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16th Sunday of Year C – 2019

The texts offered to us in the Bible sometimes present us with… the world upside down!
This seems to be the case in today’s 1st reading (Gn.18:1-10).

Abraham sees three people nearing his home – three passers-by unknown to him.
In such a case, we would expect the strangers to present themselves and ask for hospitality if they need it.
This is not at all what we see happening.

First, in those three personages, Abraham recognizes the Almighty –
the ONE God he worships.

Then, far from being asked for assistance, he is the one who begs the visitors
to accept the hospitality which he offers them in a truly warm manner.
He describes for them what his welcome entails –
a festive meal that would surely delight hungry pilgrims!

The icon often used to evoke the Holy Trinity is, in fact, an illustration of this scene: 
the three visitors at table having been served the promised meal.
Reflecting on the text and the scene it describes, two questions arise:

  • Do we recognize God when he comes to us… and in whatever form he choose to reach us?
  • Do we welcome him as generously as Abraham did?

The answer to these two questions could well bring about some amazing change in our life…
Of course, this supposes that we accept to be sometimes surprised by God –
a God we may think we know and yet…

Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at:

Source: Image:

Feast of Christmas, Year B

When a baby is born, people look at the child and wonder…
They wonder at the marvel of a new life, yes.
But they also wonder about what this new-born will be… what he will become.

No doubt, the people who visited Mary and Joseph to see the new-born Child must have asked themselves such a question.
Centuries later, this is what has been written about this ordinary-looking baby and most extraordinary human being.

Here is a man who was born in an obscure village
the child of a peasant woman.
He grew up in another obscure village.
He worked in a carpenter shop until he was thirty,
and then for three years he was an itinerant preacher.
He never wrote a book.
He never held an office.
He never owned a home.
He never had a family.
He never went to college.
He never set foot inside a big city.
He never traveled two hundred miles from the place where he was born.
He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness.
He had no credentials but Himself.
While still a young man, the tide of popular opinion turned against him.
His friends ran away.
One of them denied him.
He was turned over to his enemies.
He went through the mockery of a trial.
He was nailed to a cross between two thieves.
His executioners gambled for the only piece of property he had on earth while He was dying –
and that was his coat.
When He was dead, He was taken down and laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.

Nineteen wide centuries have come and gone
and today He is the centerpiece of the human race
and the leader of the column of progress.

I am far within the mark when I say that
all the armies that ever marched,
and all the navies that ever were built,
and all the parliaments that ever sat,
and all the kings that ever reign,
put together have not affected the life of man upon this earth
as powerfully as has that ONE SOLITARY LIFE.                                   James A Francis, D.D.

Source: Images:   Sharefaith