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Showing posts with label Homiletics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Homiletics. Show all posts

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)




Sunday, November 22, 2020

A Homily - The Thirty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A), The Solemnity of Christ the King

First Reading - Ezekiel 34:11-12, 15-17 ©

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 22(23):1-3a, 5-6 ©

Second Reading – 1 Corinthians 15:20-26, 28 ©

Gospel Acclamation – Mark 11:10

The Gospel According to Matthew 25:31 - 46 ©

 

(NJB)

 

 

The Thirty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A), The Solemnity of Christ the King

 

 

Consider the words of the prophet, this is the divine injunction: Carry out the will of God, the impetus for which is in your heart.

 

Be forgiving.

 

Be just.

 

Be mindful.

 

Be humble.

 

Be watchful.

 

Be caring.

 

Look after the well-being of all who come your way; as you treat the stranger, so do you treat God, the creator of the universe.

 

Know this!

 

God looks out for everyone, the whole of the flock, humanity, is in God’s care, and God is determined not to lose a single one of us. God will seek out the lost, bring back the stray, heal the wounded and strengthen the weak.

As the psalmist says:

 

God, the creator of the universe, God is shepherd to us all.

 

If we walk in the ways of God, we will be as a shepherd to our sisters and brothers.

 

Whatever it is that we experience of lack, our time in this world is not the end of all things. It is transitory. If we are hungry, we are hungry only for a time. If we thirst, it is but for a moment.

 

Trust in God and find peace therein. In the end you will be fulfilled.

 

It is not only because God loves you that God guides you, but it is for the God’s own sake that God blesses you.

 

The power of death and sin are temporary, it is only God that endures forever, and we are the children of God, the divine dwells within us.

 

If God has set a table before you, share it with the world; turn enemies into loved ones.

 

Be mindful of the apostle’s words.

 

The Apostle has a deep liking for circular arguments. The reading for today begins in circularity. Paul insists that Christ must be raised from the dead or his faith, and the faith of Christians everywhere is in vain, because the faith of Christians everywhere is not in vain, he says that we must believe that there is a resurrection, and the risen Christ is the proof of it.

 

This is not a reasonable argument. Set it aside, because it has no bearing on the main point of this passage.

 

The main point is this:

 

Sin and death enter through the world from a single point in time, and it is another singularity that brings sin and death to an end.

 

Adam causes the fall, Christ lifts creation back up.

 

The scope of their work is equal and includes the totality of all living beings: past, present and future.

 

Listen to the apostle; who understand the ways of God. We are created all-together as one. We are one creation in God. In our failures and our faith we are one. 

 

Remember this!

 

God is not a king, a prince or a lord.

 

The Church, following in the way Jesus taught, can never be the extension of a royal dynasty, and should not be seen as one.

 

The reading for today contains much of what is true, and much that is false.

 

Let us begin with this:

 

Jesus is not a king, nor is he an emperor.

 

Jesus is our brother, Jesus is a friend.

 

The glory of Christ is expressed in his mercy, you will not find Christ seated on a throne, commanding armies of angels, with the nations assembled before him.

 

It is the duty of all Christians, of all who would follow in the way of Jesus to reject such images. They lead to fallacies.

 

What is true is this:

 

Our love and fidelity to God and Christ is expressed in how we treat one another; rich or poor, weak or strong, right or wrong.

 

Among the ancient Hebrews, both the sheep and the goats were integral to their community, the Hebrews tended and cared for flocks of each. Both the sheep and the goats belonged to the community..

 

We are one human family, we are not sheep and goats, we are never divided by God, we are only divided by each other.

 

We must reject all such efforts to divide us.

 

In our human family there is good and bad, there are right and wrong. We are called on to foster the good, and forgive the bad. We are called by Jesus to forgive even those who do us harm.

