A Homliy – The First Sunday of Advent, A Holy Day of Obligation (Year A)

First Reading – Isaiah 2:1-5 ©
Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 121(122):1-2, 4-5, 6-9 ©
Second Reading – Romans 13:11-14 ©
Gospel Acclamation – Palms 84:8
The Gospel According to Matthew 24:37 – 44 ©

(NJB)
Listen to the prophet

The Law of God is one law for all people. The purpose of the law is to lead the people to peace.

This is the law:

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

Remember this: Zion is a metaphor, it stands for the center of our being, Zion represents our heart, each of us individually and the whole of us collectively.

Zion is the heart of hearts, and in the deepest chamber of our heart is the holy of holies, the place where God; the creator of the universe has written the immutable law.

It is there in the heart of hearts where God has inscribed the indelible commandment; that we love one another as God loves us, and that we return God’s love through the service we give to our neighbors, our friends and family, and the stranger in our midst.

It is in the other that God is present to us.

When the law is fulfilled in us our salvation is complete and the savior’s work is done, death will have been defeated, pain and suffering will have departed from the world.

When the law has been fulfilled we will have no need for anyone to come with power and authority to adjudicate between us. When the law has been fulfilled the world will be at peace, the people of God, all people in all places at all times, God’s children will be as one.

Consider the wisdom of the psalmist: you were conceived in the womb of salvation

Open your eyes, you do not have to seek that which has already found you.

Consider again the words of the psalmist and forget all the talk of secure cities, and ramparts, and thrones. God has nothing to do with them.

God, the creator of the universe, the living God is not a tribal deity.

God, the creator of the universe, the eternal God does not belong to one people, one nation, one world or one galaxy.

God is infinite and eternal and beyond our comprehension, and God yet with us and within us; God is the being through whom and in whom we have our existence.

Stay awake!

Listen to the apostle; it is always dark somewhere in the world, and somewhere in the world it is always light. It is easy to hide in plain sight. It is hard to work for the good and keep it private. Whether in private or in public, live up to the expectations you have set for yourself in your relationship with the divine.

Know that God loves you; Act as if everything you do will be known by all, because it will in the end when God is all in all.

Forget all about dressing God in glory, God is not a nationalist, and promoting that image of God is to promote a god of fear, a false image.

Promote the God of love, a God beyond all tribalism, all national borders and boundaries.

Reject the image of God as king, dread lord, and tyrant.

Promote a God of humility, as Jesus was humble and taught us to be; live decently and free from addiction.

God is the creator of the entire universe, all lands belong to God; all seas, all planets, all stars, all galaxies; along with everything and everyone in them.

God did not end the captivity of Jacob, they Israelites did.
Be mindful, this is not hubris; it is the truth.

It is a greater hubris to think that God loves a special people, a single tribe above all others than to think that the Israelites escaped bondage under their own power.

Know this!

God is never angry or indignant with the people, God will not rescue us from the plight and misery of this world; that is for us to do for ourselves, but more importantly it is for us to do for each other.

Consider the Gospel for today, and know that the future history of the world has not been written.

Any suppositions about our future on Earth is merely guesswork. Some guesses are more informed than others, we can speak in terms of possibility and probability, but we cannot know anything about the days and nights to come.

Nothing is fixed, change is the only constant and everything is uncertain.

There are thousands of ways in which the plans we have laid, or the hopes that we cherish can come undone; lightening will strike, a tornado will blow, a meteor will fall, a volcano explode. A person in the fullness of their life may trip and fall, hit their head and die, leaving everything behind them without, it can happen without warning.

The promises we have received from God are not for this world.

God has promised to bring an end to suffering, injustice, hunger, illness. We can believe in this promise, but those promises are not of this world. These promises concern the world to come, a world in which human beings are not subject to the vicissitudes of the material condition, or the hungers of the flesh.

I cannot speak of that world, I will not pretend to because I have never seen it.

No one living has.

Our belief in a loving God, our hope in the words of the prophets, our trust in the Gospel, these allow us to believe that this world is real, but anyone who pretends to know for certain is over stating their case, or simply lying.

This is what we have been taught, and we should stick to it: we can live out our present lives as if the actuality of those promises were real.

That is the secret of the Christian way.

If we are just and loving, if we care for one another, then we do not have to wait for the end of time, or the world to come. We can experience something of the promise in the here and now.

In those moments, God is with us. God is always with us, but in those moments when we are working with God to bring about that better world, then God is with us in a special way, in a sacramental union.

If we trust in the reality of the things we hope for, we make it easy to live our lives as if it were true, and thereby manifest it for ourselves.

To the extent that fulfill the promise in our own lives, the presence of God is engendered among us. It is like inviting Jesus to have a seat at the table, he will have come. That will not the end of things, but the beginning.
First Reading – Isaiah 2:1-5 ©

The Lord Gathers All Nations Together Into the Eternal Peace of God’s Kingdom

The vision of Isaiah son of Amoz, concerning Judah and Jerusalem.

In the days to come the mountain of the Temple of the Lord shall tower above the mountains and be lifted higher than the hills.

All the nations will stream to it, peoples without number will come to it; and they will say:

‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the Temple of the God of Jacob that he may teach us his ways so that we may walk in his paths; since the Law will go out from Zion, and the oracle of the Lord from Jerusalem.’

He will wield authority over the nations and adjudicate between many peoples; these will hammer their swords into ploughshares, their spears into sickles.

Nation will not lift sword against nation, there will be no more training for war.

O House of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord.
Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 121(122):1-2, 4-5, 6-9 ©

I rejoiced when I heard them say: ‘Let us go to God’s house.’

I rejoiced when I heard them say:
‘Let us go to God’s house.’
And now our feet are standing
within your gates, O Jerusalem.

I rejoiced when I heard them say: ‘Let us go to God’s house.’

It is there that the tribes go up,
the tribes of the Lord.
For Israel’s law it is,
there to praise the Lord’s name.
There were set the thrones of judgement
of the house of David.

I rejoiced when I heard them say: ‘Let us go to God’s house.’

For the peace of Jerusalem pray:
‘Peace be to your homes!
May peace reign in your walls,
in your palaces, peace!’

I rejoiced when I heard them say: ‘Let us go to God’s house.’

For love of my brethren and friends
I say: ‘Peace upon you!’
For love of the house of the Lord
I will ask for your good.

I rejoiced when I heard them say: ‘Let us go to God’s house.’
Second Reading – Romans 13:11-14 ©

Our Salvation is Near

You know ‘the time’ has come: you must wake up now: our salvation is even nearer than it was when we were converted. The night is almost over, it will be daylight soon – let us give up all the things we prefer to do under cover of the dark; let us arm ourselves and appear in the light. Let us live decently as people do in the daytime: no drunken orgies, no promiscuity or licentiousness, and no wrangling or jealousy. Let your armour be the Lord Jesus Christ.
Gospel Acclamation – Palms 84:8

Alleluia, alleluia!

