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Showing posts with label 1 Thessalonians. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1 Thessalonians. Show all posts

Sunday, December 13, 2020

A Homily - The Third Sunday of Advent (Year B)

First Reading – Isaiah 61:1-2, 10-11 ©

Responsorial Psalm – Luke 1:46-50, 53-54 ©

Second Reading – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24 ©

Gospel Acclamation  Isaiah 61:1 (Luke 4:18)

The Gospel According to Mark 1:6 – 8, 19 - 28 ©





The Third Sunday of Advent (Year B)



Consider the teaching of the prophet!


Praise God and praise God’s servant when the will of God is done, praise God when the divine way is taught with clarity and purpose.


Know this, God is the author of our well-being, if we are able to lead lives of integrity it is God, the creator of the universe who has shown us the way, guiding us and drawing us the divine.


This is God’s constant desire and it is right to praise God for the good things we experience and the good things we are able to do in this world insofar as all good things emanate from divine.


Be mindful, while it is true that God is the eternal source of all goodness, God waits on us and the choices we make for good ness and integrity to manifest themselves in our lives.


Rejoice in the divine, rejoice that we who are infinitely less than the infinite have been graced by the blessing of God.

Rejoice in God’s mercy and do not fear; rejoice.

Consider the teaching of the apostle and know that these words are meant for everyone, for all of God’s children whether they have entered the church or not.


It is God’s desire that we be happy and give thanks for all that we receive, for this is the way that Jesus taught us to live by.


Look for the spirit of God in all whom you meet, because God is with them as God is with you.


It is right and good to pray for perfection, but do not expect to find it in this world, its promise will find you in the next.




The reading for today is a revisionist narrative. It does not represent the teaching of Jesus.


It is false and propagandistic, demonstrating the worst tendencies of the early church to stifle dissent among its members and sweep its competitors away, to sweep them out over the fast-hold of the threshing room, the followers of John among them.


Be mindful!


Jesus was not God, Joseph and Mary’s son is not the creator of the universe, and John was not sent by God to bear witness to anything; this is true even though John bore witness to much.


John and Jesus, like all prophets, bore witness to injustice and spoke against it where they saw it.


They were killed for it, put to death by the prevailing powers of their day.


In their heart, they heard the voice of God, they listened to that voice in the same place where God dwells and speaks to each of us, through that aspect of ourselves that God created in God’s own image, the imago dei.


Know this!


All of us bear a seed of God’s Word within us, the divine logos is present to us, and where God is present, God is present fully.


God was present in Isaiah, in John, in Mary, in Jesus, in Paul, as God is present in you and me and everyone.


The light that John bore witness to, is a light that dwells within us all.


Christians are called to follow the way of Jesus, as Jesus followed in the way of John; the way is a path of service and sacrifice, anoint yourself with these and you will be a light to others.



First Reading – Isaiah 61:1-2, 10-11 ©


He has Sent Me to Proclaim a Year of Favour from the Lord


The spirit of the Lord has been given to me, for the Lord has anointed me.


He has sent me to bring good news to the poor, to bind up hearts that are broken; to proclaim liberty to captives, freedom to those in prison; to proclaim a year of favour from the Lord.


‘I exult for joy in the Lord, my soul rejoices in my God, for he has clothed me in the garments of salvation, he has wrapped me in the cloak of integrity, like a bridegroom wearing his wreath, like a bride adorned in her jewels.


‘For as the earth makes fresh things grow, as a garden makes seeds spring up, so will the Lord make both integrity and praise spring up in the sight of the nations.’



Responsorial Psalm – Luke 1:46-50, 53-54 ©


My soul rejoices in my God.


My soul glorifies the Lord,

my spirit rejoices in God, my Saviour.

He looks on his servant in her nothingness;

henceforth all ages will call me blessed.


My soul rejoices in my God.


The Almighty works marvels for me.

Holy his name!

His mercy is from age to age,

on those who fear him.


My soul rejoices in my God.


He fills the starving with good things,

sends the rich away empty.

He protects Israel, his servant,

remembering his mercy.


My soul rejoices in my God.



Second Reading – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24 ©


May You All be Kept Safe for the Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ


Be happy at all times; pray constantly; and for all things give thanks to God, because this is what God expects you to do in Christ Jesus.


Never try to suppress the Spirit or treat the gift of prophecy with contempt; think before you do anything – hold on to what is good and avoid every form of evil.


May the God of peace make you perfect and holy; and may you all be kept safe and blameless, spirit, soul and body, for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. God has called you and he will not fail you.



