The most difficult times can produce the greatest spiritual blessings. God truly knows just what we need at every moment!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

XXVI Sunday in ordinary time - C

Penitential rite:
Lord Jesus, you became poor so that we might be made rich, Lord have mercy,
Christ Jesus, you teach us to recognize you in the poor, Christ have mercy,
Lord Jesus, you invite us to share our wealth, Lord have mercy,
May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and brig us to everlasting life. Amen.

Amos 6:1, 4-7; 1 Timothy 6:11-16; Luke 16:19-31

Wealth and richness is neither a sin, nor a crime, but is a very dangerous sickness, causing blindness.

Jesus is concerned with both, rich and poor -- and perhaps more with the rich since the poor are less in danger! God wants to save the rich from their wealth.

The sin of the rich man in today’s gospel was not that he ordered Lazarus removed from his property. It wasn’t that the rich man kicked Lazarus or shouted obscenities at him as he passed him.
· The sin of the rich man was simply that he never noticed Lazarus. He accepted him as a part of the landscape of life.
· The sin of the rich man was that he accepted, without question, the fact that Lazarus was poor and he himself was rich.
· The sin of the rich man was that he neglected even the possibility of helping Lazarus.
· The sin of the rich man was not a sin of commission, that is, doing something he shouldn’t have done.
· The sin of the rich man was a sin of omission, that is, not doing something he should have done.
· The sin of the rich man was basking in his own personal wealth and not lifting a finger to help Lazarus in his dire need.
· The sin of the rich man was the same sin that is being committed over and over today.
· The sin of the rich man was not exactly the sin but something more serious, a sickness actually he was blind.
· And it is this sin or rather this sickness that is beginning to cause grave concern not only because of what it is doing to the poor but also because of what it is doing to society, to all of us.

John F. Kennedy referred to this concern when he said:
If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.’’
In other words, our lack of concern for the poor is destroying not only the poor but also the very moral fabric of our society.

Today’s gospel is an invitation. It’s an invitation to meditate on the story of the rich man and Lazarus and to ask ourselves the question:

How can we live a happy life while so many other people are suffering?
It’s an invitation to meditate on the words of General Dwight D. Eisenhower, who said:
Every gun that is made,
every warship launched,
every rocket fired,
signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.’’

It’s an invitation to take to heart the words of Jesus in today’s gospel.

Let’s close with these words of Pope John Paul II. He delivered them during his first visit to the United States in a homily at Yankee Stadium in New York on October 2, 1979.
The Holy Father said:

We cannot stand idly by, enjoying our own riches and freedom, if in any place the Lazarus of the 20th century stands at our doors. In the light of the parable of Christ, riches and freedom mean a special responsibility. Riches and freedom create a special obligation.”

The brick

A young and successful executive was traveling down a neighborhood street, going a bit too fast in his new Jaguar. He was watching for kids darting out from between parked cars and slowed down when he thought he saw something. As his car passed, no children appeared. Instead, a brick smashed into the Jag's side door! He slammed on the brakes and backed the Jag back to the spot where the brick had been thrown.

The angry driver then jumped out of the car, grabbed the nearest kid and pushed him up against a parked car shouting,

"What was that all about and who are you? Just what the heck are you doing? That's a new car and that brick you threw is going to cost a lot of money. Why did you do it?"

The young boy was apologetic. "Please, mister...please, I'm sorry but I didn't know what else to do," He pleaded. "I threw the brick because no one else would stop...."

With tears dripping down his face and off his chin, the youth pointed to a spot just around a parked car. "It's my brother, "he said "He rolled off the curb and fell out of his wheelchair and I can't lift him up." Now sobbing, the boy asked the stunned executive, "Would you please help me get him back into his wheelchair? He's hurt and he's too heavy for me."

Moved beyond words, the driver tried to swallow the rapidly swelling lump in his throat. He hurriedly lifted the handicapped boy back into the wheelchair, then took out a linen handkerchief and dabbed at the fresh scrapes and cuts. A quick look told him everything was going to be okay.

