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Contents: Volume 2 - Twenty Seventh Sunday of Ordered time -C- October 6, 2019






1. -- Lanie LeBlanc OP

2. -- Carol & Dennis Keller

3. --

4. --(Your reflection can be here!)






Oct. 6: Sun. 27 C

Violence, ruin, misery, destruction, strife, discord... sounds like a description of a recent news cycle, but these words come from our first reading from the Book of Habakkuk. Times get pretty rough for humanity, way back then, or today, whether it be a personal challenge, a family matter, something on the job or in the neighborhood or parish, or ramifications of some event around the world. People need something to hold onto in order to persevere.

Fortunately, the rest of the first reading plus the second and the third provide clear suggestions and a firm Anchor when the storms come. We are told: "Write down the vision clearly upon the tablets, so that one can read it readily." We need to settle down and actually write down what we believe rather than let the random flurries of chaos cloud the vision of what God intends. Which of God's many promises (God's vision) would you write down on a personal list... and claim?

St. Paul reminds us that we have been given the gift of "power and love and self-control." He exhorts us to "stir into flame" this gift "with the strength that comes from God." Do we take the time for prayer so that the self-control that we have been given along with so many other gifts can be guided towards God's purpose?

Then there is the Gospel reminder about the mustard seed, what we can do with just a tiny bit of faith. Surely we become discouraged sometimes, even sometimes too often. Have any of us ever done ALL that we have been commanded as is mentioned in the Gospel reading though? Not yet.

"Not yet" can be a rallying cry for each of us. God isn't finished with us (or those who seem to precipitate chaos), not yet. We have not yet received all the gifts God has to give. We have not yet done all that God will strengthen us to do. God is still "on it", 24/7!!

Let us remember: "For the vision still has its time, presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint; if it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late." We may be a bit discouraged with "not yet" waiting, but, the Vision, God's promises, will come to be!


Dr. Lanie LeBlanc OP

Southern Dominican Laity





Twenty Seventh Sunday of Ordered Time October 6, 2019

Habakkuk 1:2-3 & 2:2-4; Responsorial Psalm 95; 2nd Timothy 1:66-8 & 13-14; Gospel Acclamation 1st Peter 1:25; Luke 17:5-10

Habakkuk is one of the minor prophets of Judaism in the seventh century before the birth of Jesus. His message is often said to be a search for goodness in a world of evil. The message in the first reading this Sunday will resonate to anyone who pays attention to what is happening in our world. He shouts, along with us in our time, "How long O Lord? I cry for help!" How can we cope with the terror that seeks to bend our wills to untruth? How can we think of our world as an expanding Kingdom of God when more and more nations are falling prey to nationalism that uses violence to exclude others? Where is God in all this? Some say this is proof that God is a creation of our needs. That God is only a charade to keep us from going crazy. How can we have faith in our Creator who allows every person to contribute to the pollution of clean necessary air? How can this Creator allow mankind to tip the delicate balance of nature and cause ruin to the earth. We are taught this Creator was delighted in his work. Every religion that finds truth in the experience of humans teaches that humanity has the responsibility and resources to enhance and grow the beauty and vitality of Creation. However it is evident to anyone who seeks truth that humanity is changing the fruitful earth and our common home into a cinder. Our life-styles rapidly disintegrate the balance that makes this place our home. Is there anyone who has a vision beyond their own greed and avarice who thinks human behavior that ruins the mystery and beauty of our world is good? Is there anyone who does not recognize the evil inherent in such behavior?

Habakkuk’s reading ends with a short statement about the just one. "The rash one has no integrity; but the just one, because of his faith, will live." What is this faith that can sail over the abyss of evil? Why does Habakkuk assign this faith to a just one? Why is rash, self-serving behavior said to lack integrity? Integrity itself is a complicated understanding. Integrity means being whole and complete. For a person to live with integrity means that the person knows the truth about him/herself and lives according to that truth. To be just is to live in compliance with real truth. Real truth is not focused solely on the individual and that person’s vison of themselves. Real truth is based on relationships. There are four relationships that count toward living an life of justice and integrity. The first is relating to self. What am I: who am I: how do I come to know who I am? The second relationship has to do with others like ourselves. How do I recognize the dignity and worth of others: how do I deal with conflict with those others: how do I interact with others with integrity: how does the truth of the existence of others add to my wholeness: what is the truth of their existence in relationship to me: how do I learn from those others? The third relates to how I interact with the environment. What does the world mean to me: how do I learn from my environment about the truth of who I am: how do I treat my environment with justice for its existence? The fourth relationship is our relationship with the truth of all existence. What am I in relationship to the truth of existence: why did what is come to be: if all came into being because of a ‘big bang’ some fourteen billion years ago what was the source of the energy that exploded to form the universe: why is that universe still being created, expanding at an incredible, incomprehensible speed: am I of any significance relative to such vastness?

