Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me

Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me.  Saint Bonaventure, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Memorial) Family relationships are probably the most important and influential relationships we have.   In Israel at the time of Jesus, this was even more the case than it is today.   That’s why Jesus’ words in today’s Gospel (Matthew 10:37) reading had an especially sharp edge for his first hearers:   he seemed to be talking...

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Do not reproach yourselves

Do not reproach yourselves.  There you have it:   one act of forgiveness that changed the entire course of history.   During Joseph’s rule as governor of Egypt, widespread famine threatened the entire Middle East—including his own family back in Canaan.   Joseph was wise enough to have the Egyptians store up food reserves during years of plenty so that the people would be able to weather the lean years.   But what about Jacob and his clan? ...

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The Kingdom of heaven is at hand

Make this proclamation: “The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.” What a tall order!   Jesus summons his twelve apostles so that he can send them out to proclaim that, through him, the kingdom of God has come.   And just as Jesus has done, he wants his disciples to speak boldly and with great confidence and authority. Put yourself in the shoes of the apostles and imagine how they must have felt.   Up until this point, Jesus had been guiding them,...

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Jacob was left there alone

Jacob was left there alone.  Then some man wrestled with him until the break of dawn.  What a strange story!   Jacob’s midnight wrangle with “some man” could be a tale right out of a suspense novel:   furious wrestling with a mysterious figure in the darkness, no one to help him, and no answers to be had.   We don’t know from the passage what the point of contention was between Jacob and this figure, but certainly it was vitally important to...

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The Gateway to Heaven

This is nothing else but . . . the gateway to heaven!  Did you know that there are gateways to heaven all over the world?   These places are made sacred because God is present there in a unique way or because something special happened there.   Think of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, where Jesus died and rose.   Or think of Fatima and Lourdes, where Mary appeared, or Assisi, where St. Francis lived.   The divine power present in...

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Are you really my son Esau?

Are you really my son Esau?  Jacob would do anything to get ahead.   In an effort to secure his father Isaac’s deathbed blessing—and with it, abundant wealth—he stooped to impersonating his older brother Esau and stealing his place in the family.   The riches and prestige that came with being the firstborn certainly ranked higher for him than family warmth and fraternal ties. But if you look at the end of his life, Jacob is a different person. ...

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Follow me

Follow me Imagine yourself in Matthew’s shoes today.   You’ve heard stories about this Jesus, a miracle worker who people believe might be the Messiah.   He opens the eyes of the blind, speaks about God’s forgiveness, and treats the poor and outcast with kindness.   Now he’s coming toward you, and at first it seems as if he is going to walk right by you. But then he stops, looks right at you, and says, “Follow me.”   You’re caught off guard: ...

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