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

First Reading – Isaiah 55:1-3 ©

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 144(145):8-9, 15-18 ©

Second Reading – Romans 8:35, 37-39 ©

Gospel Acclamation – Luke 19:38, 2:14

Alternative Acclamation – Matthew 4:4

The Gospel According to Matthew 14:13-21 ©

 

(NJB)

 

The Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

 

 

Listen to the prophet, and know that the grace of God is free, all the good things God has in store for us free, and God promises to deliver to everyone.

 

The covenant God made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the covenant God made with Moses,  Joshua and David, the covenant God made the prophets and with Jesus and is meant to a blessing on all people, wherever they are, because God is with them as God is with you even when you feel lost and alone.

 

God promises to deliver everyone to a state of blessedness, even the stranger and the sinner.

 

God works God’s will through grace, this is the way Jesus instructed us, this is the way to the fruits of paradise.

 

Consider the words of the psalmist and know that he is mistaken, God is not a king.

 

God is the creator of the universe, God is present in all times and places; God is there in the deepest places of the human heart but does not intervene directly in human events.

 

God only issues an indirect influence in our lives. God’s power does not interfere with our freedom.

 

Contemplate the vast power of God and contemplate the ways of God’s love and mercy, take it for yourself and identify with it, passing through the narrow arch and into the way of goodness and justice and mercy.

 

Consider the words of the apostle, everything he says is true, but it is true for all people, not just for Christians and Jews.

 

It is true for everyone.

 

Nothing can come between us and the love of Christ; not one thing, either from within or from without.

 

Jesus loves us.

 

Remember this, God is not a lord. The creator of the universe does not wear a crown.

 

As Christians we are called on to set aside grandiose notions of glory as we struggle on the way toward salvation. We are called on to follow Jesus and seek out the lowest of the low, not the highest heaven, seeking to serve those in the deepest dark, returning them to the light of love.

 

If we live merely to eat we are no different than the beasts of the field and the forest, merely following our noses and the hunger in our bellies, ruled by thirst and subject to the vicissitudes of desire.

 

We can be more than that, we were made to be more than that, we are meant to look beyond ourselves and to be drawn out of ourselves to see in our neighbors another-self and the divine spark that unites us spiritually, that we may be transcendent in following the way.

 

Consider the Gospel for today and the feeding of the multitude.

 

The miracle of the loaves and fishes is a metaphor, read it carefully.

 

The feeding of the multitude may have happened, though it is just as likely that the narrative is pure myth. The truth of it does not matter, what matters is the way in which the metaphor supports and endorses a principle of communal living and sharing.

 

The disciples were concerned for Jesus, they wanted to separate him from the crowds, and separate the crowds from his ministry.

 

Jesus would not have it.

 

The disciples as is typical of them, argued for the wrong thing, they wanted to send everyone away, put them on their own, have them fend for themselves.

 

This is not the way.

 

Jesus did not rebuke them, as he often did when they erred like this. He simply showed them the way.

 

Jesus took all that they had and shared it with the multitude, the crowds saw his generosity and shared of what they had, everyone contributed according to the rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you, love your neighbor as yourself, serve God by serving the other.

 

Together they generated a superabundance of food, more than enough to feed everyone, and the lesson ended there, with no magic and no miracles, with simple generosity and love.

 

 

First Reading – Isaiah 55:1-3 ©

 

Come and Eat

 

Thus says the Lord:

 

Oh, come to the water all you who are thirsty; though you have no money, come!

 

Buy corn without money, and eat, and, at no cost, wine and milk.

 

Why spend money on what is not bread, your wages on what fails to satisfy?

 

Listen, listen to me, and you will have good things to eat and rich food to enjoy.

 

Pay attention, come to me; listen, and your soul will live.

 

With you I will make an everlasting covenant out of the favours promised to David.

 

 

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 144(145):8-9, 15-18 ©

 

You open wide your hand, O Lord; you grant our desires.

 

The Lord is kind and full of compassion,

slow to anger, abounding in love.

How good is the Lord to all,

compassionate to all his creatures.

 

You open wide your hand, O Lord; you grant our desires.

 

The eyes of all creatures look to you

and you give them their food in due time.

You open wide your hand,

grant the desires of all who live.

 

You open wide your hand, O Lord; you grant our desires.

 

The Lord is just in all his ways

and loving in all his deeds.

