St. John Fisher Roman Catholic Church

30 Jones Hollow Road, Marlborough, CT 06447

4th Sunday of Lent, C19

The Return of The Prodigal Son Pompeo Batoni 1773Most homilies about today’s Gospel focus on the wayward son and the generous mercy of the father. And, well they might. But most of us here at Mass today generally don’t sink to depths of the younger son and try to imitate the conduct of the father. We are more likely to be like the older son in our behavior father.

We are dutiful in our relationship with God, serving God and building God’s kingdom on earth, tilling the soil and tending the vineyard in obedience to God’s commands. But we can be resentful of those who wander off, wasting God’s gifts on their own pursuits. How do we react when we see them return at Easter and/or Christmas? With joy/ or with anger that they are sitting in “our” seat in the pews?

Christmas 2018

“Do not be afraid.” “Do not be afraid.”          

That is a common refrain throughout the Scriptures. In fact it, or its equivalent, is found 15 times in the Jewish Scriptures and at least 12 times in the New Testament. I took those figures after looking up the word “afraid” in an exhaustive concordance of the Bible.[1]

3rd Sunday of Advent, C18

“Shout for joy!”[1] “Brothers and sisters: Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice!”[2] On the 3rd Sunday of Advent we are called to rejoice.

But the Church in the United States has difficulty in rejoicing this year because of the sex abuse scandals which once again made headlines, maybe even worse than the original stories 16 years before. As a member of the clergy, I can only apologize for the behavior of some of my brothers. As I said this summer, I am sickened by their crimes against children and young teenagers. I am appalled by the bishops who covered up the crimes, listening to their lawyers rather than to victims. And I was shocked by the credible accusations made against some priests that I have known for years, not ever suspecting they were guilty of sexual abuse of minors. They hid their depravity well.

2nd Sunday of Advent, C18

In the reading of Scripture, you have to pay attention to the placement of words, phrases, and whole sections.

For instance in today’s Gospel Luke begins his account of John the Baptizer (and eventually Jesus) with a list of people who governed the Jewish people either civilly or religiously. Did you notice who they were or did your mind wander when Deacon John read their names and positions? Luke named them because they would show up later at the end of Jesus’s ministry when they would play important roles in his death. The seeds of the end are planted at the beginning.

Bartimaeus would not be denied. He heard the clamoring crowds and could feel the excitement. He heard that Jesus was near and also knew that this was his chance, maybe his last and only. He cried out, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me.” Many told him to shut up 1, but he once more begged, “Son of David, have pity on me.” The blind beggar’s cry pierced through the noisy crowd and reached Jesus’s ears. He stopped, probably surprised that the beggar used a royal title to name him, “son of David”, a king who was responsible to bring justice to the poor, and healing if possible. Jesus asked what he wants. Bartimaeus responded, “I want to see.” And Jesus said, “Your faith has saved you”. And the once blind beggar receives his sight. No laying on of hands, no spittle on the eyelids, nothing like that, just his faith. Instead of going his way, Bartimaeus follows Jesus on the way 2.

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