"Thank you and may God bless you," the grateful child told the stranger.

Too shook up for words, the man simply watched the boy push his wheelchair-bound brother down the sidewalk toward their home. It was a long, slow walk back to the Jaguar. The damage was very noticeable, but the driver never bothered to repair the dented side door. He kept the dent there to remind him of this message:

"Don't go through life so fast that someone has to throw a brick at you to get your attention!"

Some shameful statistics from the book of Patrick Viveret: “Reconsidérer la richesse

Money can lead man into blind selfishness. How blind we are?

We need 6 billion dollars yearly to assure the education for all children in the world who are not yet in school
At the same time only in Europe, people spend annually 8 billion dollars on perfumes.
Nearly 1 billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names.
The world needs 13 billion dollars annually to feed all who are hungry
At the same time in the USA, 25 billion dollars is spent each year on pet food

Each day some 30 thousand children under the age of 5 are dying due to poverty. That is about 210,000 children each week, or just under 11 million children under five years of age, each year.
Each day in France with a population of 63 million, 60 thousand tons of food goes to the garbage
Global Priority $U.S. (Billions)
Basic education for all 6 billion
Water and sanitation for all 9 billion
Reproductive health care for all 12 billion
Basic health and nutrition 13 billion
Total 40 billion
Military spending in the world 780 billion
only in USA 550 billion

The world is able to feed the population of 16 billion people (currently we are about 6 billion)
The problem is not overpopulation but the unequal distribution of goods.
“The problem is not in demography but in lack of ethics” (Pope John Paul II)

20% of the population in the developed nations consumes 86% of the world’s goods.

Military spending in the world – 780 billion dollars
Drugs – 400 billion dollars
Alcohol (only in Europe) – 105 billion
Cigarettes (only in Europe) – 50 billion
Leisure (only in Japan) – 35 billion
Pet’s food only in USA – 25 billion

To feed all hungry during a year – 13 billion
Perfumes in USA and in Europe – 12 billion
Ice-cream only in Europe – 11 billion
Water for all in the world who don’t have it yet – 9 billion
School for all children who are not yet in school- 6 billion

In your lifetime you received all good things … what did you do with them?
It’s an important and very challenging question.

Prayer of the faithful:

The failure of the rich man to come to the aid of the poor man Lazarus is a call for all of us to recognise that our neighbour is anyone and everyone in need. On this Social Justice Sunday we pray for a true spirit of justice and mercy within the human family

Lord Jesus, you have made every man, woman and child, your neighbor, worthy of your love. Help us to embrace one another in the spirit of your universal and unconditional love, for you are Lord, for ever and ever.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Reflection on Wednesday, 22, 09, 2010

Luke 9:1-6
In the chapter 8 of Luke, we can see a number of stories: the calming of a storm on the lake, the healing of a demoniac, the raising of Jairus’ daughter and the healing of a woman with a haemorrhage. We are now moving into chapter 9, a turning point in the public life of Jesus and in his relationship with his disciples.
As we know, this is the third tour of Galilee by Jesus. On the first tour he was accompanied just by the four fishermen he had called first - Peter, Andrew, James and John. On the second tour, all the Twelve were with him and, on the third, he was alone after sending out the Twelve on their own mission.
We begin the chapter today with Jesus sending his chosen Twelve on their mission. It is the first time he has sent them out on their own without his being with them. Basically, they are to do exactly as their Master does. They are given power over evil forces and to heal sicknesses. They are also to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom.
They are to travel in total freedom and so are not to bring anything with them which would make travelling more difficult. No walking staff, or purse, or food, or money, nor even a change of clothing. It is understood that the people will support them in return for the services they render. It is expected that hospitality will be extended to them in the traditional way of the Middle East.
They are not to be choosy about where they are received; they are to stay in the first house that accepts them. And, in places where they and their message and their services are not welcome, they will shake the dust off their feet. This was a symbolic act which the Pharisees practised when they left an “unclean” Gentile area. In this case, the act signifies that people are not just rejecting the disciples but God himself, whom they bring with their message and their healing.
So they went out, from town to town, proclaiming the Good News and restoring people to wholeness wherever they went. It really was the beginning of the Church. And it was the work of making the Kingdom a reality; God’s will being “done on earth”.
Today, the same mission is entrusted to each one of us although it will clearly be adapted to our life situation. We are called, individually and in community, to proclaim the Gospel by word and lifestyle. We are called to help liberate people from the negative forces, addictions of all kinds that can enslave. We are called to be sources of healing and wholeness and for this we do not need to be part of the medical profession. We are called to live lives of simplicity, using only those things which we need for life and work and rejecting all superfluity and luxury. As we have already known: the really rich are those whose needs are the least. It is a message our consumer world needs to hear and see.
Lord Jesus, make us a channel of your grace and healing love that others may find life and freedom in you. Free us from all other attachments so that we may joyfully follow the things of heaven. May we witness to others the joy of the Gospel both in word and deed. Amen.