 

 

First Reading - Ezekiel 34:11-12, 15-17 ©

 

The Lord Will Judge Between Sheep and Sheep

 

The Lord says this: I am going to look after my flock myself and keep all of it in view. As a shepherd keeps all his flock in view when he stands up in the middle of his scattered sheep, so shall I keep my sheep in view. I shall rescue them from wherever they have been scattered during the mist and darkness. I myself will pasture my sheep, I myself will show them where to rest – it is the Lord who speaks. I shall look for the lost one, bring back the stray, bandage the wounded and make the weak strong. I shall watch over the fat and healthy. I shall be a true shepherd to them.

 

As for you, my sheep, the Lord says this: I will judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and he-goats.

 

 

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 22(23):1-3a, 5-6 ©

 

The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

 

The Lord is my shepherd;

  there is nothing I shall want.

Fresh and green are the pastures

  where he gives me repose.

 

The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

 

Near restful waters he leads me,

  to revive my drooping spirit.

He guides me along the right path;

  he is true to his name.

 

The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

 

You have prepared a banquet for me

  in the sight of my foes.

My head you have anointed with oil;

  my cup is overflowing.

 

The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

 

Surely goodness and kindness shall follow me

  all the days of my life.

In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell

  for ever and ever.

 

The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

 

 

Second Reading – 1 Corinthians 15:20-26, 28 ©

 

Christ Will Hand Over the Kingdom to God the Father; So that God May Be All in All

 

Christ has been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of all who have fallen asleep. Death came through one man and in the same way the resurrection of the dead has come through one man. Just as all men die in Adam, so all men will be brought to life in Christ; but all of them in their proper order: Christ as the first-fruits and then, after the coming of Christ, those who belong to him. After that will come the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, having done away with every sovereignty, authority and power. For he must be king until he has put all his enemies under his feet and the last of the enemies to be destroyed is death, for everything is to be put under his feet. And when everything is subjected to him, then the Son himself will be subject in his turn to the One who subjected all things to him, so that God may be all in all.

 

 

Gospel Acclamation – Mark 11:10

 

Alleluia, alleluia!

 

Blessings on him who comes in the name of the Lord!

 

Blessings on the coming kingdom of our father David!

 

Alleluia!

 

 

The Gospel According to Matthew 25:31 - 46 ©

 

I Was Naked and You Clothed Me; Sick, and You Visited Me

 

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘When the Son of Man comes in his glory, escorted by all the angels, then he will take his seat on his throne of glory. All the nations will be assembled before him and he will separate men one from another as the shepherd separates sheep from goats. He will place the sheep on his right hand and the goats on his left.

 

‘Then the King will say to those on his right hand, “Come, you whom my Father has blessed, take for your heritage the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you made me welcome; naked and you clothed me, sick and you visited me, in prison and you came to see me.” Then the virtuous will say to him in reply, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you; or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and make you welcome; naked and clothe you; sick or in prison and go to see you?” And the King will answer, “I tell you solemnly, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me.”

 

‘Next he will say to those on his left hand, “Go away from me, with your curse upon you, to the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you never gave me food; I was thirsty and you never gave me anything to drink; I was a stranger and you never made me welcome, naked and you never clothed me, sick and in prison and you never visited me.” Then it will be their turn to ask, “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty, a stranger or naked, sick or in prison, and did not come to your help?” Then he will answer, “I tell you solemnly, in so far as you neglected to do this to one of the least of these, you neglected to do it to me.”

  

‘And they will go away to eternal punishment, and the virtuous to eternal life.’

 

 

The Thirty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A), The Solemnity of Christ the King




Sunday, November 15, 2020

A Homily - The Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

First Reading - Proverbs 31:10-13, 19-20, 30-31 ©

Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 127(128):1-5 ©

Second Reading – 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6 ©

Gospel Acclamation – Revelation 2:10

Alternative Acclamation – John 15:4, 5

The Gospel According to Matthew 25:14 - 30 ©

 

(NJB)

 

 

The Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

 

 

Consider these words of wisdom and be mindful; everyone has fallen short of perfection.

