Thursday, October 31, 2013

Sunday Gospel Reflection, November 3, 2013: You love all things that are...

How thrilled would we be if Jesus invited himself into our homes and our hearts?

In Luke’s Gospel this Sunday, Jesus does just that:  he invites himself into the home of the chief tax collector Zacchaeus (without regard to protocol), and Zacchaeus is thrilled!  Jesus has overlooked whatever sins Zacchaeus might carry, and lets nothing get in the way of the future-looking salvation he has come to bring.  And that salvation takes the form of a relationship through which Zacchaeus is reinstated into the community.  He is saved, and it's all God's initiative.  

Like the portrait of God in this week’s reading from Wisdom, Jesus is merciful and compassionate, seeking relationship with us, looking beyond our brokenness, past our sins and mistakes, and loving us simply because we are – astounding! Created by God, in God’s image, we are loved by a gracious and merciful God (Psalm 145).  Like the faith Paul has in the Thessalonians – that they will be worthy of God’s calling – we, too, need to be worthy, open to the call, open to the love God offers, open to God’s invitation into our hearts, and into our homes.

How can you open your heart to God’s inviting love this week?

This post is based on Fr. Pat's Scripture class.
Photo source

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Generous Justice

Have you been life-giving to other today? 

God is a God of justice, but we too are called to be just, to be life-giving to other.  According to Timothy Keller, author of Generous Justice:  How God’s Grace Makes Us Just,

Doing justice includes not only the righting of wrongs, but generosity and social concern, especially toward the poor and vulnerable.  This kind of life reflects the character of God.  It consists of a broad range of activities, from simple fair and honest dealings with people in daily life, to regular, radically generous giving of your time and resources, to activism that seeks to end particular forms of injustice, violence, and oppression.

In effect Jesus’s message was something like this:  "…Have you seen what kind of life God really wants from you?  Do you love God with every fiber of your being every minute of the day?  Do you meet the needs of your neighbor with all the joy, energy, and fastidiousness with which you meet your own needs?  That is the kind of life you owe your God and your fellow human beings.  God created you and sustains your life every second.  He has given you everything and therefore it is only fair that you give him everything.  If you can give God a life like that, you will certainly merit eternal life."

Monday, October 28, 2013

Auction Dinner 2013 Photo Album

To see pictures from this year's Auction Dinner
at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, click here.
Thank you to all who volunteered, and to all who attended.
We hope you had a lovely evening!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Archbishop Cordileone advocates comprehensive immigration reform

Referring to Pope Francis’s homily in Lampedusa, Italy, after the shipwreck of hundreds of would-be immigrants died, Archbishop Cordileone writes,

It is particularly ironic that here in the United States – a nation comprised nearly exclusively of immigrants – we so often refuse to weep for the destruction of family life and economic exploitation that result from our current broken immigration system.  To allow a rising culture of indifference to blind us to the plight of those who come to this country wanting something to support their families amounts to nothing less than a repudiation of the unique legacy that belongs to the United States of America.

The Archbishop urges Bay Area Catholics to contact your Congressional representatives to urge them to pursue comprehensive immigration reform…  [F]or more information on Catholic teaching on immigration reform, and on identifying your Congressional representatives, go to  

See also the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ page devoted to Migration and Refugee Services, 

The complete text of the Archbishop’s letter can be found in the church vestibule.

Photo source

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Sunday Gospel Reflection, October 27, 2013: The Lord stood by me...

How do you define justice?

In much of Scripture, many seem to have a bias toward those who live blessed lives:  they are good and righteous, and therefore they are rewarded in this life, whereas the poor and oppressed often seem to have no recourse or rights.  But in this Sunday’s reading from the Book of Sirach, this truism is reversed:  the Lord is a God of justice.  In other words, God is just to and cares for all; all people have God’s full care and concern, and therefore access to justice.  Moreover, God’s justice can be defined as that which is life-giving:  God gives everyone life, and the wherewithal to live.  If, then, we too live with the desire to see that all have life, and if we pray from a position of justice, our prayers will be heard, our petitions will reach the heavens.  This sentiment is echoed in the refrain of this week’s Psalm:  The Lord hears the cry of the poor.  Prayer is one route to justice.

In our reading from the Gospel of Luke, we hear two very different prayers.  One, from a Pharisee, uses his prayer to set himself apart from other:  I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity.  And this is his biggest program:  the Pharisee is caught up in his own vision of his identity, convinced of his own righteousness.  He therefore cannot see as God sees, or stand in right relationship to God.  The tax collector, on the other hand, prays humbly:  O God, be merciful to me, a sinner.  Unjust in his daily dealings with others, the tax collector lays his heart open before God, asking to be readmitted to right relationship with his Creator.  It may be news to the Pharisee, but God’s justice is readily available to this tax collector as well.

In his letter to Timothy, the apostle Paul is approaching death, and he knows it.  Yet God is no less life-giving to him than to any other character in this week’s texts.  To the contrary, God is still a very real presence in his life. And even Paul’s death is itself a life-giving gift from God, because death will bring Paul fullness of life, union with the Lord, relationship, the crown of righteousness – justice, that is, in the fullest sense of the term.

This post is based on Fr. Pat's Scripture class.
Photo source

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Brother Sun, Sister Moon

If you didn't get a chance to buy tickets to OLMC's auction dinner (and are thus left with nothing to do this Saturday, since no tickets will be sold at the door!), you might be interested in hearing The Story Orchestra perform Brother Sun, Sister Moon Saturday night at St. John Episcopal Church in Petaluma. The promotional materials describe it as follows:

"The story Brother Sun Sister Moon is a Theatrical Collage of Word, Music and Dance featuring great works of art from many cultures and eras, combined with new original works and dance.  It is the story of a realization and the transformation of a human being, of Francis of Assisi. This is not a religious work, but one that celebrates the possibility of awareness and change in order to live a life that is Good. This is very much a story of not only our time, when we are seeking sustainable solutions, Peace, the Beautiful and the Positive, but this is a story of all times and of all cultures.  The Story Orchestra features voice actors, singers, instrumentalists and dancers. This is a minimally amplified event in the beautiful Cram Hall of St. John's Episcopal Church in Petaluma Ca.

40 Fifth St., Petaluma.  Tickets are $17-20 sliding scale.  Tickets will be available at the door though we highly recommend making reservations, as tickets may go fast. Reservations can be made by calling 707-795-3545."

Photo source