Monday, September 20, 2010


You have been told, O man, what is good, and what the LORD requires of you: only to do the right and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)
What is right? What is good? We live in a world that showers us with condoms, birth control pills, reproductive technologies, alternative forms of marriage, abortion, and a growing list of ethical complexities. What is right? What is good? The Christian must put on the mind of Christ, because moral actions either produce life—or death. We need to turn off the television and begin to grow "in the knowledge of the Son of God" so that we may live.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Logic is an enemy, and truth is a menace.

"This is not a new world: It is simply an extension of what began in the old one. It has patterned itself after every dictator who has ever planted the ripping imprint of a boot on the pages of history since the beginning of time. It has refinements, technological advances, and a more sophisticated approach to the destruction of human freedom. But like every one of the super states that preceded it, it has one iron rule: Logic is an enemy, and truth is a menace."

Any state, any entity, any ideology that fails to recognise the worth and dignity, the rights of man, that state is obsolete."

The Twilight Zone - The Obsolete Man Part 1
The Twilight Zone - The Obsolete Man Part 2
The Twilight Zone - The Obsolete Man Part 3

Friday, September 17, 2010

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time “C”

In order to correctly form our consciences, every Christian needs to know the truth, otherwise our eternal salvation may be in jeopardy.  So where does a Christian go today to know what is the truth particularly on matters pertaining to our faith and to our morals?

Well, St. Paul in his letter to Timothy today tells us that "God our Saviour, wills that everyone should be saved and that everyone should come to the knowledge of the truth."

So where do we go to find this truth that God wants us to have, so that we might be saved?

I mean, if God wills that all should be saved and come to the truth, doesn’t it make sense that He would have made it absolutely certain that there was a place we could go to be absolutely positive that we could hear and find the knowledge of the truth for our eternal salvation. Not maybe, but positively.

For certain the truth begins with Christ. Jesus said “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” If we believe He was and is God, as He said He was, then He must have provided for some positive way for us to come to the knowledge of the truth of His teachings.  

If Christ taught the truth, how did He teach it? How do we find out what truth He taught and where do we find that truth today? After all, Christ is not here in person to tell us, is He?

And, once we find those truths we need to be able to understand them in order to live according to the truths taught by Christ.

Doesn’t that make sense?

But since Christ is now in heaven how are we supposed to know if our understanding of the truth, once we find it, is the correct interpretation?

Like Naaman the Ethiopian who was reading from the prophet Isaiah but not understanding a word of it, when he was approached by the apostle Philip, who asked him, “Do you understand what you are reading? Naaman answered “How can I unless someone guides me?” We also need someone to guide us to find the truth.

Well, Christ knew this so He did not leave us orphans. He did not leave us without a guide.

Before He ascended into heaven Jesus told the eleven, "I am with you always until the end of time" (Matt. 28:20). Now these Apostles eventually all died.