Let us see, O Lord, your mercy
and give us your saving help.

Alleluia!
The Gospel According to Matthew 24:37 – 44 ©

The Son of Man is Coming at an Hour You Do Not Expect

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘As it was in Noah’s day, so will it be when the Son of Man comes. For in those days before the Flood people were eating, drinking, taking wives, taking husbands, right up to the day Noah went into the ark, and they suspected nothing till the Flood came and swept all away. It will be like this when the Son of Man comes. Then of two men in the fields one is taken, one left; of two women at the millstone grinding, one is taken, one left.

‘So stay awake, because you do not know the day when your master is coming. You may be quite sure of this that if the householder had known at what time of the night the burglar would come, he would have stayed awake and would not have allowed anyone to break through the wall of his house. Therefore, you too must stand ready because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.’
The First Sunday of Advent, A Holy Day of Obligation (Year A)

A Homily – Thirty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) – Christ the King

First Reading – 2 Samuel 5:1-3 ©
Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 121(122):1-5
Second Reading – Colossians 1:12-20 ©
Gospel Acclamation – Mark 11:10
The Gospel According to Luke 23.35 – 43 ©
Christ the King
Beware the folly of kings, beware of their pride and their vanity.

Human beings were not made to be ruled by tyrants.

Remember this!

You were conceived in the womb of salvation; it is pointless to seek that which has already found you.

Open your eyes.

Pay no attention to what the psalmist says: all this talk of secure cities and ramparts and thrones. God has nothing to do with these.

God, creator of the universe; is not a tribal deity.

God, creator of the universe; does not belong to one people, one nation, one world or one galaxy.

God is not a king, God does not dwell behind a walled city.

God is infinite and eternal and beyond our comprehension, and yet God is with us, within us; the being through whom we have our existence, in whom we came into being, God is everywhere..

It is right to give our thanks and praise.

The thanks that we give for our own well-being reflects a hope we should foster for all people, for the fullness of humanity.

Listen to the Apostle.

He see in Jesus the image of the unseen God, of God the creator of the Universe, the unknowable, the un-nameable God.

The Apostle tells us what the writers of John’s Gospel affirm, that all things were created in Christ, the Word of God, who Jesus of Nazareth is a reflection of.

All things redound to God, all things and beings are created through God and for Gods purposes; all principalities and all powers, all of the poor, all of the the alienated and all of those who suffer.

God holds all things together in unity.

Remember this, always keep this in the forefront of your mind:

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

The Church, following in the way Jesus taught, can never be the extension of a royal dynasty, the Chruch is not an empire, it is not a feudal kingdom. The Church is a society of servants.

Listen!

A person cannot expect a reward in this life, for having lived a good life.

No reward shall be forth coming.

One person may experience a long life, surrounded by family and friends, admired by their community, living out their days in peace, and abundance. While another person may be reviled by their community, abandoned by their friends, framed for criminal offences and executed for crimes they did not commit.

There is no divine plan concerning what happens to us in this life.

God, the creator of the universe, God has made each of us free, and all of creation is free from divine coercion. The divine plan does not touch us in this world, it only promises to deliver us to another world when we are done with this one.

That is the way of things.

Believe in God’s promise.

The things we enjoy, and the things we suffer here, they are temporary; this is the promise of God.

We have no choice but to endure the things that come our way, or enjoy them, such as the case might be.

Our experience of this world is ephemeral.

A person may live their entire life outside of the bounds of good society and wisdom may still come to them at the end.

Listen to the voice of wisdom when you hear it.

Wisdom is wisdom regardless of the voice that speaks it.

Truth is truth, and lies are lies. Attenuate yourself to the differences between them.

Reflect on this:

Do not make the mistake of believing that God saved one of the criminals who died next to Jesus, and condemned the other.

Both men are children of God, and beloved by the creator.

A person is not saved because of their ability to recognize the divinity in Jesus, we are saved because God loves us and made us to be saved, there is no other causal factor than love.

The divine plan encompasses everyone; this is the good news that Jesus preached.
First Reading – 2 Samuel 5:1-3 ©

They Anointed David King of Israel

All the tribes of Israel then came to David at Hebron. ‘Look’ they said ‘we are your own flesh and blood. In days past when Saul was our king, it was you who led Israel in all their exploits; and the Lord said to you, “You are the man who shall be shepherd of my people Israel, you shall be the leader of Israel.”’ So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and King David made a pact with them at Hebron in the presence of the Lord, and they anointed David king of Israel.
Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 121(122):1-5
They filled me with joy when they said,

“We will go to the house of the Lord.”

Now our feet are standing

within your gates, Jerusalem.

Jerusalem, built as a city,

whole and self-contained:

there the tribes have gone up,

the tribes of the Lord –

the witness of Israel,

to praise the Lord’s name.

For there are the thrones of justice,

the thrones of the house of David.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:

“Safety for those who care for you,

peace inside your walls,

security within your ramparts!”

For my brethren and those near to me I will say

“Peace be upon you.”

For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,

I will call blessings upon you.
Second Reading – Colossians 1:12-20 ©

The Father has created a place for us in the kingdom of the Son that he loves

We give thanks to the Father who has made it possible for you to join the saints and with them to inherit the light.

Because that is what he has done: he has taken us out of the power of darkness and created a place for us in the kingdom of the Son that he loves, and in him, we gain our freedom, the forgiveness of our sins.

He is the image of the unseen God and the first-born of all creation, for in him were created all things in heaven and on earth: everything visible and everything invisible, Thrones, Dominations, Sovereignties, Powers – all things were created through him and for him.

Before anything was created, he existed, and he holds all things in unity.

Now the Church is his body, he is its head.

As he is the Beginning, he was first to be born from the dead, so that he should be first in every way; because God wanted all perfection to be found in him and all things to be reconciled through him and for him, everything in heaven and everything on earth, when he made peace by his death on the cross.
Gospel Acclamation – Mark 11:10

Alleluia, alleluia!

Blessings on him who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessings on the coming kingdom of our father David!

Alleluia!
The Gospel According to Luke 23.35 – 43 ©

‘Today you will be with me in paradise’

The people stayed there before the cross watching Jesus. As for the leaders, they jeered at him. ‘He saved others,’ they said ‘let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.’ The soldiers mocked him too, and when they approached to offer vinegar they said, ‘If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.’ Above him there was an inscription: ‘This is the King of the Jews.’