The majority of us spend little time thinking about all this. Yet the very substance of who we are must be based on the truth of our existence. Failing to discover the truth of who we are and how we belong will be the source of evil. Evil is always those actions that deny the truth of Creation. Evil will always seek to break the truth of what brings us together.

As we think of the horrors of the last century and as we stand back from the rush of daily living we’ve got to wonder where is truth, where is goodness, where is justice, and most clearly where is the Creator.

The gospel for this Sunday begins with the disciples asking Jesus for an increase in faith. The first part of this chapter in Luke is about evil and how the snares of evil lie in wait for each of us. Evil is brought into the world by persons. This is where in Luke’s gospel Jesus warns about those who bring evil into the world. This is the story of how it would be better if a millstone were tied around such a person’s neck and he cast into the sea. This is where Jesus insists that we must forgive those who hurt us but come to realize the evil of their actions. This forgiveness is not just once but every time forgiveness is asked for. This is so contrary to how we feel about those who hurt us. This is why the disciples ask for an increase of faith. This is not an easy way to live. We would rather spring up with violence and harm those who harm us or those we love. The way of our hearts is to return evil for evil given. Non-violence is thought to be the way of the fool. Yet Jesus insists here that faith shows us that returning evil for evil is to violate the truth of what we are. We lose our integrity when we believe that hatred is justified. When we hate we accelerate the energy of hatred. That acceleration is the slippery slope that speeds our way into the sewer of self-loathing, of violence to others, to a denial of goodness, and quickly into a denial of truth that is the image and likeness of God within us. And absent truth, we lack any connection with what is real about ourselves.

Faith is always a gift. Faith resides not in our rational thinking but in our hearts. It is how we choose what is good and discern what is evil. With faith we understand our experiences as opportunities to gain integrity and justice. For the Hebrew nation, it was their multiple experiences of being freed from oppression. The two overwhelming experiences were the release from the clutches and slavery imposed by Pharaoh and the release from the captivity in Babylon. We should remember that "Pharaoh" is unnamed and in the mind of Hebrew peoples signify the evil that is the way of the world. Babylon signifies the hedonistic excesses of the way of the world. In the release from Egypt, God chose a murderer and a fugitive to be his instrument. When those people’s freedom from the way of life of Pharaoh was achieved, Moses became the messenger that provided the truth of how to live integral and honest lives. Those were the commandments. In the release from the Babylonian captivity the people freed realized that the God of truth, justice, and integrity was alive and working in the secular world. It was a secular conqueror in the person of Cyrus the Great of Persia who freed them.

Faith in the New Testament is about a person. This is no Moses, this is no Cyrus who frees the Chosen People. This is a person whose very living insists that human life is meant to be of goodness. This person, this Jesus, is not only God but also Man. And in this person we have a vision of the truth of the world and of ourselves. This Jesus lived and learned as a child. He shared the tumult of adolescence. He learned a trade and earned a living. He came to the Jordan and was baptized and entered into his ministry. He was tempted to the ways of the world and depended on the experience of his people to overcome those temptations. He taught his nation how to live in harmony with each other, with our environment, and with the truth of the Creator. He experienced what every person experiences including the most horrific of deaths. The truth of human existence was revealed on the third day after that death when he was raised into the fullness of his humanity and his divinity.

Faith holds there is more to living than meets the eye. In our experiences, in discerning what those experiences mean, in our moral judgements of what is true and what is false – in all the moments of our living we understand the meaning of our experiences only through faith. In that faith we grow in the truth of who and what we are. If we live in denial of faith in the truth our lives will ultimately disintegrate. Like the rich man of last week’s gospel, we’ll find ourselves tormented with what could have been. Without faith, failing to have our hearts tuned into the truth will make our lives a repeated cycle of violence, anger, hatred, and separation.

But faith is not a withdrawal into an overly pietistic isolation from the world. The world itself possesses truth. The world itself carries with it a truth and an integrity that is a lesson for our truth and integrity. The integrity of the world is dependent on the lived integrity of humanity. How frequently we experience the efforts of those who manipulate truth to serve their self-centered desires! How frequently we are passive observers of shouted hate that seeks to divide us so that our wills will be conquered to serve the greed and avarice of some! What holds creation together is the harmony and peace and joy that spring from love, that love which is an appreciation of all that is. That includes each person’s uniqueness and truth.

Faith, like every power, every skill, every talent, grows the more we use it. We can see the humanity of Jesus expand to embrace his divinity as he grew in ‘wisdom, age, and grace.’ If we surrender the energy of grace to the evil that springs up from the goodness of God’s creation, then we lose our integrity, we lose our wholeness, and we clearly lose our possibilities of love. Love of God, love of neighbor, love of our world, and love of ourselves comes from faith in the truth that is the Creator and of the truth of all that is created. Would that we not harden our hearts and listen to hear the Word of the Lord and cherish it!

Carol & Dennis Keller









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