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

First Reading – Ecclesiasticus 27:33-28:9 ©

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 102(103):1-4, 9-12 ©

Second Reading – Romans 14:7-9 ©

Gospel Acclamation – 1 Samuel 3:9, John 6:68

Alternative Acclamation – John 13:34

The Gospel According to Matthew 18:21 – 35 ©

(NJB)

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

Be mindful of the sage, let wisdom points to the way.

Love your neighbor, including the stranger among you. Pray for those who persecute you, forgive and seek forgiveness, accept it when it is offered.

Walk with humility, be merciful and love justice all the days of your life, these are the teaching of Jesus.

Where the author of Ecclesiasticus errs is when he suggests that God keeps account of our sins; the creator of the universe is not a bookkeeper, or a banker. Our lives are not summarized by a double entry ledger, marking our merits and demerits.

The economy of salvation is not a marketplace where we exchange mercy for mercy.

Grace is a gift, and all of God’s children receive it freely.

No one is left out.

Consider the words of the psalmist:

Give thanks to God, for the peace of God’s blessing, for the blessing of life, of freedom, of self-determination and every other aspect of our being that contributes to our personhood.

Give thanks to those who are loving, to the peacemakers and bless them as you are able.

Bless all of God’s children, as God does, love them all, both the good and the bad, the helpful and the harmful, the just and the unjust.

And remember this, God is not a king, God is not a Lord. God does not favor one group over another. God does not intervene in the affairs of human beings.

God, the creator of the universe, God is the God of everything, of everyone, in all places and all times.

God always identifies with us, desires what is good for us and works in subtle ways to bring us toward that end. God is confident of God’s plan and the fulfillment of God’s will, even if we are not.

Listen!

When leaders arise among us we must acknowledge them; when that leadership is pure, and we see that their work is holy we must acknowledge that. Though in acknowledging these things it is important that we do not embellish.

Know this:

God speaks to all people. God speaks in the human heart. God is present to anyone who will listen, but God does not favor some over others, and God does not appear in visions.

In every way, but the way of the hear, God is silent.

This is the good news: God loves you and you are saved. You are not saved for anything that you have done, you did not earn your salvation, you are saved because God loves you.

The promise of salvation is not that you will be spared from suffering and torment in hell, or that when you are judged God will forgive you.

God has already forgiven you. You are already saved.

God has prepared you as God has prepared everyone, for eternal life.

Believe it!

Let the goodness of the promise flow through you now, and start living this life as if it were true.

We are not called to believe in the idea that Jesus is this or that, the Holy One of God, we are called to act on the principles of his faith, to live lives of charity and service to one another.

Love one another.

To follow Jesus is to lead with love.

Love as Jesus loved. Be humble, be merciful, be just.

Be prepared to risk everything for the sake of love, even your life.

In this way you will be true to Jesus, there is no other way.

Faith (which is the trust we place in God); faith is not about words, it is about actions. Faith is not ideology, it is not partisan, it is not dogmatic, it is not doctrinaire. Faith is not a legally binding agreement or a contract. Faith is not concerned with creeds, or secrets, or magic words.

Faith is love.

Consider the gospel for today:

Forgive, be merciful.

Forget every word in this passage except these:

Do not settle on merely forgiving someone seven times, but forgive them seventy-seven times.

Do not place limits on your mercy.

If it is in your power to forgive someone, forgive them.

Forgive your sister and brother, your father and mother, your neighbor, the stranger, even the one who persecuted you.

Forgive them from your heart, and forgive yourself.

Do not be like the servant who receives mercy, and then refuses to be merciful.

Do not be like Peter who time and time again failed to understand the teaching of Jesus.

The writers of Matthew’s Gospel remembered to articulate the endless bounty of Jesus’ compassion. They remembered this and placed that at the beginning of this passage.

Forgive the wrongdoer, Jesus said, not once, not twice, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

They remembered this and then quickly drafted a parable in which the principle actor fails to follow suit, forgiving his servant once, but not a second time.

Follow Jesus, and correct the Church.

First Reading – Ecclesiasticus 27:33-28:9 ©

Forgive Your Neighbour the Hurt He Does You; and When You Pray, Your Sins Will Be Forgiven

Resentment and anger, these are foul things, and both are found with the sinner.

He who exacts vengeance will experience the vengeance of the Lord, who keeps strict account of sin.

Forgive your neighbour the hurt he does you, and when you pray, your sins will be forgiven.

If a man nurses anger against another, can he then demand compassion from the Lord?

Showing no pity for a man like himself, can he then plead for his own sins?

Mere creature of flesh, he cherishes resentment; who will forgive him his sins?

Remember the last things, and stop hating, remember dissolution and death, and live by the commandments.

Remember the commandments, and do not bear your neighbour ill-will; remember the covenant of the Most High, and overlook the offence.

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 102(103):1-4, 9-12 ©

The Lord is compassion and love, slow to anger and rich in mercy.

My soul, give thanks to the Lord

  all my being, bless his holy name.

My soul, give thanks to the Lord

  and never forget all his blessings.

The Lord is compassion and love, slow to anger and rich in mercy.

It is he who forgives all your guilt,

  who heals every one of your ills,

who redeems your life from the grave,

  who crowns you with love and compassion.

The Lord is compassion and love, slow to anger and rich in mercy.

His wrath will come to an end;

  he will not be angry for ever.

He does not treat us according to our sins

  nor repay us according to our faults.

The Lord is compassion and love, slow to anger and rich in mercy.

For as the heavens are high above the earth

  so strong is his love for those who fear him.

As far as the east is from the west

  so far does he remove our sins.

The Lord is compassion and love, slow to anger and rich in mercy.

Second Reading – Romans 14:7-9 ©

Alive or Dead, We Belong to the Lord

The life and death of each of us has its influence on others; if we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord, so that alive or dead we belong to the Lord. This explains why Christ both died and came to life: it was so that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

Gospel Acclamation – 1 Samuel 3:9, John 6:68

Alleluia, alleluia!

Speak, Lord, your servant is listening: you have the message of eternal life.

Alleluia!

Alternative Acclamation – John 13:34

Alleluia, alleluia!

I give you a new commandment: love one another just as I have loved you, says the Lord.

Alleluia!

The Gospel According to Matthew 18:21 – 35 ©

To Be forgiven, You Must forgive

Peter went up to Jesus and said, ‘Lord, how often must I forgive my brother if he wrongs me? As often as seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘Not seven, I tell you, but seventy-seven times.

‘And so the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who decided to settle his accounts with his servants. When the reckoning began, they brought him a man who owed ten thousand talents; but he had no means of paying, so his master gave orders that he should be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, to meet the debt. At this, the servant threw himself down at his master’s feet. “Give me time” he said “and I will pay the whole sum.” And the servant’s master felt so sorry for him that he let him go and cancelled the debt. Now as this servant went out, he happened to meet a fellow servant who owed him one hundred denarii; and he seized him by the throat and began to throttle him. “Pay what you owe me” he said. His fellow servant fell at his feet and implored him, saying, “Give me time and I will pay you.” But the other would not agree; on the contrary, he had him thrown into prison till he should pay the debt. His fellow servants were deeply distressed when they saw what had happened, and they went to their master and reported the whole affair to him. Then the master sent for him. “You wicked servant,” he said “I cancelled all that debt of yours when you appealed to me. Were you not bound, then, to have pity on your fellow servant just as I had pity on you?” And in his anger the master handed him over to the torturers till he should pay all his debt. And that is how my heavenly Father will deal with you unless you each forgive your brother from your heart.’

