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Showing posts with label John. Show all posts
Showing posts with label John. 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)




 

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

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

First Reading – Isaiah 25:6-10 ©

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 22(23) ©

Second Reading – Philippians 4:12-14, 19-20 ©

Gospel Acclamation – John 1:14, 12

Alternative Acclamation – Ephesians 1:17, 18

The Gospel According to Matthew 22:1 - 14 ©

 

(NJB)

 

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

 

Listen to the prophet and remember this, God, the creator of the universe, God seeks the well-being of all people. God is working toward the salvation of every single one of us.

 

The prophet asks us to do the same; to hope for it, to pray for it, and to wait for it in humility, with kindness and patience.

 

Everyone has a seat at the table; all people of all nations, from every clan and tribe, everyone will be healed.

 

Listen to the psalmist!

 

God is shepherd to us all, and if we walk in the way of God, we may serve as a shepherd to our sisters and brothers.

 

Whenever the circumstances of our life are such that we struggle with wants and needs, when we experience a sense of lack in our lives, know this: our time in this world is not the end of all things.

 

Everything is transitory.

 

If we are hungry, we are hungry only for a time. If we thirst, it is but for a moment.

 

We live and breathe but for a time, before we are called to the divine.

 

Trust in God, there is peace in it.

 

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

 

It is not only because God loves you that God guides you, but it is for God’s own sake that God blesses you. Follow the way, when your table is set share it with the world, and turn enemies into loved ones.

 

Consider the life of the apostle:

 

It is sad to read of him begging for money. This is not something that Jesus is ever depicted doing in the gospel.

 

Jesus never asked for anything for himself, but only for the poor.

 

It is sad to read of the apostle promising the communities of believers that God will reward them lavishly now that they have given him everything he needs…neither salvation not its promise is a commodity to be exchange.

 

Much harm has come to the world because of these words, many priests and bishops and would be prophets have enriched themselves while doing little for the poor.

 

Listen!

 

Do not repeat the errors of John, do not depart from the message that all people are the children of God, we do not come into being by any other power, not by a power that comes from within us, neither by a power that is external to us. We are born as children of God, created in the Word, by the Word and through the Word.

 

Our status as children of God is as unconditional as God’s love for us.

 

Remember this, and meditate on the life of Jesus, and God; whom he called Father

 

May each and every one of come to the full knowledge of God. There is hope in the knowledge of God, and remember this, the hopes you have for yourself and for those you love are meant to be extended to everyone; even those you do not love, for that is the way God leads us and that is the way God heals us.

 

If you think that God has promised riches and glories to be the inheritance of the saints; remember that the first will be last and the last will be first, and that riches are not counted in gold and silver and precious things.

 

Know this, God considers the greatest glory to be the divine parents living in relation to us, that is the secret of the Gospel.

 

Consider the Gospel reading for today:

 

It is shameful when the Gospel writers betray the teaching and mission of Jesus, when they allow their own fears and their own reflections on the tribulations they suffered to warp the Good News that Jesus proclaimed as the way to God.

 

Let it be understood that heaven is not a kingdom, it is a garden, and God is not a king, god is a loving parent. Jesus is not a princeling, he is our brother.

 

Any reflection on the way that does not reflect those principles, is a distortion or a deliberate deception.

 

God does not command troops, God is not a warrior, God does not deliver the death sentence as punishment for any crime.

 

God’s Justice is merciful, it is loving and kind.

 

As Isaiah said, God has laid a table for everyone to share. God has invited the good and the bad alike, the rich and the poor, the friend and the stranger, everyone to a place there.

 

The feast at God’s table is less a wedding celebration and more of a family reunion, the feast is not to celebrate the joining of two, who were not one already, but the celebration of a unity that pre-exists all things.

 

All people are the children of God.

 

We are all brothers and sisters in Christ, whether we know it or not.

 

At the feast in the garden, there are no wedding garments, we wear no badges, we are not asked to present credentials. Everyone is welcome and none are rejected, there will be no darkness, no weeping and no gnashing of teeth.

 

First Reading – Isaiah 25:6-10 ©

The Lord Will Prepare a Banquet for Every Nation

 

On this mountain, the Lord of hosts will prepare for all peoples a banquet of rich food, a banquet of fine wines, of food rich and juicy, of fine strained wines.

 

On this mountain he will remove the mourning veil covering all peoples, and the shroud enwrapping all nations, he will destroy Death for ever.

 

The Lord will wipe away the tears from every cheek; he will take away his people’s shame everywhere on earth, for the Lord has said so.

 

That day, it will be said: See, this is our God in whom we hoped for salvation; the Lord is the one in whom we hoped.

 

We exult and we rejoice that he has saved us; for the hand of the Lord rests on this mountain.

 

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 22(23) ©

 

In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell for ever and ever.

 

The Lord is my shepherd;

  there is nothing I shall want.

Fresh and green are the pastures

  where he gives me repose.

Near restful waters he leads me,

  to revive my drooping spirit.

 

In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell for ever and ever.

 

He guides me along the right path;

  he is true to his name.

If I should walk in the valley of darkness

  no evil would I fear.