Gospel Acclamation  Isaiah 61:1 (Luke 4:18)


Alleluia, alleluia!


The spirit of the Lord has been given to me.

He has sent me to bring the good news to the poor.





The Gospel According to Mark 1:6 – 8, 19 - 28 ©


'There Stands Among You the One Coming After Me'


A man came, sent by God.

His name was John.

He came as a witness,

as a witness to speak for the light,

so that everyone might believe through him.

He was not the light,

only a witness to speak for the light.


This is how John appeared as a witness. When the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, ‘Who are you?’ he not only declared, but he declared quite openly, ‘I am not the Christ.’ ‘Well then,’ they asked ‘are you Elijah?’ ‘I am not’ he said. ‘Are you the Prophet?’ He answered, ‘No.’ So they said to him, ‘Who are you? We must take back an answer to those who sent us. What have you to say about yourself?’ So John said, ‘I am, as Isaiah prophesied:


a voice that cries in the wilderness:


Make a straight way for the Lord.’


Now these men had been sent by the Pharisees, and they put this further question to him, ‘Why are you baptising if you are not the Christ, and not Elijah, and not the prophet?’ John replied, ‘I baptise with water; but there stands among you – unknown to you – the one who is coming after me; and I am not fit to undo his sandal-strap.’ This happened at Bethany, on the far side of the Jordan, where John was baptising.



The Third Sunday of Advent (Year B)

Sunday, December 2, 2018

A Homily – The Gospel According to Luke – 2018.12.02

A Homily – Luke 21:25-28,34-36 ©

The Gospel According to Luke – 2018.12.02
Gospel Acclamation – Psalm 84:8
Second Reading - 1 Thessalonians 3:12-4:2 ©
Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 24(25):4-5,8-9,10,14 ©
First Reading - Jeremiah 33:14-16 ©

A Prophetic Tradition, and the Problem it Presents

The Christian Church is steeped in the prophetic tradition of the Hebrew people.

Jesus was a prophet. He was not a fortune teller, or a seer, he was a vocal critic of the power structure that governed the people in his day. He was a witness to suffering and injustice, in response to both of those he called for love and mercy.

Remember this and remember it well; God, the creator of the universe, God does not intervene in the affairs of human beings. God does not establish royal houses, or tear them down. God does not do those things, because God has made us free.

God has made humanity, and each human being individually, and the entire created order in freedom. Having made us this way, God does not interfere in the course of human events.

God’s only intention is to teach us the way of justice, and lead us to it through love and mercy.

God does not choose between contending tribes or nations, winners and losers. God has no favorites, God has no enemies.

God will not reach into our world to save us from disaster.

But, if you follow the way, you will learn the means to be at peace, even in the midst of calamity, you will learn to be generous in times of abundance and scarcity both.

Listen to the psalmist; lift up your soul, lift your spirit, give your life to God, creator of the universe, to God who gave it all to you.

Lift up your spirit and ask for mercy, lift up your soul and forgive…not merely those who have done you wrong, but also God, who made you as a creature who can experience pain, who delivered you into existence in an unjust world.

Do not expect God to take sides with you in any conflict; that is vanity.

God loves all of God’s children fully and equally. God does not discriminate between one child and another.

God does not have favorites.

If you ask God to punish the faithless, the promise breakers, you must know that you are asking God to punish you yourself.

We are all faithless.

When you pray, pray for wisdom and guidance, pray for those in the knowledge that God desires that you be well.

Know this, always bear it in mind, if you pray for God to do anything for you are praying in vain. God has made you and all of creation free, God will not intervene in your life, either to your benefit or your detriment, to reward you or to punish you.

God is merciful, God allowed for your existence even knowing of all your crimes; since the beginning of time God knew them, God has not forgotten them, and God loves you anyway.

Remember this when you pray, all the ways of God are kindness and mercy.

Follow the example of God, as we see it reflected in the person of Jesus.

Love one another and the whole human race; love as God desires it; love one another even as God loves you.
God’s purpose in creating us with hearts and minds, with the knowledge of right and wrong, in creating us with a conscience, in creating us in the divine image; God’s purpose in this design is so that we may love.

God’s will is that we reflect the divine.

To be a follower of Christ, to be a Christian; is not about what you believe, it is not about what images or ideas you have in your mind about who or what God is, or is not. To be a follower of Christ, to be a Christian has nothing to do with the structure of sacred rituals you adhere to, or what songs you sing.

It has everything do to with what kind of life you lead.

It is the desire of God that we lead a moral life, a just life, a life characterized by good works, by charity and compassion; God desire that we live a life of love in service to our sisters and brothers.