He is close to all who call him,

who call on him from their hearts.

 

You open wide your hand, O Lord; you grant our desires.

 

 

Second Reading – Romans 8:35, 37-39 ©

 

No Created Thing Can Ever Come Between Us and the Love of God Made Visible in Christ

 

Nothing can come between us and the love of Christ, even if we are troubled or worried, or being persecuted, or lacking food or clothes, or being threatened or even attacked. These are the trials through which we triumph, by the power of him who loved us.

 

For I am certain of this: neither death nor life, no angel, no prince, nothing that exists, nothing still to come, not any power, or height or depth, nor any created thing, can ever come between us and the love of God made visible in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

 

Gospel Acclamation – Luke 19:38, 2:14

 

Alleluia, alleluia!

 

Blessings on the King who comes, in the name of the Lord!

Peace in heaven and glory in the highest heavens!

 

Alleluia!

 

 

Alternative Acclamation – Matthew 4:4

 

Alleluia, alleluia!

 

Man does not live on bread alone,

but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.

 

Alleluia!

 

 

The Gospel According to Matthew 14:13-21 ©

 

The Feeding of the Five Thousand

 

When Jesus received the news of John the Baptist’s death he withdrew by boat to a lonely place where they could be by themselves. But the people heard of this and, leaving the towns, went after him on foot. So as he stepped ashore he saw a large crowd; and he took pity on them and healed their sick.

 

When evening came, the disciples went to him and said, ‘This is a lonely place, and the time has slipped by; so send the people away, and they can go to the villages to buy themselves some food.’ Jesus replied, ‘There is no need for them to go: give them something to eat yourselves.’ But they answered ‘All we have with us is five loaves and two fish.’ ‘Bring them here to me’ he said. He gave orders that the people were to sit down on the grass; then he took the five loaves and the two fish, raised his eyes to heaven and said the blessing. And breaking the loaves handed them to his disciples who gave them to the crowds. They all ate as much as they wanted, and they collected the scraps remaining; twelve baskets full. Those who ate numbered about five thousand men, to say nothing of women and children.

 

 

The Eighteenth 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 Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

First Reading – Wisdom 12:13, 16-19 ©

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 85(86):5-6, 9-10, 15-16 ©

Second Reading – Romans 8:26-27 ©

Gospel Acclamation – Ephesians 1:17, 18

Alternative Acclamation – Matthew 11:25

The Gospel According to Matthew 13:24 – 43 ©

 

(NJB)

 

The Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

 

 

Listen to the faith of your forebears and take heart.

 

There is one God, the creator of the universe, one God the creator of us all, one God who never judges unjustly, one God omnipotent, one God who is lenient to all.

 

God demonstrates power through mercy, and justice through grace, teaching us to emulate the divine by looking on our sins and bringing us to repent.

 

This is true for one and all.

 

Speak truth concerning God’s mercy, God’s compassion and God’s love; these are the paths of divine and God’s light is always shining on them. When we are merciful, compassionate and loving, we honor the will of God, reflecting on all whom we encounter the divine light.

 

Do not hope for God to interject God’s will on your behalf as you strive with your fellows for any of the things of this world; rather conform your will to the will of God, if you are poor you will still be happy, if you are destitute, you will still have hope, if you have enemies they will no longer bother you and if you are rich you will be a blessing to others.

 

It is wise and good to anticipate the coming of God, just as it is wise and good to desire God’s presence. Anticipate that moment, relish it, cherish it, while remaining present to the people and events that are actually occurring in your life.

 

When you are in prayer and your thoughts are unformed, when your feelings are unclear and no words come to your mind, or when the words that do come are inappropriate for prayer, then be silent, quiet your mind, still the murmurs in your heart, let go of the voices; be silent and listen.

 

Let your prayers be prayers of listening.

 

Remember the life of Jesus, and God whom he called Father

 

Is god glorious? God is the creator of the universe. God’s greatest place is in relationship to us; God’s children as a loving parent.

 

May each and every one of come to the full knowledge of God.

 

There is hope in the knowledge of God, always remember that the hopes you have for yourself and those you love are to be extended to everyone; even those you do not love, for that is the way God leads us.

 

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

 

Be mindful.

 

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

 

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

 

Be mindful of this.

 

God, the creator of the universe, God has hidden nothing. The truth is in the open for anyone to see. The wise and the powerful, the learned and the clever, the weak and the meek, everyone has access to the same truth, to the knowledge of God, of justice, of hope and love.