You are there with your crook and your staff;

  with these you give me comfort.

 

In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell for ever and ever.

 

You have prepared a banquet for me

  in the sight of my foes.

My head you have anointed with oil;

  my cup is overflowing.

 

In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell for ever and ever.

 

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.

 

In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell for ever and ever.

 

Second Reading – Philippians 4:12-14, 19-20 ©

With the Help of the One Who Gives Me Strength, There Is Nothing I Cannot Master

 

I know how to be poor and I know how to be rich too. I have been through my initiation and now I am ready for anything anywhere: full stomach or empty stomach, poverty or plenty. There is nothing I cannot master with the help of the One who gives me strength. All the same, it was good of you to share with me in my hardships. In return my God will fulfil all your needs, in Christ Jesus, as lavishly as only God can. Glory to God, our Father, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Gospel Acclamation – John 1:14, 12

 

Alleluia, alleluia!

 

The Word was made flesh and lived among us: to all who did accept him he gave power to become children of God.

 

Alleluia!

 

Alternative Acclamation – Ephesians 1:17, 18

 

Alleluia, alleluia!

 

May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ enlighten the eyes of our mind, so that we can see what hope his call holds for us.

 

Alleluia!

 

The Gospel According to Matthew 22:1 - 14 ©


Invite Everyone You Can to the Wedding

Jesus began to speak to the chief priests and elders of the people in parables: ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a feast for his son’s wedding. He sent his servants to call those who had been invited, but they would not come. Next he sent some more servants. “Tell those who have been invited” he said “that I have my banquet all prepared, my oxen and fattened cattle have been slaughtered, everything is ready. Come to the wedding.” But they were not interested: one went off to his farm, another to his business, and the rest seized his servants, maltreated them and killed them. The king was furious. He despatched his troops, destroyed those murderers and burnt their town. Then he said to his servants, “The wedding is ready; but as those who were invited proved to be unworthy, go to the crossroads in the town and invite everyone you can find to the wedding.” So these servants went out on to the roads and collected together everyone they could find, bad and good alike; and the wedding hall was filled with guests. When the king came in to look at the guests he noticed one man who was not wearing a wedding garment, and said to him, “How did you get in here, my friend, without a wedding garment?” And the man was silent. Then the king said to the attendants, “Bind him hand and foot and throw him out into the dark, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.” For many are called, but few are chosen.’

 

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




Sunday, October 4, 2020

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

First Reading – Isaiah 5:1-7 ©

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 79(80):9, 12-16, 19-20 ©

Second Reading – Philippians 4:6-9 ©

Gospel Acclamation – John 15:15

Alternative Acclamation – John 15:16

The Gospel According to Matthew 21:33 - 43 ©

 

(NJB)

 

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

 

Be mindful of the prophet’s words, and know this:

God, the creator of the universe, God does not directly intervene in the affairs of human beings, but nevertheless there is an intention behind creation and God is pulling all of us toward God’s desired end.

God wills that we be good and just, loving and kind, humble and accepting, but God does not create us with these qualities fully matured, preferring that we develop them naturally throughout the course of our lives.

The prophet likens humanity to a vineyard:

In one generation a vineyard will produce beautiful fruit, in another generation it will be sour.

A single vine in the vineyard will produce fruit of mixed quality, some branches will dry up and wither, while others go on to produce a wonderful bounty.

In one year a vineyard will go to rot, in another it will be restored.

Briar patches and thorns may impede the vine in one season, while at the same time returning vitality to the soil.

This is the way of things, and it is the way of all human  institutions, it is the way of civilization, and the Church is not excepted from this rule.

Be mindful of the writings of the psalmist, the psalmist  frequently misunderstands how historical events unfold in relation to the will of God.

God did not rescue the Israelites from Egypt. God did not send the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Ptolemy’s, or the Romans. God did not destroy the temples, and God will not protect you, or show you favor in this world no matter how fervently you pray.

Know this!

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

God does not reside on a throne and God is not a general who comes at the head of an army. When we imagine God thus we do a disservice to the divine.

God’s face shines on everyone, look for it in the face of your neighbor, in the face of your enemy, in the faces of those who persecute you.

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

It is the desire of God that all people be well and happy. God desires that we be tolerant of one another and care for one another, that we serve the happiness of our neighbors with a spirit of charity. Therein rests the peace of God, in the work of a servant

Meditate on what is true, to the truth that ennobles us and is rooted in love. Commit yourself to what is good, known by the good fruit that goodness bears and the benefit that is derived in the community from it.

Be mindful of those who seek honors, speak of virtue and love praise, these are good and lofty things, but we are easily deceived by them and easily deceived for them.

Know this!

The greatest commandment is love, and love is the whole of the law.

To love one another, to give of one’s self to another in love, there is no greater gift.

The love that we are called to is not the love we call desire, though to desire and be desired is an experience of great joy.

We are called to move past desire and to move past the love we have for family and friends, because to love those nearest to us is only a short extension of the love we have for ourselves, seeing ourselves in the faces of our mothers and fathers, seeing our ambitions as tied to the ambitions of our friends. It is good to love in this capacity but we are called to love in a greater capacity than that.