 

Know this!

 

The psalmist is in error.

 

It is vanity to believe that God will come to your aid when you are engaged in a dispute with your sisters or brothers, or in any dispute in all.

 

It is vanity and foolishness to believe that God will secure the foundation of your house or the peace of your city, the stability of your nation or the well-being of the world.

 

It is vanity and hubris to assume that those who labor from dawn to dusk are loved less by God than those who do not toil at all.

 

It is vanity and hubris to believe that God places sons in the wombs of the mothers on behalf of the fathers whom God loves.

 

God does not favor husbands over wives, God does not favor brothers over sisters, God does not favor sons over daughters.

 

God does not intervene in our affairs.

Listen to the apostle!

 

When Saint Paul says that we belong to the light, he is speaking to all of the children of Adam, to the entirety of the human race. He is speaking to the world, his audience is everyone; the message is timeless, unbounded; it comes from the infinite.

 

Be mindful!

 

The gift of grace is not transactional; God gives it freely, the creator of the universe gives grace to all, no one is excluded.

 

God is present throughout creation; there is no place where God is not. God touches every person, God sustains every living-breathing thing, God undergirds the whole created order, Christian and non-Christian alike, the good, the bad and the ugly.

 

Consider the Gospel reading for today:

 

It is heartbreaking to see the teaching of Jesus betrayed so completely by the writers of the Gospels.

 

The authors of Matthew, writing a hundred years or so after the death of Jesus, were more concerned with building up and retaining church property than they were with teaching the good news, that Christ has risen, that God loves the sinner, even the worst of them.

 

It is impossible to know how the way came to be betrayed in such a fulsome and complete manner, but I am thinking it has to do with the fact that over the course of a hundred years, after the destruction of Jerusalem, the leadership of Christian communities throughout the Empire fell to the wealthy, bishops were selected from among leading merchants and tradespeople, from among landowners and people of status.

 

It is not surprising that in this time the way that Jesus preached about came to be imagined as a kingdom, while abba, the father, became a king.

 

This parable views God or Jesus as a merchant and a banker, instead of a fisherman or a carpenter, a shepherd or a farmer.

 

The parable begins with the idea that God will distribute challenges and tasks to the people according their ability, that God knows both the powers and liabilities of God’s children, and consequently God knows what to expect from them.

 

Therefore, it is out of character for the loving and knowing God to punish the servant who buried his one talent. God knew that this is what this servant would do.

 

According to the way of Jesus, the servant who buried the talent should be the recipient of mercy, of a loving ministry, not cast out and left in the dark.

 

One hundred years after the death of Jesus, the leaders of the church had forgotten this.

 

The servant who hid the talent was not lazy, as the “master” said, but was fearful because he knew that the man he was beholden to was a hard person, who took what he had not worked for, robbing others of the fruit of their labor.

 

This servant did not multiply his talent as the others had done because he did not want to emulate the corrupt practices of his master as the others were willing to do.

 

Again, the master, who represents either God or Jesus in this parable, does not deny being hard of heart, and does not deny the charge of being a thief, reaping what he had not sewn, and gathering what he had not scattered.

 

He is proud of it, and that is the type of behavior he intended to promote.

 

He charges the frightened servant with laziness, with neglect and stupidity, calling him a good-for-nothing and has him thrown into the dark, into the place of wailing and gnashing of teeth, into hell, the place of death.

 

Through this twist in the narrative the authors of this parable up-end Jesus’ teaching, that the last will be first and the first shall be last.

 

The true reading of this parable is this:

 

The man who was thrown out represents the figure of Christ. Like Christ he refused to emulate the wicked practices of the rulers, he refused to profit from the suffering of others, he knew that he would be punished and he accepted the consequences. He was proven right, and he was killed for his convictions.