One of the criminals hanging there abused him. ‘Are you not the Christ?’ he said. ‘Save yourself and us as well.’ But the other spoke up and rebuked him. ‘Have you no fear of God at all?’ he said. ‘You got the same sentence as he did, but in our case we deserved it: we are paying for what we did. But this man has done nothing wrong. Jesus,’ he said ‘remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ ‘Indeed, I promise you,’ he replied ‘today you will be with me in paradise.’
Thirty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) – Christ the King

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

First Reading – Malachi 3:19-20 ©
Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 97(98):5-9 ©
Second Reading – 2 Thessalonians 3:7-12 ©
Gospel Acclamation – Luke 21:36
Alternative Acclamation – Luke 21:28
The Gospel According to Luke 21.5 – 19 ©
Listen!

One thing is not the same as another. There is good and there is evil and the difference between these two things matters.

While it is true that God loves us no matter what we do, and it is true that the creator of the universe has promised to right all wrongs; the fulfillment of those promises takes place in eternity. While that plan is in place, nevertheless, we must still live with the consequences of our actions in the world.

Mind yourself, and your ambitions, your relationships with your family and with your neighbors, with the stranger in your company, even with your adversary.

Do good and avoid evil.

Heal the sick and do not cause suffering. Feed the hungry, clothe the naked. House the homeless.

Love mercy and seek justice all the days of your life.

Contemplate the ways of the loving God, and emulate them.

This is the way that Jesus instructed us in, nothing is more important.

Be mindful!

It is right and good to praise God the creator, because creation is miraculous, and its scope beyond human comprehension.
But know this!

God does not grant victories. God has no enemies; in God, within whom all things exist and have their being, there is no conflict.

It is not God’s justice that is shown in the machinations of human beings, it is human justice, and when human justice approximates the justice of God, justice appears hand in hand with mercy, and that is good.

God is kind and faithful to all people without exception.

God’s power is everywhere, animating the voices that give God praise, as well as those who doubt and cry out against God’s ways.

If you are an instrument of justice, judge fairly, judge kindly, remembering that God is love.

Remember this, and feed the people.

Do not treat food as a wage.

Give to the hungry, this is the way that Jesus taught us.

Consider the words of Saint Paul and know that they can only apply in times of great scarcity, when the whole community is in need, and the food that is available must go to those who are tasked with the survival of the community itself, to those for whom sustenance is necessary, because without their labor the community would perish.

Then and only then can Saint Paul’s rule apply.

In times of abundance do not refuse to feed anyone, even the miscreant and the sloucher.

Be mindful, weigh the text of Scripture carefully. There are many places where error has crept in and the teachings of Jesus have been subverted to the shortsightedness of human beings.

God, the creator of the universe made us, God made our world and the universe free. God does not interfere or intervene in our lives and our choices. The only futures we can predict are those that flow naturally from their antecedents, from the choices we are making in the present.

Pay no attention to those who use fear to shape their faith, or yours.

They are liars.

God wills that you live a life without fear, and the things that flow from fear; hate, anger, greed, and violence.

Consider the Gospel for today:

Jesus did not utter these words. They were penned by the gospel writers, written years after the temple in Jerusalem had been destroyed, years after the war with Rome that led to its destruction, and years after they were expelled from Roman occupied Palestine.

Jesus was not a fortuneteller, he did not predict the future.

God, the creator of the universe, God has not preordained anything.

Do not be deceived; these are the best words, the best advice for living in the way.

Do not be deceived.

Many will come and claim to be Jesus, or to speak for Jesus. Every generation has such pretenders.

Do not be deceived, do not deceive yourself!

The gospel writers were pretending to be Jesus when they put words in his mouth that he never spoke. They thought they were doing good. Most of those who pretend to be Jesus think they are doing something good, or at the least they think they are doing something necessary. The gospel writers were no different in this.

Do not be deceived, and do not be afraid.

The world will continue to be a violent and unsafe place. We live in a hard and dangerous world.

Have hope.

If you dedicate your life to challenging those in power, you must expect that the powerful will act against you.

If you should find yourself in court simply because you are working on behalf of the poor and the marginalized, do not worry about your defense.

Your actions will speak for themselves.

Speak truth at all times, including to the powerful, they need to hear it most of all.

Love mercy, seek justice and walk uprightly all the days of your life.
First Reading – Malachi 3:19-20 ©

For You the Sun of Righteousness Will Shine Out

The day is coming now, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and the evil-doers will be like stubble. The day that is coming is going to burn them up, says the Lord of Hosts, leaving them neither root nor stalk. But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness will shine out with healing in its rays.
Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 97(98):5-9 ©

The Lord comes to rule the peoples with fairness.

Sing psalms to the Lord with the harp
with the sound of music.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
acclaim the King, the Lord.

The Lord comes to rule the peoples with fairness.

Let the sea and all within it, thunder;
the world, and all its peoples.
Let the rivers clap their hands
and the hills ring out their joy
at the presence of the Lord.

The Lord comes to rule the peoples with fairness.

For the Lord comes,
he comes to rule the earth.
He will rule the world with justice
and the peoples with fairness.

The Lord comes to rule the peoples with fairness.
Second Reading – 2 Thessalonians 3:7-12 ©

Do Not Let Anyone Have Food if He Refuses to Work

You know how you are supposed to imitate us: now we were not idle when we were with you, nor did we ever have our meals at anyone’s table without paying for them; no, we worked night and day, slaving and straining, so as not to be a burden on any of you. This was not because we had no right to be, but in order to make ourselves an example for you to follow.

We gave you a rule when we were with you: do not let anyone have any food if he refuses to do any work. Now we hear that there are some of you who are living in idleness, doing no work themselves but interfering with everyone else’s. In the Lord Jesus Christ, we order and call on people of this kind to go on quietly working and earning the food that they eat.
Gospel Acclamation – Luke 21:36

Alleluia, alleluia!

Stay awake, praying at all times
for the strength to stand with confidence
before the Son of Man.

Alleluia!

Alternative Acclamation – Luke 21:28

Alleluia, alleluia!

Stand erect, hold your heads high,
because your liberation is near at hand.

Alleluia!
The Gospel According to Luke 21.5 – 19 ©

The Destruction of the Temple Foretold…

When some were talking about the Temple, remarking how it was adorned with fine stonework and votive offerings, Jesus said, ‘All these things you are staring at now – the time will come when not a single stone will be left on another: everything will be destroyed.’ And they put to him this question: ‘Master,’ they said ‘when will this happen, then, and what sign will there be that this is about to take place?’

‘Take care not to be deceived,’ he said ‘because many will come using my name and saying, “I am he” and, “The time is near at hand.” Refuse to join them. And when you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened, for this is something that must happen but the end is not so soon.’ Then he said to them, ‘Nation will fight against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes and plagues and famines here and there; there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven.