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

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

First Reading – Ezekiel 33:7-9 ©

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 94(95):1-2, 6-9 ©

Second Reading – Romans 13:8-10 ©

Gospel Acclamation – John 17:17

Alternative Acclamation – 2 Corinthians 5:19

The Gospel According to Matthew 18:15 – 20 ©

(NJB)

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

Listen to the prophet and be mindful!

We are one family and we are made to love one another, to care for one another, to be watchful and take steps to protect one another. This is what it means to be in community, to live together as a family, and this is what Ezekiel intends to convey.

However, today’s reading makes the mistake of promoting an image of God and God’s justice that deviates from the way Jesus followed and encouraged us to join. Ezekiel’s instinct is to circumscribe God’s love, making God a cruel judge and an executioner rather than a healer.

Consider this wisdom from the psalmist.

It is God who makes us well, who creates in us the possibility of wellbeing.

God is our wellbeing, but God is not a king, and there are no other gods.

All of creation belongs to God, all that is good and all that frightens us, everything comes from God and will redound to the good, ultimately.

It is good that we show our respect for the creator and to sing songs in praise of God, but remember, God is our loving parent, and God has prepared each of us for God’s blessing.

Listen to the apostle when he says that love is the law!

Let the knowledge of the law fill your heart, so that it governs you interpretation of it; love with justice, justice with mercy, love with respect, respect with caring.

Our hearts must always be focused on the other, knowing that God is present in the spirit of our neighbors.

Listen!

You cannot lie and serve God at one and the same time.

The apostle tells us in the simplest of terms that the mission of the church is to announce the reconciliation. Everyone is reconciled in the loving embrace of God, God who created the universe. The members of the church are meant to be ambassadors of this good news.

The church is not, nor should it ever be a recruiting agency, with the purpose of signing up members for whom the reward is reconciliation. The reconciliation has already occurred, it occurred in Christ at the beginning of time.

The mission of the church is to proclaim it.

Consider the Gospel reading for today:

Always be wary of the scriptures that cast Jesus in the role of a litigator, a legislator, as the author the law code. These are the machinations of later generation, writing into the sacred text a justification for the authority they have usurped. They put words into the mouth of Jesus, making both him and themselves into liars.

This is the summary of the reflections Jesus gave on the law:

Love God with all your strength, all your heart and all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.

That is the whole of the law.

The ministry of Jesus was a ministry characterized by mercy. He said do not forgive seven times, but seventy-seven times, and if you go to prayer while there is a conflict between you and your sister or brother, go first to your sister or brother, resolve the conflict, and do not return to prayer until you do.

Every community has a duty to protect itself from dangerous people and predators. Jesus was not suggesting that we keep our doors open to violent, deranged and dangerous people…our hearts yes, but not our doors.

However, if the recalcitrant member of the community is just a stubborn person, or merely argumentative, if they are someone with a different understanding of the faith and the way, and they will not conform to the norms of the community…by all means treat them as Jesus would have treated a pagan or a tax collector, invite them dinner, sit down and eat with them, do not refuse them anything.

This is the way.

Do not believe the Church when it claims to have the authority to free people, or put them in chains, either here or in the world to come. The Church does not have that authority, the disciples did not have that authority. The claim to possess that authority is derived from fear, the fear of losing control over the communities they presided over.

Every single one of us possess the power to forgive, to forgive those who have done us harm, so that the harm they have done ceases to have power over us. We have the power to forgive ourselves…more importantly to accept the forgiveness of those we have harmed, so that our guilt does not continue to be a stain on us, and a determinant of our path in life.

We have both the power and the obligation as followers of the way to do so.

First Reading – Ezekiel 33:7-9 ©

If You do not Speak to the Wicked Man, I Will Hold You Responsible for His Death

The word of the Lord was addressed to me as follows: ‘Son of man, I have appointed you as sentry to the House of Israel. When you hear a word from my mouth, warn them in my name. If I say to a wicked man: Wicked wretch, you are to die, and you do not speak to warn the wicked man to renounce his ways, then he shall die for his sin, but I will hold you responsible for his death. If, however, you do warn a wicked man to renounce his ways and repent, and he does not repent, then he shall die for his sin, but you yourself will have saved your life.’

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 94(95):1-2, 6-9 ©

O that today you would listen to his voice! ‘Harden not your hearts.’

Come, ring out our joy to the Lord;

  hail the rock who saves us.

Let us come before him, giving thanks,

  with songs let us hail the Lord.

O that today you would listen to his voice! ‘Harden not your hearts.’

Come in; let us bow and bend low;

  let us kneel before the God who made us:

for he is our God and we

  the people who belong to his pasture,

  the flock that is led by his hand.

O that today you would listen to his voice! ‘Harden not your hearts.’

O that today you would listen to his voice!

  ‘Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,

  as on that day at Massah in the desert

when your fathers put me to the test;

  when they tried me, though they saw my work.’

O that today you would listen to his voice! ‘Harden not your hearts.’

Second Reading – Romans 13:8-10 ©

Your Only Debt Should be the Debt of Mutual Love

Avoid getting into debt, except the debt of mutual love. If you love your fellow men you have carried out your obligations. All the commandments: You shall not commit adultery, you shall not kill, you shall not steal, you shall not covet, and so on, are summed up in this single command: You must love your neighbour as yourself. Love is the one thing that cannot hurt your neighbour; that is why it is the answer to every one of the commandments.

Gospel Acclamation – John 17:17

Alleluia, alleluia!

Your word is truth, O Lord: consecrate us in the truth.

Alleluia!

Alternative Acclamation – 2 Corinthians 5:19

Alleluia, alleluia!

God in Christ was reconciling the world to himself, and he has entrusted to us the news that they are reconciled.

Alleluia!

The Gospel According to Matthew 18:15 – 20 ©

If your Brother Listens to you, you Have Won Back your Brother

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘If your brother does something wrong, go and have it out with him alone, between your two selves. If he listens to you, you have won back your brother. If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you: the evidence of two or three witnesses is required to sustain any charge. But if he refuses to listen to these, report it to the community; and if he refuses to listen to the community, treat him like a pagan or a tax collector.

‘I tell you solemnly, whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven.

  ‘I tell you solemnly once again, if two of you on earth agree to ask anything at all, it will be granted to you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three meet in my name, I shall be there with them.’

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

A Homily – The Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

First Reading – Isaiah 56:1, 6-7 ©

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 66(67):2-3, 5-6, 8 ©

Second Reading – Romans 11:13-15, 29-32 ©

Gospel Acclamation – John 10:27

Alternative Acclamation – Matthew 4:23

The Gospel According to Matthew 15:21 – 28 ©

 

(NJB)

 

The Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

 

 

Listen!

 

This is the promise of God, the creator of the universe. God promises to save all people.

 

It is God’s will that all people come to the mountain Isaiah spoke to us about, God will’s that we all ascend it, take a seat at the table and ,make the holy offering of our lives to God, a sacred gift to be shared with all.

 

Be mindful, the conditions that the prophet sets out for a seat at the table, are conditions that God fully intends for everyone of God’s children to meet.

 

God will lead the way, have no fear.

 

We cannot exhaust the patience of the divine; the integrity of God is everlasting.

 

Consider the words of the psalmist:

 

The psalmist is right to ask God to bless all peoples and all nations; to have pity and to merciful, as we pray we look forward to the promise of God fulfilled.

 

Know this!

 

God is not confined to one place, nor to one time, neither does God belong to one people, one nation, one church or one tribe.

 

God, who created the universe, God is the God of everyone.

