Search This Blog

Showing posts with label Acts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Acts. Show all posts

Sunday, October 25, 2020

A Homily - The Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

First Reading – Exodus 22:20-26 ©

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 17(18):2-4, 47, 51 ©

Second Reading – 1 Thessalonians 1:5-10 ©

Gospel Acclamation – Acts 16:14

Alternative Acclamation – John 14:23

The Gospel According to Matthew 22:34 - 40 ©

 

(NJB)

 

The Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

 

 

Listen to the word of God, creator of the universe.

 

God wills that we take care of the stranger in our company, that we do not oppress her or him.

 

This is the way to holiness.

 

Love the immigrant and the alien, show compassion to the widow and the orphan, do not abuse the poor or put them in your debt.

 

Consider this:

 

There are times when a psalm of thanksgiving is little more than an appeal to vanity; the psalmist gives credit to God for saving him, but it was not God. God did not hear his voice alone among all of the others and fly from the temple to save him.

 

The psalmist saved himself, or he was saved by his allies, though he may have been spared only by chance.

 

We know this is true because God, the creator of the universe, God does not favor one child over another, not one family, not one tribe, not one nation, not one sect. God loves all of God’s children equally, no matter whether they live in sin and rebellion or in the peace that comes through faith.

 

God, the creator of the universe; God is not like Zeus or Jupiter, Indra or Thor. God does not step onto the battlefield, shoot arrows and hurl lightning.

 

It is foolish to think so.

 

Therefore be mindful of the life you live and set the example for all those you meet as you follow the way.

 

God is with you. God will hear you, and though God will not intervene in this world to spare you any pain, God has a plan to resolve all pain in a place beyond time and the bounds of space.

 

Be mindful of this! The grace of God is not transactional, and while love fosters love, there is always love and God is always with you. The divine love is always present to you, even when you are at your worst, when you are most hateful and your most destructive self.

 

Consider the Gospel reading for today.

 

This is the way, it is the core of Jesus’ teaching, it is the sacred path to the divine.

 

Any interpretation of Jesus’ life and mission that do not reflect these teachings are false.

 

Every pericope and parable; every metaphor, simile and analogy; every story, fable and myth must adhere to this canon.

 

We only encounter God through each other, in relationship to one another. We serve God through the service we give to the other another. The love we bear toward God is only made resplendent in this light.

 

 

First Reading – Exodus 22:20-26 ©

 

If You Are Harsh with the Widow and Orphan, My Anger Will Flare Against You

 

The Lord said to Moses, ‘Tell the sons of Israel this:

 

‘“You must not molest the stranger or oppress him, for you lived as strangers in the land of Egypt. You must not be harsh with the widow, or with the orphan; if you are harsh with them, they will surely cry out to me, and be sure I shall hear their cry; my anger will flare and I shall kill you with the sword, your own wives will be widows, your own children orphans.

 

‘“If you lend money to any of my people, to any poor man among you, you must not play the usurer with him: you must not demand interest from him.

 

‘“If you take another’s cloak as a pledge, you must give it back to him before sunset. It is all the covering he has; it is the cloak he wraps his body in; what else would he sleep in? If he cries to me, I will listen, for I am full of pity.”’

 

 

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 17(18):2-4, 47, 51 ©

 

I love you, Lord, my strength.

 

I love you, Lord, my strength,

  my rock, my fortress, my saviour.

My God is the rock where I take refuge;

  my shield, my mighty help, my stronghold.

The Lord is worthy of all praise,

  when I call I am saved from my foes.

 

I love you, Lord, my strength.

 

Long life to the Lord, my rock!

  Praised be the God who saves me,

He has given great victories to his king

  and shown his love for his anointed.

 

I love you, Lord, my strength.

