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Showing posts with label Christian. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christian. 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 ©

 

(NJB)

 

 

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.

 

Listen!

 

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.

 

Alleluia!

 

 

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)




Monday, December 7, 2020

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

First Reading – Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11 ©

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 84(85): 9-14(Advent) ©

Second Reading – 2 Peter 3:8-14 ©

Gospel Acclamation Luke 3:4, 6

The Gospel According to Mark 1:1 - 8 ©

 

(NJB)

 

 

The Second Sunday of Advent (Year B)

 

 

Consider the words of the prophet:

 

There is great hope expressed by Isaiah, a profound hope for the future wellness of all people,

As seen through his understanding of our common destiny as children of God, the creator of the universe. The prophet expresses certainty in regard to the expectation of atonement, not just for the people of Israel or the children of Judah, but for all people.

 

Be mindful!

 

This teaching serves as the principle foundation of the early church, and the whole of Christian faith accordingly.

 

John the Baptist, stood in the tradition of Isiah, his was a voice crying out in the wilderness; he called the faithful to action, instructing them to prepare the way. His was a voice of expectation instructing the faithful that the entire creation will bend to the will of God; every valley and every mountain, from the cliffs to the plains, everything will yield to God.

 

Furthermore, we are instructed to believe that despite the omnipotence of God, we are to regard the creator like a shepherd who feeds the flock, like a mother ewe among her children, not as a lord or a king or a general leading armies.

 

To be clear: Isaiah also speaks of God as the punisher, reminding the people of Judah of the punishment they have suffered for their crimes and of future punishments to come if they persist in their sinful ways.

 

Remember this, their crimes were crimes against the people, their crimes took place in the world. They made enemies among foreign powers and they suffered on account of their wickedness and vanity, and broken promises. They were not punished by God. The justice they encountered was the justice of human beings. It was harsh, it was painful, many people were slaughtered, many more were taken into captivity, but this was not the work of God, the creator; we know this  because God does not intervene in the affairs of the world.

 

In the midst of all the that the children of Israel and the people of Judah suffered came Isaiah, whose voice cried out in the wilderness, then came John followed by Jesus hundreds of years later, reminding the people that God is with them still, and that in the end all things will be resolved in love.

 

Listen!

 

God is the creator of the entire universe, everything belongs to God; all lands, all seas, all planets, all stars, all galaxies; everything and everyone that is in them.

 

You should know that God did not end the captivity of the children of Israel, they did.

 

This is not hubris.

 

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

 

Know this!

 

God is never angry or indignant with the people,  neither does God rescue us from our plights or the miseries of the world; that is for us to do for ourselves, it is for us to do for each other.

 

Bear witness to Peter’s struggle.

 

His mission was to call people to holiness and to a just way of life. He spoke about the fruits of such a life and the reasonable expectation that if you live a good life good things will come to you…though if truth be told there is no guarantee of that.

 

Peter knew this.

 

Treating all people with goodness and mercy, telling the truth as best as you understand it, in no way does doing these things guarantee that you will be treated the same. Therefore we may understand that the divine promise is not that you will experience justice and mercy in this world, but that there will be justice and mercy in the next.

 

Peter had been preaching on this and the return of Jesus for many years, believing that the Church would usher in the new world of justice and grace, but two thousand years has gone by and it has not happened, not yet.

 

You should know that there are many people preaching the same message, not for the good of others but for their own enrichment, as the years and decades and centuries and millennia pass, the teaching on Christian hope has become elongated elongated, the expectation is no longer that you will receive justice in this life with the return of Jesus, but in eternity.

 

Be mindful!

 

God will bring the world to an end only when God’s purpose for the world has been fulfilled. Trust that God is loving and God is patient, and it is God’s desire to save everyone. It is God’s desire to leave no one behind, and that is the true foundation of Christian faith, in keeping with the tradition of Isaiah.

 

Read your histories. Though it has had a mixed record of success the Christian tradition has always attempted to root itself in historical realities.

 

The study of the Christian tradition gave birth to modern historical and literary criticism, without which, as a culture, we would have no understanding of the uses and limitations of history whatsoever.

