Being ‘Self-Sufficient’

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Philippians 4:12-14, 19-20

Though I normally focus on the Gospel reading for homilies and blog posts, it seemed better this time to focus on Paul’s letter to the Philippians, and to stay with it for a while. Last Sunday, we saw how he urged us to have no anxiety at all, but to make our needs known to the Lord with faith. Today’s selection from Philippians is from the section of the letter where he elaborates more on this, in the context of thanking the community of Philippi for their generosity in supporting his ministry.  Continue reading “Being ‘Self-Sufficient’”

No Anxiety At All?

27th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Philippians 4:6-9

“Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7

“Paranoia strikes deep; into your life it will creep. It starts when you’re always afraid. Step out of line, the man come, and take you away” – from the song For What It’s Worth by Stephen Stills

“And any time you feel the pain, hey Jude, refrain; Don’t carry the world upon your shoulder. For well you know that it’s a fool who plays it cool by making his world a little colder.” – from the song Hey Jude by John Lennon & Paul McCartney

Anxiety.

Do a little research, and you may be surprised at how many people struggle with anxieties in their lives. It is estimated that three out of ten Americans have some form of anxiety disorder. In one survey, 41% of all employees from a variety of industries reported high levels of anxiety in the workplace. Another survey showed that over half of all college students have sought help for their anxiety challenges. 43% of Americans take mood-altering prescriptions on a daily basis. That last statistic doesn’t include the many and varied ways that people try to self-medicate for anxiety: alcohol, other drugs, food, exercise, sex, meditation techniques, and so on. Besides this, intense anxieties tend to close people in on themselves and make them less willing to trust others. This affects not only individuals, but also families and communities of all kinds, and our nation as a whole. Anxiety, and the issues that flow from it, has become a significant epidemic in our culture.   Continue reading “No Anxiety At All?”

“He Emptied Himself”

26th Sunday of Ordinary Time: Philippians 2:1-11

It became known as “The Case of the Coffee Shop”.

It happened while I was at St. Paul’s Seminary in Ottawa during the 1980’s. In the seminary building, there was a common room that was set aside as a place for us to gather informally, chat or read the paper over coffee or tea.

A few seminarians proposed that some of the student council’s money be used to do some mild upgrades to the room, to give it a cozier and more inviting feel, in the hope that this would enhance a sense of community among the seminarians. It would be our own little “casse-croûte” or “coffee shop”. A few other seminarians objected to this, saying that we should be promoting a simpler lifestyle and that such an expense was unnecessary.  Soon the battle was joined.   Continue reading ““He Emptied Himself””

Whose Life Is It, Anyway?

24th Sunday of Ordinary Time (A): Romans 14:7-9

“It’s my life, and I’ll do what I want.” – The Animals, 1965

“Whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.” – Romans 14:8

Growing up is an interesting experience.

As children, we have some sense of ourselves as individuals. Our identity, however, is closely tied to our parents, siblings, other relatives, and friends. We tend to absorb the attitudes we find around us, even as we ask “Why?” about many things.  Continue reading “Whose Life Is It, Anyway?”