‘But before all this happens, men will seize you and persecute you; they will hand you over to the synagogues and to imprisonment, and bring you before kings and governors because of my name – and that will be your opportunity to bear witness. Keep this carefully in mind: you are not to prepare your defence, because I myself shall give you an eloquence and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to resist or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relations and friends; and some of you will be put to death. You will be hated by all men on account of my name, but not a hair of your head will be lost. Your endurance will win you your lives.’
Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

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

First Reading – 2 Maccabees 7:1-2, 9-14 ©
Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 16(17):1,5-6,8,15 ©
Second Reading – 2 Thessalonians 2:16-3:5 ©
Gospel Acclamation – Luke 21:36
Alternative Acclamation – Revelation 1:5, 6
The Gospel According to Luke 20.27 – 38 ©
Listen!

Consider the reading for the second Book of Maccabees; and know that from time to time we are forced to deal with the false witness of scripture.

Be mindful and know that these writing are entirely contrary to the way Jesus preached, how he taught and encouraged us to live.

It is to the enduring shame of the Church that we continue to carry forward these misguided tropes from the cannon of scripture. We are not obligated to do so, and there is no good reason for it.

Remember; Jesus is not a king, God is not a king. God, the creator of the universe, and Jesus bear no likeness whatsoever to the kings of the world.

Reject these titles and all of the connotations they carry with them.

God does not prefer that we go to our deaths rather than violate the traditions of our ancestors, their dietary customs or their way of life. There is no glory in it, there is only death. God wants us to live, to care for our families, to make a garden of the world to be at peace.

Remember this!

God loves you and God loves your enemies too. God takes no sides in the conflicts that rage between human beings, kingdoms and cultures.

Know that God is the source of salvation for all people, and all people receive it in the end because all people are subject to God’s love and mercy.

Have faith! God hears you.

God, the creator of the universe knows your thoughts even before you speak them.

God understands what is behind your thinking, God knows the content of your heart as well.

Pray and plead to God for understanding and wisdom, and peace, but do not expect God to act on your behalf.

God will not rescue you, God does not favor one child over another.

If you claim that there is no deceit in you, then you deceive yourself.

Do not be boastful or puff yourself up with pride, do not try to prove yourself with rash deeds which cause you to deviate from the way.

If you expect to be favored in God’s judgment you will come to disappointment. Rather live your life as you believe that God would have you live it, and take comfort in that.

Do not pretend to eschew violence while asking God to be violent on your behalf.

Do not wish violence on another, but rather cleanse your heart through the power of mercy and forgiveness; do it no matter how much it galls you to do so.

Know this, no matter how much you pray God will not protect you from your enemies. Follow in the way and pray for your enemies, love them even as God loves them.

When they advance on you, ask for mercy; forgive, and be forgiven.

Your enemies are not beasts, they are not monsters, they are the children of God.

If you treat them this way, all enmity will disappear.

Listen!

God will strengthen you, pray for it and you will be strengthened. The praying itself will strengthen you, but do not expect God to reach into the world and change your fate just because you prayed.

God made you a free creature, and God will not intervene in your life, either to aid you or to hinder you. God has left you to your own devices.

Be mindful! Seek the strength of your companions, encourage them on the way, and they will bolster you in turn.

You will falter and fail, but if you keep the faith you will rise again.

In the end God will deliver you.

Have no fear!

It is right to wish grace and peace on your brothers and sisters in the world; no matter what differences there are between you.

Wish them peace and grace!

Remember this:

Jesus is our witness, but not our king. God is not a lord.

Neither God nor Jesus sits on a throne, nor do they intervene in the politics of human beings.

Be mindful!

God forgave us our sins before we sinned, even before we came into being God forgave us for all of our crimes. We entered into life as the beloved of God, it is God will that will all be saved. It is God’s will that saves us. Our salvation has nothing to do with the blood of Christ.

Consider the Gospel for today:

As Christians, we should never be like the Sadducees who are depicted in this narrative.

Avoid the trap of legalisms, and the legalistic perspective or approach to faith.

Faith should be simple, in the way that Jesus himself expressed it. Faith means trust. We are called to trust in our greatest hopes, to believe in them as a remedy for fear.

Christian hope is founded in the resurrection. It is not merely a belief that we continue in the next world, but that the next world is governed by God, in justice and with love.

Consider what it means to be married.

Marriage today is much the same as it was in the ancient world, it is a contract; sometimes between two people, sometimes between families. It concerns the ownership of property. It is a transaction, it concerns the promise of future transactions and the disposition of properties; that will have grown or diminished in value according to the circumstances and choices of the individuals who are bound by it.

In some cultures marriage has come to have many other meanings. For many, marriage concerns love and romance, commitment and trust. Nevertheless, the core of marriage remains the same, it is a contract.

In the next world, the Christian promise is one in which the need for private property has disappeared. It is one in which there is no want, where material needs have altogether vanished, in which we relate to the personhood of one another on an altogether different level and so there is no need for marriage.

Therefore the question that the Sadducees put to Jesus is moot.

Jesus, however, gets to a deeper point. He takes his interlocuters on a faith journey, and he instructs them from the teaching of Moses, regarding Moses’ own faith in the next life.

He takes them on this journey because the Sadducees were a conservative group within the Hebrew tradition. They did not believe in the afterlife and they considered themselves to be strict interpreters of the books of Moses and the law.

Jesus shows them that Moses’ own words suggest that God, the creator of the universe, that God is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Joseph, expressed in the present tense not the past. Indicating that God is the God of the living, not the dead, concluding this teaching with an expression of the universal faith that all people are alive to God, and that there is no death.

There is no death, not now, not ever. It is on this faith that the church was founded.
First Reading – 2 Maccabees 7:1-2, 9-14 ©

‘The King of the World Will Raise Us Up to Live For Ever’

There were seven brothers who were arrested with their mother. The king tried to force them to taste pig’s flesh, which the Law forbids, by torturing them with whips and scourges. One of them, acting as spokesman for the others, said, ‘What are you trying to find out from us? We are prepared to die rather than break the laws of our ancestors.’

With his last breath the second brother exclaimed, ‘Inhuman fiend, you may discharge us from this present life, but the King of the world will raise us up, since it is for his laws that we die, to live again for ever.’

After him, they amused themselves with the third, who on being asked for his tongue promptly thrust it out and boldly held out his hands, with these honourable words, ‘It was heaven that gave me these limbs; for the sake of his laws I disdain them; from him I hope to receive them again.’ The king and his attendants were astounded at the young man’s courage and his utter indifference to suffering.

When this one was dead they subjected the fourth to the same savage torture. When he neared his end he cried, ‘Ours is the better choice, to meet death at men’s hands, yet relying on God’s promise that we shall be raised up by him; whereas for you there can be no resurrection, no new life.’
Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 16(17):1,5-6,8,15 ©

I shall be filled, when I awake, with the sight of your glory, O Lord.

Lord, hear a cause that is just,
pay heed to my cry.
Turn your ear to my prayer:
no deceit is on my lips.

I shall be filled, when I awake, with the sight of your glory, O Lord.

