In today’s Gospel we hear the uncomfortable truth that we religious people are highly susceptible to self-exaltation.
Many of us believe ourselves to be involved in a “culture war” similar to the one the Pharisees struggled against. While we work to change our laws to be more aligned with our faith, we can become self-righteous. Do we look down on “sinners”, forgetting that we, too, are sinners in great need of God’s mercy? This parable serves as a warning to people like us, who come to Mass and write or read articles like this one in the parish bulletin. In our prayers and our participation in Mass, are we more aware of the sins of others than our own? Do we make the sinners around us feel like outsiders and judged?
Lord Jesus, forgive us for the times we have looked down on those whose sins are more obvious than our own.READ MORE
“This Sunday’s Gospel contrasts two different religious attitudes. First, the self-righteous Pharisee. Here is a man who seems to impeccably follow the law. In some terms, he is the model citizen! Honest, fiscally generous, and faithful to his marriage vows. But something else lurks in his heart: pride. “O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity … or even like this tax collector.” For the Pharisee, no fault can be admitted. The only way to stay on top is to preserve one’s image — even to God, it seems! — and point out the flaws of others from the pedestal.
In the back of the temple, hidden and bowed down, is the tax collector. “O God, by merciful to me a sinner.” This man’s prayer is one of supplication and petition. He isn’t afraid to express his sinfulness and misery. This, Jesus says, is the one who “went home justified.” How many times have we heard the mission of Jesus to seek and save the lost? Jesus is the one who dines with sinners and invites every heart to repentance. But how can we return to him if we don’t know we’ve left? How can we receive God’s grace when we’re adamant we don’t need it?READ MORE
“Render a just decision for me against my adversary.” Today’s Gospel features a persistent widow who ekes out justice from a notoriously cold-hearted judge. Why does she win the day? “Because the widow keeps bothering me.” Jesus’ recommendation to the disciples is to be persistent in prayer, because surely God the Father is far more attuned to their needs than this judge. If only it were that easy, right? We’ve all experienced the unanswered prayer, the silence after our cries. When this continues, sometimes it can be difficult to have faith in God or believe He answers prayers. It can be easy to lapse into a sense of His distance. We want Him to do something “fair,” which — in our limited view — typically means that something works out in our favor.READ MORE
The response we sing for today’s Psalm is enough to carry us through difficult times: “Our help is from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.”
The focus today is on how we must persevere in our prayers, confident that our trust in God’s goodness will be not be disappointed.
When troubles come, we can remind ourselves “the Lord will guard your coming and going, both now and forever.” If today’s psalm becomes a song in our hearts, Jesus will find us full of faith when we see Him face to face.
Nearly 40 catechists and aides are hard at work every Sunday teaching students of all ages about the Good News of Jesus Christ and how he can make a difference in our lives as Catholics.READ MORE
Recently my husband and I, along with Deacon Gallo and his wife, had dinner with Mother Adela Galindo who is the foundress of the religious institute of the Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary.
Mother Adela grew up in Nicaragua where she witnessed many miracles, including the healing of a blind woman, the regrowth of a man’s amputated leg and the cleansing of lepers. She knows that our God is a God of miracles because she has witnessed many miracles in her life.
After hearing Mother Adela’s stories and reading today’s Gospel, I wonder when will we see such miracles? When will we open our hearts to receive him?
Lord, open our hearts to receive you and everything you have for us!READ MORE
“Ten lepers met him. They stood at a distance …” In the ancient world and into the Middle Ages, there was no treatment for leprosy. People thought it was wildly contagious and were suspicious of any skin diseases. Lepers were isolated from civil society. This isolation was uphold by the Mosaic Law. Should there be a healing from leprosy, the former leper was to present himself to a priest to certify the healing. Like Jesus commands, “Show yourselves to the priests.” The person would then undergo a religious rite to be formally reintroduced to society. In other words, a leper got their life back. So why didn’t they come back?READ MORE
Deal OLPH Parishioners,
I hope this letter find you well. I think this is one of our favorite times of the year without a doubt.
Let me begin this letter with a Safe Environment update. Previously we paused the program because we were waiting for new instructions coming from the diocese related to this program. Now that the diocese has released their final statement on this topic, we invite all volunteers to come back and finish their renewal. Our goal is to do everything we can to provide a safe environment for our kids. If you need help, we will be glad to provide that for you. Please contact Luz May at our Safe Environment office: 480.432.2528 and she will be glad to guide you through the process. Thank you for your willingness to serve.READ MORE
St. Paul urges Timothy to “stir into flame the gift of God … who did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of love and power and self-control.” St. Timothy would have to shake off his fears and bear his “share of hardship for the Gospel with the strength that comes from God.
St. Paul wanted St. Timothy to remember that when God is the focus of our faith, all things are possible. “Guard this rich trust with the help of the Holy Spirit that dwells within us,” St. Paul writes to St. Timothy. Good words for us, too.
Where can we find this “rich trust” of which St. Paul speaks? It is in the words of the Nicene Creed which we recite every Sunday at Mass. Let St. Paul’s words to St. Timothy be an encouragement to you and your family to treasure the truths of our faith; to learn them always more deeply and claim them for your own.READ MORE