 

Appreciate the fact that this took eighteen hundred years to develop.

 

Our narrative concerning the life and mission, the arrest and killing of Jesus are a part of the testimony of our faith. These stories helps us to locate in time the singular moment when our cultural commitment to the teachings of Jesus took place.

 

Through the liturgy we remember the rule of Tiberius, heir to Augustus, the Herodian dynasty and Pontius Pilate. We recall the role that Pilate played in killing of Jesus, we shout it out at every hour of every day in all parts of the world; that Jesus suffered under his hand, was crucified and buried. This story is told unceasingly and without end.

 

Be mindful!

 

It is long since time that we, as heirs to the ministry and teaching of Jesus, forgive Pilate for the role he played in that political murder.

 

John the Baptist taught us to repent and be forgiven, but Jesus taught us to simply forgive. He forgave those who killed him even as they were torturing him; and he asked God to forgive them when he was up on the cross breathing his last painful breaths. It is time we followed his example and did the same. The promise of Isaiah, which John echoed in the wilderness cannot be received by us unless and until we do.

 

Know this!

 

God is the author of our salvation but we are the agents of it, and it is incumbent on us to proceed with the healing, if the human race is to be healed.

 

Consider the Gospel reading for today:

 

Isaiah did not predict the coming of John and Jesus. We know that this is true, because we believe that God, the creator of the universe, created us in freedom, and nothing in the world is pre-determined.

 

Isaiah’s movement took place over the course of a decade or more, its followers and proponents witnessed the collapse of David’s kingdom and the scattering of the Israel into the remote reaches of the Assyrian and Babylonian Empires.

 

Neither did John the Baptist predict the coming of Jesus, though he may have expressed the hope that someone like Jesus would come after him and continue his work.

 

In the time of John and Jesus the people of Judah and the children of Israel were in much the same place as they had been six hundred years earlier. They had rebuilt their cities, re-dug their wells and constructed a new temple in the land of their forebears, but they were still divided among themselves, factionalized and politically weak. They were still subject to foreign powers, and still subject to the capriciousness of kings.

 

John saw his death coming because he understood the political temper of the men and women in power in his day, like Jesus who came after him he accepted that death rather than risk the lives of his followers in a vain attempt to forestall the inevitable.

 

 

First Reading – Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11 ©

 

The Glory of the Lord Shall be Revealed and All Mankind Shall See It

 

‘Console my people, console them’ says your God.

 

‘Speak to the heart of Jerusalem and call to her that her time of service is ended, that her sin is atoned for, that she has received from the hand of the Lord double punishment for all her crimes.’

 

A voice cries, ‘Prepare in the wilderness a way for the Lord.

 

Make a straight highway for our God across the desert.

 

Let every valley be filled in, every mountain and hill be laid low.

 

Let every cliff become a plain, and the ridges a valley; then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all mankind shall see it; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.’

 

Go up on a high mountain, joyful messenger to Zion.

 

Shout with a loud voice, joyful messenger to Jerusalem.

 

Shout without fear, say to the towns of Judah, ‘Here is your God.’

 

Here is the Lord coming with power, his arm subduing all things to him.

 

The prize of his victory is with him, his trophies all go before him.

 

He is like a shepherd feeding his flock, gathering lambs in his arms, holding them against his breast and leading to their rest the mother ewes.

 

 

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 84(85): 9-14(Advent) ©

 

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

 

I will hear what the Lord God has to say,

  a voice that speaks of peace,

  peace for his people.

His help is near for those who fear him

  and his glory will dwell in our land.

 

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

 

Mercy and faithfulness have met;

  justice and peace have embraced.

Faithfulness shall spring from the earth

  and justice look down from heaven.

 

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

 

The Lord will make us prosper

  and our earth shall yield its fruit.

Justice shall march before him

  and peace shall follow his steps.

 

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

 

 

Second Reading – 2 Peter 3:8-14 ©

 

We Are Waiting for the New Heavens and the New Earth

 

There is one thing, my friends, that you must never forget: that with the Lord, ‘a day’ can mean a thousand years, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord is not being slow to carry out his promises, as anybody else might be called slow; but he is being patient with you all, wanting nobody to be lost and everybody to be brought to change his ways. The Day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then with a roar the sky will vanish, the elements will catch fire and fall apart, the earth and all that it contains will be burnt up.