 

Praise the fairness of God; ask for God’s blessing, not just four yourself but for everyone.

 

Be mindful of the meandering mind of the apostle.

 

Saint Paul often allows himself to wander into legalisms that distract us from the way, erecting barriers to the faith and hope which enkindle love and light the path that Jesus set before us.

 

Skip across the mire, do not get bogged down in these tricks of the mind, look to the other side of the morass and see this, the essential truth:

 

It is god’s will to show mercy to every human being. God, the creator of the universe intends to save us all.

 

Know this!

 

The sheep do not choose the shepherd; the shepherd who chooses the sheep.

 

Everything and everyone belongs to the divine, the divine essence infuses everything and the words indwells us all.

 

There is just the one shepherd, one sheepfold.

 

Listen for the voice of the shepherd and do not trouble yourself with how the shepherd speaks to you, in what language, in what text. Do not concern yourselves with how the shepherd speaks to your sister or your brother, to your neighbors or the stranger; know that the shepherd speaks to them to, and they listen as they are able.

 

Everyone who is, everyone without exception follows in the way of God, there is no other way. Do not trouble yourself if you do not understand the journey that another person is on, God is guiding them, just as God is guiding you.

 

If you resist God will be patient; if you resist God will wait for you, just as God waits for everyone. The God of Jesus Christ, the good shepherd, the God of all people, the God of creation, our God is love; love is patient and love is kind.

 

Have faith!

 

God will not lose a single one of us. Neither will any one of us lose God. No matter what; God is with us.

 

There is not place, not a single place where God is not.

 

Be mindful of the scriptures, especially when the authors are attempting to fit their narrative of the life of Jesus into a picture that makes it look as if he is fulfilling a prediction made by a prophet from past ages.

 

In these cases the literal story is always false and cannot be relied on for anything, even to provision a metaphor, if a narrative rests on false foundation even an allegory which comes from it should be treated guardedly.

 

This is the truth, the future is not predetermined, it never has been and it never will be.

 

God, the creator of the universe made us, and creation free.

 

Prophets only speak of the future for two reasons; to engender hope and to warn of danger, there is no other purpose and there is no predictive power in it.

 

The words of a prophet are always addressed to the people in their own time, in their own place. Prophecy is never meant to guide the lives of future generations, except in cases when the prophet is addressing an issue of universal truth, such as the nature of justice itself, which is unchanging.

 

Consider the Gospel reading for today:

 

There are multiple currents taking place in this passage.

 

Note well, this is the only place in any of the Gospels, in all of the scriptures where Jesus is rebuked and corrected by another person.

 

The woman pleads to Jesus as the son of God for aid and is among the first people in the entire gospel narrative to recognize Jesus as King, and the Son of David.

 

Also of enormous significance is the fact that the person who corrects him is a woman, and she is not Jewish, she is not instructed in the law and yet she knows better than Jesus how his gifts are to be directed.

 

Pay attention to the disciples. They uncharacteristically call for Jesus to give the woman what she asks for. However, they are not moved by the spirit of love and mercy, but rather they bothered by her, and her insistence.

 

For his part Jesus is not inclined to give in to her demands; he refuses her, stating in error that his mission and his gifts are only intended for his fellow Israelites.

 

Then the woman asks again for his help.

 

Jesus responds by comparing her to a dog, stating that it would not be right to take food away from the children of Israel and give it to the unworthy.

 

At this point she corrects Jesus; she humbly accepts being likened to a dog, and uses the analogy to make her point, stating that even dogs are fed scraps from their master’s hand beneath the table.

 

Jesus stands corrected and remarks on the strength of her faith, suggesting to the disciples that because her faith is so strong she will receive the gift she has asked for, a gift of healing for her daughter.

 

Here the gospel writers get it wrong, again, make the entire matter transactional: a demonstration of faith in exchange for the miracle.

 

Know this!

 

God, the creator of the universe does not offer God’s favor in exchange for anything. God gives because God loves. God loves all people. God loves all of God’s children without exception, without qualification.

 

 

First Reading – Isaiah 56:1, 6-7 ©

 

I Will Bring Foreigners to My Holy Mountain

 

Thus says the Lord: Have a care for justice, act with integrity, for soon my salvation will come and my integrity be manifest.

 

Foreigners who have attached themselves to the Lord to serve him and to love his name and be his servants – all who observe the sabbath, not profaning it, and cling to my covenant – these I will bring to my holy mountain. I will make them joyful in my house of prayer. Their holocausts and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar, for my house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.

 

 

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 66(67):2-3, 5-6, 8 ©

 

Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you.

 

O God, be gracious and bless us

and let your face shed its light upon us.

So will your ways be known upon earth

and all nations learn your saving help.

 

Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you.

 

Let the nations be glad and exult

for you rule the world with justice.

With fairness you rule the peoples,

you guide the nations on earth.

 

Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you.

 

Let the peoples praise you, O God;

let all the peoples praise you.

May God still give us his blessing

till the ends of the earth revere him.

 

Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you.

 

 

Second Reading – Romans 11:13-15, 29-32 ©

 

With Israel, God Never Takes Back His Gifts or Revokes His Choice

 

Let me tell you pagans this: I have been sent to the pagans as their apostle, and I am proud of being sent, but the purpose of it is to make my own people envious of you, and in this way save some of them. Since their rejection meant the reconciliation of the world, do you know what their admission will mean? Nothing less than a resurrection from the dead! God never takes back his gifts or revokes his choice.

 

Just as you changed from being disobedient to God, and now enjoy mercy because of their disobedience, so those who are disobedient now – and only because of the mercy shown to you – will also enjoy mercy eventually. God has imprisoned all men in their own disobedience only to show mercy to all mankind.

 

 

Gospel Acclamation – John 10:27

 

Alleluia, alleluia!

 

The sheep that belong to me listen to my voice, says the Lord, I know them and they follow me.

 

Alleluia!

 

 

Alternative Acclamation – Matthew 4:23

 

Alleluia, alleluia!

 

Jesus proclaimed the Good News of the kingdom and cured all kinds of sickness among the people.

 

Alleluia!

 

 

The Gospel According to Matthew 15:21 – 28 ©

 

The Canaanite Woman Debates with Jesus and Saves Her Daughter

 

Jesus left Gennesaret and withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. Then out came a Canaanite woman from that district and started shouting, ‘Sir, Son of David, take pity on me. My daughter is tormented by a devil.’ But he answered her not a word. And his disciples went and pleaded with him. ‘Give her what she wants,’ they said ‘because she is shouting after us.’ He said in reply, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.’ But the woman had come up and was kneeling at his feet. ‘Lord,’ she said ‘help me.’ He replied, ‘It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the house-dogs.’ She retorted, ‘Ah yes, sir; but even house-dogs can eat the scraps that fall from their master’s table.’ Then Jesus answered her, ‘Woman, you have great faith. Let your wish be granted.’ And from that moment her daughter was well again.

 

 

The Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

 

A Homily – The Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

First Reading – 1 Kings 3:5, 7-12 ©

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 118(119):57, 72, 76-77, 127-130 ©

Second Reading – Romans 8:28-30 ©

Gospel Acclamation – John 5:15

Alternative Acclamation – Matthew 11:25

The Gospel According to Matthew 13:44 – 52 ©

 

(NJB)

 

The Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

 

 

Be mindful when you read the sacred text, there is a great deal of propaganda and untruth in it. Sometimes there are outright lies, not merely misinterpretation of history, or the mythologization of narrative, but deliberate prevarication.

 

This text from the Book First book of Kings is propaganda, but not the worse sort.

