Discalced Carmelite Friars

Province of St. Therese

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Twenty-eigth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Vyacheslav Argenberg from Seattle, WA, USA [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]
1st Reading: 2 Kings 5:14-17
Resp. Psalm Psalm 98:1, 2-3, 3-4
2nd Reading: 2 Timothy 2:8-13
Gospel: Luke 17:11-19 

It may seem strange that Naaman was asked to bathe in the River Jordan seven times. The quality of the water certainly didn't change so why do it? When we receive instruction from the Lord, obedience is what is most important despite how ridiculous the instructions may seem. Obedience is the antidote to pride - the I will not serve statement issued by Lucifer. Our Lady was completely obedient to God which is why she is so powerful in her intercessory role. Adam and Eve disobeyed the Lord and we all have been paying for it dearly ever since.

In today's Gospel, Jesus asked the lepers to go show themselves to the priest. At that time, leprosy kept one from being a member of the synagogue. Once the priest declared someone clean they were admitted back. Today it is sin that keeps us from participating fully in the Church. Once declared forgiven in Confession by a priest we are full members again. Nowadays Confession is easily available so we ourselves are the ones who stop ourselves from being in full Communion in the Church. 

As regards Confession, the Church teaches (Precepts of the Church) that we must go to Confession once a year if we are conscious of mortal sin and that we must receive Holy Communion once a year. This is the minimum. We should always strive to do the most we can for ourselves and each other.

Written by Fr. Jim Curiel, OCD 

Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

1st Reading: Habakkuk 1:2-3; 2:2-4
Resp. Psalm Psalm 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9
2nd Reading: 2 Timothy 1:6-8, 13-14
Gospel: Luke 17:5-10

When God tells us something, just as anyone else, He wants us to listen. However, God's word to us has priority. We may not understand what He is saying to us but point is that we take time to listen. We should pay attention to what we say in prayer and what we are told at Mass and spiritual functions.

We have a duty to work hard at building our faith and as well helping others in the same regard. When Jesus said that we should consider ourselves as useless servants it means that God gets all the credit for everything good that we do because He is the one Who does the good work in us. Jesus's sacrifice for us on the cross makes us precious and priceless. Since this is true, than how much more invaluable is God Himself?

Written by Fr. Jim Curiel., OCD

Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Print by Gustave Doré illustrating the parable of
the rich man and Lazarus, from the Gospel of Luke.
Public domain
1st Reading: Amos 6:4-7
Resp. Psalm Psalm 146:7, 8-9, 9-10
2nd Reading: 1 Timothy 6:11-16
Gospel: Luke 16:19-31

We may wonder why some people seem to "get away" with crimes and not worshiping God as they should. Put another way, why does God allow the weeds to grow with the wheat? The simple answer is that God gives us all free will to do as we please for which we will have to answer for on the last day of our lives. What did we do with the gifts and talents God has given us? Did we work on our problems?

In today's Gospel it is the rich man who was truly poor. He ended up in the netherworld or Hades while Lazarus was resting in the bosom of Abraham. He chose to use his riches for himself and ignored the poverty of Lazarus who was just outside.

As per the warning that Abraham gives, ultimately, if we will not listen to the warning given us in the Scriptures no miracle will convince us because what we have in the Scriptures is what we need to be saved. The teachings of the Church drawn from the Scriptures, Sacred Tradition and the Magisterium are all there to help us - if we so choose.

Written by Fr. Jim Curiel, OCD

Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
1st Reading: Amos 8:4-7
Resp. Psalm Psalm 113:1-2, 4-6, 7-8
2nd Reading: 1 Timothy 2:1-8
Gospel: Luke 16:1-13

Some people do not understand the Gospel reading about the dishonest steward. Jesus is not telling us to lie or to steal as the dishonest steward did. He is pointing out that the tools or the lengths he went through to ensure that he would have a soft life after he lost his job and the mental tenacity to figure this out is what we should do to get ourselves to Heaven. Of course we can only go to Heaven with God's grace but He wants us to to all we can with the strength we have to be with Him.

When Jesus said make friends with dishonest wealth so that when it fails you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings He was not saying that we will go to Heaven by doing what he did. There are two eternal dwellings: Heaven and Hell. Jesus was also informing the Pharisees that this is what they were doing (wrong). Again, we should use every avenue we have to get to Heaven: to receive the Sacraments regularly to do the corporal and spiritual works of mercy to pray to fast... This is a place of testing. The answers to the test have already been given to us. We only need to apply them in our lives with God's help.

Written by Fr. Jim Curiel, OCD

Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Image by Dominik & Frederike Schneider from Pixabay
1st Reading: Wisdom 9:13-18b
Resp. Psalm Psalm 90:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14, 17
2nd Reading: Philemon 9-10, 12-17
Gospel: Luke 14:25-33

God's demands on us are great at times. We either choose Him or the devil, and this is a choice for Him that we have to constantly reaffirm. When Jesus tells us that we have to hate our own blood families He means that we should not let them stand in the way of true worship of God. In this particular case to hate means to love less. It is God Whom we should love the most. When He gave the example of calculating whether or not we could build a tower or fight a greater army, He meant that when deciding to follow him we need to take into account that to follow God means trials will come to us — it is like climbing a mountain. Do we choose to follow despite the cost?

Really, God is the One Who pays the cost for us. He did so on the Cross. We just need to let Him save us His way in His time. What awaits us is well worth the effort.

Written by Fr. Jim Curiel, OCD
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