I kept my feet firmly in your paths;
there was no faltering in my steps.
I am here and I call, you will hear me, O God.
Turn your ear to me; hear my words.

I shall be filled, when I awake, with the sight of your glory, O Lord.

Guard me as the apple of your eye.
Hide me in the shadow of your wings
As for me, in my justice I shall see your face
and be filled, when I awake, with the sight of your glory.

I shall be filled, when I awake, with the sight of your glory, O Lord.
Second Reading – 2 Thessalonians 2:16-3:5 ©

May the Lord Strengthen You in Everything Good that You Do or Say

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father who has given us his love and, through his grace, such inexhaustible comfort and such sure hope, comfort you and strengthen you in everything good that you do or say.

Finally, brothers, pray for us; pray that the Lord’s message may spread quickly, and be received with honour as it was among you; and pray that we may be preserved from the interference of bigoted and evil people, for faith is not given to everyone. But the Lord is faithful, and he will give you strength and guard you from the evil one, and we, in the Lord, have every confidence that you are doing and will go on doing all that we tell you. May the Lord turn your hearts towards the love of God and the fortitude of Christ.
Gospel Acclamation – Luke 21:36

Alleluia, alleluia!

Stay awake, praying at all times
for the strength to stand with confidence
before the Son of Man.

Alleluia!
Alternative Acclamation – Revelation 1:5, 6

Alleluia, alleluia!

Jesus Christ is the First-born from the dead:
to him be glory and power for ever and ever.

Alleluia!
The Gospel According to Luke 20.27 – 38 ©

He is God, Not of the dead, but of the Living

Some Sadducees – those who say that there is no resurrection – approached him and they put this question to him, ‘Master, we have it from Moses in writing, that if a man’s married brother dies childless, the man must marry the widow to raise up children for his brother. Well then, there were seven brothers. The first, having married a wife, died childless. The second and then the third married the widow. And the same with all seven, they died leaving no children. Finally the woman herself died Now, at the resurrection, to which of them will she be wife since she had been married to all seven?’

Jesus replied, ‘The children of this world take wives and husbands, but those who are judged worthy of a place in the other world and in the resurrection from the dead do not marry because they can no longer die, for they are the same as the angels, and being children of the resurrection they are sons of God. And Moses himself implies that the dead rise again, in the passage about the bush where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. Now he is God, not of the dead, but of the living; for to him all men are in fact alive.’
32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

A Homily – The Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

First Reading – Wisdom 11:22-12:2 ©
Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 144(145):1-2, 8-11, 13b-14 ©
Second Reading – 2 Thessalonians 1:11-2:2 ©
Gospel Acclamation – Luke 19:38, 2:14
Alternative Acclamation – John 3:16
The Gospel According to Luke 19.1 – 10 ©
Listen to the wisdom of the sage!

God, the creator of the universe; God is the infinite and the eternal. God is omnipresent, everywhere, God is not, not present in any space. God is omniscient, God knows all things, not in the mode of abstract particulars, but in the intimate made of being; God knows you as you know yourself. God is omnipotent, this is not a reference to raw power, though all the power in the universe belongs to God, but it means that God has the perfect ability to accomplish God’s will.

Know this:

What is infinite, is infinitely greater than the entire sum of finite things and beings.

The spirit of God dwells in all things and beings, and God loves all in whom God’s spirit dwells.

As the prophet says:

“In your sight the whole world is like a grain of dust that tips the scales, like a drop of morning dew falling on the ground.

“Yet you are merciful to all, because you can do all things and overlook our sins so that we can repent.

“Yes, you love all that exists, you hold nothing of what you have made in abhorrence, for had you hated anything, you would not have formed it.

“You spare all things because all things are yours, God, lover of life, you whose imperishable spirit is in all.

“Little by little you correct us all.

Pay attention to the scripture and me mindful of where it falls into error.

The psalmist is mistaken, when he refers to God as a king.

God is not a king.

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

God has made us free, and God does not intervene directly in human events. Do not pray for God to do so, such prayers are mere vanities.

Contemplate the vast power of God, and then contemplate the innumerable ways of God’s love and mercy.

Listen to the words of the apostle!

Be mindful of the matters he wants to caution us about.

Pray for your brothers and sisters, for your mother and father, for your sons and daughters; pray for all your friends and family members, for their families and most of all, pray for the stranger among you, for the alien in your midst, pray for those who wish you harm, and for those who oppose your interests.

Pray for them as God prays for them, in a spirit of love and humility. Pray that you will find them worthy, and that they will find you worthy of love, just as God does.

Do not look for glories, pray for the peace of God.

Be mindful!

Listen to the words of the Apostle, there are many who call themselves Christians who pretend to know the secrets of the universe or the path to God’s favor, they preach on it even while they deviate from the way Jesus taught us.

Call out the false prophets among us, point out their false claims, do it in the spirit God has given you, do it in the Spirit of truth.

As you do so remember this, God is not king, or a lord.

The creator of the universe does not wear a crown.

We do not seek glory as we struggle on the way toward salvation. As we follow Jesus we seek out the lowest of the low, we do not seek the highest heaven, we seek to serve those in the deepest dark, returning them to the light of love.

Listen!

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 this world, you will understand that the things we endure here: pain and suffering, alienation and uncertainty, hunger, disease and death, these are all temporary.

You will see the world of light and life beyond the mortal veil.

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

Be mindful and cleave to the truth.

No one is condemned because they refuse to believe in the scriptures, or believe in Christian doctrines, or the dogma of the church.

No one is condemned by God no matter ho egregiously we err, God pours out the divine love on all creation, God does so continuously.

There is no magic power in a name or an article of belief, we are given a warning because of this, if we are not able to trust in the way of Jesus, and trust is the meaning of faith, if we are not able to trust in the way and we are selfish, instead of giving; malicious instead of loving, harmful instead of healing, then we will suffer in this world, even as we increase the suffering of others.

Faith in Jesus means liberation in the here and now, freedom in the present reality, which is a blessing to everyone who finds it and to all whom they encounter.

Be mindful.

Do not judge. Make no assumptions about the piety of others.

Everyone is a sinner, and everyone is good;

Everyone loves, and is worthy of love.

That is the whole of the gospel.
First Reading – Wisdom 11:22-12:2 ©

You Are Merciful to All, Because You Love All That Exists

In your sight, Lord, the whole world is like a grain of dust that tips the scales, like a drop of morning dew falling on the ground.

Yet you are merciful to all, because you can do all things and overlook men’s sins so that they can repent.

Yes, you love all that exists, you hold nothing of what you have made in abhorrence, for had you hated anything, you would not have formed it.

And how, had you not willed it, could a thing persist, how be conserved if not called forth by you?

You spare all things because all things are yours, Lord, lover of life, you whose imperishable spirit is in all.

