Is Your Belief Based only on Blessing? – Francis Alvarez, SJ

John 9:1-41, Fourth Sunday of Lent When Jesus heard that [the Jews] had thrown [the man who had been blind] out, he found him and said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” (John 9:35) If I were Jesus, I would have asked that question earlier in the story – just after the man…

What are your priorities? – Francis Alvarez, SJ

Matthew 6:24-34, Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time “Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them… Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin. But I tell you that not even Solomon in all…

How do you imagine the Kingdom? – Francis Alvarez, SJ

Matthew 4:12-23, Third Sunday in Ordinary Time In our Gospel today, we hear Jesus preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). The Greek word translated as “repent,” metanoeite, comes from meta (beyond) and nous (mind). Literally, metanoeitemeans “to go beyond the mind.” More elegantly, it can be rendered “to go…

Who is the God you are waiting for? – Francis Alvarez, SJ

Matthew 24:37-44, First Sunday of Advent Twenty-eight days before Christmas! Some people begin numbering the days to December 25 as soon as the “ber” months arrive. Last year, I chanced upon a website that started a Christmas countdown on December 26. But I wonder: Would people be as excited for Christmas if our Gospel today…

What does it mean to be humble? – Francis Alvarez, SJ

Luke 18:9-14a, 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time In our Gospel today, a Pharisee and a tax collector go to the temple to worship God. What do we need so that we can worship? It is the hollow in a cylindrical piece of wood that makes it a flute and enables it to produce music. In…

What do you do with difference? – Francis Alvarez, SJ

At that time, John said to Jesus, “Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to prevent him…” (Mark 9:38). Why did John attempt to stop this other exorcist he chanced upon? John’s answer: “Because he does not follow us.” Because the other exorcist was not one of them. Because he…

What is Wealth for? – Francis Alvarez, SJ

Luke 16:19-31, 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day. And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man’s…

On What do you Base your Worth? – Francis Alvarez, SJ

Luke 14:7-14, 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time “When you are invited [to a banquet], go and take the lowest place so that when the host comes to you, he may say, ‘My friend, move up to a higher position’” (Luke 14:10). Is Jesus in our Gospel today just telling us a clever way to get…

What do you dare ask from God? – Francis Alvarez, SJ

Luke 11:1-13, 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time At Mass, right before we pray the Our Father, the presider encourages us with the words, “At the Savior’s command and formed by divine teaching, we dare to say….” And indeed, the Our Father is a daring prayer. That we dare to address God implies that we dare…

So what if God is Trinity? – Francis Alvarez, SJ

John 16:12-15 (Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity) Catholics and members of most other Christian denominations believe that there is only one God, and God is Father, Son, and Spirit. St. Augustine expressed this conviction in another way: The one God is Lover, Beloved, and the Love between them. So what? Revealed in these terms…