God Works through Human Hands

ISAIAH 45:1, 4-6 This reading comes from Second Isaiah, someone who wrote about 150 years after First Isaiah. Writing in the name of a better-known figure is not unusual in our Scriptures. For example, a number of New Testament letters were written by an unknown author who attributes them to Paul.

Whereas First Isaiah’s theology focused on the punish­ment God would mete out, Second Isaiah announced salva­tion. The passage we hear today explains that God will use Cyrus, king of Persia, to bring the people exiled in Babylonia back home to Jerusalem. Isaiah discerns God acting through human agents in history, even using for­eigners for the redemption of the people. In this poetic pas­sage we hear that God will give Cyrus victory, but all for the sake of Israel, God’s Chosen People.

PSALM 96:1, 3, 4-5, 7-8, 9-10 (7B) This psalm is a fitting follow-up to Isaiah’s message; it calls on the people to sing a new song to the Lord and to proclaim God’s glory among all peoples. Saying that God governs the people with equity celebrates the vindication Isaiah promised. Giving God glory demands reverence (holy attire), awe (tremble), and a proclamation of God’s goodness and greatness (the Lord is the King who governs the peoples with equity).

1 THESSALONIANS 1:1-5B In these days of electronic com­munication, many people no longer engage in or even appre­ciate the art of letter writing, but Paul was an expert at it, especially when writing to people he loved. In this, the oldest of Paul’s extant letters, we discover his tender relationship with a community with whom he had shared the faith.

Paul and his companions address the community of Thessalonica “in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” That seemingly simple statement is laden with theological meaning. It proclaims Jesus as the Son of God the Father, and the Christ, the long-awaited Messiah. Finally, the greeting “grace to you and peace” probably has its origins in the liturgical prayer they celebrated together.

As he begins, Paul expresses thanks for all that God is doing through them. As he does so, he makes the first Christian mention of what we call the “theological virtues.” Paul praises the Thessalonians for their faith, which they express in love, and for the hope that keeps them steadfast in a time of tribulation. Finally, Paul proclaims that they were chosen by God and that the Holy Spirit is working through them. In just five verses, Paul has proclaimed faith in the Trinity and reminded them that the God to whom they belong is working though their faith, hope, and love.

MATTHEW 22:15-21 There are some delightful ironies in this account of an attempt to trap Jesus. His adversaries begin in an ostensibly respectful tone, recognizing Jesus as a teacher and man of utter integrity. Finally they admit that he is not swayed by others’ opinions of him. The point of their question about taxes is to force Jesus to side with either the zealots, who promoted rebellion against Rome, or with those who collaborated with the Roman rule, which some of the faithful judged to be an affront to God and the Chosen People. The questioners made up an odd partner­ship since the name of the Herodians implied that they were in league with political powers, while the Pharisees promoted a scrupulous compliance with the Jewish law. Jesus’ ability to discredit their either-or proposition is the most obvious triumph of the incident. The fact that they were carrying coins of the realm with a forbidden graven image and an inscription about the “divine” emperor exposed the fact that they were all in unfaithful compliance with Rome.

A deeper question lies underneath the surface of this verbal skirmish. While his opponents were questioning legalities, Jesus brought them back to a question of image. The Greek word for image is eikon, from which we have the word icon. Jesus’ response about the coin implied that it belonged to the one whose image it bore. When he spoke of God, the obvious question would be, where is God’s image? Clearly, for all those who knew the creation accounts, God’s image is the created person, male and female (Genesis 1:27). By using that language, Jesus trapped his adversaries far more profoundly than their question might have trapped him. In response to their supposedly scrupulous question about paying taxes, Jesus cleverly reminded them that as creatures, they owed everything to the God in whose image they were created.


♦         “The citizen is obliged in conscience not to fol­low the directives of civil authorities when they are contrary to the demands of the moral order, to the fundamen­tal rights of persons or the teachings of the Gospel” (CCC, 2242).

♦         “Development cannot consist only in the use, dominion over and indiscriminate posses­sion of created things . . . but rather in subor­dinating the possession, dominion and use to man’s divine likeness and to his vocation to immortality” (SRS, 29).

♦         “Jesus refuses the oppressive and despotic power wielded by the rulers of the nations. . . . In his pronounce­ment on the paying of taxes to Caesar (cf. Mark 12:13-17; Matthew 22:15-22; Luke 20:20-26), he affirms that we must give to God what is God’s, implicitly con­demning every attempt at making temporal power divine or abso­lute: God alone can demand everything from man” (CSDC, 379).

Scripture Backgrounds For The Sunday Lectionary, LTP, pages 154-155.


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Reflecting on the Gospel

There are many deep divisions between “Caesar” and God, between earthly kingdoms and the kingdom of heaven. In this gospel the Pharisees’ disciples and the Herodians raise what amounts to a minor division when they raise the question of paying “the census tax to Caesar.” Seeing through their ruse, Jesus turns the tables and entraps them “with the truth.” The “way of God” is not found in opposing civil and religious realms, but in acting as Jesus would in both areas of life, responding appropriately in each “kingdom.” Like Jesus, we are to give ourselves for the good of others in all areas of life. Giv­ing ourselves first to God, we will know the “way” and the “truth” of all other loyalties, and our choices and behav­iors will further God’s plan of salvation.

Jesus quickly dispatches this false divide between realms in which we live, commanding his hearers to give to each realm what properly belongs to it. This is actually the easy part of life. The deepest divide to which we must attend is between disingenuous hearts living a lie and transparent hearts living “in accordance with the truth.” This deepest divide is what Jesus came to heal—for those who wish to be healed. It would seem that the religious leaders—who ought to be the very ones who model for the people how undivided hearts live and act—are the very ones who do not choose to be healed. They seem to do everything to foster division.