We find our well-being in this, and that is what it means to be saved.

Remember this on the first Sunday of Advent, and carry it with you throughout the year. God is the creator of the entire universe, all lands belong to God; all seas, all planets, all stars, all galaxies; everything and everyone living therein.

God did not end the captivity of Jacob, the Hebrews did, with Moses and Joshua leading them.

This is not hubris.

It is greater hubris to think that God loves a special people, a people chosen above all others, than to think that the Israelites escaped bondage under their own power.

Reflect on this. Think deeply on it as we consider the Gospel reading for the day, and the trouble with prophecy.

The authors of Luke report to us that they have given us the words of Jesus.

The authors of Luke never met him, and in presenting this myth they place lies in the mouth of their friend and their teacher.

Jesus never spoke about the end of the world. We know this because Jesus spoke the truth, and he did not know anything about the end of the world, he was concerned overwhelmingly with the injustice and suffering he was witness to in his own time.

He did not seek to motivate with fear, Jesus was a beacon of love.

When the sun spends the last of its nuclear fuel; that will be a sign of the end of the world (billions of years from now).

If the moon were to slip in its orbit, that would be a sign of the end of the end of the world (but only the world as we know it).

The stars are in fact so distant from us, that what happens with them can have little to do with what happens here, and long before our sun burns itself out, our galaxy will collide with another, that collision will radically change life on this planet (billions of years from now), when human beings won’t even be recognizable as human beings anymore.

God, the creator of the universe, made us and our world, the entire universe free. God does not interfere, or intervene in our lives and our choices. Because we know this true, the only futures we can predict are those that flow naturally from their antecedents that are present in reality, right now.

We can predict climate change; because it is happening, and the antecedents for it were laid down decades ago we cannot stop it.

We can predict the continuation of wars, of terrorism, of economic injustice, because they are present realities and matters of statistical certitude.

We can predict the continuation of social injustice, not because God has decreed that these things will come to pass, but because we have not made the determination to change them ourselves.

The only liberation we will have from the vicissitudes of this life, will come at the end of life.

God will not stretch out God’s hand to save us from any danger.

Pay no attention to those who use fear to shape your faith. They are liars.

God wills that you live a life without fear and the things that flow from fear; hate, anger, greed, and violence.

First Reading - Jeremiah 33:14-16 ©

I Will Make a Virtuous Branch Grow for David

See, the days are coming – it is the Lord who speaks – when I am going to fulfil the promise I made to the House of Israel and the House of Judah:

‘In those days and at that time,
I will make a virtuous Branch grow for David,
who shall practise honesty and integrity in the land.
In those days Judah shall be saved
and Israel shall dwell in confidence.
And this is the name the city will be called:

Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 24(25):4-5,8-9,10,14 ©

To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.

Lord, make me know your ways.
  Lord, teach me your paths.
Make me walk in your truth, and teach me:
  for you are God my saviour.

To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.

The Lord is good and upright.
  He shows the path to those who stray,
He guides the humble in the right path,
  He teaches his way to the poor.

To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.

His ways are faithfulness and love
  for those who keep his covenant and law.
The Lord’s friendship is for those who revere him;
  to them he reveals his covenant.

To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.

Second Reading - 1 Thessalonians 3:12-4:2 ©

May You be Blameless When our Lord Jesus Christ Comes Again

May the Lord be generous in increasing your love and make you love one another and the whole human race as much as we love you. And may he so confirm your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless in the sight of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus Christ comes with all his saints.

  Finally, brothers, we urge you and appeal to you in the Lord Jesus to make more and more progress in the kind of life that you are meant to live: the life that God wants, as you learnt from us, and as you are already living it. You have not forgotten the instructions we gave you on the authority of the Lord Jesus.

Gospel Acclamation - Psalm 84:8

Alleluia, alleluia!
Let us see, O Lord, your mercy
and give us your saving help.

That Day Will be Sprung on you Suddenly, Like a Trap

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars; on earth nations in agony, bewildered by the clamour of the ocean and its waves; men dying of fear as they await what menaces the world, for the powers of heaven will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand erect, hold your heads high, because your liberation is near at hand.

‘Watch yourselves, or your hearts will be coarsened with debauchery and drunkenness and the cares of life, and that day will be sprung on you suddenly, like a trap. For it will come down on every living man on the face of the earth. Stay awake, praying at all times for the strength to survive all that is going to happen, and to stand with confidence before the Son of Man.’ (NJB)

The First Sunday of Advent