These men did not remain on earth "until the end of time," so clearly Jesus was speaking about a certain fidelity, a fidelity which extended beyond the deaths of the Apostles, a fidelity which was to guide the apostles while they lived and when they passed on, this fidelity would continue to guide their successors until the end of time.

This was Jesus’ promise. “I am with you always until the end of time, not just until the end of your lives, but until the end of time.”

So how did Jesus keep His promise to be us until the end of time?

In John chapter 14, Jesus said to the twelve, "I shall ask the Father and He will give you another Paraclete to be with you forever, ( a paraclete is an advocate).

(Jesus was the first advocate) and now He says to His apostles: “I shall ask the Father and He will give you another Advocate to be with you forever,  the Spirit of truth whom the world can never accept since it neither sees nor knows Him..." (John 14:17).

Here He promises that even though He himself will be gone into heaven the Father will send the Holy Spirit who will remain with us forever. And the world will not accept this since it does not know God.

Christ did not leave us orphans. He left us a guide. This guide is the church. Christ established a church.  A church which would guide us and be there for us until the end of time.

The Holy Spirit would be with His church until the end of time. That’s how He kept His promise.

How do we know this?

Jesus said:

"You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church" (Mt 16:18). Can it be any plainer than that?

When Jesus founded the Church He established a concrete, visible institution that can be traced in an unbroken line down through the centuries.

Jesus spoke of the Church as "a city set on a mountain" (Mt 5:14). The Church is not invisible. It was intended by God to be readily identifiable.

When Jesus declared that the apostle Peter was the "rock" on which He would build His Church, He made it possible for us to identify that Church, so we would know where it could be found.

St. Peter became the first bishop of Rome, and the bishops of Rome who have succeeded him (the popes) have continued to fill his special office as the "rock."

So now we know where to find His church. The Bible tells us that wherever the Pope is – there is Christ’s church.

According to the Bible, the Church is built, as St. Paul tells us, on "the foundation of the apostles" (Eph 2:20), whom Christ Himself chose (see Jn 6:70-71; Acts 1:2, 13;

After Judas defected, the remaining eleven apostles appointed the disciple Matthias as the successor to his office (see Acts 1:20-26). The term translated in this passage "office" (1:20), and applied to Judas, is in Greek episkopen — literally, Bishop.

If Judas, as an apostle, was a bishop, then by logical extension, all the apostles, according to the Bible, were also Bishops.

Given that the apostles were bishops then, and if, according to the Bible, one of them was replaced by another bishop after the death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ, then we have here an explicit example of apostolic succession in the Bible.

Clearly, apostolic succession is a reality that existed and was recognized by the apostles within days after Christ returned to heaven and this is explicitly explained in Holy Scripture.

The Catholic Church traces herself back historically, in an unbroken succession of Bishops, right back to the first apostles.

As a deacon I was ordained by a Bishop, who was ordained by a Bishop, who was ordained by a Bishop, who was ordained by a Bishop, all the way back to one of the Apostles.

Father Kaz was also ordained by a Bishop, who was ordained by a Bishop, who was ordained by a Bishop, all the way back 2000 years until we come to an Apostle, who, having been ordained by Christ, then later ordained other Bishops. Eliminating all the “middle men” we can readily see that Father Kaz was actually chosen and ordained by Christ Himself. Isn’t that awesome?

This Apostolic succession is proof positive of the sign of authenticity, necessary to identify which groups claiming to be Christian could legitimately be recognized as part of the Church that Jesus Christ Himself established.

This is why when we form our conscience we need to give top priority to what the church teaches on the matter, especially in faith and morals.

If we go our own way and reject the teachings of the church because they are inconvenient or simply because we do not agree with them, then we need to remember the words of Christ:
“Whoever, hears you hears Me, and whoever rejects you rejects Me, and whoever rejects Me rejects the One who sent Me.”

If Christ came here today and said that contraception is an evil, or same sex marriage is not in my plan, or living together as man and wife but not being married is a serious sin.

If we heard this from Christ Himself, would we listen to Him or would we reject Him and walk away?