They pretend to be turned toward God through their strict religious observances, but in effect are turned toward themselves. They pretend to be deeply religious, but in effect are shallowly self-promoting.

By trying to entrap Jesus these corrupt religious leaders are actually putting “Caesar” (that is, their own will and agenda, their own fears and obstinacy) ahead of God. Their own actions have betrayed that they themselves do any­thing but “teach the way of God in accordance with the truth.” Their own life­style and way of relating to others betray who and what is first in their life.

The obligations to Caesar and God are radically different: to the state we pay taxes, but to God we give undivided hearts. Isaiah speaks for God: “I am the Lord, there is no other” (first reading); our ultimate loyalty and self-offering is to God and so we “give to the Loan the glory due his name!” (responsorial psalm). If we keep God central in our lives, then there is no problem with giving “to Caesar what belongs to Caesar.” Further, if we place this in the eschatological (end times and fulfillment) context of Matthew’s gospel, the controversy with which the religious leaders confront Jesus simply crumbles, for everything in this world ultimately belongs to God; there is nothing of this world that com­pares to who God is and how much God cares for us, and nothing of this world is worth more than what God offers us. The only thing God asks of us is the self-offering that acknowledges who God is and who we are in relation to God. In return, God gives what no emperor or state can give: a share in divine Life.

Living the Paschal Mystery

Often our struggle with living this gospel is not really about two “kingdoms” presenting opposing values, but rather that our own divided hearts trump ev­erything else. The kind of self-giving that gives to God what is God’s due and to society what is society’s due necessitates that we think of others first. It truly is that simple, yet sometimes so hard to live!     Living Liturgy™ For Sundays and Solemnities 2017, Liturgical Press, page 230.



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Focusing the Gospel

Key words and phrases: entrap Jesus, in accordance with the truth, malice, hypocrites, what belongs to Caesar, what belongs to God

To the point: There are many deep divisions between “Caesar” and God. But the Pharisees’ disciples and the Herodians raise what amounts to a minor division. Jesus quickly dispatches this divide, commanding his hearers to give to each realm what properly belongs to it. The deepest divide is between dis­ingenuous hearts living a lie and transparent hearts living “in accordance with the truth.” This deepest divide is what Jesus came to heal—for those who wish to be healed.

Connecting the Gospel

to the first reading: God can (and does) use civil authority for divine pur­poses of salvation (see first reading). There is no inherent divide between these realms of authority. However, often we human beings separate the realm of God from that of humanity through our own malice, deceit, and self-serving interests.

to experience: Sometimes the two “kingdoms” in which we live are in con­flict—our religious values clash with civil polity. As faithful followers of Jesus, we must always choose first God’s kingdom.

Connecting the Responsorial Psalm

to the readings: The connection between the verses of Psalm 96 and this Sunday’s first reading and gospel is readily evident. God alone is God; even when unrecognized, God alone is the source of all power and authority (first reading). The psalm calls us to give God “glory and praise” and to announce God’s sovereignty to all nations. Jesus repeats this command in his admonition to the Pharisees: give God proper due (gospel).

But a subtle irony in the readings lends even greater weight to this com­mand of Jesus. While Cyrus, a non-Jew, unknowingly unfolds God’s plan, the Pharisees, acknowledged religious leaders among the Jews, knowingly work to subvert it. One who does not know God furthers God’s redemptive plan while those reputed to be God’s servants thwart it. The message for us is that to give God proper due it is not sufficient merely to mouth praise or to engage in pub­lic religious activity. Rather, we must give what Cyrus is unaware of and the Pharisees refuse: our hearts in conscious cooperation with God’s will.

to psalmist preparation: The greatest “glory and honor” we can give God is an obedient heart. This is what you call the assembly to in singing Psalm 96. Is there anything which stands in the way of you giving God your heart?                                              Living Liturgy™ For Sundays and Solemnities 2017, Liturgical Press, page 231.


Homily Points

♦         We often are divided over what belongs to whom. For example, property rights, na­tional borders, child custody, inheritance, even toys. Sometimes divisions are so serious that they bring harm and even destroy lives. At other times these divides can be readily resolved through legal action or parental intervention. Religious leaders present Jesus with what in reality is a false division that he dispatches rather cleverly.

♦         What belongs to Caesar is a tax, a coin, an image and inscription—all inanimate ob­jects, all external to the heart of things. What belongs to God is the tax of acting “in ac­cordance with the truth,” the coin of living in “the way of God,” and our hearts stamped with the image and inscription of God. What belongs to God is our undivided hearts de­void of malice, hypocrisy, and self-importance. What belongs to God is our whole selves united with the very heart of God.

♦         Our hearts are to be given over in loving obedience to the ways of God. Giving over our hearts means changing all ways within us that oppose the truth of God. It means allowing Jesus to heal what in our hearts divides us from God and one another. It means repaying God for everything by giving God everything—our undivided hearts.

Living Liturgy™ For Sundays and Solemnities 2017, Liturgical Press, page 232.




About Liturgy

Worship and gift of self: If there is anything we learn from the prophets of the Old Testament and from the religious leaders of the New Testament, it is that worship can­not be empty. Worship is the praise of God that is borne out by caring for others who are the beloved of God; caring for others is caring about God. Worship that stays within the four walls of a building is empty; even the very structure of liturgy itself reminds us that God changes us during liturgy so that we can live better for the good of others. We are dismissed from liturgy to live what we have celebrated. Worship begins with God’s gift of Self to us; it concludes by sending us forth to be a gift of self for those we meet in our everyday living. This is how we live with the integrity of Jesus.