Little by little, therefore, you correct those who offend, you admonish and remind them of how they have sinned, so that they may abstain from evil and trust in you, Lord.
Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 144(145):1-2, 8-11, 13b-14 ©

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

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.
Second Reading – 2 Thessalonians 1:11-2:2 ©

The Name of Christ Will be Glorified in You, and You in Him

We pray continually that our God will make you worthy of his call, and by his power fulfil all your desires for goodness and complete all that you have been doing through faith; because in this way the name of our Lord Jesus Christ will be glorified in you and you in him, by the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

To turn now, brothers, to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and how we shall all be gathered round him: please do not get excited too soon or alarmed by any prediction or rumour or any letter claiming to come from us, implying that the Day of the Lord has already arrived.
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 – John 3:16

Alleluia, alleluia!

God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son: everyone who believes in him has eternal life.

Alleluia!
The Gospel According to Luke 19.1 – 10 ©

Salvation Comes to the House of Zacchaeus

Jesus entered Jericho and was going through the town when a man whose name was Zacchaeus made his appearance: he was one of the senior tax collectors and a wealthy man. He was anxious to see what kind of man Jesus was, but he was too short and could not see him for the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to catch a glimpse of Jesus who was to pass that way. When Jesus reached the spot he looked up and spoke to him: ‘Zacchaeus, come down. Hurry, because I must stay at your house today.’ And he hurried down and welcomed him joyfully. They all complained when they saw what was happening. ‘He has gone to stay at a sinner’s house’ they said. But Zacchaeus stood his ground and said to the Lord, ‘Look, sir, I am going to give half my property to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody I will pay him back four times the amount.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because this man too is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek out and save what was lost.’
31st Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

A Homily – The Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

First Reading – Ecclesiasticus 35:12-14, 16-19 ©
Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 33(34):2-3, 17-19, 23 ©
Second Reading – 2 Timothy 4:6-8,16-18 ©
Alternative Acclamation – 2 Corinthians 5:19
The Gospel According to Luke 18:9 – 14 ©
Listen to words of the sage!

Listen and be joyful.

God creator of the universe, God is not respecter of persons, God respects neither the rich nor the poor.

There is no differentiation in God’s love; God loves all of God’s children equally.

God listens to all prayers, ignoring none of them, but God will not come to your aid, not while you live on Earth; do not wait in the expectation of it.

God’s deliverance comes after the body perishes, when you are delivered to the new world, to a place beyond time and space.

Be humble, serve your brothers and sisters as you would wish that God serves you, be the hand of God in this world, showing love and mercy and kindness.

Be mindful!

If you intend to seek God; look only in your heart. You will find God in loving, and in loving you will be blessed.

Praise God through works of love.

Look for no other glory than service.

God is great because God cares.

God has no name, therefore exalt God’s loving work in creation.

Listen to your neighbors, rescue them from fear, God’s light will shine through you, through the hope you kindle and the love you share.

Remember, with God there is no shame.

God is no respecter of station, class or wealth. God loves everyone the same.

Do not look for God to save you from your troubles. We are all Job, in a way. Have faith and you come to understand how transient your troubles are, and the temporality of pain.

There is no rescue in this world unless it comes from your neighbor.

All pain is temporary, but love lasts forever.

Do not fear.

Speak the truth.

Avoid evil.

Do good.

This is the wisdom of the psalmist, God see all, hears all, knows all; God knows even your innermost thoughts, your deepest secrets, desires and hidden motivations.

Keep your mind in the present and do not focus on the good things that may or may not come.

God loves us always, but it is only in the present that we feel it.

Listen only to those who teach hope…ignore the fear-mongers.

This is the way to peace.

Listen!

God will rescue you, whether you are pure and without flaw, or dirty and soiled with corruption.

God will rescue you though you do not deserve it.

God will come to your side and deliver you, God will place a crown on your head, but it is not for the righteousness you have earned, it is because God has claimed you for God’s own.

It is not a crown of glory earned through righteous perseverance, it is a token of God’s love.

Do not shun it.

Do not devalue it.

Do not think less of it when you see those who persecuted you and those who abandoned you receive the same blessing, when those who did not listen to you, when those who ignored you are present with you on the same pilgrimage to the divine.

Consider this:

The apostle tells us in the simplest of terms; the mission of the church is to announce the reconciliation of the divine.

Everyone is reconciled in the loving embrace of God, of 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.

Know this!

The reconciliation has already occurred, it occurred in Christ at the beginning of time.

It is the mission of the church to proclaim it.

Consider the Gospel of the Day:

Do not be mistaken; both of people are beloved by God.

God, the creator of the universe; God loves all people, without qualification. God gives to all people without preference.

In the person of the Pharisee and in the person of the tax collector; there is good and there is evil; both. This is true of everyone. It is true of you, and it is true of me, but God loves us despite our faults and failings.

The Pharisee was born into the life of a Pharisee, was given the means to live the life he lived. He had some say in how he would handle his inheritance; as we all do, whatever that inheritance might be.

This is not to excuse the Pharisee’s miserly behavior; this is simple to state our understanding of human nature, and the way things are.

Do not be surprised by it.

We are each of free to be prideful, or humble regardless of what we do or do not have.

All of us are in different ways both.

A person who manifests an ugly sense of pride in relation to one aspect of their life, may be loving and humble in another. Do not believe that because you see one side of a person, you have seen everything about them.

The tax collector also inherited his circumstances; perhaps making choices along the way to establish himself in the role he occupied, nevertheless, like all people, his role in his community was partly determined by free will and partly determined by the exigencies of his community life.

A person may have an occupation where they know they are doing harm to others, but cannot walk away from it, because of unseen obligations; responsibilities to family, to friends, to community. The fact that they are engaged in a sinful occupation does not tell us the whole story of who they are. They may be fierce and aggressive in the pursuit of their duties, and yet come to their prayers with humility and contrition.

Be welcoming to all who come to you. Do not judge them based on the outward expression of their piety, their occupation or their place in society.

We are all of us a mix of good and bad intentions.
First Reading – Ecclesiasticus 35:12-14, 16-19 ©

The Humble Man’s Prayer Pierces the Clouds

The Lord is a judge who is no respecter of personages.

He shows no respect of personages to the detriment of a poor man, he listens to the plea of the injured party.

He does not ignore the orphan’s supplication, nor the widow’s as she pours out her story.

The man who with his whole heart serves God will be accepted, his petitions will carry to the clouds.

The humble man’s prayer pierces the clouds, until it arrives he is inconsolable, and the Lord will not be slow, nor will he be dilatory on their behalf.
Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 33(34):2-3, 17-19, 23 ©

The poor man called; the Lord has heard him.

I will bless the Lord at all times,
his praise always on my lips;
in the Lord my soul shall make its boast.
The humble shall hear and be glad.

The poor man called; the Lord has heard him.

The Lord turns his face against the wicked
to destroy their remembrance from the earth.
The just call and the Lord hears
and rescues them in all their distress.