 

Consider this:

 

It is well known that Solomon was actually a despot. He enslaved his people and broke their backs with labor. Because of his malign rule the kingdom of David fell apart in the generation following him dividing into two.

 

Solomon was not the wisest and he was not the richest. He was a spoiled child who ascended to a throne and abused it, misusing his power and authority, squandering his wealth, and treating the people unjustly.

 

Know this: The reading speaks the truth on one point, when it says that discernment and wisdom are more valuable than gold and riches it is echoing the voice of God that speaks in the heart of everyone.

 

Pay attention to the psalmist! Shake the scriptures free from lies.

 

We are free in the world and the world itself is free, God does not intervene in our affairs and the future has not been determined.

 

Have faith in the mercy of God, for even though the future is not set, God’s mercy has no bounds.

 

Follow the teaching of God, live a life of justice and humility. Judge the decrees of men and determine for yourself what their worth is.

 

If you are looking for salvation, turn around; salvation has already found you.

 

God is equally good to all people, because God loves all people, the good and the bad alike, the lawful and the unlawful alike.

 

Know this!

 

God is not responsible for your suffering; you are.

 

Taking peace in God’s refuge merely makes enduring the suffering of the world easier, following God’s command means that you live your life in a way which strives to reduce the suffering of others.

 

Protect yourself from the proud and the dishonest, from other criminals, but love them as God loves them; love them because they are God’s children, they are your sister’s and brother’s.

 

The consolation that will come from God; will not come in this life.

 

Do not make the mistake of believing that the good things or the bad things that you experience, or that are experienced by others come in some way at the direction of God, the creator of the Universe.

 

God does not involve God’s self in human affairs. When people claim to be favored by God, they are lying, first to themselves, then to everyone else.

 

Be mindful.

 

God’s law isd simple, love thy neighbor, any other decree must be in synchrony with this, and written as a foot note to it. A law is just, only insofar as it is merciful and demonstrates compassion.

 

Those who fear God, do not understand God, if they are speaking to you of the fear of God, they are communicating their doubt and mistrust of God. Either that or they are pretenders, claiming to speak for God when they do not, and asking you to fear them.

 

If you strive for righteousness and justice, do so in the knowledge that you will fall short of the mark. Have mercy on those who also fall short.

 

Be wary of your own pride, especially when you assume a special place because you proclaim to love God, because you go around telling people that you follow God’s ways.

 

This is the statute of God: Love, love your neighbor as yourself, serve God in serving them.

 

Do not look to God to prevent you from breaking the law, God has made you free, God promises to love you in your errors.

 

Know this!

 

Love is better than gold.

 

If you hate deception, hate first the deception that lies within yourself.

 

God; the creator of the universe, God is light, and God is warmth, God is a God of love. Love God in return and demonstrate that love through the care you have for your sisters and brothers, your neighbor and the stranger in your midst.

 

Give thanks to God for being made a vessel of love, capable of receiving love and capable of sharing it.

 

Consider the words of the apostle and remember; we are all created in the divine image.

 

Remember this as well; we are all children of God.

 

Each of us carries a seed of the Word within us, and where God is, God is there fully.

 

Each of us were called from the beginning of time. When we were called, we were called as we are; sinful and compromised, but in a state of becoming.

 

We were called to be justified.

 

God does not merely co-operate with those who love God, God co-operates with all of those whom God loves, and God, the creator of the universe, God loves everyone.

 

Know this:

 

There is no condition on the friendship Jesus offers to the children of God; we are friends because God loves us, our friendship to Jesus comes from the superabundance of love that Jesus bore toward all human beings, not the love of a lord but the love of a friend and brother.

 

The teachings of Jesus cannot be treated like a shell game, though they often are, and they have been since the beginning, as Matthew’s Gospel illustrates.

 

The way of Jesus is not a long con, it is not a bait and switch, it is a simple teaching that cannot be controlled or owned by any one group of people.

 

Consider the Gospel reading for today.

 

The authors of Matthew’s Gospel should have stopped there writing with the good news, the really good news as it was presented in the first two examples of what the God’s garden is like.

 

It is the most priceless thing, it is to be guarded, protected, invested in, like a field with a hidden treasure or a pearl of great value.

 

God’s garden is like a fisherman’s net, full of a great and diverse quantity of fish, none of which are set aside for destruction.

 

Every fish will encounter God’s fire, the drying heat, the broiling pan, every person will encounter the fire as well, but know this, in scripture, fire is always an image of our encounter with God.

 

Every fish will be kissed by the flame of the Holy Spirit, everything and everyone it touches will be changed.

 

God’s fire may be like a blazing furnace, but the fire refines, rather than destroys.

 

The refining process may be painful, there may be weeping, but after the tears there will be joy.

 

 

First Reading – 1 Kings 3:5, 7-12 ©

 

Solomon Chooses the Gift of Wisdom

 

The Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream and said, ‘Ask what you would like me to give you.’ Solomon replied, ‘O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in succession to David my father. But I am a very young man, unskilled in leadership. Your servant finds himself in the midst of this people of yours that you have chosen, a people so many its number cannot be counted or reckoned. Give your servant a heart to understand how to discern between good and evil, for who could govern this people of yours that is so great?’ It pleased the Lord that Solomon should have asked for this. ‘Since you have asked for this’ the Lord said ‘and not asked for long life for yourself or riches or the lives of your enemies, but have asked for a discerning judgement for yourself, here and now I do what you ask. I give you a heart wise and shrewd as none before you has had and none will have after you.’

 

 

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 118(119):57, 72, 76-77, 127-130 ©

 

Lord, how I love your law!

 

My part, I have resolved, O Lord,

is to obey your word.

The law from your mouth means more to me

than silver and gold.

 

Lord, how I love your law!

 

Let your love be ready to console me

by your promise to your servant.

Let your love come and I shall live

for your law is my delight.

 

Lord, how I love your law!

 

That is why I love your commands

more than finest gold,

why I rule my life by your precepts,

and hate false ways.

 

Lord, how I love your law!

 

Your will is wonderful indeed;

therefore I obey it.

The unfolding of your word gives light

and teaches the simple.

 

Lord, how I love your law!

 

 

Second Reading – Romans 8:28-30 ©

 

Those He Called, He Justified

 

We know that by turning everything to their good, God co-operates with all those who love him, with all those he has called according to his purpose. They are the ones he chose specially long ago and intended to become true images of his Son, so that his Son might be the eldest of many brothers. He called those he intended for this; those he called he justified, and with those he justified he shared his glory.

 

 

Gospel Acclamation – John 5:15

 

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 – Matthew 11:25

 

Alleluia, alleluia!

 

Blessed are you, Father,

Lord of heaven and earth,

for revealing the mysteries of the kingdom

to mere children.kingdom.

 

Alleluia!

 

 

The Gospel According to Matthew 13:44 – 52 ©

 

He Sells Everything He Owns and Buys the Field

 

Jesus said to the crowds, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field which someone has found; he hides it again, goes off happy, sells everything he owns and buys the field.

 

‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls; when he finds one of great value he goes and sells everything he owns and buys it.

 

‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea that brings in a haul of all kinds. When it is full, the fishermen haul it ashore; then, sitting down, they collect the good ones in a basket and throw away those that are no use. This is how it will be at the end of time: the angels will appear and separate the wicked from the just to throw them into the blazing furnace where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.

‘Have you understood all this?’ They said, ‘Yes.’ And he said to them, ‘Well then, every scribe who becomes a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out from his storeroom things both new and old.’