Every liturgy ends with some sort of mission—we are sent to love and serve the Lord in each other. These are not just ritual words at the end of Mass to which we more or less consciously respond, “Thanks be to God.” Our “Thanks be to God” is more than words—it requires of us to give thanks to God for all God has given us by our taking care of others and creation as God’s gifts to us. Although the prayers and readings at liturgy change from celebration to celebration and these might give us some specific Christian actions we might try to live during the week, in a sense lit­urgy’s dismissal is always the same: go and live the transformation of liturgy and the deepening of God’s Presence within. This is the gift of self liturgy asks of us: giving ourselves to others. This, then, is our ultimate praise and thanksgiving to God, our ultimate giving to God what is God’s due.

About Liturgical Music

Music suggestions: Particularly appropriate this Sunday would be songs that call us to give God the glory which belongs to the Creator of all. Examples available in many resources include “Sing Praise to God Who Reigns Above”; “Praise to the Lord”; “God, We Praise You”; and “0 God beyond All Praising.” A good choice for the entrance would be Lucien Deiss’s “Wonderful and Great” (OF, WC) with choir or can­tor singing the verses and the assembly responding. A fitting choice for Communion would be Paul Inwood’s “Center of My Life” (BB, G3). Erik Routley’s challenging “What Does the Lord Require” (W4) reminds us the tribute we are to bring God is to “Do justly; love mercy; walk humbly with your God.” This hymn would be most appro­priate as the recessional song.

Carl Daw’s text “Baited, the Question Rose” (HG, W4) was written to accord with this gos­pel. The final verse adds a very creative dimension to the question of whose image is on the coin: “May we discern, 0 God, Your daily gifts of grace; Show us your image freshly coined In ev’ry heart and face.” The tune to which this song is set will be unfamiliar to most assemblies, as will its dissonant harmonic structure. Both tune and structure, however, fit well this con­frontation between Jesus and the Pharisees. The hymn could be used effectively as a choir prelude.                    Living Liturgy™ For Sundays and Solemnities 2017, Liturgical Press, page 233.



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 Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time   –   Suffering Servant

Readings: Isa 53:10-11; Ps 33:4-5, 18-19, 20, 22; Heb 4:14-16; Mark 10:35-45.

“Whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all.”   (Mark 10:44)

In chapters 40 to 55 of Isaiah, there are four passages known as the Servant Songs. One of them, quoted as today’s first reading, is about the Suffering Servant. One wonders what it was like to read about this Suf­fering Servant in Isaiah, where we hear, “it was the will of the LORD to crush him with pain,” apart from an encounter with the life and death of Jesus. How were these verses understood, in which we are told, “The righteous one, my servant, shall make many righteous, / and he shall bear their iniquities,” before the disciples read them in light of Jesus’ passion and resurrection?

Some modern scholars have proposed that the servant in Isaiah might represent the nation of Israel or the prophets; others identify the servant with an individual, like the prophet Isaiah himself, the Persian king Cyrus, or the future Messiah. As for the earliest disciples of Jesus, they were certain that the servant was the prophesied Messiah, who had lived, died, and been raised among them. Jesus was the one who was crushed, who bore our iniquities, and who “out of his anguish” saw “the light” in his resurrection.

Jesus’ suffering and death were not, as the disciples had initially feared, the destruction of their hopes, but the fulfillment of divine hope. This allowed for heightened reflection to take place on the life of the Messiah, who had walked among them as they read the Law and the Prophets. This reflection upon Jesus, in light of the Hebrew Scriptures, is the foundation of the New Testament.

The Letter to the Hebrews, for instance, reflected upon Jesus as both human and divine, as the perfect Victim and the perfect High Priest, “who 130 The Word on the Street

in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin.” Because of Jesus’ humanity and his suffering on our behalf, we have a Messiah who is able to “sympathize with our weaknesses.” It is this sympathy, born of his incarnation and passion, that allowed Jesus to guide the earliest fol­lowers, the kernel of the church, into an understanding of the shared mission the apostles were to carry to the world.

Understanding was not always easy. When Jesus told his apostles that he must suffer and die, James and John find it the proper time to say, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” Jesus does not respond by asking them if they had even heard what he said but asks them, “What is it you want me to do for you?” The brothers Zebedee want “to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” Their answer establishes at least this much: They know Jesus is the Messiah, and they know he will establish God’s kingdom. The problem is one of misunderstanding, not just because Jesus has announced his coming death for the third time but because they desire glory without the suffering. They will not hear what Jesus has to say: the kingdom will come, but the Messiah must first suffer and die.

Jesus says to be a leader in the church is not to be a “lord” or “tyrant.” Jesus’ goal is not to replace Gentile lords and tyrants with new, improved Jewish lords and tyrants, but in the kingdom, or “reign” of God, rulers must be servants; and “whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all.” This is not empty language for the troops from a general who surveys the suffering on the battlefield from the safety of a mountaintop but from one who will suffer for them.

Jesus says that “the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” In this verse Jesus interprets his death as a sacrificial death. The language of “ransom” evokes salvation through purchase, freeing “many” from slavery or capture. “Many” is the language of Isaiah 53:12, in which the servant “poured out himself to death . . . yet he bore the sin of many, / and made intercession for the transgressors.” Jesus offers himself out of sympathy for our weakness, for the sake of humanity, which cannot save itself. I am this servant, Jesus says, are you willing to follow me and to serve me through service to all?