The poor man called; the Lord has heard him.

The Lord is close to the broken-hearted;
those whose spirit is crushed he will save.
The Lord ransoms the souls of his servants.
Those who hide in him shall not be condemned.

The poor man called; the Lord has heard him.
Second Reading – 2 Timothy 4:6-8,16-18 ©

All there is to Come Now is the Crown of Righteousness Reserved for Me

My life is already being poured away as a libation, and the time has come for me to be gone. I have fought the good fight to the end; I have run the race to the finish; I have kept the faith; all there is to come now is the crown of righteousness reserved for me, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to me on that Day; and not only to me but to all those who have longed for his Appearing.

The first time I had to present my defence, there was not a single witness to support me. Every one of them deserted me – may they not be held accountable for it. But the Lord stood by me and gave me power, so that through me the whole message might be proclaimed for all the pagans to hear; and so I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from all evil attempts on me, and bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
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!

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 Luke 18:9 – 14 ©

The Tax Collector, Not the Pharisee, Went Home Justified.

Jesus spoke the following parable to some people who prided themselves on being virtuous and despised everyone else: ‘Two men went up to the Temple to pray, one a Pharisee, the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood there and said this prayer to himself, “I thank you, God, that I am not grasping, unjust, adulterous like the rest of mankind, and particularly that I am not like this tax collector here. I fast twice a week; I pay tithes on all I get.” The tax collector stood some distance away, not daring even to raise his eyes to heaven; but he beat his breast and said, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” This man, I tell you, went home again at rights with God; the other did not. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the man who humbles himself will be exalted.’
30th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

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

First Reading – Exodus 17:8-13 ©
Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 120(121) ©
Second Reading – 2 Timothy 3:14-4:2 ©
Gospel Acclamation – Ephesians 1:17, 18
Alternative Acclamation – Hebrews 4:12
The Gospel According to Luke 18:1 – 8 ©
Listen, and be mindful, all you people of the way.

God, the creator of the universe, God is not a miracle worker. God does not intervene in human events. God did not speak to Moses (Moses did not even exist), God did not cause water to flow from a rock in Horeb. God did not lead the people in the desert. God is not a warrior, God does not grant victory in battle. God does not favor one nation over another, or one tribe or one man. There is no such thing as magic. Moses had no special powers, there were no powers imbued in the object he called the staff of the Lord. God did not give Joshua the victory over Amalek.

Listen!

God had nothing to do with any of these events. None of these events even happened.

This myth does a disservice to the teaching of Jesus; Jesus of Nazareth who taught us to pray for those who persecute you, to love you enemy, and to care for the stranger.

Pay close attention to what is written in the sacred text. It is instructive even in its errors.

The Psalmist here is wrong.

God will not intervene in this world, either to help you or to hurt you. God has made us free; our life in this world is free from God’s coercion.

God will not guard you while you live this life.

God will not help you or hinder you in any way.

God has made us all subject to chance, of random events and the intentions of people who or may not wish us well; who may or may not wish us harm, who may or may not know us at all or ever considered us in the choices they made.

Follow the will of God, the voice of God that speaking in your heart. Be at peace, known that our story here on earth is no the end of our story. There is refuge waiting beyond this world.

There is a final refuge in God, a place where ww will see God face to face and where God will take direct action in our healing.

Consider the world of the epistle.

The basic premise of this teaching may be true:

That the person who is dedicated to God is fully equipped and ready for any good work.

Of course it begs the question; what God? Who’s God are you dedicated to?

We are all sinners, we all live in error, even those closest to Jesus failed to understand his mission, sold him to the Roman’s rejected him and denied him.

It would be unwise for us to suppose that we can do better.

Dedication is not enough, your fervent love for God, for the Church, for the sacred text is not enough; it is can never be enough if your understanding of those things, and if your understanding of God is in error.

All of us live in error.

Be mindful of the things you say and do in the name of God. Serve the spirit of truth with the spirit of love, be humble and merciful in the name of justice.

This is the way Jesus taught us.

Remember his life of Jesus and what he taught us of God; whom he called Abba.

Is God glorious?

God is the creator of the universe, and the creator perceives the most exalted state as being in relationship to us; of caring for us as a parent would..

God desires that all of us come to this knowledge and live in its light.

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

If you think that God has promised riches and glories as a reward for 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.

The divine riches are counted as love and friendship and the opportunity for service.

Be mindful!

The real presence of God is with you. God knows you, even as you know yourself.

You dwell with the God, and God dwells with you, there is no distance between us.

Endeavor to persevere.

Do not lose heart, or hope; trust in the goodness of your actions, even if they do not bear fruit; what is good is never wasted.

Justice may come from people who have no interest in it. Nevertheless, a just result is a just result.

Do not wait for justice but strive for it. Persistence is its own reward.

Do not wait for God to deliver you from your troubles here on earth; be patient, in keeping with the way of Jesus, seek justice through mercy, through love and kindness.

This may not change your circumstances, but it will change you. You will find salvation therein.
First Reading – Exodus 17:8-13 ©

As Long as Moses Kept His Arm Raised, Israel had the Advantage

The Amalekites came and attacked Israel at Rephidim. Moses said to Joshua, ‘Pick out men for yourself, and tomorrow morning march out to engage Amalek. I, meanwhile, will stand on the hilltop, the staff of God in my hand.’ Joshua did as Moses told him and marched out to engage Amalek, while Moses and Aaron and Hur went up to the top of the hill. As long as Moses kept his arms raised, Israel had the advantage; when he let his arms fall, the advantage went to Amalek. But Moses’ arms grew heavy, so they took a stone and put it under him and on this he sat, Aaron and Hur supporting his arms, one on one side, one on the other; and his arms remained firm till sunset. With the edge of the sword Joshua cut down Amalek and his people.
Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 120(121) ©

Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains;
from where shall come my help?
My help shall come from the Lord
who made heaven and earth.

Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

May he never allow you to stumble!
Let him sleep not, your guard.
No, he sleeps not nor slumbers,
Israel’s guard.

Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

The Lord is your guard and your shade;
at your right side he stands.
By day the sun shall not smite you
nor the moon in the night.

Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

The Lord will guard you from evil,
he will guard your soul.
The Lord will guard your going and coming
both now and for ever.

Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
Second Reading – 2 Timothy 3:14-4:2 ©

The Man who is Dedicated to God Becomes Fully Equipped and Ready for Any Good Work

You must keep to what you have been taught and know to be true; remember who your teachers were, and how, ever since you were a child, you have known the holy scriptures – from these you can learn the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All scripture is inspired by God and can profitably be used for teaching, for refuting error, for guiding people’s lives and teaching them to be holy. This is how the man who is dedicated to God becomes fully equipped and ready for any good work.

