Julius Henry “Groucho” Marx (1890 – 1977) was an American comedian and actor. He was often known for his quick wit and he is widely considered to be one of America’s greatest comedians. He was accepted as a member of the exclusive Friar’s Club in Hollywood. Groucho however, expressed his disappointment that the club was not as exclusive as he first thought. His telegram to the committee read: “Please accept my resignation.
Today’s Gospel selection according to Luke starts with an admonition to place our faith and trust in the right things and not in things of this world, which wear out, can be stolen, or eaten by moths. Christ tells us to, “sell your belongings and give alms.” It’s up to us to decide what is important. Are we hung up on the things of the here and now or are we looking forward to what is to come? Jesus told his disciples (and us) that the Father is pleased to give us the heavenly reward offered freely and completely.
“Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.” I’m guessing that most of us could put this quote from today’s Gospel front and center on our refrigerators as a daily reminder of seductive power of our society and the earthly possessions that call to us. I’m amazed by the many situations every day that show how vulnerable we are to a society that tells us “more is better.” My wife, dogs, and I live in a two bedroom condo.
The story of Sodom and Gomorrah is frequently invoked but poorly understood. What is going on in today’s first reading, and what does it have to do with us as contemporary Christians?
In today’s Gospel, we hear the story of two sisters, Martha and Mary, and their conflicting approaches to welcoming Jesus into their home. To Martha, showing Jesus respect and proper hospitality involves many tasks. Mary, on the other hand, simply sits at Jesus’ feet and listens to him speak.
This weekend’s Gospel from Luke is the all too familiar telling of the Good Samaritan. The reading opens with Jesus’ reply to a scholar of the law, who inquires what he must do to inherit eternal life:
“You shall love the Lord, your God,
with all your heart,
with all your being,
with all your strength,
and with all your mind,
and your neighbor as yourself.”
When we think of Jesus’ followers we think of the 12 apostles, but there were more.
Today’s Gospel speaks of the 72 whom Jesus sent out. This was a kind of “internship,” a training time while Jesus was still with them. The mission was the same as Jesus’ own ministry: “cure the sick” and “say to them, ‘the kingdom of God has come near to you.’”
I have a church musician friend, about my age, who, when he goes on summer vacation, ﬁlls several grocery bags full of new music for church choirs, bell choirs, kids choirs, organ music and music for other instruments, and spends every waking minute of his “away time” pouring over the scores and planning out his year ahead at church. (I have to wonder “away” from what?) His phone and laptop are on continuously and he only comes up for air and a martini in the late evening before going to bed. He says he likes to spend his holiday time getting a jump-start on his work.
In today’s readings, the Gospel comes from the account by Luke and is about the feeding of the multitudes by Jesus in a deserted place. He had been preaching and healing people all day and according to Luke had attracted around 5,000 men. The number was great, possibly twice that number, counting women and children. As the day wore on the Apostles grew concerned because, being in the wilderness, there was no place to have them obtain food. They went to Jesus and his reply was initially tell them to buy something for the crowd themselves.
Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity. Barrels of ink has been spilled, trees destroyed, and an eternity of homilies given discussing the Holy Trinity, but never explaining it. It can’t be explained. As a student in seminary, the joke about anything was, “If you can’t explain it, just say, ‘It’s a mystery!’” We could get away with it among ourselves but it never made the grade on tests. In any case, it’s my turn to spill some ink, destroy some trees, and add to the eternal homilizing about a doctrine we firmly believe as Christians, but we don’t know much about.