We are called to love to the point of selflessness, to love even those who are against us, to love our enemies, to forgive those who have hurt us and done us harm, to feed the stranger and protect them…to do so out of love.

This is the great commandment.

Consider the Gospel for today, it is a piece of pure propaganda. It is an apology.

It is an attempt by the writers of Matthew’s Gospel, written in the first generation after the Roman conquest of Palestine and the destruction of the Temple, to explain to a largely Jewish audience, the divine purpose behind those events.

While Matthew’s community was predominately Jewish, there were gentile converts among them, and the warning to the readership is this: if you do not give up your insistence on retaining your distinctively Jewish traditions, you will be destroyed and the gentiles among you will take your place a heirs to the promises that God made to your ancestors.

The narrative is one that the writers of Matthew borrowed from the early prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah and Daniel, whose books were also written in the apologetic mode, to explain the destruction of Israel by the Assyrians, the destruction of Judea by the Babylonians and the invasion of the Holy Land by Antiochus Epiphanes.

The basic move that all of these writers make is to explain current events through the lens of past events. In this case they are putting a prophecy in Jesus’ mouth to explain the Roman invasion of Palestine and the destruction of the temple, along with the ongoing persecution of the Jewish people.

The lesson they intended to impart is this:

Everything unfolds according to God’s plan. If you resist God’s plan you will be destroyed and all of your hopes will be dashed. It has happened before and it will happen again.

Be mindful.

All good things come from God.

Nothing you have belongs to you, it can be taken away in the blink of an eye.

Listen to me now, this reading is flawed.

 

First Reading – Isaiah 5:1-7 ©

Against the Lord’s Vineyard

 

Let me sing to my friend the song of his love for his vineyard.

My friend had a vineyard on a fertile hillside.

He dug the soil, cleared it of stones and planted choice vines in it.

In the middle he built a tower, he dug a press there too.

He expected it to yield grapes, but sour grapes were all that it gave.

And now, inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, I ask you to judge between my vineyard and me.

What could I have done for my vineyard that I have not done?

I expected it to yield grapes.

Why did it yield sour grapes instead?

Very well, I will tell you what I am going to do to my vineyard: I will take away its hedge for it to be grazed on, and knock down its wall for it to be trampled on.

I will lay it waste, unpruned, undug; overgrown by the briar and the thorn.

I will command the clouds to rain no rain on it.

Yes, the vineyard of the Lord of Hosts is the House of Israel, and the men of Judah that chosen plant.

He expected justice, but found bloodshed, integrity, but only a cry of distress.

 

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 79(80):9, 12-16, 19-20 ©


The vineyard of the Lord is the house of Israel.

 

You brought a vine out of Egypt;

  to plant it you drove out the nations.

It stretched out its branches to the sea,

  to the Great River it stretched out its shoots.

 

The vineyard of the Lord is the house of Israel.

 

Then why have you broken down its walls?

  It is plucked by all who pass by.

It is ravaged by the boar of the forest,

  devoured by the beasts of the field.

 

The vineyard of the Lord is the house of Israel.

 

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.

 

The vineyard of the Lord is the house of Israel.

 

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.

 

The vineyard of the Lord is the house of Israel.

 

Second Reading – Philippians 4:6-9 ©

If there is Anything You Need, Pray For It.


There is no need to worry; but if there is anything you need, pray for it, asking God for it with prayer and thanksgiving, and that peace of God, which is so much greater than we can understand, will guard your hearts and your thoughts, in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, fill your minds with everything that is true, everything that is noble, everything that is good and pure, everything that we love and honour, and everything that can be thought virtuous or worthy of praise. Keep doing all the things that you learnt from me and have been taught by me and have heard or seen that I do. Then the God of peace will be with you.


Gospel Acclamation  Jn15:15

 

Alleluia, alleluia!

I call you friends, says the Lord, because I have made known to you everything I have learnt from my Father.

Alleluia!

 

Alternative Acclamation – John 15:16

 

Alleluia, alleluia!

I chose you from the world to go out and bear fruit, fruit that will last, says the Lord.

Alleluia!

 

The Gospel According to Matthew 21:33 - 43 ©

This is the Landlord's Heir: Come, Let Us Kill Him

 

Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people, ‘Listen to another parable. There was a man, a landowner, who planted a vineyard; he fenced it round, dug a winepress in it and built a tower; then he leased it to tenants and went abroad. When vintage time drew near he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his produce. But the tenants seized his servants, thrashed one, killed another and stoned a third. Next he sent some more servants, this time a larger number, and they dealt with them in the same way. Finally he sent his son to them. “They will respect my son” he said. But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, “This is the heir. Come on, let us kill him and take over his inheritance.” So they seized him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?’ They answered, ‘He will bring those wretches to a wretched end and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will deliver the produce to him when the season arrives.’ Jesus said to them, ‘Have you never read in the scriptures:


It was the stone rejected by the builders

that became the keystone.

This was the Lord’s doing

and it is wonderful to see?

 

‘I tell you, then, that the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.’

 

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