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Twenty Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Two elder monks were sitting outside their cave when a student approached them. He asked how could he overcome his fear about what people think of him.

The one elder said, when I was young, I worried about what people would think of me. It was my pride and lack of wisdom that fed my fears. I kept telling myself I don’t care what people think of me.

The other elder said, it is true when I was young my use of humility was weak, but as I got older I realized no one ever thought of me. So I stopped worrying about it.

The question we need to ask ourselves is what keeps me from being myself? What makes me think the mask is better than the reality?

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by Father Cioppi

Twenty First Sunday in Ordinary Time

There is a story of a very successful woman who was about to die. She quickly wrote out a will and contributed most of her wealth to the Church and to charities.

When she got to heaven, an angel escorted her pass wonderful mansions and great houses, down expansive boulevards and dignified avenues. She noticed of course that she was passing these places. Finally, they turned down a very small alley and came upon a little cottage. The angel opened the door, and with a smile said welcome madam, we have prepared a place for you.

The woman was filled with indignation, counted the many millions she had left in her will to lists of charities and to the Church. The angel smiled and said but we have built this house on the gifts you have given God through your life.

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by Father Cioppi

Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

There was a cartoon years ago called ‘Calvin and Hobbes,’ about a precocious little boy, Calvin and his playmate, a talking tiger. One day the Hobbes, the tiger, finds Calvin sitting under a sign that reads, ‘kick in the butt for one dollar.’

Hobbes asks, “How’s business?” Calvin replies, ‘Awful! And I don’t know why, because so many people need a good kick in the butt!’ Jesus finds Himself in a similar situation then and now. Spiritual Sloth can creep up on us every slowing and very powerfully.

John Paul II, in his work, Love and Responsibility, said, “The fact is that attaining or realizing a higher value demands a greater effort of will. So, in order to spare ourselves the effort, to excuse our failure to obtain this value, we minimize its significance, deny it the respect which it deserves, even see it as in some way evil, even though objectivity requires us to recognize that it is good. Resentment possesses as you see the distinctive characteristics of the cardinal sin called sloth. St Thomas defines sloth (acedia) as ‘a sadness arising from the fact that the good is difficult’.”

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by Father Cioppi

Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Linda Taylor was putting her children to bed one evening when her youngest, in kindergarten asked, Mommy, if the world ended today would I still have to return my library books?

Linda was caught off guard at first, forced to think quickly about her response about the reality of the end time. She chose, like most of us, I imagine, to take the easier way out by responding to the more direct question about the books. But the little girl’s question is a good one in that it challenges us as Christians to be ready for ‘we know not the day or the hour.’

Are we ready to face the end of our earthly lives and turn everything over to God? Seneca once wrote: “That day you fear as being the end of all things is the birthday of your eternity.”

Believing in Jesus is a sign of contradiction to the world. When everything seems to be in turmoil, and evil things are happening with greater frequency, we are reminded in our faith of what is really important; just when our life seems to world to be over, we have only just begun to live.

When people persecute and ridicule us for what we believe, we grow stronger and holier in His sight. So, my dear friends fear not the arrow that flies by day; fear only those things which will hinder your entrance into heaven.

 

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by Father Cioppi

Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

In the readings given to us by the Church, the Lord sternly warns us about storing up treasure for ourselves when we are not ‘rich in the sight of God.’ Ecclesiastes asks, ‘What does a man gain for all his toil,’ except that he has labored much? ‘God turns us all back to dust.’

To those who have an abundance, Jesus holds up a mirror. What do we see? ‘Me, My and Mine? Or do you see ta caregiver, an almsgiver, the face of a compassionate person?

The rich man in the Gospel was aggressively self-absorbed. He went out of his way not to share his wealth with anyone. He lived in a little world, surrounded on the north, south, east and west by himself.

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by Father Cioppi

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

In the 1960’s all-pro star Jerry Kramer wrote a best-seller called Instant Replay. In it he asks this question, “What is the purpose of my life beyond football?”

In the 1980’s he wrote another book called: Distant Replay. It opens with this question, “What have I done with my life?” He concludes in this book that the one thing he regrets not doing was handing on solid Christian values to his children.

The life story of Jerry Kramer parallels the Gospel today and challenges us to ask similar questions of our own life: How I am making the world a better place to live, to learn, to work and to pray. How am I making our lacerated Church a holier Body? How am I contributing to the maintenance of peace, security and self-esteem for all those I meet?

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by Father Cioppi

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

How many times have we heard the story of the Good Samaritan? It is one of those stories we hold deep in the treasury of our lives. But, how many times do we take that story out and give it a new face, a new relevance.

Service in the name of Jesus is a state of mind and thus a state of the heart. Martin Luther King once said, “The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?” But… the Good Samaritan reversed the question: “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”

How many times do you imitate the Good Samaritan so that it does not remain just words on a page but the real history of your Christian life?

“For this command is not too mysterious and remote for you.  No, it is something very near to you, already in your mouths and in your hearts; you have only to carry it out.” If spiritual sloth keeps you from becoming a good Samaritan, then through diligence in your practice of corporal and spiritual works of mercy and regular confession to a priest, you may conquer that vice.

In conquering the vice of laziness and embracing once again the fullness of the Word of God, you will be re-ignited to “love the Lord, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”

If you act on these words, Jesus will live in you.

 

 

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by Father Cioppi

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

The seventy-two in the Gospel this morning seem somewhat skeptical of the power Jesus gives them to bestow peace, to cure the sick and to survive among wolves like lambs. What they need is faith to believe in the prophet Isaiah and to believe Christ in His Word.

The grace of Jesus Christ is that force beyond ourselves by which God in his mercy makes the impossible be in our lives.

Helen Keller could neither see nor hear. Yet she became a great public speaker. One night after a lecture, a reporter asked her what her one wish was in her life.  The reporter thought she would say, I want to see and hear. Helen thought for a minute however and answered, ‘I wish for world peace.’

Being servants of the Lord, means working to have a strong faith in the power Jesus gives us to change the world, one person at a time.

The first step is becoming silent, fifteen minutes at first: no music, no media, just the name of Jesus. Second, practice virtue on people around you.

In her memoirs, Indira Gandhi wrote, “you can’t shake hands with a clinched fist.” Then open your hands, let them relax; lift them upward and you will find that this is the symbol for prayer.

Take the power Jesus gives you to change the world today and use it to help him build the Kingdom of God. This will make you truly happy.

 

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by Father Cioppi

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

“Anyone who keeps looking back is of no use for the Kingdom of God.” All of us like to hang on to memories, pictures of old friends, circumstances the way they used to be. However, these ‘hangers on,’ loose some sense of who is in charge of things.

There was an Olympic gold medal gymnast, Nadia Comaneci whose trainer was Bela Karolyi. He was an international figure in the world of gymnastics. Being from a Soviet Bloc Nation, the government sponsored his every move. He trained so many bright stars in gymnastics the communist regime gave him whatever he thought he needed to succeed.

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by Father Cioppi

CORPUS CHRISTI

We venerate today this Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist in which God lies under the appearance of Bread and Wine. He is whole, entire, and perfect in each piece and in every drop.

This is what distinguishes us among Christians and from other religions – Jesus dwells here among us and we recognize, respect and sanctify the place where He dwells.

My dear friends, the effects of this Presence are significant for us as a parish and as individuals. Our reception of this Sacrament strengthens us with enough grace to fight our daily battle against evil, prejudice, injustice and temptation.

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by Father Cioppi