Hello and welcome to Mad Padre.

Sadly, the demands of the parish have forced me to curtail the daily devotions I was posting here this summer.  I regret that but there is only so much one can do in a day.

However, I have continued contributing a piece on Fridays for a daily devotion email that is sent out to members of my former parish, St. Margaret of Scotland in Barrie, and it occurred to me that these pieces may merit posting here on Fridays.

Each piece follows the daily office lectionary from the Canadian Book of Alternative Services, and today’s assigned gospel text is from St. Luke’s gospel as follows:


Luke 8:1-15

Soon afterwards he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him, as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their resources.


When a great crowd gathered and people from town after town came to him, he said in a parable: “A sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell on the path and was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. Some fell on the rock; and as it grew up, it withered for lack of moisture. Some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew with it and choked it. Some fell into good soil, and when it grew, it produced a hundredfold.” As he said this, he called out, “Let anyone with ears to hear listen!”


Then his disciples asked him what this parable meant. 10 He said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God; but to others I speak in parables, so that ‘looking they may not perceive, and listening they may not understand.’


11 “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12 The ones on the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13 The ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe only for a while and in a time of testing fall away. 14 As for what fell among the thorns, these are the ones who hear; but as they go on their way, they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. 15 But as for that in the good soil, these are the ones who, when they hear the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patient endurance.



(Fr. Michael)


There’s always a stock scene in an action movie, just before the final clash, which shows the heroes striding forward, usually in slow motion, stirring music playing.  They have determined expressions and hold their weapons confidently, telling we the viewers that the bad guys have no chance in the battle to come.  (Note – as en example, here’s a scene from one of my favourite action films, Guardians of the Galaxy, starting at 2.10).  As I read verses 1-3 of today’s excerpt from Luke, I thought of what a good slo-mo film scene this would make, as Jesus, flanked by his twelve disciples, strides confidently towards the camera.  But wait!   Mixed in among the twelve men are some women – Mary, Joanna and Susanna, among others – their faces equally confident, just as much members of this team as the men are.


It’s interesting to speculate on why Luke broadens the focus on Jesus’ followers beyond the twelve male disciples.  Perhaps Luke, traditionally thought to have been a physician, marveled at how Jesus had restored them to health when human doctors couldn’t or wouldn’t touch them.   Think of the woman with the hemorrhage that Jesus meets shortly after this, who “had spent all she had on physicians, no one could cure her” (Lk 8.43).  Perhaps more interesting is the mention of “evil spirits” (Lk 8.2).  I wrote last Friday about the fact that Jesus is involved in a cosmic struggle as he faces down the evil powers who, as our baptismal rite puts it, “corrupt and destroy the creatures of God” (BAS 154).  These women know firsthand how Jesus has vanquished every foe in his path, including the evil spirits and diseases that plagued them.


Finally, we can note here in these three short verses a sense of how comprehensive and inclusive the kingdom of God is.    The gospel comes to all people – to insignificant villages as well as cities.   The gospel is proclaimed by a backwater rabbi and his ragtag band of humble fishermen, pariah tax collectors, former madwomen and housewives, thus proving the strategy that the seed of the kingdom should be scattered as widely as possible, to grow wherever it finds honest and good hearts to thrive in.   Here they all are now, striding purposefully forward in that big cinematic slo-mo scene.  Just imagine how good you would look in that big scene, striding purposefully along among the disciples.    Fortunately for us, Jesus is still casting, still looking for heroes to join the ranks, no auditions necessary.  Are you in?