 

Who are the wise and powerful, who are the learned and the clever, who are the faithful and childlike? In every generation, you will see a new group rise up, labeling the elder generation as out of touch, blind, privileged, in the dark, corrupt.

 

It is an endless cycle and the truth remains the same; love justice, be merciful, do good, serve God through the loving service you provide to one another, to your family, your friends, your neighbors, the stranger, even your enemy.

 

Just because a person may be wise and powerful, learned and clever or a child of the church, does not mean they recognize the truth when they see it, or act upon it when they do.

 

It is not your station in society, it is not how other people regard you, it is not the titles you have earned\ or the ways that you have been marginalized that give us the tell on how you will fulfill the calling to follow Jesus and keep to the way. What matters is what is in your heart, and your willingness to trust in the content of your hope.

 

Consider the Gospel reading for today, and bear this in mind:

 

The Gospels were written long after Jesus died.

 

Matthews Gospel was compiled by a community of believers between 80 and 100 years after his death.

 

If you practice mindfulness in your reading you can see two threads in the Gospel:

 

The teaching of Jesus as remembered by the community, and the community’s interpretation of that teaching, one that they believe promotes their interests.

 

These threads are often out of synch with other.

 

Practice discernment and you will be able to see movement from Jesus’ view of the way as understood by the people who first listened to him, to the view of the Church and those who were endeavoring to preserve his teaching. When the gospels report that Jesus is deliberate using mysterious messaging to hide something from the people, passing on secret teachings to his disciples alone, look harder and you will see the Church putting itself in the place of authority rather than the Spirit of Truth..

 

This is when the Church places its own interests above the teaching of Jesus, and this is where they begin to lead people astray, substituting simple wisdom for fantastical stories about angels, and the evil one and the end of time.

 

Be mindful of this and reject that messaging, focus instead on the way, which is loving and patient and kind.

 

Plant the smallest of seeds in the hearts and minds of your listeners and wait, the seed will grow into a mighty tree.

 

Allow the yeast to leaven the dough, it will leave no part of the bread untouched.

 

Let the weeds grow until the harvest. The wheat will go to the granary, the weeds will go to the fire, and remember, in the scriptures fire is an image representing our encounter with God, the creator of the universe, God who is just and loving, and good.

 

Watch them burn in a column of fire, ascending straight to the heavens while lighting our way.

 

 

First Reading – Wisdom 12:13, 16-19 ©

 

You Will Grant Repentance After Sin

 

There is no god, other than you, who cares for every thing, to whom you might have to prove that you never judged unjustly.

 

Your justice has its source in strength, your sovereignty over all makes you lenient to all.

 

You show your strength when your sovereign power is questioned and you expose the insolence of those who know it; but, disposing of such strength, you are mild in judgement, you govern us with great lenience, for you have only to will, and your power is there.

 

By acting thus you have taught a lesson to your people how the virtuous man must be kindly to his fellow men, and you have given your sons the good hope that after sin you will grant repentance.

 

 

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 85(86):5-6, 9-10, 15-16 ©

 

O Lord, you are good and forgiving.

 

O Lord, you are good and forgiving,

full of love to all who call.

Give heed, O Lord, to my prayer

and attend to the sound of my voice.

 

O Lord, you are good and forgiving.

 

All the nations shall come to adore you

and glorify your name, O Lord:

for you are great and do marvellous deeds,

you who alone are God.

 

O Lord, you are good and forgiving.

 

But you, God of mercy and compassion,

slow to anger, O Lord,

abounding in love and truth,

turn and take pity on me.

 

O Lord, you are good and forgiving.

 

 

Second Reading – Romans 8:26-27 ©

 

The Spirit Himself Expresses Our Plea in a Way that Could Never be Put Into Words

 

The Spirit comes to help us in our weakness. For when we cannot choose words in order to pray properly, the Spirit himself expresses our plea in a way that could never be put into words, and God who knows everything in our hearts knows perfectly well what he means, and that the pleas of the saints expressed by the Spirit are according to the mind of God.

 

 

Gospel Acclamation – Ephesians 1:17, 18

 

Alleluia, alleluia!

 

May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ

enlighten the eyes of our mind,

so that we can see what hope his call holds for us.

 

Alleluia!

 

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.

 

Alleluia!