The Lord has given us a great gift in the Church and its teachings. Some teachings are more difficult and certain than others, but all the authentic teach­ings of the Church should be given at least "a loyal submission of the will and intellect."


Because the church is not just another voice crying in the wilderness. The church is not just a man-made institution expressing it’s own opinion. The church is divinely instituted.

When the Church speaks we hear the truth. When the Church speaks we hear the voice of Christ.

Because the Catholic Church is the instrument that Christ chose to ensure that He would be with us until the end of time.

Therefore we can see that there are serious consequences involving our eternal salvation whenever we reject the church and any of its teachings. There are serious consequences involving our eternal salvation whenever we reject any of the truth.

As it says in today’s Gospel, we can choose to serve the world, we can choose to serve ourselves, or we can choose to serve God. We cannot serve both. We have to make a choice.

We can choose to listen to the church or we can choose to listen to the world, and we know that listening to the world quite often is the easier thing to do.

“God our Saviour, wills that everyone should be saved and that everyone should come to the knowledge of the truth.”

We would do well to embrace this gift that God gave us. The gift of the Church. Because it is God’s will that the church be a wonderful source of truth, the truth given for our eternal salvation.

God Bless You

Deacon Bernie Ouellette

Sunday, September 12, 2010

24th Sunday Ordinary “C”

On August 30, 2010 in WCR I found an interesting question:

“Growing up, I was taught that we must go to Confession to a priest at Eastertime and that it was a sin not to, even if we never went otherwise.

Today, I believe that one can confess to God in prayer and conversation and that it is no longer necessary to actually confess to a priest in person. I pray and talk to God, asking for forgiveness and strength.

I live a quiet life and although far from perfect, I am not a big "sinner." Now, my 30-year old niece is asking the same question and I'd like to help her. Is my understanding correct?”

What do you think? Is it OK to say: “I am not a big sinner I can confess to God in prayer and conversation and that it is no longer necessary to actually confess to a priest in person. I can pray and talk to God, asking for forgiveness and strength.

In the Gospel of St. John I read that Jesus after His resurrection when He revealed Himself to His Apostles: “said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.

So, how the priest can forgive or retain the sins if they are not confessed?

Sometimes I hear some Catholics arguing: “You have to go and meet the sinner where he is”.

And so, I am reading in today’s Gospel the parable of the ‘prodigal son”

"A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father,
'Father, give me the share of your estate that should come to me.'
So the father divided the property between them.
After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings
and set off to a distant country where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation.
When he had freely spent everything, a severe famine struck that country,
and he found himself in dire need. So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens who sent him to his farm to tend the swine. And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed, but nobody gave him any.

Coming to his senses he thought,
'How many of my father's hired workers have more than enough food to eat,
but here am I, dying from hunger.
I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him,
"Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.
I no longer deserve to be called your son;
treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers."'
So he got up and went back to his father.

While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him,
and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him. His son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you;
I no longer deserve to be called your son.'

But his father ordered his servants,
'Quickly bring the finest robe and put it on him;
put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.
Take the fattened calf and slaughter it.
Then let us celebrate with a feast,
because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again;
he was lost, and has been found.'

"Sin is before all else an offense against God, a rupture of communion with him. At the same time it damages communion with the Church. For this reason conversion entails both God's forgiveness and reconciliation with the Church, which are expressed and accomplished liturgically by the sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation. (Cf. Lumen Gentium 11.)" (CCC 1440)

We are a sacramental Church. Our Christian lives revolve around the reception of the sacraments; the sacraments follow us from birth to death. Through Baptism, we are brought into the community of the Church. Confirmation strengthens us to witness to the faith.

Marriage and Holy Orders sanctify commitment to service of God and others. The Sacrament of the Sick helps sustain faith and hope in illness and in death. Reconciliation and Communion, which we are to receive frequently, help us with the struggles of daily life.

Jesus came into the world to forgive sinners. And I am one of them. And, with the exception of the angels among us, so are you.