• Wartakanlah Injil kepada segala makhluk.
    Mrk 16:15

  • 你们往普天下去, 向一切受造物宣传福音
    谷 16:15

  • Everything is possible by the power of the Holy Spirit’s Grace.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • Segala sesuatu menjadi mungkin dalam kekuatan karunia Roh Kudus.
    St. Arnold Janssen

  • 我当传教士不是为主牺牲,而是上主给我的最大恩赐
    圣福若瑟神父

  • Với sức mạnh Ân Huệ của Chúa Thánh Thần, Mọi việc đều có thể được.
    St Arnoldus Janssen

  • Preach the Gospel to the whole creation./Anh em hãy đi khắp tứ phương thiên hạ, loan báo Tin Mừng cho mọi loài thọ tạo
    Mk 16:15

  • There are many different gifts, but it is always the same Spirit.
    1 Cor 12:4

  • And the Word became flesh and lived among us.
    Jn 1:14

  • Let the word of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you.
    Col 3:16

  • To proclaim the Good News is the first and greatest act of love of neighbour.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • 传扬天国福音是第一且最大的爱近人行动
    圣杨生•爱诺德神父

  • Có nhiều đặc sủng khác nhau, nhưng chỉ có một Thần Khí/
    1 Cor. 14:4

  • 圣言成了血肉,寄居在我们中间
    若 1:14

  • Ada rupa-rupa karunia, tetapi Roh satu
    1 Kor 12:4

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Friday, 25 September 2020 19:26

26th Sunday in Ordinary Time - 2020

Written by Fr Larry Nemer SVD

 

Sunday Reflection_26th Sunday 2020

Fr Larry Nemer SVD 150It was the last year of my term in office as Dean of our Seminarians in Chicago, and it was the most difficult year I had ever suffered.  It was my responsibility to say at the end of the year whether or not these men were ready to take Perpetual Vows.  I had worked with them for three years and felt that they all were ready – except for one seminarian.  We talked weekly and I tried to explain to him why I felt I could not recommend him for perpetual vows.  I told him that I thought he had missed something in his novitiate training and that perhaps after six months there he could apply again to take perpetual vows.  He was furious with me.  In all his assessments for the previous three years he had been described as the “model seminarian”.  He did well in his studies—he was faithful in his prayer life—he carried out all the tasks given him—and above all he obeyed all the rules.  So he returned to the novitiate and I left for further studies in England.  I heard that after two months he had persuaded the Superiors that he was there because “Larry has a bias against the Irish” and so they allowed him to take perpetual vows.

It had been a difficult decision to make.  I thought that he could be a good priest but that if he didn’t deal with his “problem” he would be an unhappy one and would make everyone around him unhappy.  As I reflected on it later I realized that I could recognize that he did indeed follow all the rules, but in doing so he kept himself as the centre of his concern and could not put someone else’s needs ahead of his.  If one corrected him he would always defend himself and say it was “ÿour problem”. He could not sense the needs of the people around him and so felt no obligation to help them.  Unfortunately forty years later he is an “obedient priest and religious” but also an unhappy one.

So I can understand why Jesus in today’s gospel says”: I tell you solemnly, tax collectors and prostitutes are making their way into the kingdom of God before you.  For John came to you, a pattern of true righteousness, but you did not believe him, and yet these tax collectors and prostitutes did. It is not necessarily the people who look holy that are the ones who have a true insight into Jesus’ message.  Perhaps this is the reason why I have always liked the opera La Boheme.  It is the story of five people who are not deeply religious and are living the “bohemian”style of life, but they are artists and prostitutes who truly care about one another.    I have seen the opera at least a dozen times and every time it comes to the death scene of Mimi the prostitute I begin to cry because the love and concern for one another and the grief that is experienced is so real.  Is this what Jesus meant when he said that the tax collectors and prostitutes could be His true disciples?

About twenty years ago I saw the musical Rent.  I was so struck by the story line that I saw it

as a modern version of the message Jesus was giving us in today’s gospel.  It is the story of a

group of people living on the margins of society – drug addicts, alcoholics, gay men and gay

women, transgender people.  They are all squatters.  The owner of the building says that he

is turning it into a car park and they all have to leave.  During the musical it becomes

clear that while they all live on the margins of society they have a deep respect for one

another and show a loving concern for each other.  God is not even mentioned and yet I had

the feeling of seeing a deeply “religious” play.

Today’s gospel has a lesson that challenges us all.