 

 

The Gospel According to Matthew 13:24-43 ©

 

Let Them Both Grow Till the Harvest

 

Jesus put another parable before the crowds: ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. While everybody was asleep his enemy came, sowed darnel all among the wheat, and made off. When the new wheat sprouted and ripened, the darnel appeared as well. The owner’s servants went to him and said, “Sir, was it not good seed that you sowed in your field? If so, where does the darnel come from?” “Some enemy has done this” he answered. And the servants said, “Do you want us to go and weed it out?” But he said, “No, because when you weed out the darnel you might pull up the wheat with it. Let them both grow till the harvest; and at harvest time I shall say to the reapers: First collect the darnel and tie it in bundles to be burnt, then gather the wheat into my barn.”’

 

He put another parable before them: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the biggest shrub of all and becomes a tree so that the birds of the air come and shelter in its branches.’

 

He told them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like the yeast a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour till it was leavened all through.’

 

In all this Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables; indeed, he would never speak to them except in parables. This was to fulfil the prophecy:

 

I will speak to you in parables and expound things hidden since the foundation of the world.

 

Then, leaving the crowds, he went to the house; and his disciples came to him and said, ‘Explain the parable about the darnel in the field to us.’ He said in reply, ‘The sower of the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world; the good seed is the subjects of the kingdom; the darnel, the subjects of the evil one; the enemy who sowed them, the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; the reapers are the angels. Well then, just as the darnel is gathered up and burnt in the fire, so it will be at the end of time. The Son of Man will send his angels and they will gather out of his kingdom all things that provoke offences and all who do evil, and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth. Then the virtuous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Listen, anyone who has ears!’

 

 

The Sixteenth 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)

 

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

First Reading – Zechariah 9:9-10 ©

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 144(145):1-2, 8-11, 13b-14 ©

Second Reading – Romans 8:9, 11-13 ©

Gospel Acclamation – Matthew 11:25

The Gospel According to Matthew 11:25 – 30 ©

 

(NJB)

 

The Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

 

 

Listen!

 

God. the creator of the universe, God is not the God of war, or victory in battle.

 

God is not the God of nations, of tribes and churches but the God of all people.

 

When we express God’s universality is not to express God’s dominion over all things, or the hope that God will conquer all people, bringing them to heel in Zion.

 

God is the God of all people, wherever they are. God always have been and God always will be.

 

What is good and true in the prophet’s words are these:

 

God desires that we be at peace with ourselves and one another, God desires this above all other things.

 

Do not make the same mistake as the psalmist, God is not a king.

 

God is the creator of the universe; God is present in all times and places, including the deepest recesses of the human heart.

 

Remember:

 

God does not intervene in human events. God’s influence over God’s children is indirect. God’s power does not interfere with human freedom.

 

When you contemplate the power of God, contemplate the ways of God’s love and mercy, contemplate the humility of Jesus.

 

Know this:

 

The Apostle misses an important point in so doing he makes a grievous error.

 

The spirit of God lives in all people. Do not doubt it. We are all God’s children, and God loves every single one of us. Everyone is a child of God, from the most disciplined and devout, to the most reckless and devilish.

 

The spirit of Jesus lives in all people. Jesus is our friend and brother, our relationship to Jesus is an ontological reality, one that we cannot undo, no matter how hard we might try.

 

Our relationship to God and Jesus is a determinative factor in the nature of our being, as all of our relationships are, no matter how remote or distant from us in time and space they might be.

 

Do not forget this.

 

We are free to live spiritual lives, lives governed by our most altruistic hopes and values. We do not have to live as animals.

 

Be mindful!

 

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

 

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

 

Pay attention to the second paragraph in today’s reading, there is truth, but the first paragraph is the lie.

 

Know this!

 

God, the creator of the universe, God has hidden nothing from us.

 

Because we are created in the divine image, because we carry a seed of the word inside us, knowledge and understanding of the truth is available to us, it is in the open for anyone to see.

 

The wise and the powerful, the learned and the clever, the weak and the meek, everyone has access to the same truth, to the knowledge of God, of justice, of hope, and love.

 

Consider this:

 

Who are the wise and powerful?

 

Who are the learned and the clever?

 

Who are the faithful and childlike?

 

In every generation, you will see a new group labeling the elder group as out of touch, blind, privileged, in the dark, corrupt, and because we are talking about human beings it may very well be true, but it is not necessarily true.

