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Showing posts with label Old Testament. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Old Testament. 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 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)

 



Sunday, November 8, 2020

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

First Reading – Wisdom 6:12-16 ©

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 62(63):2-8 ©

Second Reading – 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 ©

Gospel Acclamation – Matthew 24:42, 44

The Gospel According to Matthew 25:1 - 13 ©

 

(NJB)

 

 

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

 

 

Remember this!

 

God, the creator of the universe; God has nothing to do with the appointment of kings or the management of kingdoms.

 

Wise men and despots alike rise to the role of ruler, though it is more difficult for the wise man than the despot. Justice and mercy, kindness and grace, these qualities are always received as blessings to those in need of them, and the exhibition of them blesses those who administer them as well. However, the kind and the merciful are easily overrun by those whose thoughts are only for themselves.

 

A despot may rule for generations, founding dynasties that abuse the people whom they are charged to uplift and defend.

 

This is the way of the world, and this is the way that God made it, even though it is not the way God desires it to be.

 

God created the universe and our world within it, God brought forth human beings but not the character of human culture, God has left that in our hands, and God calls us to sanctify it.

 

Consider the words of the psalmist.

 

It is right to thank God; the creator of the universe for all the good things that come our way, but do not blame God for the hardships we suffer in this life, in these bodies.

 

The good and the bad come to us irrespective of who we are, what we do or have done or who we might become. There is no plan it. God is no respecter of persons, and God does not love anyone of God’s children more than God loves any other.

 

Praise God and give thanks for the good; do not dwell on the bad.

 

There is peace to be had in patience and contemplation, in meditation and prayer. Make your life a constant prayer for the grace which comes from God and brings peace to you spirit.

 

Let the peace of God within you bubble up like a fountain an overflow so that others may quench their thirst and be nourished by it

 

Be mindful of what the apostle says!

 

Jesus rose from death; this is the gospel, and it will be the same for those who have died in him.

 

The living have no advantage over the dead. Jesus will bring all of those who die in him, with him, to life everlasting.

 

Now remember the teaching of John!

 

All things and beings exist in the Word who is God, and not one thing exists without God.

 

Through God all things came to be and in God all things continue.

 

Be mindful!

 

The future history of the world has not been written.

 

Any suppositions about our future on earth are guesses. We can speak in terms of possibility and probability, but we cannot know anything about the days and nights to come.

 

There are thousands of ways in which the plans we have laid and the hopes which we cherish can come undone; lightening will strike, a tornado will blow, a meteor will fall, a volcano explode. A person in the fullness of their life may trip and fall, hit their head and die, leaving everything behind them.

 

The promises we have received from God are not of this world. God has promised to bring an end to suffering, injustice, hunger, illness. It is wise to believe in these promise, but not to expect them in this life.

 

Our belief in a loving God, our hope in the words of the prophets, our trust in the Gospel, these allow us to believe that this is true. But anyone who pretends to know for certain, they are over stating their case.

 

Consider the Gospel for today.

 

The parable is a rank betrayal of the way.

 

The writers and editors of Matthew’s gospel, did not understand the basic meaning of the most prevalent teaching that Jesus’ gave, “the last will be first and the first will be last.”

 

These imposters in the early church betrayed the teaching of Jesus providing justification for their miserly behavior and ambitions. Those who would withhold from others the gifts they had received from God under the mistaken notion that the gifts of heaven are distributed according to some standard other than the selfless love God has for all of God’s children, those people do harm to the promise of the Gospel and obscure the way. A person is not rewarded in because they are smart, people are not punished because they are foolish or unprepared.

 

The commandment that Jesus issued is simple: Love one another, as I have loved you.

 

To be a Christian means that you have made a commitment to love God with all your heart, and all your strength and all your mind. A Christian is meant to love their neighbor even as they love themselves. Jesus tells us that within these words the entire code of the law, and all of the teachings of the prophets are contained.

 

Jesus expressed his understanding of this law in the most beautiful synthesis: Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.

 

This parable in today’s Gospel betrays that teaching. The writers of Matthew’s Gospel put a lie in the mouth of Jesus, in doing so they did great damage to everyone who sought to follow in the way after them.

 

 

First Reading – Wisdom 6:12-16 ©

 

Wisdom is Found by Those Who Look for Her

 

Wisdom is bright, and does not grow dim.

 

By those who love her she is readily seen, and found by those who look for her.

 

Quick to anticipate those who desire her, she makes herself known to them.

 

Watch for her early and you will have no trouble; you will find her sitting at your gates.

 

Even to think about her is understanding fully grown; be on the alert for her and anxiety will quickly leave you.

 

She herself walks about looking for those who are worthy of her and graciously shows herself to them as they go, in every thought of theirs coming to meet them.

 

 

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 62(63):2-8 ©

 

For you my soul is thirsting, O God, my God.

 

O God, you are my God, for you I long;

  for you my soul is thirsting.

My body pines for you

  like a dry, weary land without water.

 

For you my soul is thirsting, O God, my God.

 

So I gaze on you in the sanctuary

  to see your strength and your glory.

For your love is better than life,

  my lips will speak your praise.

 

For you my soul is thirsting, O God, my God.

 

So I will bless you all my life,

  in your name I will lift up my hands.

My soul shall be filled as with a banquet,

  my mouth shall praise you with joy.

 

For you my soul is thirsting, O God, my God.

 

On my bed I remember you.

  On you I muse through the night

for you have been my help;

  in the shadow of your wings I rejoice.

 

For you my soul is thirsting, O God, my God.

 

 

Second Reading – 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 ©

 

Do Not Grieve About Those Who Have Died in Jesus

 

We want you to be quite certain, brothers, about those who have died, to make sure that you do not grieve about them, like the other people who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again, and that it will be the same for those who have died in Jesus: God will bring them with him. We can tell you this from the Lord’s own teaching, that any of us who are left alive until the Lord’s coming will not have any advantage over those who have died. At the trumpet of God, the voice of the archangel will call out the command and the Lord himself will come down from heaven; those who have died in Christ will be the first to rise, and then those of us who are still alive will be taken up in the clouds, together with them; to meet the Lord in the air. So we shall stay with the Lord for ever. With such thoughts as these you should comfort one another.

 

 

Gospel Acclamation – Matthew 24:42, 44

 

Alleluia, alleluia!

 

Stay awake and stand ready, because you do not know the hour when the Son of Man is coming.

 

Alleluia!

 

 

The Gospel According to Matthew 25:1 - 13 ©

 

The Wise and Foolish Virgins

 

Jesus told this parable to his disciples: ‘The kingdom of heaven will be like this: Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were sensible: the foolish ones did take their lamps, but they brought no oil, whereas the sensible ones took flasks of oil as well as their lamps. The bridegroom was late, and they all grew drowsy and fell asleep. But at midnight there was a cry, “The bridegroom is here! Go out and meet him.” At this, all those bridesmaids woke up and trimmed their lamps, and the foolish ones said to the sensible ones, “Give us some of your oil: our lamps are going out.” But they replied, “There may not be enough for us and for you; you had better go to those who sell it and buy some for yourselves.” They had gone off to buy it when the bridegroom arrived. Those who were ready went in with him to the wedding hall and the door was closed. The other bridesmaids arrived later. “Lord, Lord,” they said “open the door for us.” But he replied, “I tell you solemnly, I do not know you.” So stay awake, because you do not know either the day or the hour.’

 

 

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