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Spirituality

We must exercise our prophetic role, which can mean challenging our leaders

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And now, my brothers and sisters, this is just the beginning of Chapter 23, and as you can tell, it's a very harsh judgment on the part of Jesus against the religious leaders -- the scribes, the Pharisees, Sadducees, Herodians -- all of them. And as you go through the chapter, it becomes even more critical and harsh.

A revised top 10 list

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I'm still haunted by a late 1960s survey of American Catholics. Participants were asked just one question: What's the more important law -- love your neighbor, or give up meat on Friday? More than 50 percent responded, "Give up meat on Friday." When meatless Fridays trump love of neighbor, we Catholics are in deep trouble.

David Letterman didn't invent the top 10 list. In one form or another, such inventories have been around for a long time -- even during the biblical period.

All belongs to God

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Our second reading, the opening of Paul's letter to the Thessalonians sets up our consideration of today's Scriptures. Paul invites us to listen to his letter as though we were the community originally addressed, to bask in his description of us, and nod in agreement with the members of that early community of Greek-speaking Christians.

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A motley crew

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In the sacred texts we hear today, Isaiah and the Matthean evangelist offer their understanding of the kingdom of God -- or, as Matthew preferred, the kingdom of heaven. Both of the sacred authors thought of the kingdom in terms of a banquet of rich food and choice wines, prepared by God.

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