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Sunday, September 1, 2019

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

First Reading – Ecclesiasticus 3:19-21, 30-31 ©
Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 67(68):4-7, 10-11 ©
Second Reading – Hebrews 12:18-19,22-24 ©
Gospel Acclamation – John 14:23
Alternative Acclamation – Matthew 11:29
The Gospel According to Luke 14:1 & 7 - 14 ©


Listen to the prophet!

Do as he commends; love justice, be merciful, walk humbly; this is the way Jesus instructed us in.

The greater your power in the world, the larger your fortune, the more mindful you must be to follow in the way.

Do not fear; God’s favor will find you, not as a reward for your humility, your mercy or your attention to justice, but as is natural like the bee coming to the flower.

Do not follow in the way of the psalmist, the psalmist took the path of vanity.

Know this!

God, the creator of the universe, God does not dwell on Earth.

God does not hand out victories.

God does not dwell on a mountain top

God regards the just and the unjust alike, with the same compassion, the same dignity, and the same demand.

Be Mindful!

There is much to unpack in the words of the Apostle.

Consider this:

The garden of the living God is not a place of this world, though we are called on to live our lives as if we were already there.

The Apostle points to Mount Zion, the heavenly Jerusalem, and its peak is beyond the summit, hidden in the cloud of unknowing, that is where the garden lies.

We enter the garden with a spirit of humility and in that green space we come to the final understanding of justice, we learn that it is in inseverable from mercy, we wait on it humbly.

In God’s garden we approach the divine as both the chosen and the choosing, each of us in the fullness of our person, as first born daughters and sons of God. In that moment we will have been made perfect, and we will join with Jesus in an unceasing prayer for the restoration of the whole.

We will wait for it with the patience of the divine.

Be Mindful and remember the grace of God is not transactional. Love fosters love, but there is always love, and God is always with you.

The teachings of Jesus cannot be treated like a shell game, though they are, and have been since the beginning, as Matthew’s Gospel illustrates.

The way of Jesus is not a long can, it is not a bait and switch, it is a simple teaching that cannot be controlled or owned by any one group of people.

God, the creator of the universe, God has hidden nothing. The truth is in the open for anyone to see.

The wise and the powerful, the learned and the clever, the weak and the meek, everyone has access to the same truth, to the knowledge of God, to the experience of justice, of hope and love.

Who are the wise and powerful, who are the learned and the clever, who are the faithful and childlike. In every generation, you will see a new group labeling the elder group as out of touch, blind, privileged, in the dark, corrupt.

This is an endless cycle, and the truth remains the same; we are called on to love justice, be merciful, walk humbly do good and serve God; to serve God through the loving service we provide to one another: to our families, our friends, our neighbors, the stranger, even our enemy when they are in need.

Just because a person is wise and powerful, learned and clever, or a child of the church, does not mean they recognize the truth when they see it, or act upon when they do.

It is not your station in society, it is not how other people regard you, it is not the titles you have earned, or the ways that you have been marginalized that give us the tell on how you will fulfill the calling to follow Jesus. What matters is what is in your heart, and your willingness to trust in the content of your hope.

Be mindful, because this changes from day to day.

Remember yourself, you too are a sinner. No matter how great you think you are, or how virtuous and humble, no matter how pious you may be; you are still a sinner and will remain one for the rest of your life.

This is the human condition.

Therefore be patient, with yourself and with others, be mindful of this at all times.

Be watchful for the opportunities to serve that come your way.

Behold the stranger, the alien, the poor, the diseased, the criminal, and especially the threat; behold them, and see the divinity that lies within them, the seed of the word of God that animates them, just as it does you. Yield to their divinity with a contrite heart, asking forgiveness for all of the pain and the hurt you have caused.

This is the way of God.

First Reading – Ecclesiasticus 3:19-21, 30-31 ©

Behave Humbly, and You Will Find Favour with the Lord

My son, be gentle in carrying out your business, and you will be better loved than a lavish giver.

The greater you are, the more you should behave humbly, and then you will find favour with the Lord; for great though the power of the Lord is, he accepts the homage of the humble.

There is no cure for the proud man’s malady, since an evil growth has taken root in him.

The heart of a sensible man will reflect on parables, an attentive ear is the sage’s dream.

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 67(68):4-7, 10-11 ©

In your goodness, O God, you prepared a home for the poor.

The just shall rejoice at the presence of God,
  they shall exult and dance for joy.
O sing to the Lord, make music to his name;
  rejoice in the Lord, exult at his presence.

In your goodness, O God, you prepared a home for the poor.

Father of the orphan, defender of the widow,
  such is God in his holy place.
God gives the lonely a home to live in;
  he leads the prisoners forth into freedom:

In your goodness, O God, you prepared a home for the poor.

You poured down, O God, a generous rain:
  when your people were starved you gave them new life.
It was there that your people found a home,
  prepared in your goodness, O God, for the poor.

In your goodness, O God, you prepared a home for the poor.

Second Reading – Hebrews 12:18-19,22-24 ©

You Have Come to Mount Zion and to the City of the Living God

What you have come to is nothing known to the senses: not a blazing fire, or a gloom turning to total darkness, or a storm; or trumpeting thunder or the great voice speaking which made everyone that heard it beg that no more should be said to them. But what you have come to is Mount Zion and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem where the millions of angels have gathered for the festival, with the whole Church in which everyone is a ‘first-born son’ and a citizen of heaven. You have come to God himself, the supreme Judge, and been placed with spirits of the saints who have been made perfect; and to Jesus, the mediator who brings a new covenant and a blood for purification which pleads more insistently than Abel’s.

Gospel Acclamation – John 14:23

Alleluia, alleluia!

If anyone loves me he will keep my word,
and my Father will love him,
and we shall come to him.


Alternative Acclamation – Matthew 11:29

Alleluia, alleluia!

Shoulder my yoke and learn from me,
says the Lord,
for I am gentle and humble in heart.


The Gospel According to Luke 14:1 & 7 - 14 ©

Everyone Who Exalts Himself Shall Be Humbled

On a sabbath day Jesus had gone for a meal to the house of one of the leading Pharisees; and they watched him closely. He then told the guests a parable, because he had noticed how they picked the places of honour. He said this, ‘When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take your seat in the place of honour. A more distinguished person than you may have been invited, and the person who invited you both may come and say, “Give up your place to this man.” And then, to your embarrassment, you would have to go and take the lowest place. No; when you are a guest, make your way to the lowest place and sit there, so that, when your host comes, he may say, “My friend, move up higher.” In that way, everyone with you at the table will see you honoured. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the man who humbles himself will be exalted.’

Then he said to his host, ‘When you give a lunch or a dinner, do not ask your friends, brothers, relations or rich neighbours, for fear they repay your courtesy by inviting you in return. No; when you have a party, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; that they cannot pay you back means that you are fortunate, because repayment will be made to you when the virtuous rise again.’

22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

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