 

 

Second Reading – 1 Thessalonians 1:5-10 ©

 

You Broke with Idolatry and Became Servants of God; You Are Now Waiting for His Son

 

You observed the sort of life we lived when we were with you, which was for your instruction, and you were led to become imitators of us, and of the Lord; and it was with the joy of the Holy Spirit that you took to the gospel, in spite of the great opposition all round you. This has made you the great example to all believers in Macedonia and Achaia since it was from you that the word of the Lord started to spread – and not only throughout Macedonia and Achaia, for the news of your faith in God has spread everywhere. We do not need to tell other people about it: other people tell us how we started the work among you, how you broke with idolatry when you were converted to God and became servants of the real, living God; and how you are now waiting for Jesus, his Son, whom he raised from the dead, to come from heaven to save us from the retribution which is coming.

 

Gospel Acclamation – Acts 16:14

 

Alleluia, alleluia!

 

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

 

Alleluia!

 

 

Alternative 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.

 

Alleluia!

 

 

The Gospel According to Matthew 22:34 - 40 ©

 

The Commandments of Love

 

When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees they got together and, to disconcert him, one of them put a question, ‘Master, which is the greatest commandment of the Law?’ Jesus said, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second resembles it: You must love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments hang the whole Law, and the Prophets also.’

 

 

The Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)




 

Sunday, September 20, 2020

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

 

First Reading – Isaiah 55:6-9 ©

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 144(145):2-3, 8-9, 17-18 ©

Second Reading – Philippians 1:20-24, 27 ©

Gospel Acclamation – Luke 19:38, 2:14

Alternative Acclamation – Acts 16:14

The Gospel According to Matthew 20:1 - 16 ©

 

(NJB)

 

The Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

 

 

Listen, and remember!

 

God is always near to us, God is present--even in the hearts of the wicked; with the loving God there is always the possibility of repentance, conversion, kenosis, metanoia.

 

It is wise to reflect on the notion that God, who created the universe and everything in it, that God has a deeper appreciation for the life of creation than we can possibly imagine from our position, conditioned by time and space and the exigencies of nature.

 

Be mindful of the way the psalmist speaks:

 

God, the creator of the universe, God is not a king, and know that God is present in all times and places, even in the deepest recesses of the human heart.

 

While God cares for us, God does not intervene directly in human events. The creator only issues an indirect influence over our lives. God’s power does not interfere with our freedom.

 

Contemplate the vast power of God and contemplate the ways of God’s love and mercy, God’s humility and compassion, the workings of God’s justice toward the benefit of all creation.

 

Be mindful of the works of the apostle, here he speaks like a contrarian, and that is fine; insofar as his motive is pure. However, his words are easy to misinterpret.

 

The apostle speaks about life in the flesh as a burden, though a happy burden if he is living as a servant of the Gospel; he speaks of eternal life with Christ as something he desires and something in which he expects the greatest joy, he speaks of this as his greatest reward, when he does so he is speaking in anticipation of his mortal demise, he is talking about death.

 

The apostle speaks as someone looking forward to the rewards of martyrdom, in so doing he is putting the cart before the horse.

 

He also calls it a good thing when corrupt preachers teach the gospel even if they do so from impure motives, believing that it is good insofar as they are spreading the fame of Christ.

 

This is misguided, and there is a lot in this words that are suspect.

 

Be mindful!

 

Walk humbly, love justice, act with mercy and compassion all the days of your life.

 

This is the walk of faith, which means trusting in the Good News, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

 

Know that God is not concerned with glory. Jesus is not interested in having a name above all other names. God is not a king and Jesus is not a prince, God is our loving parent and Jesus is our friend and brother.

 

When you preach to the people, just as when you stand before God, do not worry about beowing and scraping, just confess the truth that God is Love.

 

Remember!

 

The creator of the universe does not wear a crown, and we are not seek glory as we struggle on the way toward salvation. Following Jesus we are meant to seek out the lowest of the low, not the highest heaven, seeking to serve those in the deepest dark and return them to the light of love.

 

When you are in the darkness God will hear you, God is with you.

 

Consider the Gospel reading for today.

 

This parable represents the true teaching of the church.