 

 

The Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

A Homily – The Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

First Reading – Isaiah 55:10-11 ©

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 64(65):10-14 ©

Second Reading – Romans 8:18-23 ©

Gospel Acclamation – Isaiah 3:9

Alternative Acclamation – John 6:68

The Gospel According to Matthew 13:1 – 23 ©

 

(NJB)

 

The Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

 

 

Be mindful!

 

The things we do and say have consequences.

 

Our words matter, not only the words of God, or God’s messengers, but the words that belongs to each and every one of us. Even the words we do not utter in any place, other than that we speak them in the chamber of our hearts, those words matter too; they matter especially, because each of them is like a seed that brings forth fruit according to its nature.

 

Know this!

 

It is right to praise God, the creator of the universe. When we make promises to God we must never imagine that our promises have been fulfilled, and know that God would prefer that we make no promises, swear no oaths or take any vows at all.

 

Do not look for God to answer your petitions, because God has made us and all of creation free; God does not interfere in our lives, or the course of the universe.

 

We live out our lives before God; God sees us in our sins, bears witness to our transgressions, but God knew of this of us, even before God created us, God knew this and God loved us.

 

Be mindful!

 

God has chosen all people to be with God.

 

God is the author of our well-being.

 

Temples and houses are not holy places.

 

If you seek justice then live justly, and remember that true justice is never present without mercy,  mercy is the ultimate gift, mercy is what we seek from God, and mercy is what God expects from us.

 

Consider what the apostle says.

 

There is a cosmic purpose behind the suffering we experience in the created order.

 

We do not suffer because we are evil, we do not suffer as a punishment for sin. We are not to blame for the sinfulness of our animal nature, though we are meant to transcend it, and through grace we can.

 

The universe was made this way by God, with all of the suffering hat it entails, and because it was made this way by God we know that there is a loving purpose behind it.

 

Our suffering is only temporary. All suffering is a finite reality.

 

There is a future world where we will all be, together with God, the creator of the universe, where our suffering will attain its final meaning, and the importance of it will fall away like old skin, the resolution of sin and suffering will be just, the ultimate expression of God’s love for one and all.

 

Share the faith of the apostle:

 

It is wise and good to anticipate the coming of God. It is wise and good to desire to be in the presence of God. Anticipate that moment, relish it, cherish it, all the while remaining present to the people and to the events that are actually unfolding in our lives.

 

Listen!

 

The reward for your faithful service is peace, it is peace in this life and the knowledge that you have lived well, acted justly, done good.

 

God has prepared you for eternity, in the same way that God has prepared everyone, but do not think for a moment that eternal life is a reward, like a boon granted for good service.

 

It is the gift of God to everyone.

 

The promise of salvation is not that you will be spared from suffering and torment in hell, or that when you are judged God will forgive you.

 

God has already forgiven you. You are already saved.

 

Believe it!

 

Let the goodness of the promise flow through you now, and start living this life as if it were true.

 

We are not called to believe in the idea that Jesus is this or that, the Holy One of God, we are called to act on the principles of his faith, to live lives of charity and service to each other.

 

Do it now!

 

Consider the Gospel reading for today.

 

Be wary of the scriptures that extol the virtues of the disciples, and the apostles who were the founders of the Church.

 

There are many more times in the Gospels when Jesus gives a different teaching, when the message is not: “to anyone who has, more will be given,” and “but anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”

 

More often than this, Jesus teaches; “the first will be last, and the last will be first.” And “to whom much has been given, much will be expected.”

 

Remember!

 

The enemy is not Satan (a fictitious being), the evil one.

 

Know that the enemy is the fear and impatience, it is gluttony, the enemy is the avarice that lies within the heart of each and every one of us.

 

Be mindful of how you live out the Christian life.

On one day the birds may eat the seed that you cast, on another day, when you cast your seeds on the same field they may not. Some seed will always be lost to the birds of the field, but the birds will deposit it elsewhere, and the grain will grow wild, in places you never expected.

 

Even seeds cast among thorns will grow; if the grain is not harvested when it matures, those seeds will fall to the ground, only to grow again in the next season.

 

The seed is never static, in time even the seed left unharvested in thorny places, even those seeds will produce, growing strong enough to uproot the thorns that threatened the harvest.

 

Do not be aggrieved at the seed that falls on shallow soil, amend the soil and cast your seed again.

 

The lesson is this:

 

Always be prepared in your ministry and never be overconfident.

 

Even the farmer who has fields of rich soil, even the farmer who is able to produce an abundant harvest in one season, may find their fields barren and scorched in the next.

 

The conditions of our lives and those of our ministry are always changing.

 

 

First Reading – Isaiah 55:10-11 ©

 

The Word that Goes out From My Mouth Does Not Return to Me Empty

 

Thus says the Lord: ‘As the rain and the snow come down from the heavens and do not return without watering the earth, making it yield and giving growth to provide seed for the sower and bread for the eating, so the word that goes from my mouth does not return to me empty, without carrying out my will and succeeding in what it was sent to do.’

 

 

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 64(65):10-14 ©

 

Some seed fell into rich soil and produced its crop.

 

You care for the earth, give it water,

you fill it with riches.

Your river in heaven brims over

to provide its grain.

 

Some seed fell into rich soil and produced its crop.

 

And thus you provide for the earth;

you drench its furrows;

you level it, soften it with showers;

you bless its growth.

 

Some seed fell into rich soil and produced its crop.

 

You crown the year with your goodness.

Abundance flows in your steps,

in the pastures of the wilderness it flows.

 

Some seed fell into rich soil and produced its crop.

 

The hills are girded with joy,

the meadows covered with flocks,

the valleys are decked with wheat.

They shout for joy, yes, they sing.

 

Some seed fell into rich soil and produced its crop.

 

 

Second Reading – Romans 8:18-23 ©

 

The Whole Creation is Eagerly Waiting for God to Reveal his Sons

 

I think that what we suffer in this life can never be compared to the glory, as yet unrevealed, which is waiting for us. The whole creation is eagerly waiting for God to reveal his sons. It was not for any fault on the part of creation that it was made unable to attain its purpose, it was made so by God; but creation still retains the hope of being freed, like us, from its slavery to decadence, to enjoy the same freedom and glory as the children of God. From the beginning till now the entire creation, as we know, has been groaning in one great act of giving birth; and not only creation, but all of us who possess the first-fruits of the Spirit, we too groan inwardly as we wait for our bodies to be set free.

 

 

Gospel Acclamation – 1saiah 3:9

 

Alleluia, alleluia!

 

Speak, Lord, your servant is listening:

you have the message of eternal life.

 

Alleluia!

 

Alternative Acclamation – John 6:68

 

Alleluia, alleluia!

 

The seed is the word of God, Christ the sower;

whoever finds this seed will remain for ever.

 

Alleluia!

 

 

The Gospel According to Matthew 13:1-23 ©

 

A Sower Went Out to Sow

 

Jesus left the house and sat by the lakeside, but such large crowds gathered round him that he got into a boat and sat there. The people all stood on the beach, and he told them many things in parables.

 

He said, ‘Imagine a sower going out to sow. As he sowed, some seeds fell on the edge of the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Others fell on patches of rock where they found little soil and sprang up straight away, because there was no depth of earth; but as soon as the sun came up they were scorched and, not having any roots, they withered away. Others fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Others fell on rich soil and produced their crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Listen, anyone who has ears!’

