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Sunday, August 18, 2019

A Homily - The Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

First Reading – Jeremiah 38:4-6, 8-10 ©
Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 39(40): 2-4, 18 ©
Second Reading – Hebrews 12:1-4 ©
Gospel Acclamation – Acts 16:14
Alternative Acclamation – John 10:27
The Gospel According to Luke 12:48 - 53 ©


Be careful how you read the scriptures, do not confuse the works of men, for the will of the divine. Consider the trials of the prophet Jeremiah in the reading for today; these are the works of men, give men the credit for the mercy they exercised.

Only credit God with building in us the capacity to be good, and to do good, in spite of ourselves.

Know this:

It was wise for the king to free the prophet. There is wisdom in mercy, and through mercy the satisfaction of justice.

The powerless should never perish in the hands of the powerful.

Give thanks for the wisdom of the psalmist who says.

God is the God of mercy, God listens.

Bend your ear to God; turn your ear to your heart.

Stretch out your feelings, and you will find your way through the troubles of life on Earth, through all its filth and misery, as the psalmist says:

Seek salvation, which means wellness. Seek freedom from your own sins and do not dwell on the sins of others.

When you are beset with difficulties, look for other to blame, rather look to yourself, to your own transgressions, seek relief from them by engaging in the way, the way which demands that we love one another.


Keep the way in front of you, be less mindful of the image of Jesus you cling to than of the way he asked us to keep; to be merciful, to love justice and to walk humbly all the days of your life.

Keep to the way, its course is not a race but a habit of life.

Be mindful;, desire is the cause of all suffering, even the desire to be good, especially the desire to prove your goodness to others, even that can end in suffering, both for yourself and the community you live in.

Do not be too eager to show it. Keep the way in front of you, and the teaching of Jesus in your heart.

Let your pray be a guide to you, to point you in the direction of justice.

God will hear you, God is with you.

Consider this.

The sheep do not choose the shepherd, rather it is the shepherd who chooses the sheep.

The Word of God; in whom all that is comes to be, it is to the Word that everything belongs, the shepherd chose the entire sheepfold.

Listen for the voice of the shepherd, do not trouble yourself with how the shepherd speaks to you, in what language, in what text, do not trouble yourself with how the shepherd speaks to your sister or your brother, to your neighbors or the stranger.

The shepherd speaking to everyone, and all of listen as we are able (or willing).

Everyone that is, all who are or ever have been, everyone without exception including all who will be, every-one of us follows is in the way, moving toward God, there is no other way.

Do not trouble yourself if you do not understand the journey that another person is on, God is guiding them, as God is guiding you.

If you resist, God will be patient, God will wait, as God waits for everyone. The good shepherd has a loving hand; love is patient as love is kind.


God will not lose a single one of us. Neither will any one of us lose God.

Consider the Gospel for the day:

This is a cryptic passage.

It is fraught with tension. It engenders worry in the reader. As if the fire it points to is a thing to be feared.

In scripture fire is not a symbol of destruction, of punishment or of the judgement that leads to damnation.

This claim is true, even of those few passages depicting fire that are commonly interpreted as such, as the lake of fire is in the Book of Revelation.

Be mindful!

Fire is a symbol referring to our encounter with God. It represents our encounter with the person of God; God, the creator of the universe.

In scripture fire is a vehicle of refinement, of transformation and purification, not destruction and damnation.

Fire is the light of God.

In this passage the blazing fire that Jesus wishes would engulf the world; that fire is the fire of baptism, it is the grace of the Holy Spirit, a baptism which he sees coming to him, and through his teaching to the rest of the world.

Jesus’ death, his trials, his suffering; these did not transform the world, but they did light the way.
We are all called to follow the way, every generation is called.

The more radical our response is to that call, the more clearly we are divided from our old way of life.

Conflict will often ensue between a person and their loved ones, when one member of a community hears the call of the Spirit is move toward it, while others remain caught up in the distractions of the world.

Anytime the demands of truth and righteousness put us at odds with our conventions, mores and customs we face opposition. Perseverance in the face of that opposition is what Jesus is speaking to when he speaks of the consuming power of the holy flame. 

We must endeavor to persevere.

First Reading – Jeremiah 38:4-6, 8-10 ©

'Do Not Let the Prophet Die'

The king’s leading men spoke to the king. ‘Let Jeremiah be put to death: he is unquestionably disheartening the remaining soldiers in the city, and all the people too, by talking like this. The fellow does not have the welfare of this people at heart so much as its ruin.’ ‘He is in your hands as you know,’ King Zedekiah answered ‘for the king is powerless against you.’ So they took Jeremiah and threw him into the well of Prince Malchiah in the Court of the Guard, letting him down with ropes. There was no water in the well, only mud, and into the mud Jeremiah sank.

Ebed-melech came out from the palace and spoke to the king. ‘My lord king,’ he said ‘these men have done a wicked thing by treating the prophet Jeremiah like this: they have thrown him into the well, where he will die.’ At this the king gave Ebed-melech the Cushite the following order: ‘Take three men with you from here and pull the prophet Jeremiah out of the well before he dies.’

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 39(40): 2-4, 18 ©

Lord, come to my aid!

I waited, I waited for the Lord
  and he stooped down to me;
  he heard my cry.

Lord, come to my aid!

He drew me from the deadly pit,
  from the miry clay.
He set my feet upon a rock
  and made my footsteps firm.

Lord, come to my aid!

He put a new song into my mouth,
  praise of our God.
Many shall see and fear
  and shall trust in the Lord.

Lord, come to my aid!

As for me, wretched and poor,
  the Lord thinks of me.
You are my rescuer, my help,
  O God, do not delay.

Lord, come to my aid!

Second Reading – Hebrews 12:1-4 ©

We Should Keep Running Steadily in the Race We Have Started

With so many witnesses in a great cloud on every side of us, we too, then, should throw off everything that hinders us, especially the sin that clings so easily, and keep running steadily in the race we have started. Let us not lose sight of Jesus, who leads us in our faith and brings it to perfection: for the sake of the joy which was still in the future, he endured the cross, disregarding the shamefulness of it, and from now on has taken his place at the right of God’s throne. Think of the way he stood such opposition from sinners and then you will not give up for want of courage. In the fight against sin, you have not yet had to keep fighting to the point of death.

Gospel Acclamation – Acts 16:14

Alleluia, alleluia!

Open our heart, O Lord,
to accept the words of your Son.


Alternative Acclamation – John 10:27

Alleluia, alleluia!

The sheep that belong to me listen to my voice,
says the Lord,

I know them and they follow me.


The Gospel According to Luke 12:48 - 53 ©

How I Wish It Were Blazing Already!

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘I have come to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were blazing already! There is a baptism I must still receive, and how great is my distress till it is over!

‘Do you suppose that I am here to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. For from now on a household of five will be divided: three against two and two against three; the father divided against the son, son against father, mother against daughter, daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law, daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.’

20th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

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