 

Since everything is coming to an end like this, you should be living holy and saintly lives while you wait and long for the Day of God to come, when the sky will dissolve in flames and the elements melt in the heat. What we are waiting for is what he promised: the new heavens and new earth, the place where righteousness will be at home. So then, my friends, while you are waiting, do your best to live lives without spot or stain so that he will find you at peace.

 

 

Gospel Acclamation Luke 3:4, 6

 

Alleluia, alleluia!

 

Prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight, and all mankind shall see the salvation of God.

 

Alleluia!

 

 

The Gospel According to Mark 1:1 - 8 ©

 

A Voice Cries in the Wilderness: Prepare a Way for the Lord

 

The beginning of the Good News about Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It is written in the book of the prophet Isaiah:

 

“Look, I am going to send my messenger before you; he will prepare your way.

A voice cries in the wilderness:

 

Prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight.”

 

And so it was that John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. All Judaea and all the people of Jerusalem made their way to him, and as they were baptised by him in the river Jordan they confessed their sins. John wore a garment of camel-skin, and he lived on locusts and wild honey. In the course of his preaching he said, ‘Someone is following me, someone who is more powerful than I am, and I am not fit to kneel down and undo the strap of his sandals. I have baptised you with water, but he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit.’

 

 

The Second Sunday of Advent (Year B)




Sunday, November 29, 2020

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

First Reading – Isaiah 63:16-17& 64:1, 3-8 ©

Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 79(80):2-3, 15-16, 18-19 ©

Second Reading – 1 Corinthians 1:3-9 ©

Gospel Acclamation – Psalm 84:8

The Gospel According to Mark 13:33 - 37 ©

 

(NJB)

 

 

The First Sunday of Advent (Year B)

 

 

Listen to the prophet and trust in God, God the creator of the universe.

 

Listen!

 

God is parent to us all, and we are all laden with guilt, bearing countless transgressions: transgressions that have born fruit in the world, transgressions that have festered in our hearts, transgressions that have done real harm to ourselves and others.

 

As the prophet says: we wear our integrity like a filthy cloth.

 

And despite all of this, God loves us. God has promised to deliver us, all of us together.

 

Be mindful!

 

The psalmist misunderstands how historical events unfold and how the will of God is manifest in them.

 

Know this:

 

God is the shepherd of all people, not of Israel only.

 

God does not reside on a throne and God is not the general of armies. Those are human institutions and when we imagine God thus we do a disservice to the creator of the universe, the divine parent.

 

God’s face shines upon everyone, look for it in the face of your neighbor, in the face of your enemy, in the faces of those who persecute you. Know this, and know that God will rescue no-one from the human conditions, from the dilemmas face, the machinations of other people, or natural catastrophe.

 

God did not rescue the Israelites from Egypt.

 

God did not send the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Ptolemy’s, or the Romans, to punish the people.

 

God did not destroy the temples.

 

God will not protect you, or show you favor in this world.

 

It is up to us, God’s children, to love, show mercy and care for those who are downtrodden.

 

This is the task we have been given.

 

Listen to the Paul and be mindful!

 

If you have been baptized you have been appointed by God to be an apostles and to share the good news, the good news of God’s love for us and the promise that God has prepared the way for our salvation; for the salvation of humanity, of all people in all times and all places.

 

We are all people of the way.

 

We are all saints in the making.

 

Remember this and know that Jesus is not a lord, he is not our king, he was our brother, and he is our friend.

 

God is faithful, but God, the creator of the universe; God does not work in the world the way the apostle imagines.

 

God is revealed every day in the good works done by one human being for another, whether they are done in the name for God that we recognize or not.

 

Be mindful!

 

God will not steady you and keep you without blame.

 

God has made you free, whether you live a good life or a bad life is up to you. God will speak to you, from your heart, God will speak about the good life, but so will the voices of fear and greed, and hate.

 

It is for you to decide which you will listen to, and because you are human you will vacillate.