 

This is a cycle that is seemingly without end, and the truth remains the same; love justice, be merciful, do good, serve God through the loving service you provide to one another: your family, your friend, your neighbor, the stranger, even your enemy.

 

Walk in the spirit of humility.

 

Just because a person is wise and powerful, learned and clever, or a child of the church, does not mean they recognize the truth when they see it, or act upon it when they do.

 

It is not your station in society, it is not how other people regard you, it is not the titles you have earned or the ways that you have been marginalized that give us the tell on how you will fulfill your calling to follow Jesus and the way. What matters is what is in your heart, and your willingness to trust in the content of your hope, for that is the essence of faith.

 

 

First Reading – Zechariah 9:9-10 ©

 

See Now, your King Comes Humbly to You

 

The Lord says this:

 

Rejoice heart and soul, daughter of Zion!

 

Shout with gladness, daughter of Jerusalem!

 

See now, your king comes to you; he is victorious, he is triumphant, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

 

He will banish chariots from Ephraim and horses from Jerusalem; the bow of war will be banished.

 

He will proclaim peace for the nations.

 

His empire shall stretch from sea to sea, from the River to the ends of the earth.

 

 

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 144(145):1-2, 8-11, 13b-14 ©

 

I will bless your name for ever, O God my King.

 

Alleluia!

 

I will give you glory, O God my king,

I will bless your name for ever.

I will bless you day after day

and praise your name for ever.

 

I will bless your name for ever, O God my King.

 

The Lord is kind and full of compassion,

slow to anger, abounding in love.

How good is the Lord to all,

compassionate to all his creatures.

 

I will bless your name for ever, O God my King.

 

All your creatures shall thank you, O Lord,

and your friends shall repeat their blessing.

They shall speak of the glory of your reign

and declare your might, O God.

 

I will bless your name for ever, O God my King.

 

The Lord is faithful in all his words

and loving in all his deeds.

The Lord supports all who fall

and raises all who are bowed down.

 

I will bless your name for ever, O God my King.

 

Alleluia!

 

 

Second Reading – Romans 8:9, 11-13 ©

 

If by the Spirit You Put an End to the Misdeeds of the Body, you Will Live

 

Your interests are not in the unspiritual, but in the spiritual, since the Spirit of God has made his home in you. In fact, unless you possessed the Spirit of Christ you would not belong to him, and if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, then he who raised Jesus from the dead will give life to your own mortal bodies through his Spirit living in you.

 

So then, my brothers, there is no necessity for us to obey our unspiritual selves or to live unspiritual lives. If you do live in that way, you are doomed to die; but if by the Spirit you put an end to the misdeeds of the body you will live.

 

 

Gospel 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.

 

Alleluia!

 

 

The Gospel According to Matthew 11:25 – 30 ©

 

You Have Hidden these Things from the Wise and Revealed them to Little Children

 

Jesus exclaimed, ‘I bless you, Father, Lord of heaven and of earth, for hiding these things from the learned and the clever and revealing them to mere children. Yes, Father, for that is what it pleased you to do. Everything has been entrusted to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, just as no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

 

‘Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light.’

 

The Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

 

The Feast of Saint’s Peter and Paul, Founders of the Church

Not all Christians celebrate the lives of the Saints, but many do, and today is the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, who after Jesus were the principle founders of the Church.

We celebrate their feast on the day of their ascension, which is most often the day of their death, in the case of Peter and Paul it is the date they were martyred, the day they were killed as enemies of the Roman State.

Their influence on Christian doctrine was greater than Jesus’, more enduring. Paul, through his letters wrote the core pieces of Christian Doctrine, and Peter was the first pope, the Bishop of Rome, and Patriarch of the Latin Church.

Peter and Paul did not always see eye to eye, though Peter bore the title of chief among the disciples, Paul was the greater teacher and more closely approximated the way of Christ.

As I mentioned, Peter is given credit for founding the church of Rome, the lore of the Church tells us that he was its first bishop, this is a myth however, that title was not even in use during Peter’s day.

It is accepted as true that both men were put to death in Rome, martyred there on account of their commitment to the Church and its mission, they were mot put to death so much for the content of their beliefs, but for leading the kind of secretive society that was feared by the emperors of Rome. Christians were perceived as a threat that has to be curtailed.

