Discalced Carmelite Friars

Province of St. Therese

Provincial Blog

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Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time

1st Reading: Wisdom 11:22-12:2 
Resp. Psalm Psalm 145:1-2, 8-9, 10-11, 13, 14
2nd Reading: 2 Thessalonians 1:11-2:22
Gospel: Luke 19:1-10 

The first reading reminds us how insignificant we are compared to God. But since Jesus died for us we are precious. God wants to give us time to repent and He does. It says so in the Scriptures. We hear this during Advent. But He will not give us all the time we may want. This is why we need to be patient with ourselves and with each other. As long as we are working on ourselves and are trying to let God have His way more and more in our lives it will go well.

It is usually difficult to repent and to become a better person who tries to make amends. This is the lot of Zacchaeus. There are times when the people around us be it family, friends or coworkers that can make it harder. Whenever someone changes for the better not just the devil gets involved to railroad the good process, so do so-called well-meaning people. It upsets the flow of life as it is known and we all can have a hard time changing. 

We shouldn't be like the older brother in the prodigal son parable. People get used to their roles within their own communities even if they don't like them. But change must come in our lives because God is dynamic. All the changes He asks us to undergo are ordered towards eternal life.

Written by Fr. Jim Curiel, OCD

Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Painting by Barent Fabritius: De Farizeeër en de tollenaar - 1661

1st Reading: Sirach 35:12-14, 16-18
Resp. Psalm Psalm 34:2-3, 17-18, 19, 23 
2nd Reading: 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18 
Gospel: Luke 18:9-14

Doing good works in and of themselves is not a guarantee that one is holy or will go to Heaven. This is what the Pharisee seems to think. What is more important is why we do what we do. We are told not to judge each other as if we know everything like God. We may make human judgments but not moral ones judging someone else's soul or motives. Therefore our attitudes should be like that of the tax collector. We should always ask for mercy and forgiveness. And anyway, anything good that we do ultimately comes from God and He deserves all the glory. We need to be thankful that He lets us help in the work of redemption. 

As St. Therese said, the only thing we can take credit for is our sins. And once we can take all this into account, we see how we fall short. 

By the way, the Church allows the tax collector's words to be used as an Act of Contrition: O God, be merciful to me a sinner. This should tell us something.

Written by Fr. Jim Curiel, OCD

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
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