 

Then the disciples went up to him and asked, ‘Why do you talk to them in parables?’ ‘Because’ he replied, ‘the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven are revealed to you, but they are not revealed to them. For anyone who has will be given more, and he will have more than enough; but from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away. The reason I talk to them in parables is that they look without seeing and listen without hearing or understanding. So in their case this prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled:

 

You will listen and listen again, but not understand,

see and see again, but not perceive.

For the heart of this nation has grown coarse,

their ears are dull of hearing, and they have shut their eyes,

for fear they should see with their eyes,

hear with their ears,

understand with their heart,

and be converted

and be healed by me.

 

‘But happy are your eyes because they see, your ears because they hear! I tell you solemnly, many prophets and holy men longed to see what you see, and never saw it; to hear what you hear, and never heard it.

 

‘You, therefore, are to hear the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom without understanding, the evil one comes and carries off what was sown in his heart: this is the man who received the seed on the edge of the path. The one who received it on patches of rock is the man who hears the word and welcomes it at once with joy. But he has no root in him, he does not last; let some trial come, or some persecution on account of the word, and he falls away at once. The one who received the seed in thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this world and the lure of riches choke the word and so he produces nothing. And the one who received the seed in rich soil is the man who hears the word and understands it; he is the one who yields a harvest and produces now a hundredfold, now sixty, now thirty.’

 

The Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

 

The Feast of Saint Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons

Irenaeus served as the bishop of Lugdum (now Lyons), in France. He was born c. 130 CE and died c. 202 CE, serving during the Apostolic era, and he is listed in the ranks of the martyrs of the Church, though the details of martyrdom are unknown.

Irenaeus was a prolific writer. He was connected to the Bishop Polycarp who was himself connected to the Apostle John, making him only three steps removed from the ministry of Jesus.

Irenaeus’ surviving works show how he was deeply committed to the unity of Christian doctrine. He ardently opposed the heretical sects of groups like the loosely affiliated Gnostics, as well as the Montanists, and he was among the first to argue for the doctrine of apostolic succession, positing that a bishop of the church should stand in an unbroken line of succession that goes back to the first apostles.

What is most important about Irenaeus’ work is something referred to as the Irenaean theodicy, this is why I lift him up and write about him.

Theodicy is the specific field of theological work devoted to understanding the problem of evil, and its ultimate resolution by God.

The Irenaean theodicy was the leading doctrine in the church up until the time that it was supplanted by Augustine’s teaching on original sin, three centuries later, after which Saint Augustine’s teaching became normative throughout the Christian world.

St. Augustine suggests that creation was made perfect and without blemish, and then there was a fall into sin, which came from nowhere and nothing resulting in a degree of chaos and disorder which completely separates creation from God. Whereas Irenaeus posited that the though the world is fallen it is not wholly fallen, making it so that the breach is not irreparable, putting forward that God’s plan for the resolution of evil is to slowly draw all things to the divine.

For saint Irenaeus the perfection of the created order happens as a process of assimilation, which he calls recapitulation, imagining that each individual-being is on a journey, coming ever closer to God; as we draw near our imperfections fall away.

Irenaeus’ theology, which was never condemned, provides a strong theological grounding for the theology of universal salvation which has persisted as a teaching among Christians from the very beginning of the Church, though only among a stark minority.

Irenaeus

The Feast of Saint John, the Baptist

A Homily

John came, and john bore witness to the light
John, born in darkness as all of us are
John saw the light, shing in the deep night
Comforted by its warmth, John felt it first
Feeling it while he was still in the womb
Kicking in the waters, as the light dawned

John was not a man prone to vanity
You would not have seen him chasing the wind
Like a servant, John harvested honey
Faithful to the way, not puffed up with pride
John was a friend and brother to Jesus
The elder cousin of the messiah

Herald and prophet, man of the desert
John turned to us, saying reflect, repent
He came like an angel, with a pure heart
A divine messenger, pointing the way
The way is not in stillness or silence
The way is a path of service and love

He took on the burden and paid the price
John showed us how to stand against power
He came into the world ahead of Christ
Drawing breath while he listened in the womb
The breath he drew was ruha, the spirit
Holy Sophia filled John with wisdom
.
John lived and breathed, washed in the divine flame
Dipping his cup in the fountain of life
Walking with him, by whom all things were made
John’s path was the way of humility
Obedient, unphased by paradox
Born first, and the first to be sacrificed

He lived by the Jordan, serving the light
Not perplexed, or tempted to turn away
He saw in his cousin the end of night
He made a place for him in the desert
He prepared the way as God’s own herald
Ministering to the sick and grieving

Jesus and John. the Son and the herald
Working together in the name of God
Baptizing all into the way of peace
Bathing their flock in the way, in the light
Keeping to their mission even to death
John showed us the way, turn and be blessed!

John the Baptist

 
From the Gospel According to Mark – 2018.06.22

A Homily – The Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

First Reading – Jeremiah 20:10-13 ©
Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 68(69):8-10, 14, 17, 33-35 ©
Second Reading – Romans 5:12-15 ©
Gospel Acclamation – John 1:14, 12
Alternative Acclamation – John 15:26, 27
The Gospel According to Matthew 10:26 – 33 ©

(NJB)

The Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)
Reflect on the readings for today.

Do not ask God to administer the justice you desire. Rather have faith in God and know that God will move all things toward a just end. Know that God’s justice is patient, it is loving and it is kind; God’s mercy comes to fruition in eternity.

Do not look to God for help in this world.

God, the creator of the universe, God will not help you.

You must help yourself, rely on you family, your friends and your neighbors, yes, even the stranger; you must rely on the alien to help you.

God has given you the strength to persevere any hardship. God has given you hope to lead you through whatever darkness lies ahead. God has given you the freedom to participate in the furtherance of justice, or to impede it, or to do nothing at all.

If your family and friends have turned against you; look to yourself and ask why.

Consider the wisdom of the psalmist and know the truth of their words. The psalmist is right, God desires praise and worship more than animal sacrifices, but both of those things are next to nothing compared to God’s desire for justice and compassion, for love and mercy.

Be mindful!

The scope of the creature’s actions and the consequences that flow from sin, cannot exceed the scope of divine intention and the power of grace to heal.

Listen!

Do not repeat the errors of John, each and every person is born a child of God. We are not made into God’s children by any power that comes from within us, neither are we transformed by a power external to us. We come into being as children of God, in the Word, by the Word and through the Word, the rational and divine principle that is at the root of God’s creative purpose in the world.

God made us this way and our status as children of God is as unconditional as God’s love for us.

Remember this and know that there is no deception in God, no falsehood, no fabrication, no prevarication.

The divine parent does not lie. Those who claim to speak for the divine must not lie or mislead, cover-up or hide anything in the pursuit of their mission.

Know this:

All human beings are prone to error, we are prone to error, but there is no error in God.

When those who have ascended to positions of leadership in Christian communities lie to you, you must reject them.

Some will commit errors because they are honestly confused, but many other commit errors that are willful. They know they are lying to you and they do it anyway; they do it for wealth, they do it for power, they do it to hide from their shame…for whatever their misdeeds are.

These people have abandoned Jesus, maybe not in the whole of their lives, but in their lying they have, and every time they repeat their lies they do.

Know this, we have all forsaken God at one time or another, but God has never forsaken us, and God, the creator of the universe, God never will.

This is the truth.

Consider the gospel reading for today:

The Gospel authors should has left this passage where Jesus left it, with the exhortation to not be afraid.

Allow me to repeat this exhortation and take it to heart…Do not be afraid.

The Gospel of Jesus is not a weapon of fear, it is not secretive, it is not cryptic, it is not a demarcation point delineating for the church and its members those who belong to the flock and those wo do not, the insiders from the outsiders, the living from the dead.