Paul was a Roman citizen, he travelled broadly throughout the empire and for from his home of Tarsus. He founded many churches in the eastern Mediterranean and Asia Minor, his letters are the earliest known Christian writings, and though not all of those ascribed to him were written by him, Paul’s actual influence is imeasureable.

A casual observer of history may find this odd because Paul he never met Jesus, and prior to his conversion he was the type of man who would punish other members of his community if they were not properly observing the traditions of his synagogue, Christians were his chief target.

After Paul’s conversion to Christianity he led the mission to the gentiles, opening the teachings of the church to the masses, he made it so that a person did not need to become Jewish first in order to become a Christian.

Peter initially opposed him in this but once their dispute was settled at a meeting in Jerusalem officiated by Jesus’ own brother Saint James, the matter was settled and the gentiles were allowed the full franchise of membership in the community of the blessed.

Peter and Paul

Given First 06.29.2020

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

First Reading – 2 Kings 4:8-11, 13-16 ©
Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 88(89):2-3, 16-19 ©
Second Reading – Romans 6:3-4, 8-11 ©
Gospel Acclamation – Acts 16:14
Alternative Acclamation – 1 Peter 2:9
The Gospel According to Matthew – 10:37 – 42 ©

(NJB)

The Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)
Read the ancient texts with an ear bent toward discernment. The historical books especially, they are replete with myths that do little to elucidate the way, and they often confuse it.

Such is the case for the reading from the book of Kings for today.

Know this:

God does not interfere in our lives, not in the lives of individuals and not in the course of nations.

The future is not fixed because God, the creator of the universe, God made us and the whole of creation free from divine coercion.

Listen!

The sacred texts are no place for nationalism and jingoism, do not follow the path of the psalmist. God does not favor one person over another, one family, one tribe or one nation.

God is a God of love and mercy, not a God of palace intrigues, not a God of battles.

Be mindful.

The apostle overstates what is at stake in the sacrament of baptism.

Baptism is intended to be filled with symbolic power, Saint Paul articulates this well, and that symbolism is meant to instill in us the same faith by which Jesus willingly went to his death, but this is the exception, it is not the rule.

We are not called to this same fate, Jesus went to his death to save the lives of his family, friends and followers, not to set the stage for their demise.

Jesus was not raised to new life for an extraordinary reason, but for the ordinary reason that God intends to raise all people to life; God restores the whole of creation because God loves us.

Eternal life is not the reward that a Christian should seek, as if it were payment for having lived a just life.

We are called to the exhibition of grace and mercy because that is the way to an authentic life. We are living truly when we are faithful to the way and live well.

We defeat death when we stop fearing it, when we free ourselves from the fear of death we are able to live for what is good and beautiful and true, this is the way that Jesus followed, the way of justice and humility and peace.

Ask for wisdom, God will hear you, God is with you, as God is with us all.

Know this!

The Apostle is wrong. Saint Peter errs when he suggests that some people are set apart and excluded from the divine plan for mercy.

There are no people set apart, there are only people who set themselves apart. All people are the people of God, there is no chosen race, no consecrated nation. God, the creator of the universe, God is looking for prophets not priests. God is calling all people, God desires us to represent the divine voice in the world, and to repeat the call.

Remember!

All people are the subjects of God’s loving mercy, no-one is left outside of the gate, the table has been set for everyone, and the feast will not commence until we have been gathered together as one.

Be mindful.

Faith and the rewards of faith must not be constructed in transactional terms. Faith is trust, it is the simple belief that the things we hope for will come true.

Christian faith is rooted in the hope for and belief that we can live in a just society, one founded in love, a society that exhibits mercy in the furtherance of justice, one which cares for all people.

There are many circumstances in which a Christian may be called to reject the structure of their family or their culture, if those structures are unjust they should be rejected. We cannot simply hold onto them because our parents lived unjustly or because we are concerned for the inheritance of our children.

We cannot cling to systems of injustice for the sake of tradition, that is antithetical to the way.

Matthew speaks truly when he speaks to this point, but the point he makes in this Gospel reading requires further exposition.

A Christian is not called to reject their family for the sake of rejecting their family, they are called to walk away from their family if an only if their family is engaged in the institutionalization and promotion of injustice, and Matthew goes too far, he fundamentally misunderstands the way when he suggests that Christians must make the strong commitment strong, a commitment unto death, for the sake of their faith.

If Jesus had desired this he would have called his disciples to die with him in Calvary. That was not what he desired, he gave his life so that they might live.

