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Contents: Volume 2 - The Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time (A) February 16, 2020


 

  The

  Sixth

Sunday

2020

 

1. -- Lanie LeBlanc OP

2. -- Brian Gleeson CP

3. --

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

 

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1.

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Sun. 6 A

Our Scripture readings today call us to a deeper spiritual life than perhaps we are currently living or think we are living. From the Book of Sirach we hear the profound words "If you choose......" As I reflected on the entire passage, I still came back to those first few powerful words.

To me, these three words hold the key to a truly spiritual life. So much of our busy day can be relegated to mindless habit, doing things rather automatically without very deep thought. The truth is that if we didn't have those routine things though, we would probably be frantic by noon! So, how do we change?

Habit first becomes a habit by choice. IF you choose something over and over, good or not, it does become a habit. Research on brain functioning is shedding new light on if it is possible to "break" a habit vs. just "changing" a habit. No matter what you think about that scientific issue, the person still has to choose to do a different action or refrain from an action, even if there are complicating factors, for there to be something new and better happening.

The Gospel selection according to Matthew invites us to choose to be a more intentional Christian. We are invited not just to do the minimum, but to be more prayerful and thoughtful in all of our actions. Remember the hymn "They Will Know We Are Christians".... by our Love?

The longer Gospel passage reminds us that our actions are usually viewed by others, in a way as teachable moments to them. Sometimes our modeling is how they learn how to act, even if we are unaware that this is happening or intend it to happen. That reminder puts quite a responsibility on us!

It seems that even small ways are indeed important to forming who we are and become... and who others might also become. What is it that we choose to do each day, in small ways and in important times? What habits would we like to be on our spiritual vita/resume before Judgement Day? Perhaps it is time to slow down whatever it is we do... and pray and think intentionally before we act in order to re-form some better habits. Keeping in mind the words "if you choose" might help.

Blessings,

Dr. Lanie LeBlanc OP

Southern Dominican Laity

lanie@leblanc.one

 

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2.

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DEALING WITH OUR ANGER: SUNDAY 6A

bgleesoncp@gmail.com

I wonder have you ever shared a house with someone whose moods are unpredictable? Mostly the person is friendly and peaceful. At other times, at the slightest provocation or none at all, he/she erupts in outbursts of anger and rage. Being with them is like living on the edge of a volcano.

Right now US President Donald Trump is both angry and vindictive over his impeachment and trial. In contrast President Nelson Mandela had every reason to be a very angry man, but he was not. For many years, on behalf of his oppressed people, he led the movement against apartheid (separate development) in South Africa. For that he was sentenced to hard labour in prison for 27 years. In his autobiography Long Walk to Freedom, he writes about the officers who guarded him and his fellow-prisoners. He insists that hostility towards them was self-defeating, and that everyone, including our enemies, can change.

On the day that he was to be released from prison, February 11th, 1990, the crowd waiting outside, and millions more watching on television, became anxious when Mandela failed to walk out at the expected time. Would he, they wondered, get out after all? But after a long delay he did walk free. The reason for the delay was that he was saying an emotional goodbye and thank-you to all his prison guards. In his freedom speech that night, Mandela reminded the world that we can all imprison ourselves behind the bars of prejudice and narrow-mindedness.

All of us tend to carry inside us a certain amount of anger. From our earliest years we’ve been told that anger is a sin, in fact, one of the seven deadly sins. So what do we do about it? Probably we either deny it or suppress it. In itself, anger is just a feeling, neither good nor bad. If we love and value ourselves, we will naturally feel angry if and when we are treated badly. This is normal and even healthy. If we simply deny or repress our anger this can be very dangerous. It can result in self-hatred, depression, and even bodily ailments like asthma, ulcers, and heart conditions. On the other hand, when anger is released in a constructive and wholesome way it can bring healing and relief.

When Jesus says: ‘Do not get angry with a brother or sister,’ he is not condemning anger in itself. After all he himself got angry when he drove the traders from the temple. There are times when we too should be angry, angry about unjust situations. Nevertheless our anger about injustice should not give rise to a lessening of love, let alone a build-up of hate.

Anger becomes dangerous when it turns into hostility. It’s hostility rather than anger as such that is the really deadly sin. Hostility causes us to act out our anger. It leads to deep resentments, negative attitudes, nastiness, insults, sarcasm, hitting out, and so on, at the object of our anger.If we find ourselves often getting angry, we should look at the cause of our anger. The cause may well be within ourselves. We may be too sensitive, too impatient, too impetuous, or too full of hurt and resentment.

But the cause of our anger may, in fact, be coming from the anger of others. Some people are so full of anger that it makes them hard to live with, work with, or even be with. Think of ‘Doc Martin’ in the TV series! Instead of owning and managing their anger, they are powder kegs, ready to explode on others. If the reason we feel angry lies with another person, we need to look at our relationship with that person and how, if possible, it might be improved.

What is making us feel angry, however, may be some unjust situation, e.g. cruel and inhumane treatment of asylum seeksers, or abuse of innocent children. If so, we should do whatever we can to put that situation right. If anger can spur us to help make right what is wrong, then anger can be good, positive and productive.

Just the same, anger remains something dangerous. A Jewish saying has it: ‘Anger in the heart is like a worm in a plant.’ If our mind and heart are filled with anger and resentment, there is no peace, no sleep, no rest, no appetite, no smile, no laughter, and no joy. It may ruin our health, our friendships, and just about everything we value.

We cannot avoid getting angry, but we can avoid acting out our anger with rage. So Jesus tells us to seek to be reconciled - with ourselves, with others, and with God. A little example! Before going to work one morning a man had a row with his wife. In the middle of the morning it was still bothering him. So he rang his wife and apologised for his part in the row. Later he said to a friend: ‘I didn’t want her to carry that around all day.’ His apology didn’t do him any harm either!

"Brian Gleeson CP" <bgleesoncp@gmail.com>

 

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Volume 2 is for you. Your thoughts, reflections, and insights on the next Sundays readings can influence the preaching you hear. Send them to preacherexchange@att.net.  Deadline is Wednesday Noon. Include your Name, and Email Address.

-- Fr. John


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Volume II Archive

We keep up to six articles in this archive.  The latest is always listed first.

6th SUNDAY 5th SUNDAY PRESENTATION 3rd SUNDAY 2nd SUNDAY Baptism of the Lord


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