s strive to be competitive, but with the competitive nature of an everyday steward: that which seeks the good of all running the race.

— Tracy Earl Welliver, MTS ©LPi


Compitiendo como un corresponsable

Imagínalo: noche de juegos en familia. ¿Qué estás jugando? ¿Monopolio? ¿Pista? ¿Ajedrez? ¿Póker?

Sea cual sea el juego que elijas, apuesto a que la noche es mucho más divertida cuando todos hacen todo lo posible por ganar. Claro, a nadie le gusta un oponente desagradablemente competitivo, pero si somos honestos con nosotros mismos, en realidad es más molesto enfrentarse a alguien a quien simplemente no le importa. Un poco de competencia le da pulso a la actividad. Mantiene a todos interesados. Habla de la valía del esfuerzo.

Se nos dice que “luchemos en el noble combate de la fe.” Estas son palabras confusas, tal vez, ya que la competencia despiadada no concuerda con los ideales espirituales de sumisión y humildad. Entonces, ¿por qué Dios nos pide esto? Él no está organizando algún tipo de concurso cósmico para recompensar al más inteligente, fuerte y rápido entre nosotros con Su misericordia y gracia.

La competencia no tiene por qué significar un agresivo interés propio. No tiene que significar ferocidad y falta de principios. La competencia puede, y debe, significar testimonio. Piense en los Juegos Olímpicos. Hay una competencia que no es una conquista o una actuación sino un testimonio, ¡una hazaña de fuerza! Una celebración de la capacidad, el trabajo duro y el esfuerzo. ¿Hay algo que glorifica a Dios más que eso?

Luchemos por ser competitivos, pero con el carácter competitivo de un corresponsable: aquel que busca el bien de todos los que están corriendo la carrera. — Tracy Earl Welliver, MTS ©LPi



Fixing the Scales

Most people don’t intend on being selfish. The reality of selfishness usually lies in the grey shades of our decision-making. We would never go out of our way to kick a homeless person begging by the highway exit. We would never steal money from our parish collection plate.

But would we drive past the homeless person without even extending a thought or a prayer toward his need? Would we justify stinginess in time, talent, and treasure because of our own comfort? We all have been guilty of transgressions such as these in the past. We will fall again in the future.

Most of the evil in this world can be traced back to a feeling of entitlement that lurks deep within each of us — a frantic concern for our own good that we find difficult to shake. The same instinct that compelled Eve to reach for the fruit that would give her the knowledge of good and evil still compels people to focus on what they are owed, on what they have “earned,” on what they have “coming to them.” We are so tempted to fix the scales. We are so tempted to keep score.

We would do well to remember that our God is not a God who keeps score. He is not a God who acts entitled or who tacks on extra dues, taking as much as He can get. He is a God who seats the lowly with princes. He is a God who seeks avenues for reconciliation and mercy.

— Tracy Earl Welliver, MTS ©LPi


Arreglando las Balanzas

La mayoría de la gente no tiene la intención de ser egoísta. La realidad del egoísmo suele estar en los tonos grises de nuestra toma de decisiones. Nunca saldríamos de nuestro camino para patear a una persona sin hogar que pide limosna a la salida de la autopista. Nunca robaríamos dinero de nuestro plato de colecta parroquial.

Pero, ¿pasaríamos por delante de la persona sin hogar sin siquiera extender un pensamiento o una oración hacia su necesidad? ¿Justificaríamos la tacañería en tiempo, talento y tesoro por nuestra propia comodidad? Todos hemos sido culpables de transgresiones como estas en el pasado. Volveremos a caer en el futuro.

La mayor parte del mal en este mundo se remonta a un sentimiento de presunción que acecha en lo más profundo de cada uno de nosotros: una preocupación frenética por nuestro propio bien que nos resulta difícil de quitar. El mismo instinto que impulsó a Eva a buscar el fruto que le daría el conocimiento del bien y del mal, todavía obliga a las personas a concentrarse en lo que se les debe, en lo que han “ganado,” en lo que “les corresponde.” Estamos tan tentados a arreglar las balanzas. Estamos tan tentados a llevar la cuenta.

Haríamos bien en recordar que nuestro Dios no es un Dios que lleva la cuenta. Él no es un Dios que actúa con presunción o que agrega cuotas extra, tomando todo lo que puede obtener. Es un Dios que sienta a los humildes con los príncipes. Es un Dios que busca caminos para la reconciliación y la misericordia. — Tracy Earl Welliver, MTS ©LPi