God Waits for Us Patiently

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21st Sunday in Ordinary Time - Matt. 16:13-20

By David M. Thomas, Ph.D.

From time to time, CFM's blog will feature reflections on the Sunday Readings by Dr. David Thomas, veteran Catholic family life minister

Years ago, one of our sons asked me to drive him to a school dance. He wasn’t old enough to drive himself. “Just drop me off at the door, Dad, and don’t tell anyone that you’re my dad.”

I smiled. I know that parents can be an embarrassment. Or his friends might get the wrong idea about me. So the “drop off” went quickly and I remained in the shadows.

In today’s gospel Jesus says to his disciples, right after Peter had correctly identified him as “the Christ, the Son of the living God,” that they should not tell anyone that he was the Christ. What’s going on? Did not Jesus, the Son of God, come to us so that we might know the true nature of God? He asked his disciples about their view of him and Peter had answered correctly. You would think that the next thing would be Jesus saying that they (the disciples, led by Peter) should now go to the ends of the earth telling everyone that Jesus was the Christ, the Messiah sent by God. But instead he said, “Don’t tell anyone.” What’s going on?

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Persistence pays off

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Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Matthew 15: 21-28

The persistent Canaanite woman in the Gospel story proves the saying, "The squeaky wheel gets the grease." Even though the disciples are annoyed by her, even though Jesus himself seems to ignore her, she won't be denied a hearing. Faith has blossomed in her, thanks to the presence and grace of Jesus. She says the crucial words: "Please, Lord!"  Her heartfelt prayer and humble declaration of faith seems to change Jesus' mind, and he grants her request. It is as though Jesus was waiting for her to declare her faith in him openly before granting her request. 

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Life preserver

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Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time- Matthew 14: 22-33

When Peter and the disciples saw Jesus coming toward him across the stormy lake, they were terrified. They hadn't seen this side of Jesus before. Up until this point in their relationship with him, they had no idea that he had such awesome power over the forces of nature. They had underestimated him. Who was this guy?

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Seeing in a New Light

David_Thomas.jpgThe Nazareth Page - A gospel thought for the home
August 6, 2017 – Transfiguration of the Lord -- Matt. 17:1-9

By Dr. David M. Thomas 

From time to time, CFM's blog will share Gospel reflections by veteran family life minister, David Thomas

What do you see when you look up into a clear night sky? Maybe the moon, if it’s “out” that night. Maybe a smattering of stars. If you have learned a little about constellations, you might be able to recognize the Big Dipper or Orion the Hunter. During these summer months, if you live far enough away from the city lights, you can see right overhead the Milky Way (the center of our galaxy) spreading across the sky with its thousands upon thousands of stars. Or, as sometimes is the case, you might not notice any of this!

In so many ways, the act of seeing is far from simple. And appreciating what we might see is even more complex. Think of the members of your family. How deeply do you see them, appreciate them, even know them? The same can be said about friends and neighbors. Relationships of any kind can be like the icebergs that we are reading about as our planet warms. What floats above the surface of the ocean is only one-tenth of its true size and magnitude. Most is hidden unless you really look at it. And once you do, you will see more. Might this also apply to how we see others in our lives? Or even ourselves?

Today, we again are presented with that amazing moment when three of the closest disciples of Jesus saw him in a new way. It’s called the transfiguration, meaning that the one that they were accustomed to seeing one way suddenly appeared in a new way. He changed before their very eyes.

But was he a different person than the one with whom they climbed that mountain? Surely not. So, did Jesus really change? In a sense, he didn’t. But how they saw him did change. They saw him as one who related to their religious history. They saw him as one loved by God. And seeing him in those ways changed what they saw.

The transfiguration, I believe, is not a totally exceptional experience for the disciples. The point that is quite clearly made in the story is that having seen Jesus in a transformed state, he then returned to looking as he had before. But what did the disciples then see in him? That he was someone quite remarkable, one very close to God.

Now, look in the mirror. Who do you see? Do you see someone deeply loved by God? Do you see someone that God thinks about and cares for day after day? Do you see someone who has an important role to play in God’s hope and dream in human history? If you answer “no,” then look again.

David Thomas, PhD


Hold that hoe

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Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Matthew 13: 24-43

In the Gospel parable, weeds grow among the wheat, and the wise gardener lets them be. Pulling them out abruptly will do more harm than good. We are like the gardener when we have patience with others. If we accept each son or daughter, each new in-law and out-law as he or she is, we may be surprised how they bless us. In our workplace or parish community also, we are called to tenderly care for every member without prejudice.

 

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Waste not, want not

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Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Matthew 13:1-9

In the parable of the sower, Jesus tells of seed strewn over the ground without concern for where it will land. The sower is wasting his time and money but seems completely unconcerned. He is confident of a rich harvest in the end.

Loving someone can seem like a waste of time, but this Gospel story teaches us otherwise.

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Humble Beginning

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Matthew 11:25-30

"Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart." Jesus urges us to have an attitude of humility. What does that mean for you?  

St. Theresa of Lisieux tells of a sister in her convent who challenged her ability to remain meek, “who managed to irritate me whatever she did or said.” “As I did not want to give way to my natural dislike for her, I told myself that charity should not only be a matter of feeling but should show itself in deeds, “ Theresa noted. “So I set myself to do for this sister just what I should have done for someone I loved most dearly. …I tried to do as many things for her as I could and whenever I was tempted to speak unpleasantly to her, I made myself give her a pleasant smile.” But Therese admitted that when she couldn’t muster up a big smile, she would slip away quickly, fleeing “like a soldier deserting a battlefield.” 

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Being litte

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Matthew 10:37-42

Jesus assures us, "If you give one of these little ones a cup of water because that one is a disciple, you has be rewarded." Who are the little ones among us in our parishes? Kids come to mind first. Think of the scene in church on Sunday and think of some of our little ones: Toddlers squirming out of Dad's arms, infants snoozing blissfully, infants wailing, preteens with slick hair from the last minute shower. How are we welcoming them? How accepting are we? Yet, aren't we all little in some way?

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Attention to Detail

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Matthew 10:26-33

How do you imagine God? Is God the CEO of earth, grand and only concerned with the Big Issues of life, like birth, death, and taxes? Even though we profess to be Jesus' disciples, we sometimes act like we are on our own to muddle through life. We think we can get by with extra careful planning, or by working harder, or just by luck, without getting God involved. Do we think that God doesn't deal with the small stuff? This Sunday's gospel urges us to believe otherwise.

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Next Communion

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At Home with Our Faith

Solemnity of the Body and Blood of the Lord - John 6:51-58

During the Easter Season, we witnessed the First Communions of many of our little ones. Memories of our own First Communion came back, a jumble of images and emotions. Though we may only remember who sat beside us or how tight our new shoes were, we know it was an important day. Many more Communions later, what does the Eucharist mean to you? Whether we have been coming to the Lord's table for a few weeks or for decades, Eucharist has affected us, whether we are aware of it or not. What are the effects?

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