Think of Jesus’ love for humanity, “sympathizing with our weakness,” offering himself “for many.” How do you respond to Jesus’ life as the Suffering Servant? How can you live out Jesus’ command to be a servant for all? How do you balance leadership and service?

The Word on the Street, Sunday Lectionary Reflections, Liturgical Press, pages 129-130.


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Sunday, October 22, 2017      Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time  

Know that God is present with you and ready to converse.

Jesus Christ is Alpha and Omega, the beloved Son of the Father, the Lamb of God, risen King, and Judge of all. He is with his Church to the end of the age. He brings us victory.

“Let us come into his presence to adore him.”

Read the gospel: Matthew 22:15-21.

Then the Pharisees went and plotted to entrap Jesus in what he said. So they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and teach the way of God in accordance with truth, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality. Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?” But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the coin used for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. Then he said to them, “Whose head is this, and whose title?” They answered, “The emperor’s.” Then he said to them, “Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

Notice what you think and feel as you read the gospel.

They try, but the Pharisees and Herodians cannot trap Jesus. He calls them on their hypocrisy and malice. Then he answers their question: give to the emperor what is the emperor’s and to God what is God’s.

Pray as you are led for yourself and others.

“All I have is yours, my God, so I give it all to you. I also give to you now those you have given to me . . .” (Continue in your own words.)

Listen to Jesus.

I ask those who follow me to abandon themselves into my care. As you do this, you will know me more and more and enjoy the good things of the kingdom of heaven. What else is Jesus saying to you?

Ask God to show you how to live today.

“Thank you for your constant care for me, Lord. Let me in turn care for someone else you love. Amen.”

Sacred Reading, The 2017 Guide to Daily Prayer, Apostleship of Prayer, pages 359-360.



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Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time     

The plotting Pharisees, defiant toward Christ, presume they have the ingenuity to entrap him in his speech. Yet the Lord takes on the false measure by which these malicious men would measure him, and turns it on themselves. Before every deceitful effort to outwit Jesus or to expose him as a fraud, Christ responds: “I have called you by your name, though you knew me not. I am the Lord and there is no other.” The effects of Original Sin in us entice us to seek our hope in ourselves. That is why Saint Paul reminds us: “You were chosen by God our Father.” We throw off self-exaltation for the “endurance in hope of our Lord Jesus Christ.”   Magnificat, October 2017, page 318.


God vs. Caesar

The various emperors of the world can strip the Church of every resource, discredit it in every way, make it powerless to do the works of the Gospel, but no one will ever be able to take the Gospel away, the joy of its Lord…. No earthly authority will be able to possess the heart of man forever through the propaganda of lies, with masked promises and apparent democracies.

The conscience can remain dazed for a long time, but sooner or later, something happens that reawakens and regenerates it, since at its root there is an indestructible core: the desire for truth and the need for good. Let no one be deceived: Christianity can be reduced to a vis­ible minority, but it can never be eliminated, because the Lord said, Do not be afraid, I am with you until the end of the world, and because the human soul is made for God. And this is stronger than all of the per­secutions and all of the lies that circulate so rapidly in the air today.

Today—in the name of values like equality, tolerance, rights—the aspiration is to marginalize Christianity, to create a world order without God, where differences are glorified on one side and crushed on the other. This is true for…the peoples and the nations. However, if we look at the results, we have to conclude that it began with good intentions, but with erroneous decisions. The overbearing will to homologate, to want to condition the profound visions of life and behaviors, the system­atic annulment of cultural identities—all of this resem­bles…a journey toward…a deleterious…refoundation that the population recognizes as oppressive and arro­gant, where Christianity is considered divisive because it does not bow down before the emperor du jour.

History attests that when those in power concentrate on their own survival out of personal ambition, turn­ing away from the common good, it is the time of de­cline. Marginalizing Christianity from the public sphere is a sign, not of intelligence, but of fear. It is failing to see, through the dark clouds of prejudice, that society cannot help but benefit from Christianity. Yes, society can benefit from Christianity…. The more one serious­ly studies the origins of humanism, and the more he recognizes the existence of something that is not only spiritual, but distinctly Christian.

CARDINAL ANGELO BAGNASCO — Cardinal Bagnasco is Archbishop of Genoa and President of the Italian Episcopal Conference.                        Magnificat, October 2017, pages 321-322.



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Guide to Lectio Divina:

Choose a word or phrase of the Scriptures you wish to pray. It makes no difference which text is chosen, as long as you have no set goal of “covering” a certain amount of text. The amount of text covered is in God’s hands, not yours.

Read. Turn to the text and read it slowly,        gently. Savor each portion of the reading, constantly listening for the “still, small voice” of a word or phrase that somehow says, “I am for you today?’ Do not expect lightning or ecstasies. In lectio divina, God is teaching us to listen, to seek him in silence. God does not reach out and grab us but gently invites us ever more deeply into his presence.

Ponder. Take the word or phrase into yourself. Memorize it and slowly repeat it to yourself, allowing it to interact with your inner world of concerns, memories, and ideas. Do not be afraid of distractions. Memories or thoughts are simply parts of yourself that, when they rise up during lectio divina, are asking to be given to God along with the rest of your inner self. Allow this inner pondering, this rumination, to invite you into dialogue with God.

Pray. Whether you use words, ideas, or images—or all three—is not important. Interact with God as you would with one who you know loves and accepts you. Give to God what you have discovered during your experience of meditation. Give to God what you have found within your heart.

It is not necessary to assess the quality of your lectio divina, as if you were “performing” or seeking some goal. Lectio divina has no goal other than that of being in the presence of God by praying the Scriptures.

