St. John Fisher Roman Catholic Church

30 Jones Hollow Road, Marlborough, CT 06447

It has been a kidney stone of a year.

The media have certainly featured enough bad news to last a lifetime. It’s not really their fault. There has been a great deal of bad news.

Internationally, there has been the rise of terrorism around the world but especially in Paris and Brussels.

Nationally, unemployment is a reality for many and a fear for many more as companies and corporations downsize, though management calls it “right sizing”. The 1% are getting richer at the expense of the poor and the shrinking middle class. The news more often resembles a police blotter report than anything else. Not to mention the insults, attacks, innuendo, and sometimes outright lies (misspoken of course) that now characterize our politics.

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5th Sunday of Lent, Year C, 16

Things are not always as simple as they at first appear to be. Today’s Gospel is a perfect example of a passage that has layers of meaning and application.

On the surface, this is apparently just another confrontation between Jesus and the Pharisees and scribes with an adulterous woman caught in the crossfire. But, she is only a pawn. The Pharisees and scribes are not really concerned about her or her sin but about Jesus’ answer to their challenge. If he agrees with the Mosaic Law, he is in conflict with the Romans who forbade the Jews to pass or carry out a death sentence, and revealing that his mercy and compassion are limited. If he lets her go unpunished for this capital offense against the Mosaic Law, he will be seen as “soft on crime” and in conflict with his Jewish heritage. It seems to be a “no win” situation. But Jesus turned the tables by making the interpreters and keepers of the Law face their own sinfulness before passing judgment on someone else.

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4th Sunday of Lent, C, 2016

When you feel wronged, what’s your reaction? I think for most of us it is righteous indignation.

We can identify with the elder son in today’s Gospel. We don’t understand why the father is throwing a banquet for his wayward son, especially when we’ve been good. We feel cheated, angry, resentful, and are prone to pouting or else figuratively or literally stamping our feet.

Sometimes we question God by saying, “I’ve been good. How come that person who is so much worse than I gets a free pass? What’s in it for me?” We often wonder about God’s justice. ---- Until we need God’s mercy.

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3rd Sunday of Lent, C, 2016

How would you describe yourself? Think for a moment (pause about 15 seconds).

How many of us would describe ourselves as did Pope Francis when asked the same question: “I am a sinner.”

Well, of course, we know we’ve all made mistakes, hurt others, and ignored people’s legitimate needs. In other words, in these or in other ways, we all sinned. But to admit it freely and humbly, to say that defines who we are, that’s another thing completely.

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They almost missed it. Maybe they were tired from the climb up the mountain, but they almost missed seeing Jesus in his glory and Moses and Elijah with him.

Peter, always wanting to act or say something, proposed setting up three tents, one for Jesus and one each for the two guests talking with him. Luke, giving an insight into Peter’s brashness, tells us that he didn’t know what he was saying. It wasn’t the first time and it wouldn’t be the last; but, that was Peter being Peter. Suddenly they were enveloped in a cloud from which came a voice: “This is my chosen Son; listen to him.” God had the last word. They fell silent, even Peter. They realized they were in over their heads. They needed time to let it all sink in. They needed silence to understand Jesus from a new perspective.

How many times do we miss the glory of God that is all around us because we have our eyes shut? Or, do we just don’t want to see it because it upsets our well-ordered world we have created for ourselves?

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What an ominous ending to today’s Gospel. Listen again:  “When the devil had finished every temptation, he departed from him for a time.”

When did the devil return? Perhaps it was at the time of Jesus’ great success as a teacher and a healer, when crowds were flocking to see and touch him. Perhaps it was the time when he multiplied the loaves and fish, and the people wanted to make him king. It could have been much later at the crucifixion when the crowd jeered he saved others, let him save himself by coming down off the cross. All were opportunities to tempt once again with power, prestige, and the preservation of his life.

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