 

Whichever way you wander, God will forgive you, just as God asks that you forgive those who have harmed you, God also asks you to accept the forgiveness of those you have harmed, and ultimately to forgive yourself.

 

Remember:

 

God is the creator of the entire universe, all lands belong to God; all seas, all planets, all stars, all galaxies, everything and everyone that is in them.

 

Consider the Gospel reading for today.

 

We are called to diligence and mindfulness, to perpetual and continuous watchfulness.

 

That is what it means to be in the way.

 

The way of loving service is never ending, but so long as we are engaged in it, we are living in the garden.

 

Love is love, hope is hope, and trust is trust…to live out the faith means to actively trust in the goodness, the mercy and the justice of God, God the creator of the universe.

 

To live in a state of hope, requires only that we extend the hope we have for ourselves, for our friends and for our families, to the stranger in our midst, to the person who owes you money, to the person to whom you are indebted, even to your enemies.

 

To be in love, you must be loving.

 

Stay awake, be mindful, keep the lamp lit.

 

The way is like a great river; it is flowing, flowing all the time.

 

 

First Reading – Isaiah 63:16-17& 64:1, 3-8 ©

 

O That You Would Tear the Heavens Open and Come Down

 

You, Lord, yourself are our Father, ‘Our Redeemer’ is your ancient name.

 

Why, Lord, leave us to stray from your ways and harden our hearts against fearing you?

 

Return, for the sake of your servants, the tribes of your inheritance.

 

Oh, that you would tear the heavens open and come down!

– at your Presence the mountains would melt.

 

No ear has heard, no eye has seen any god but you act like this for those who trust him.

 

You guide those who act with integrity and keep your ways in mind.

 

You were angry when we were sinners; we had long been rebels against you.

 

We were all like men unclean, all that integrity of ours like filthy clothing.

 

We have all withered like leaves and our sins blew us away like the wind.

 

No one invoked your name or roused himself to catch hold of you.

 

For you hid your face from us and gave us up to the power of our sins.

 

And yet, Lord, you are our Father; we the clay, you the potter, we are all the work of your hand.

 

 

Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 79(80):2-3, 15-16, 18-19 ©

 

God of hosts, bring us back; let your face shine on us and we shall be saved.

 

O shepherd of Israel, hear us,

  shine forth from your cherubim throne.

O Lord, rouse up your might,

  O Lord, come to our help.

 

God of hosts, bring us back; let your face shine on us and we shall be saved.

 

God of hosts, turn again, we implore,

  look down from heaven and see.

Visit this vine and protect it,

  the vine your right hand has planted.

 

God of hosts, bring us back; let your face shine on us and we shall be saved.

 

May your hand be on the man you have chosen,

  the man you have given your strength.

And we shall never forsake you again;

  give us life that we may call upon your name.

 

God of hosts, bring us back; let your face shine on us and we shall be saved.

 

 

Second Reading – 1 Corinthians 1:3-9 ©

 

We are Waiting for Our Lord Jesus Christ to be Revealed

 

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ send you grace and peace.

 

I never stop thanking God for all the graces you have received through Jesus Christ. I thank him that you have been enriched in so many ways, especially in your teachers and preachers; the witness to Christ has indeed been strong among you so that you will not be without any of the gifts of the Spirit while you are waiting for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed; and he will keep you steady and without blame until the last day, the day of our Lord Jesus Christ, because God by calling you has joined you to his Son, Jesus Christ; and God is faithful.

 

 

Gospel Acclamation – Psalm 84:8

 

Alleluia, alleluia!

 

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

 

Alleluia!

 

 

The Gospel According to Mark 13:33 - 37 ©

 

If He Comes Unexpectedly, He Must Not Find You Asleep

 

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Be on your guard, stay awake, because you never know when the time will come. It is like a man travelling abroad: he has gone from home, and left his servants in charge, each with his own task; and he has told the doorkeeper to stay awake. So stay awake, because you do not know when the master of the house is coming, evening, midnight, cockcrow, dawn; if he comes unexpectedly, he must not find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake!’

 

 

The First Sunday of Advent (Year B)