The Gospel of Jesus, the good news that we have been called to preach, that Gospel is built on a foundation of love and hope and trust.

Jesus called everyone to the table, he did not ask for membership cards when he did, or membership dues at the door, he did not ask anyone to punch their ticket, he just said come.

Do not be afraid; come without fear or reservation, come as you are without shame.

The body passes and the spirit lives on. God, the creator of the universe, God did not create us for the purpose of destroying us, God brought us into life so that we may live and each one of us is precious to the divine.

God’s love flows equally to all people, not one of God’s children is outside of God’s plan for salvation.

Declarations and oaths, these are things for human beings, take none, make none, either for against Jesus, rather do as Jesus commended us to do, and follow the way.

Serve God, through the service you provide to one another, love goodness, seek justice, and exercise mercy in all things. It is through action, not words, that Jesus desires us to express our faith.

Remember this always.
First Reading – Jeremiah 20:10-13 ©

He Has Delivered the Soul of the Needy from the Hands of Evil Men

Jeremiah said:

I hear so many disparaging me, ‘“Terror from every side!”

Denounce him! Let us denounce him!’

All those who used to be my friends watched for my downfall, ‘Perhaps he will be seduced into error.

Then we will master him and take our revenge!’

But the Lord is at my side, a mighty hero; my opponents will stumble, mastered, confounded by their failure; everlasting, unforgettable disgrace will be theirs.

But you, O Lord of Hosts, you who probe with justice, who scrutinise the loins and heart, let me see the vengeance you will take on them, for I have committed my cause to you.

Sing to the Lord, praise the Lord, for he has delivered the soul of the needy from the hands of evil men.
Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 68(69):8-10, 14, 17, 33-35 ©

In your great love, answer me, O Lord.

It is for you that I suffer taunts,
that shame covers my face,
that I have become a stranger to my brothers,
an alien to my own mother’s sons.
I burn with zeal for your house
and taunts against you fall on me.

In your great love, answer me, O Lord.

This is my prayer to you,
my prayer for your favour.
In your great love, answer me, O God,
with your help that never fails:
Lord, answer, for your love is kind;
in your compassion, turn towards me.

In your great love, answer me, O Lord.

The poor when they see it will be glad
and God-seeking hearts will revive;
for the Lord listens to the needy
and does not spurn his servants in their chains.
Let the heavens and the earth give him praise,
the sea and all its living creatures.

In your great love, answer me, O Lord.
Second Reading – Romans 5:12-15 ©

The Gift Considerably Outweighed the Fall

Sin entered the world through one man, and through sin death, and thus death has spread through the whole human race because everyone has sinned. Sin existed in the world long before the Law was given. There was no law and so no one could be accused of the sin of ‘law-breaking’, yet death reigned over all from Adam to Moses, even though their sin, unlike that of Adam, was not a matter of breaking a law.

Adam prefigured the One to come, but the gift itself considerably outweighed the fall. If it is certain that through one man’s fall so many died, it is even more certain that divine grace, coming through the one man, Jesus Christ, came to so many as an abundant free gift.
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 – John 15:26, 27

Alleluia, alleluia!

The Spirit of truth will be my witness;
and you too will be my witnesses.

Alleluia!
The Gospel According to Matthew 10:26 – 33 ©

Do Not be Afraid of those Who Kill the Body

Jesus instructed the Twelve as follows: ‘Do not be afraid. For everything that is now covered will be uncovered, and everything now hidden will be made clear. What I say to you in the dark, tell in the daylight; what you hear in whispers, proclaim from the housetops.

‘Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; fear him rather who can destroy both body and soul in hell. Can you not buy two sparrows for a penny? And yet not one falls to the ground without your Father knowing. Why, every hair on your head has been counted. So there is no need to be afraid; you are worth more than hundreds of sparrows.

‘So if anyone declares himself for me in the presence of men, I will declare myself for him in the presence of my Father in heaven. But the one who disowns me in the presence of men, I will disown in the presence of my Father in heaven.’
The Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

A Homily – The Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

First Reading – Exodus 19:2-6 ©
Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 99(100):2-3, 5 ©
Second Reading – Romans 5:6-11 ©
Gospel Acclamation – John 10:27
Alternative Acclamation Mark – 1:15
The Gospel According to Matthew 9:36-10:8 ©

(NJB)

The Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)
Listen!

We must always be diligent when reading scripture and participating in the rituals in the church, and expose the false theology that lingers in the fables and myths.

If we took these stories seriously we would have to uphold the traditional view that human beings need an intermediary, like Moses, to pass messages back and forth between the of humanity and God.

We would have to accept as vital and necessary the institution of a priesthood.

We would have to accept the idea that God, who created the universe, has chosen one tribe out of the whole world, to represent God’s will to the people.

We would have to lie to ourselves, and to the world if we were to support this doctrine, for this doctrine is false.

Let us reflect on the psalms for a moment:

God is with us wherever we are.

Wherever God is, that is God’s temple.

Enter the temple with hope and joy.

Serve God, by serving your sisters and brothers, look into the face of your neighbor and see the face of God shining back at you.

When the scriptures tell we are God’s people; those words are not directed to the audience who first heard and read them, nor to us as we are reading them now, they are directed toward every living being that ever was, ever has been, and ever will be.

This is the way, follow it; follow it to the world without end, where we belong to God and God’s mercy lasts forever.

Know this!

Jesus was not a sacrificial victim; his blood did not have magic powers.

God, the creator of the universe, God does not love holocausts and burnt offerings. God loves mercy, the humble spirit, the contrite heart, and justice.

Jesus acted mercifully and with full regard for his followers when he allowed himself to be taken to the cross. Many would have died if he had not. Jesus gave his life to save them in their own time and place, he did not die as a cosmic sacrifice for the sins of the world.

The Apostle is wrong when he describes our relationship with God as one of enmity. We were never enemies with God. Though in our ignorance of God we have rejected God, but God, the creator and sustainer of all being, God has not rejected us. God loves us, and that is the way.

Listen!

The sheep do not choose the shepherd, but rather, it is the shepherd who chooses the sheep. God, the creator of the universe, God is our shepherd. In God there is no lack or want.

There is one shepherd, one sheepfold, we are all in this together.

Listen for the voice of the shepherd, and do not trouble yourself with how the shepherd speaks to you, in what language, in what text. Do not be jealous of how the shepherd speaks to your sister or your brother, to your neighbors or the stranger.

The shepherd speaks to everyone; those who are willing, listen.

Everyone is beloved by God, each and every one of us are following in the way that leads to God, there is no other way. Do not trouble yourself if you do not understand the journey any other person is on, God is guiding them, as God is guiding you.

For those who resist the way, God is patient, God waits with a loving heart, and love is patient as love is kind.

Have faith!

God, the good shepherd, God will not lose a single one of us. Neither will any one of us lose God.

God is with us!

Repent, which means turn, turn and believe.

Believe not so that you can be saved but believe that you are saved already.

God will make you well.

Believe that you are saved and turn, turn away from the selfishness, wickedness and injustice, turn toward the way of love, communitarianism and truth.

The way of God, the path to the garden, it is as near to you as the heart beating in your chest, turn toward it and you are there.

Do not look back.

Listen to Jesus and keep to the way.

Give without asking, share the grace of God.

Do not seek rewards or honors.

This is the way, and there is the gospel.
First Reading – Exodus 19:2-6 ©

I Will Count You a Kingdom of Priests, a Consecrated Nation

From Rephidim the sons of Israel set out again; and when they reached the wilderness of Sinai, there in the wilderness they pitched their camp; there facing the mountain Israel pitched camp.