Know this!

Salvation is not transactional. Faith and the rewards of faith are not a quid pro quo.

Remember Saint Peter!

He rejected Jesus, he denied him three times on the night Jesus was arrested. He fell apart in the grip of fear even though he was not a man of a cowardly disposition. Nevertheless, he refused to follow Jesus to the cross. Then, after Jesus was killed he continued the ministry, his faith led him through the rest of his days, eventually he gave his life for the sake of his ministry, for bringing good news to the poor, and caring for the widow.

The rewards of faith are not transactional they are emergent.

Trust engenders trust, as love deepens love, and hope fosters hope. One does not purchase the other, but rather they grow with each other like seedlings from seed whose roots bind together to sand fortify the garden.

In the seed the whole is contained in the part, and the potential is infinite.

Be mindful, welcome the prophet, welcome the holy person, and just as important, welcome the sinners, the outcasts, even those who have persecuted.

This is the way of Jesus, and the way of faith.
First Reading – 2 Kings 4:8-11, 13-16 ©

This is a Holy Man of God; Let Him Rest Here

One day as Elisha was on his way to Shunem, a woman of rank who lived there pressed him to stay and eat there. After this he always broke his journey for a meal when he passed that way. She said to her husband, ‘Look, I am sure the man who is constantly passing our way must be a holy man of God. Let us build him a small room on the roof, and put him a bed in it, and a table and chair and lamp; whenever he comes to us he can rest there.’ One day when he came, he retired to the upper room and lay down. He said to his servant Gehazi, ‘Call our Shunammitess. Tell her this: “Look, you have gone to all this trouble for us, what can we do for you? Is there anything you would like said for you to the king or to the commander of the army?”’ But she replied, ‘I live with my own people about me.’ ‘What can be done for her then?’ he asked. Gehazi answered, ‘Well, she has no son and her husband is old.’ Elisha said, ‘Call her.’ The servant called her and she stood at the door. This time next year,’ he said ‘you will hold a son in your arms.’
Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 88(89):2-3, 16-19 ©

I will sing for ever of your love, O Lord.

I will sing for ever of your love, O Lord;
through all ages my mouth will proclaim your truth.
Of this I am sure, that your love lasts for ever,
that your truth is firmly established as the heavens.

I will sing for ever of your love, O Lord.

Happy the people who acclaim such a king,
who walk, O Lord, in the light of your face,
who find their joy every day in your name,
who make your justice the source of their bliss.

I will sing for ever of your love, O Lord.

For it is you, O Lord, who are the glory of their strength;
by your favour it is that our might is exalted;
for our ruler is in the keeping of the Lord;
our king in the keeping of the Holy One of Israel.

I will sing for ever of your love, O Lord.
Second Reading – Romans 6:3-4, 8-11 ©

When We Were Baptised We Went into the Tomb with Christ, So that We too Might Live a New Life

When we were baptised in Christ Jesus we were baptised in his death; in other words, when we were baptised we went into the tomb with him and joined him in death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the Father’s glory, we too might live a new life.

But we believe that having died with Christ we shall return to life with him: Christ, as we know, having been raised from the dead will never die again. Death has no power over him any more. When he died, he died, once for all, to sin, so his life now is life with God; and in that way, you too must consider yourselves to be dead to sin but alive for God in Christ Jesus.
Gospel Acclamation – Acts 16:14

Alleluia, alleluia!

Open our heart, O Lord,
to accept the words of your Son.

Alleluia!
Alternative Acclamation – 1 Peter 2:9

Alleluia, alleluia!

You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood,
a people set apart to sing the praises of God,
who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

Alleluia!
The Gospel According to Matthew – 10:37 – 42 ©

Anyone Who Loses His Life for My Sake Will Find It

Jesus instructed the Twelve as follows:

‘Anyone who prefers father or mother to me is not worthy of me. Anyone who prefers son or daughter to me is not worthy of me. Anyone who does not take his cross and follow in my footsteps is not worthy of me. Anyone who finds his life will lose it; anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it.

‘Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me; and those who welcome me welcome the one who sent me.

‘Anyone who welcomes a prophet will have a prophet’s reward; and anyone who welcomes a holy man will have a holy man’s reward.

‘If anyone gives so much as a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is a disciple, then I tell you solemnly, he will most certainly not lose his reward.’
The Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

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)