 

It is one of the most commonly repeated themes, it is a message to every person who would claim to be a follower and teacher of the way.

 

If you follow the teaching of Jesus you will be rewarded; you receive your reward through the simple act of following. By keeping to the way, you bring Heaven to earth.

 

The way is not toilsome, though it may require a lifetime of work; the way is gift that when received, is shared with others.

 

In following the way, we do not layup treasures in Heaven; we do not amass wealth, privilege or honors. Such concerns do not belong to the way.

 

God, the creator of the universe rejoices and gives the same blessing to the first as God does to the last.

 

In the eyes of God, the bishop is the same as the priest, the priest the same as the parishioner, they merely have different duties, they are each beloved by God, just as the sinner is loved in equal measure to the saint.

 

 

First Reading – Isaiah 55:6-9 ©

 

My Thoughts Are Not Your Thoughts

 

Seek the Lord while he is still to be found, call to him while he is still near.

 

Let the wicked man abandon his way, the evil man his thoughts.

 

Let him turn back to the Lord who will take pity on him, to our God who is rich in forgiving; for my thoughts are not your thoughts, my ways not your ways – it is the Lord who speaks.

 

Yes, the heavens are as high above earth as my ways are above your ways, my thoughts above your thoughts.

 

 

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 144(145):2-3, 8-9, 17-18 ©

 

The Lord is close to all who call him.

 

I will bless you day after day

  and praise your name for ever.

The Lord is great, highly to be praised,

  his greatness cannot be measured.

 

The Lord is close to all who call him.

 

The Lord is kind and full of compassion,

  slow to anger, abounding in love.

How good is the Lord to all,

  compassionate to all his creatures.

 

The Lord is close to all who call him.

 

The Lord is just in all his ways

  and loving in all his deeds.

He is close to all who call him,

  who call on him from their hearts.

 

The Lord is close to all who call him.

 

 

Second Reading – Philippians 1:20-24, 27 ©

 

Life to Me Is Christ; but Death Would Bring Me More

 

Christ will be glorified in my body, whether by my life or by my death. Life to me, of course, is Christ, but then death would bring me something more; but then again, if living in this body means doing work which is having good results – I do not know what I should choose. I am caught in this dilemma: I want to be gone and be with Christ, which would be very much the better, but for me to stay alive in this body is a more urgent need for your sake.

 

Avoid anything in your everyday lives that would be unworthy of the gospel of Christ.

 

 

Gospel Acclamation – Luke 19:38, 2:14

 

Alleluia, alleluia!

 

Blessings on the King who comes, in the name of the Lord!

 

Peace in heaven and glory in the highest heavens!

 

Alleluia!

 

 

Alternative Acclamation – Acts 16:14

 

Alleluia, alleluia!

 

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

 

Alleluia!

 

 

The Gospel According to Matthew 20:1 - 16 ©

 

Why Be Envious Because I Am Generous?

 

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner going out at daybreak to hire workers for his vineyard. He made an agreement with the workers for one denarius a day, and sent them to his vineyard. Going out at about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the market place and said to them, “You go to my vineyard too and I will give you a fair wage.” So they went. At about the sixth hour and again at about the ninth hour, he went out and did the same. Then at about the eleventh hour he went out and found more men standing round, and he said to them, “Why have you been standing here idle all day?” “Because no one has hired us” they answered. He said to them, “You go into my vineyard too.” In the evening, the owner of the vineyard said to his bailiff, “Call the workers and pay them their wages, starting with the last arrivals and ending with the first.” So those who were hired at about the eleventh hour came forward and received one denarius each. When the first came, they expected to get more, but they too received one denarius each. They took it, but grumbled at the landowner. “The men who came last” they said “have done only one hour, and you have treated them the same as us, though we have done a heavy day’s work in all the heat.” He answered one of them and said, “My friend, I am not being unjust to you; did we not agree on one denarius? Take your earnings and go. I choose to pay the last comer as much as I pay you. Have I no right to do what I like with my own? Why be envious because I am generous?” Thus the last will be first, and the first, last.’