—Fr. Luke Dysinger   –   Luke Dysinger, OSB, is a Benedictine monk of Saint Andrew’s Abbey, Valyermo, California.       Give Us This Day®, Daily Prayer for Today’s Catholic, April 2017, Liturgical Press, page 441.


  1. Lectio: Read a Scripture passage aloud slowly. Notice what phrase captures your attention and be attentive to its meaning. Silent pause.
  2. Meditatio: Read the passage aloud slowly again, reflecting on the passage, allowing God to speak to you through it. Silent pause.
  3. Oratio: Read it aloud slowly a third time, allowing it to be your prayer or response to God’s gift of insight to you. Silent pause.
  4. Contemplatio: Read it aloud slowly a fourth time, now resting in God’s word.

Throughout his life, Jesus taught the impor­tance of forgiveness, offering it even to those who had crucified him. Important as universal forgiveness is, Jesus’ instruction here explains a process of reconciliation within the church, bringing a sinful member back into communion.

2017 Workbook for Lectors, Gospel Readers, and Proclaimers of the Word® LTP, page 242.



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Blessing for the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation

Pope Francis has decided to institute in the Catholic Church an annual “World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation” to be celebrated on September 1. Pope Francis explains:     As Christians, we wish to contribute to resolving the ecological crisis which humanity is presently experiencing. In doing so, we must first rediscover in our own rich spiritual patrimony the deepest motivations for our concern for the care of creation. We need always to keep in mind that, for believers in Jesus Christ, the Word of God who became man for our sake, “the life of the spirit is not dissociated from the body or from nature or from worldly realities, but lived in and with them, in communion with all that surrounds us” (Laudato Si’, 216). The ecological crisis thus summons us to a profound spiritual conversion: Christians are called to “an ecological conversion whereby the effects of their encounter with Jesus Christ become evident in their relationship with the world around them” (ibid., 217). For “living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience” (ibid.).

A Prayer by Pope Francis
from the Encyclical Laudato Si’

Father, we praise you with all your creatures.                                                                                    They came forth from your all-powerful hand;                                                                                   they are yours, filled with your presence and your tender love.                                                    Praise be to you! Son of God, Jesus, through you all things were made.                                        You were formed in the womb of Mary our Mother,                                                                               you became part of this earth,                                                                                                                  and you gazed upon this world with human eyes.

Today you are alive in every creature in your risen glory.                                                                 Praise be to you! Holy Spirit, by your light                                                                                               you guide this world towards the Father’s love                                                                                          and accompany creation as it groans in travail.                                                                                  You also dwell in our hearts and you inspire us to do what is good.                                              Praise be to you!

Triune Lord, wondrous community of infinite love,                                                                         teach us to contemplate you in the beauty of the universe,                                                                for all things speak of you.                                                                                                                    Awaken our praise and thankfulness for every being that you have made.                                      Give us the grace to feel profoundly joined to everything that is.                                                       God of love, show us our place in this world as channels of your love                                             for all the creatures of this earth, for not one of them is forgotten in your sight.

Enlighten those who possess power and money                                                                                that they may avoid the sin of indifference,                                                                                         that they may love the common good,                                                                                                        advance the weak, and care for this world in which we live.                                                                The poor and the earth are crying out.

0 Lord, seize us with your power and light,                                                                                              help us to protect all life, to prepare for a better future,                                                                          for the coming of your kingdom of justice, peace, love and beauty.

Praise be to you! Amen.



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Homily for Sunday, October 15, 2017 by Fr. James J. Hogan

Homily for Sunday, October 22, 2017  (C O M I N G Thurs or Friday)

Art Walk – Portland, Oregon

Isaiah 25: 6-10 + Philippians 4: 12-20 + Matthew 22: 1-10 28 Ordinary A ‘17

In preparing this homily I consulted studies of the Pew Research Center about church membership. Many of us “remember when people thought of the Catholic Church as family — hard to ignore and even harder to leave.” Today about half of all U.S. adults who were raised Catholic have left the church. Some return but four in ten remain absent. Sixty percent of young Catholics leave the church after college. Ten years ago the Archbishop of Dublin told the Pope “I can go to parishes on a Sunday where I find no person in the congregations between the ages of 16 and 36.” This suggests to me that many are “cultural Catholics“ rather than “people of faith.”

The statistics are alarming! I share them with you as a doorway into today’s parable of the marriage feast. With a series of fictional stories such as this parable, Jesus is assuring us that here and now “God’s new reality” is emerging among us. In this homily I invite you to consider only the first part of today’s parable. It is very positive. Matthew’s Jesus is telling us everyone is invited. “God’s new reality is for everyone.”

The initial “invited guests” were “the chief priests and elders of the people.” “They refused to come.” A second invitation is extended. They either ”ignored the invitation” or “mistreated and killed the servants.” The harsh rhetoric in the parable is not threatening the elders and the priests. It is simply reminding them and us that decisions have consequences. Any who reject his message about “the Reign of God” risk remaining less than fully alive and fully human.

Those invited off “the street” include the larger Jewish community and the Gentile community. The good news is that everyone is invited to engage in “God’s new reality.” Everyone is invited to become more fully alive and more fully human.

Enormous changes are occurring in our dominant culture as we transition from an age of medieval “Christendom” to a “Secular Age.” These changes are beyond our control and not bad in themselves. They simply challenge us to be intentional in choosing to be authentic Christians.

It is apparent to me when I meet “authentic Christians.” They are persistent in trying to serve the needy and disadvantaged. Their inner peace and contentment tell me they are fully alive and fully human. In such people we experience “God’s new reality” emerging among us.