Moses then went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, ‘Say this to the House of Jacob, declare this to the sons of Israel, “You yourselves have seen what I did with the Egyptians, how I carried you on eagle’s wings and brought you to myself. From this you know that now, if you obey my voice and hold fast to my covenant, you of all the nations shall be my very own for all the earth is mine. I will count you a kingdom of priests, a consecrated nation.”’
Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 99(100):2-3, 5 ©

We are his people, the sheep of his flock.

Cry out with joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Serve the Lord with gladness.
Come before him, singing for joy.

We are his people, the sheep of his flock.

Know that he, the Lord, is God.
He made us, we belong to him,
we are his people, the sheep of his flock.

We are his people, the sheep of his flock.

Indeed, how good is the Lord,
eternal his merciful love.
He is faithful from age to age.

We are his people, the sheep of his flock.
Second Reading – Romans 5:6-11 ©

Now We Have Been Reconciled by the Death of His Son, Surely We May Count on Being Saved by the Life of His Son

We were still helpless when at his appointed moment Christ died for sinful men. It is not easy to die even for a good man – though of course for someone really worthy, a man might be prepared to die – but what proves that God loves us is that Christ died for us while we were still sinners. Having died to make us righteous, is it likely that he would now fail to save us from God’s anger? When we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, we were still enemies; now that we have been reconciled, surely we may count on being saved by the life of his Son? Not merely because we have been reconciled but because we are filled with joyful trust in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have already gained our reconciliation.
Gospel Acclamation – John 10:27

Alleluia, alleluia!

The sheep that belong to me listen to my voice,
says the Lord,
I know them and they follow me.

Alleluia!

Alternative Acclamation Mark – 1:15

Alleluia, alleluia!

The kingdom of God is close at hand:
repent, and believe the Good News.

Alleluia!
The Gospel According to Matthew 9:36-10:8 ©

The Harvest is Rich but the Labourers are Few

When Jesus saw the crowds he felt sorry for them because they were harassed and dejected, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is rich but the labourers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to his harvest.’

He summoned his twelve disciples, and gave them authority over unclean spirits with power to cast them out and to cure all kinds of diseases and sickness.

These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew; James the son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, the one who was to betray him. These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them as follows:

‘Do not turn your steps to pagan territory, and do not enter any Samaritan town; go rather to the lost sheep of the House of Israel. And as you go, proclaim that the kingdom of heaven is close at hand. Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out devils. You received without charge, give without charge.’
The Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

A Homily – The Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) The Most Holy Trinity

First Reading – Exodus 34:4-6, 8-9 ©
Responsorial – Daniel 3:52-56 ©
Second Reading – 2 Corinthians 13:11-13 ©
Gospel Acclamation – Revelation 1:8
The Gospel According to John 3:16 – 18 ©

(NJB)

The Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) The Most Holy Trinity
Listen!

God, the creator of the universe, God is a loving God. The creator of the universe loves all of creation and has promised its salvation, both to the whole and to each and every part, to all of God’s children.

Be mindful!

The salvation that God promises is not of this world.

God does not intervene in human affairs, or in the movement of the planets and stars.

God did not travel with the Israelites, God did not speak with Moses, accept in his heart where God speaks to all of us.

Listen!

God, the creator of the universe, God does not require or even desire our praise and exaltations, except insofar as those praises take the form of a merciful and generous bearing toward one other.

God does not dwell in a temple; God is present in all places, in everyone and to everyone.

Remember, God is not a king.

Serve the divine will through the love and kindness you show one another.

The eyes of God are on all people, the just and the unjust alike. God hears everything and feels everything.

Though God is not sensate in the way that we are, nevertheless, God knows our thoughts and understands our experiences, even as we understand them ourselves.

It is true that God desires that we be perfect, though God does not expect it, and God understands all of our failures.

Grow perfect!

We did not originate from perfection, only to lose it, the story of The Fall is a myth that misconstrues reality, to perpetuate it is to lie.

We are born in the evolutionary muck, with the innate desire to discover the divine.

Listen!

Our own perfection is intimately bound up with the perfection of others, because the other—every other person is a part of who we are.

Perfection is not experienced in part, we will not see it until there is perfection in the whole.

Know this:

Jesus is not a king or a ruler, he is not a priest but a prophet; Jesus is a friend, a comforter and healer. He came to show us the way.

Consider the gospel for today.

The gift of life is not transactional.

It is free.

We do not have to ask for it, just as we did not ask to be born, like true love, eternal life comes to us without conditions.

God, the creator of the universe, came to us in the person of Jesus. If you trust in the teachings of Jesus you will find peace in the world, you will understand that the things we endure here: pain, suffering, alienation, uncertainty, hunger, disease and death, these are all temporary.

You will see the world of light and life beyond the funeral shroud that is our common inheritance

Know this!

There is no condemnation in God, or in the ministry of Jesus. There is hope and love, and mercy; there is justice.

No one is condemned because they refuse to believe in the scriptures, in Christian doctrine, or the dogma of the church. God continuously pours out the divine love on all creation.

We are often too poor to receive it, or even see it flowing through us, but God is patient.

Listen!

There is no magic power in a name, or an article of belief, not even in the name of Jesus or belief in him, whatever that might mean.

Rather, if you do not trust in the way of Jesus, and trust is the meaning of faith, if you are not able to trust in it and you are selfish instead of giving, malicious instead of loving, harmful instead of healing, then you will suffer in this world…because you have engaged in the promotion of suffering.

Faith in Jesus means liberation in the here and now, liberation in the present reality, which is a blessing to everyone who finds it, and to all whom they encounter.
First Reading – Exodus 34:4-6, 8-9 ©

‘Lord, Lord, a God of Tenderness and Compassion’

With the two tablets of stone in his hands, Moses went up the mountain of Sinai in the early morning as the Lord had commanded him. And the Lord descended in the form of a cloud, and Moses stood with him there.

He called on the name of the Lord. The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, ‘The Lord, a God of tenderness and compassion, slow to anger, rich in kindness and faithfulness.’ And Moses bowed down to the ground at once and worshipped. ‘If I have indeed won your favour, Lord,’ he said ‘let my Lord come with us, I beg. True, they are a headstrong people, but forgive us our faults and our sins, and adopt us as your heritage.’
Responsorial – Daniel 3:52-56 ©

To you glory and praise for evermore.

You are blest, Lord God of our fathers.

To you glory and praise for evermore.

Blest your glorious holy name.

To you glory and praise for evermore.

You are blest in the temple of your glory.

To you glory and praise for evermore.

You are blest on the throne of your kingdom.

To you glory and praise for evermore.

You are blest who gaze into the depths.

To you glory and praise for evermore.

You are blest in the firmament of heaven.

To you glory and praise for evermore.
Second Reading – 2 Corinthians 13:11-13 ©

The Grace of Jesus Christ, the Love of God, and the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit

Brothers, we wish you happiness; try to grow perfect; help one another. Be united; live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.

Greet one another with the holy kiss. All the saints send you greetings.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
Gospel Acclamation – Revelation 1:8

Alleluia, alleluia!
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit;
the God who is, who was, and who is to come.

Alleluia!
The Gospel According to John 3:16 – 18 ©

Jesus said to Nicodemus:

‘God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not be lost but may have eternal life. For God sent his Son into the world
not to condemn the world, but so that through him the world might be saved. No one who believes in him will be condemned; but whoever refuses to believe is condemned already, because he has refused to believe in the name of God’s only Son.’
The Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) The Most Holy Trinity