 

 

The Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)




Sunday, June 28, 2020

A Homily - The Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)


First Reading – 2 Kings 4:8-11, 13-16 ©
Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 88(89):2-3, 16-19 ©
Second Reading – Romans 6:3-4, 8-11 ©
Gospel Acclamation – Acts 16:14
Alternative Acclamation – 1 Peter 2:9

(NJB)

The Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)


Read the ancient texts with an ear bent toward discernment. The historical books especially, they are replete with myths that do little to elucidate the way, and they often confuse it.

Such is the case for the reading from the book of Kings for today.

Know this:

God does not interfere in our lives, not in the lives of individuals and not in the course of nations.

The future is not fixed because God, the creator of the universe, God made us and the whole of creation free from divine coercion.

Listen!

The sacred texts are no place for nationalism and jingoism, do not follow the path of the psalmist. God does not favor one person over another, one family, one tribe or one nation.

God is a God of love and mercy, not a God of palace intrigues, not a God of battles.

Be mindful.

The apostle overstates what is at stake in the sacrament of baptism.

Baptism is intended to be filled with symbolic power, Saint Paul articulates this well, and that symbolism is meant to instill in us the same faith by which Jesus willingly went to his death, but this is the exception, it is not the rule.

We are not called to this same fate, Jesus went to his death to save the lives of his family, friends and followers, not to set the stage for their demise.

Jesus was not raised to new life for an extraordinary reason, but for the ordinary reason that God intends to raise all people to life; God restores the whole of creation because God loves us.

Eternal life is not the reward that a Christian should seek, as if it were payment for having lived a just life.

We are called to the exhibition of grace and mercy because that is the way to an authentic life. We are living truly when we are faithful to the way and live well.

We defeat death when we stop fearing it, when we free ourselves from the fear of death we are able to live for what is good and beautiful and true, this is the way that Jesus followed, the way of justice and humility and peace.

Ask for wisdom, God will hear you, God is with you, as God is with us all.

Know this!

The Apostle is wrong. Saint Peter errs when he suggests that some people are set apart and excluded from the divine plan for mercy.

There are no people set apart, there are only people who set themselves apart. All people are the people of God, there is no chosen race, no consecrated nation. God, the creator of the universe, God is looking for prophets not priests. God is calling all people, God desires us to represent the divine voice in the world, and to repeat the call.

Remember!

All people are the subjects of God’s loving mercy, no-one is left outside of the gate, the table has been set for everyone, and the feast will not commence until we have been gathered together as one.

Be mindful.

Faith and the rewards of faith must not be constructed in transactional terms. Faith is trust, it is the simple belief that the things we hope for will come true.

Christian faith is rooted in the hope for and belief that we can live in a just society, one founded in love, a society that exhibits mercy in the furtherance of justice, one which cares for all people.

There are many circumstances in which a Christian may be called to reject the structure of their family or their culture, if those structures are unjust they should be rejected. We cannot simply hold onto them because our parents lived unjustly or because we are concerned for the inheritance of our children.

We cannot cling to systems of injustice for the sake of tradition, that is antithetical to the way.

Matthew speaks truly when he speaks to this point, but the point he makes in this Gospel reading requires further exposition.

A Christian is not called to reject their family for the sake of rejecting their family, they are called to walk away from their family if an only if their family is engaged in the institutionalization and promotion of injustice, and Matthew goes too far, he fundamentally misunderstands the way when he suggests that Christians must make the strong commitment strong, a commitment unto death, for the sake of their faith.

If Jesus had desired this he would have called his disciples to die with him in Calvary. That was not what he desired, he gave his life so that they might live.

Know this!

Salvation is not transactional. Faith and the rewards of faith are not a quid pro quo.

Remember Saint Peter!

He rejected Jesus, he denied him three times on the night Jesus was arrested. He fell apart in the grip of fear even though he was not a man of a cowardly disposition. Nevertheless, he refused to follow Jesus to the cross. Then, after Jesus was killed he continued the ministry, his faith led him through the rest of his days, eventually he gave his life for the sake of his ministry, for bringing good news to the poor, and caring for the widow.