We all have friends or family now separated from the institutional church. We can only presume they are searchers like us, who grapple with the Mystery of Christ and are answering the call of the Spirit on their journey. I am not concerned that they will be “cast out into the darkness.” In ways unfamiliar to us, they choose to allow Christ to live in them and lead them to be more fully alive and more fully human.

However there are those who decide to abandon the guidance of Christ and the gospel. Here are two examples of what I mean. The first occurred in early summer. Several young people watched a disabled man frantically struggling in a pond. They taunted him. They laughed and took videos — as he drowned! The second occurred in mid-August. Violent clashes erupted at a white- nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and a 20-year-old white nationalist plowed his car into a group of counter-protestors. Many were injured or died.

Such awful incidents as these foreshadow a world without Christ and the gospel. It is a world in which folks are far less human and far less fully alive t han God intends all of us to be. This is why I began this homily with reference to findings of the Pew Research Center. Their research cautions us that in the face of evolutionary shifts in our new global consciousness, the survival of Christianity as we have known it seems in jeopardy. That may be.

Even so, this parable assures us “God’s new reality is for everyone” who in some way allow Christ to live in them. This parable is a reminder that through folks like us, “God’s new reality” is emerging and through us transforming the larger cosmos of which we are a part.



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HOLY FATHER’S  INTENTION FOR THE MONTH  OF OCTOBER 2017 —                                       

The Apostleship of Prayer

Workers and the Unemployed: That all workers may receive respect and protection of their rights, and that the unemployed may receive the opportunity to contribute to the common good.

Work brings a basic dignity to our human participation in God’s creation. Although we can cooperate in God’s work through our labor, and we can exercise creativity in the arts, speech, and thought, we cannot truly create out of nothing. Only God creates in this fashion, ex nihilo, and it was in this way that He created the world.

Pope Francis has since the beginning of his Pontificate put great emphasis on our Christian duty to respect workers and the kinds of work they do. In a 2013 audience from Labor Day, he exhorted the People of God, calling for an end to slave labor and human trafficking, encouraging us to look for creative ways to help our brothers and sisters find fulfilling work.

The Holy Father connected this to one of the pillars of Catholic social teaching, the intrinsic dignity of every human person: “I wish to extend an invitation to everyone to greater solidarity and to encourage those in public office to spare no effort to give new impetus to employment. This means caring for the dignity of the person.”

As we pray with the Holy Father for workers this month, it is good for us to consider how we are building up those for whom we work, those with whom we work, and those who work for us.

We must be especially attentive to our shopping habits and the way in which we use the Internet. The products of sweatshops and human trafficking are widespread, and it takes careful diligence and a deep life of prayer to avoid the temptation to exploit workers directly or indirectly.

Lord bless the work of our hands, Lord bless the work of our hands.


 How can I assist in providing opportunities for fair work and fair wages in my family, social, and professional life? What are my obligations to the underemployed or unemployed? What am I doing to engage the issue of underemployment on a personal, local or regional level?


Acts 20:35 In every way I have shown you that by hard work of that sort we must help the weak, and keep in mind the words of the Lord Jesus who himself said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.

Prayer of the Month

0 glorious Joseph! Who concealed your incomparable and regal dignity as custodian of Jesus and of the Virgin Mary under the humble appearance of a craftsman and provided for them with your work, protect with loving power your sons, especially entrusted to you.

You know their anxieties and sufferings, because you yourself experienced them at the side of Jesus and of His Mother. Do not allow them, oppressed by so many worries, to forget the purpose for which they were created by God. Do not allow the seeds of distrust to take hold of their immortal souls.

Remind all the workers that in the fields, in factories, in mines, and in scientific laboratories, they are not working, rejoicing, or suffering alone, but at their side is Jesus, with Mary, His Mother and ours, to sustain them, to dry the sweat of their brow, giving value to their toil. Teach them to turn work into a very high instrument of sanctification as you did. Amen.

Saint of the Month

On October 7th, Our Lady of the Rosary: The Feast of our Lady of the Rosary dates back to its first establishment by Saint Pius V in 1573. The celebration was instituted by the Church in thanksgiving to the Lord for the military victory of Christians over the Ottoman forces by a coalition navy at the battle of Lepanto. The victory was attributed to the praying of the Rosary. It was Pope Clement XI who in 1716 extended the feast to the universal Church.

The Rosary is a devotional prayer enjoyed by countless millions of Catholics and others over the centuries. The praying of 150 Hail Mary’s mirrors the praying of 150 psalms. Reflecting on the mysteries of the life of Christ through the lens of the mysteries of the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary can truly bring us “through the heart of the Mother to the heart of the Son.”

Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us!  — Pope John XXIII

Daily Offering Prayer

God, our Father, I offer You my day. I offer You my prayers, thoughts, words, actions, joys, and sufferings in union with the Heart of Jesus, who continues to offer Himself in the Eucharist for the salvation of the world. May the Holy Spirit, who guided Jesus, be my guide and my strength today so that I may witness to Your love. With Mary, the mother of our Lord and of the Church, I pray for all Apostles of Prayer and for this month’s intentions proposed by the Holy Father. Amen.

Traditional Offering Prayer

0 Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer you my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of this day in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world. I offer them for all the intentions of your Sacred Heart: the salvation of souls, reparation for sin, and the reunion of all Christians. I offer them for the intentions of our bishops and of all Apostles of Prayer, and in particular for those recommended by our Holy Father this month.

To register as a member of the Apostleship of Prayer, to subscribe to leaflets, or to order additional leaflets for distribution to others, please contact us. Thank you for your generous support of our ministry.