 

 

First Reading - Proverbs 31:10-13, 19-20, 30-31 ©

 

A Perfect Wife - Who Can Find Her?

 

A perfect wife – who can find her?

 

She is far beyond the price of pearls.

 

Her husband’s heart has confidence in her, from her he will derive no little profit.

 

Advantage and not hurt she brings him all the days of her life.

 

She is always busy with wool and with flax, she does her work with eager hands.

 

She sets her hands to the distaff, her fingers grasp the spindle.

 

She holds out her hand to the poor, she opens her arms to the needy.

 

Charm is deceitful, and beauty empty; the woman who is wise is the one to praise.

 

Give her a share in what her hands have worked for, and let her works tell her praises at the city gates.

 

Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 127(128):1-5 ©

 

O blessed are those who fear the Lord.

 

O blessed are those who fear the Lord

  and walk in his ways!

By the labour of your hands you shall eat.

  You will be happy and prosper.

 

O blessed are those who fear the Lord.

 

Your wife will be like a fruitful vine

  in the heart of your house;

your children like shoots of the olive,

  around your table.

 

O blessed are those who fear the Lord.

 

Indeed thus shall be blessed

  the man who fears the Lord.

May the Lord bless you from Zion

  all the days of your life!

 

O blessed are those who fear the Lord.

 

 

Second Reading – 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6 ©

 

God Will Bring with Him Those Who Have Died in Jesus

 

You will not be expecting us to write anything to you, brothers, about ‘times and seasons’, since you know very well that the Day of the Lord is going to come like a thief in the night. It is when people are saying, ‘How quiet and peaceful it is’ that the worst suddenly happens, as suddenly as labour pains come on a pregnant woman; and there will be no way for anybody to evade it.

 

But it is not as if you live in the dark, my brothers, for that Day to overtake you like a thief. No, you are all sons of light and sons of the day: we do not belong to the night or to darkness, so we should not go on sleeping, as everyone else does, but stay wide awake and sober.

 

 

Gospel Acclamation – Revelation 2:10

 

Alleluia, alleluia!

 

Even if you have to die, says the Lord, keep faithful, and I will give you the crown of life.

 

Alleluia!

 

 

Alternative Acclamation – John 15:4, 5

 

Alleluia, alleluia!

 

Make your home in me, as I make mine in you. Whoever remains in me bears fruit in plenty.

 

Alleluia!

 

 

The Gospel According to Matthew 25:14 - 30 ©

 

You Have Been Faithful in Small Things: Come and Join in Your Master's Happiness

 

Jesus spoke this parable to his disciples: ‘The kingdom of Heaven is like a man on his way abroad who summoned his servants and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to a third one; each in proportion to his ability. Then he set out.

 

‘The man who had received the five talents promptly went and traded with them and made five more. The man who had received two made two more in the same way. But the man who had received one went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

 

‘Now a long time after, the master of those servants came back and went through his accounts with them. The man who had received the five talents came forward bringing five more. “Sir,” he said “you entrusted me with five talents; here are five more that I have made.”

 

‘His master said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have shown you can be faithful in small things, I will trust you with greater; come and join in your master’s happiness.”

 

‘Next the man with the two talents came forward. “Sir,” he said “you entrusted me with two talents; here are two more that I have made.” His master said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have shown you can be faithful in small things, I will trust you with greater; come and join in your master’s happiness.”

 

‘Last came forward the man who had the one talent. “Sir,” said he “I had heard you were a hard man, reaping where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered; so I was afraid, and I went off and hid your talent in the ground. Here it is; it was yours, you have it back.” But his master answered him, “You wicked and lazy servant! So you knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered? Well then, you should have deposited my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have recovered my capital with interest. So now, take the talent from him and give it to the man who has the five talents. For to everyone who has will be given more, and he will have more than enough; but from the man who has not, even what he has will be taken away. As for this good-for-nothing servant, throw him out into the dark, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.”’

 

 

The Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)