The rewards of faith are not transactional they are emergent.

Trust engenders trust, as love deepens love, and hope fosters hope. One does not purchase the other, but rather they grow with each other like seedlings from seed whose roots bind together to sand fortify the garden.

In the seed the whole is contained in the part, and the potential is infinite.

Be mindful, welcome the prophet, welcome the holy person, and just as important, welcome the sinners, the outcasts, even those who have persecuted.

This is the way of Jesus, and the way of faith. 


First Reading – 2 Kings 4:8-11, 13-16 ©

This is a Holy Man of God; Let Him Rest Here

One day as Elisha was on his way to Shunem, a woman of rank who lived there pressed him to stay and eat there. After this he always broke his journey for a meal when he passed that way. She said to her husband, ‘Look, I am sure the man who is constantly passing our way must be a holy man of God. Let us build him a small room on the roof, and put him a bed in it, and a table and chair and lamp; whenever he comes to us he can rest there.’ One day when he came, he retired to the upper room and lay down. He said to his servant Gehazi, ‘Call our Shunammitess. Tell her this: “Look, you have gone to all this trouble for us, what can we do for you? Is there anything you would like said for you to the king or to the commander of the army?”’ But she replied, ‘I live with my own people about me.’ ‘What can be done for her then?’ he asked. Gehazi answered, ‘Well, she has no son and her husband is old.’ Elisha said, ‘Call her.’ The servant called her and she stood at the door. This time next year,’ he said ‘you will hold a son in your arms.’


Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 88(89):2-3, 16-19 ©

I will sing for ever of your love, O Lord.

I will sing for ever of your love, O Lord;
  through all ages my mouth will proclaim your truth.
Of this I am sure, that your love lasts for ever,
  that your truth is firmly established as the heavens.

I will sing for ever of your love, O Lord.

Happy the people who acclaim such a king,
  who walk, O Lord, in the light of your face,
who find their joy every day in your name,
  who make your justice the source of their bliss.

I will sing for ever of your love, O Lord.

For it is you, O Lord, who are the glory of their strength;
  by your favour it is that our might is exalted;
for our ruler is in the keeping of the Lord;
  our king in the keeping of the Holy One of Israel.

I will sing for ever of your love, O Lord.


Second Reading – Romans 6:3-4, 8-11 ©

When We Were Baptised We Went into the Tomb with Christ, So that We too Might Live a New Life

When we were baptised in Christ Jesus we were baptised in his death; in other words, when we were baptised we went into the tomb with him and joined him in death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the Father’s glory, we too might live a new life.

But we believe that having died with Christ we shall return to life with him: Christ, as we know, having been raised from the dead will never die again. Death has no power over him any more. When he died, he died, once for all, to sin, so his life now is life with God; and in that way, you too must consider yourselves to be dead to sin but alive for God in Christ Jesus.


Gospel Acclamation – Acts 16:14

Alleluia, alleluia!

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

Alleluia!


Alternative Acclamation – 1 Peter 2:9

Alleluia, alleluia!

You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood,
a people set apart to sing the praises of God,
who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

Alleluia!


The Gospel According to Matthew – 10:37 - 42 ©

Anyone Who Loses His Life for My Sake Will Find It

Jesus instructed the Twelve as follows:

‘Anyone who prefers father or mother to me is not worthy of me. Anyone who prefers son or daughter to me is not worthy of me. Anyone who does not take his cross and follow in my footsteps is not worthy of me. Anyone who finds his life will lose it; anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it.

‘Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me; and those who welcome me welcome the one who sent me.

‘Anyone who welcomes a prophet will have a prophet’s reward; and anyone who welcomes a holy man will have a holy man’s reward.

‘If anyone gives so much as a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is a disciple, then I tell you solemnly, he will most certainly not lose his reward.’


The Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)