Apostleship Of Prayer                                                                                                                               1501 S. Layton Blvd.
Milwaukee, WI 53215-1924                                                                         



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KNOM Radio Mission’s  Monthly Bulletins, provided the following One-Liners for:

 One-Liners in Faith; (October 2017)

Lavender Iris

“Loving Jesus, thank you for those whose lives help others. May radio be a means to transmit God’s love to a hurting and need the community.” – James P., Houston, Texas

“The gift of grace increases as the struggles of life increase.” – St. Rose of Lima

The chief end of man is to glorify God and be with him forever. We exist to praise God’s glory.

As we truly set our hearts to God’s honor, there is joy unspeakable in our souls unlike anything else we will ever know in this world.

The love we have known in the life of someone who dies can be carried on. It is this love that can make difficult farewells and endurable and our grief consolable.

Take KNOM with you – read the KNOM newsletter on your computer, smart phone, tablet, or other Internet-capable mobile device — visit in your web browser.



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Model Universal Prayer (Prayer of the Faithful)

Suggested Prayer of the Faithful

October 15, 2017

(Each local community should compose its own Universal Prayer, but may find inspiration in the texts proposed here.)




That all members of the church respond wholeheartedly to the demands of Gospel living,

That World Mission Day may renew within all Christian communities the joy of the Gospel and the responsibility to announce it,

That the Church continue to preach the Gospel with power and conviction,

For the Church, may we hear God’s call and answer it faithfully,

For the Church, may she continue to be blessed with many disciples who seek the wisdom of the Holy Spirit in order to share God’s message of love with others,

For Pope Francis, bishops and priests, may the power of the Holy Spirit work through them as they proclaim the Gospel throughout the world,

For those who shepherd the Church throughout the world, may they always lead us in the ways of charity, love, compassion and understanding,

For our Holy Father, and all who serve the Church in ministry, may the wisdom of the Holy Spirit continue to guide them in all they do,

That all leaders in the Church may continue to be blessed with the wisdom of the Holy Spirit,

For Pope Francis and all who shepherd our Church, may their gifts of spiritual leadership guide the work of the Church throughout the world,

For Church leaders, may the Spirit continue to guide and inspire them and keep them faithful to Christ and his Gospel,

For the Church, may the Gospel continue to transform us,

For the Church, that she may be joyful in her love of the Lord,

As Church, may we model the goodness and graciousness of the Gospel,

For the wisdom of the Church, bringing to bear on our joys and sorrows,

May our Church exercise compassion,

May we be guided by the spiritual wisdom of our Church community,

For the beauty of diversity in the Church,




That leaders of nations work diligently to overcome the divisions that bring harm and destruction to the world,

That those engaged in the business world will work for the spread of solidarity.

That governments ensure fair taxes and provide needed services, especially for the poor,

For those in public office, may they be just and merciful in their positions of leadership and in their decision-making,

For those who hold civil authority, may they work to respect the dignity and sanctity of life from conception through natural death,

For all who hold elected office, may they recognize not only the mandate from their communities, but a larger call to service to all people,

For those in public office or with civic responsibilities, may the needs of the citizens they serve always be paramount and guide their actions and deeds,

For all who serve in leadership positions in government, may their service reflect the virtues of integrity and justice,

That Christians throughout the world may give witness to the Gospel message through our lives of generous service,

For civic leaders, may their efforts toward building peaceful communities be fruitful, and help to bring about a just society,

For all civic leaders, may their efforts help ensure that all peoples can worship God in peace and freedom,

For leaders of nations, for integrity in governance, transparency in intent,

For missionaries throughout the world,

May world leaders see the wickedness of war,

For a respect of all cultures, languages, and ways of life,

For those whom this world does not value,




That leaders of nations work diligently to overcome the divisions that bring harm and destruction to the world,

That those engaged in the business world will work for the spread of solidarity.

That governments ensure fair taxes and provide needed services, especially for the poor,

For those in public office, may they be just and merciful in their positions of leadership and in their decision-making,

For those who hold civil authority, may they work to respect the dignity and sanctity of life from conception through natural death,

For all who hold elected office, may they recognize not only the mandate from their communities, but a larger call to service to all people,

For those in public office or with civic responsibilities, may the needs of the citizens they serve always be paramount and guide their actions and deeds,

For all who serve in leadership positions in government, may their service reflect the virtues of integrity and justice,

That Christians throughout the world may give witness to the Gospel message through our lives of generous service,

For civic leaders, may their efforts toward building peaceful communities be fruitful, and help to bring about a just society,

For all civic leaders, may their efforts help ensure that all peoples can worship God in peace and freedom,

For leaders of nations, for integrity in governance, transparency in intent,

For missionaries throughout the world,

May world leaders see the wickedness of war,

For a respect of all cultures, languages, and ways of life,

For those whom this world does not value,




For an increase of vocations to the priesthood and to consecrated life,

That communities work together to end neglect and abuse, especially of children,

For our local community, may we be beacons of light in a world that needs to know God’s love,

For the poor among us in this faith community, may we have a greater awareness of their needs and may we be more willing to share the gifts we have been given,

That married couples in our parish may grow in love and fidelity to one another,

For our local parish, may it be a model of God’s love and forgiveness in the wider community,

For children with special needs, their parents, and their families: that they will be given all the love and support they need,

For the young people in our parish, may they continue to grow in their love for Christ, and love one another as Christ loves each of them,

For a deepening of our baptismal commitment to the Lord,

For godparents and sponsors, and for all who promise to mentor others in the ways of discipleship,




That each of us here support and encourage one another to have hearts turned toward the way of God and the good of all ,

For the grace this week to be good citizens and to wit­ness the grace of the Gospel,

That all who come to this table be nourished with love, especially those who live alone,

For all of us here today, may the Spirit help us to overcome anything that hinders us from cultivating our God-given talents and sharing them with others,

For all of us gathered here, may we give witness to the Gospel by leading lives rooted in love and by inviting others to worship with us,




For those who suffer from chronic illness, may they be comforted by the knowledge that they are children of God,

For those who suffer from chronic illness, may they allow Jesus, the Divine Physician, to comfort and walk with them,

For those who are in pain or are experiencing loss, may they be comforted and healed through the grace of God,

That those who are sick or dying may experience God’s comfort as they communicate their needs to him in prayer,

For the sick in this faith community, may God’s Holy Spirit restore them to the fullness of life and health and liberate them from all afflictions,




For those who have died, may they be welcomed into the paradise that God has prepared for those who love him,

For those who have died, especially those with no one to pray for them, may they be at peace in the glory of heaven,

For those who have died, may they come to enjoy perfect happiness and peace in heaven,

For those who have died, may they live in the presence of the Lord forever,

For those who have died, may they enter with joy into the kingdom of heaven,

That our loved ones who have died may receive mercy for their sins and see God face to face in heaven,

For those who have died, may they be joyfully welcomed into the kingdom of heaven,

For our beloved dead, may they receive the reward of a life well spent and come to share in the fullness of Christ’s glory,

For all who have died, may they live forever in the heavenly Jerusalem,

For a respect for all life, from conception to natural death,



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Chihuly Glass

Universal Prayers for Victims of Recent Natural Disasters

 1)   For those in our country and around the world affected by recent natural disasters, may the support of relief agencies , neighbors and loved ones who come to their aid provide them the care and hope needed to recover and rebuild from the devastation they have experienced, let us pray to the Lord.
2)   For all those who have died recently as a result of flooding, hurricanes, earthquake and other natural disasters throughout the world, may they live in the light and warmth of God’s love for all eternity, let us pray to the Lord.

3)   For those whose homes and businesses have been destroyed by floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, forest fires or other natural disasters, that, as they struggle to rebuild, they will experience the loving assistance of communities of faith, let us pray to the Lord …

4)   For all rescue workers and volunteers, that they will be blessed with energy and courage as they help their brothers and sisters who have been injured or left homeless by recent natural disasters, let us pray to the Lord …

5)   For all of us, that we will reach out in love to those who are suffering due to the recent earthquakes, floods and tornadoes, let us pray to the Lord …


Faith Catholic Online;    Daily Prayer 2017;    OCP;    Magnificat;   Liturgical Press.



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General Intercessions for the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

15 October, 2017 – Cycle A

Stewardship – Time & Talent

Pro-Life – Prisons

 Presider:        Sisters and brothers, St Paul has told us that in all the circumstances of his life, when it was good and when it was difficult, he knew that God was his constant strength. We pray that same gift for ourselves and all people.

  1. That the Church deepen her realization that her wisdom and good works are not dependent upon good organisation, but on God, whose grace forms us into a Christian people, acting, thinking and loving in the Holy Spirit;                           We pray to the Lord.
  2. That world leaders not simply rely upon their governments and public servants, but place themselves under God who gives the Spirit of wisdom to those who open their hearts to the Spirit’s guidance; We pray to the Lord.
  3. For the men and women who sit on death row awaiting the end of their life: that we might pray for them with compassion and care; We pray to the Lord.
  4. For the healing of grief and the reconstruction of the homes lost in the California fires this past week; We pray to the Lord.
  5. For all members of St. Peter parish who, through their stewardship pledge, are eager to share their gifts of time, talent and treasure with their parish and their community; We pray to the Lord.
  6. We pray for the sick and housebound, for the anxious and depressed, and all who are in distress, including .    .    .    .              May they be helped by those around them and comforted by God’s grace;                      We pray to the Lord.
  7. That those who have died may come home to Him who destroys death forever; Him, in whose image they were created. We remember .    .    .    .             and those killed last week in Las Vegas.

In a special way we honor:

                             5pm               Tom Fromme              7:30am       Michael Palumbo

                             9am               Joe Weyerich             11am      our St. Peter Parish Family

                             6pm               our St. Peter Parish Family

for who we offer this Mass.

Presider:        Lord of the feast, you have prepared a table before all peoples and poured out life with such abundance that death cannot claim the triumph over your universe. Call us again to your banquet where we may receive your holy food, and strengthened by what is honorable, just, and pure, be transformed into a people of righteousness and peace. Amen.



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O Spirit of Wisdom, enlighten our hearts and minds,

As we prepare to choose our leaders.

Guide those who seek office,

Those who have power to influence others, and

Those who cast votes.

Protect the rights of all citizens.

Give us insight and good judgment to overcome all that divides and degrades us.

Grant that all may set aside self interest in favor of the Common Good.

O Spirit of Wisdom, seep into our souls,

Renew our democracy.

In God we trust.




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Horsetails in the Mtns_001001


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A big silver dollar, and a little brown cent; along together they went rolling along the smooth sidewalk, When the dollar remarked — (for the dollar can talk)  “You poor little cent, you cheap little mite! I’m bigger and more than twice as bright – I’m worth more than you – a hundredfold, And written on me in letters bold Is the motto drawn from the pious creed – ‘In God We Trust’ – which all can read.” I know,” said the cent, “I’m a cheap little mite, And I know I’m not big, nor good, nor bright” An yet,” said the cent, with a meek little sigh – ­”You don’t go to church as often as I.”


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