Before God and before Christ Jesus who is to be judge of the living and the dead, I put this duty to you, in the name of his Appearing and of his kingdom: proclaim the message and, welcome or unwelcome, insist on it. Refute falsehood, correct error, call to obedience – but do all with patience and with the intention of teaching.
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 – Hebrews 4:12

Alleluia, alleluia!

The word of God is something alive and active:
it can judge secret emotions and thoughts.

Alleluia!
The Gospel According to Luke 18:1 – 8 ©

The Parable of the Unjust Judge

Jesus told his disciples a parable about the need to pray continually and never lose heart. ‘There was a judge in a certain town’ he said ‘who had neither fear of God nor respect for man. In the same town there was a widow who kept on coming to him and saying, “I want justice from you against my enemy!” For a long time he refused, but at last he said to himself, “Maybe I have neither fear of God nor respect for man, but since she keeps pestering me I must give this widow her just rights, or she will persist in coming and worry me to death.”’

And the Lord said ‘You notice what the unjust judge has to say? Now will not God see justice done to his chosen who cry to him day and night even when he delays to help them? I promise you, he will see justice done to them, and done speedily. But when the Son of Man comes, will he find any faith on earth?’
29th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

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

First Reading – 2 Kings 5:14-17 ©
Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 97(98):1-4 ©
Second Reading – 2 Timothy 2:8-13 ©
Gospel Acclamation – John 6:63, 68
Alternative Acclamation – 1 Thessalonians 5:18
The Gospel According to Luke 17:11 – 19 ©
Be mindful of how you read the sacred text. It is easy to misconstrue the gospel, and the way may be lost in jingoistic mythology.

The story of Naaman the Leper is one of these tales that threatens to blind us to the purpose of the good news.

On the one hand it relates a story of healing, in this way it is in alignment with God’s promise to cleanse all of us from our hurts and wounds, from the disease of sin.

That is God’s plan for us, to make us well, but the realization of that plan is not of this world.

We must not be confused into believing that this is a story of miraculous faith, or the magical powers of the prophet Elisha, or of God reaching into the world to cause a radical transformation in the life of a single individual.

God does not intervene in our affairs, not even to help us. God has made us free, and the whole of creation with it, and that freedom precludes divine intervention.

The authors and editors of the Book of Kings fail to understand where the real presence of God resides: it is not that the one and true God, creator of the universe dwells in Israel and in no other place, but that there is only one God, the one God is preached in Israel, but the true God is in all places at all times, and with everyone.

God dwells in the human heart and speak to all of there.

Listen!
It is right and good to praise God, the creator of the universe, because creation is miraculous, and beyond the scope of human comprehension.

But know this: God is not a giver of victories. God has no enemies, and in God, within whom all things exist and have their being…in God there is no conflict.

It is not God’s justice that is shown in the doings of human beings, it is human justice, and when human justice approximates the justice of God, it will be characterized as merciful and good.

Have faith in this: God is kind and to all people, God loves us equally.

God’s power is everywhere, god’s spirit animates the voices that give God praise.

If you are an instrument of justice, judge fairly, judge kindly all-the-while remembering the love of God.

Consider what the good news is:

The Good news is the promise of resurrection and life after death, but it is more than that.

The good news is about the life we live here on earth. The resurrection is meant to ground our trust in the hope that we are all included in God’s plan for the salvation of all people, a plan which God will carry out even in regard to those who do not know of God’s plan, or who knowing of it, do not participate in God’s plan while they are living among us.

God will save even those who view God as the enemy, those who suborn the truth, and harm their brothers and sisters.

Christian faith is grounded in our belief in the reality of the resurrection, and the hope that it applies to us as well. The kindling of this hope is meant to free us from the bondage of the world and allow us to live a life of service right now.

Let us live with this passage for a moment.

God is calling us to be holy, at all times, God is speaking in the heart, pulling at us, inviting us into the compassionate life, a life of wellbeing.

God, the creator of the universe; God does this out of love. This was God’s plan from the beginning of time. There is not one of us, not one child of God, not one being in the whole of creation, who is outside of this plan.
It is not that God has abolished death as much as it is revealed that the death of the body is merely a transition, which we all pass through on our journey toward the creator.

The gospel is this; God loves you, and you are saved. You are not saved for anything that you have done, you did not earn it, 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, and 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 or anything else, we are called to act on the principles of his faith, to live lives of charity and service to each other.

It is wise to be thankful, to share your thanks with the world, and in your thankfulness give from your bounty to those in need.

This is the way.

Remember this, God, the creator of the universe, God loves all people. God loves the clean and the unclean, the leper and the person in full health. God loves them both alike. God’s mercy is the inheritance of both.

Consider the Gospel for today, all of the lepers were healed of their disease, one came back and gave praise to God; only one of them was grateful, returned and gave thanks.

You may say that the one who returned and was healed according to his faith and trust in God.

The others were healed nonetheless, they were saved according to God’s grace and mercy.

The important thing to understand is that all were healed, God did not hold back God’s mercy, God saved them all.
First Reading – 2 Kings 5:14-17 ©

Naaman the Leper Returned to Elisha and Acknowledged the Lord

Naaman the leper went down and immersed himself seven times in the Jordan, as Elisha had told him to do. And his flesh became clean once more like the flesh of a little child.

Returning to Elisha with his whole escort, he went in and stood before him. ‘Now I know’ he said ‘that there is no God in all the earth except in Israel. Now, please, accept a present from your servant.’

But Elisha replied, ‘As the Lord lives, whom I serve, I will accept nothing.’ Naaman pressed him to accept, but he refused.

Then Naaman said, ‘Since your answer is “No,” allow your servant to be given as much earth as two mules may carry, because your servant will no longer offer holocaust or sacrifice to any god except the Lord.’
Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 97(98):1-4 ©

The Lord has shown his salvation to the nations.

Sing a new song to the Lord
for he has worked wonders.
His right hand and his holy arm
have brought salvation.

The Lord has shown his salvation to the nations.

The Lord has made known his salvation;
has shown his justice to the nations.
He has remembered his truth and love
for the house of Israel.

The Lord has shown his salvation to the nations.

All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation of our God.
Shout to the Lord, all the earth,
ring out your joy.

The Lord has shown his salvation to the nations.
Second Reading – 2 Timothy 2:8-13 ©

If We Hold Firm then We Shall Reign with Christ

Remember the Good News that I carry, ‘Jesus Christ risen from the dead, sprung from the race of David’; it is on account of this that I have my own hardships to bear, even to being chained like a criminal – but they cannot chain up God’s news. So I bear it all for the sake of those who are chosen, so that in the end they may have the salvation that is in Christ Jesus and the eternal glory that comes with it.

Here is a saying that you can rely on:

If we have died with him, then we shall live with him.

If we hold firm, then we shall reign with him.

If we disown him, then he will disown us.

We may be unfaithful, but he is always faithful, for he cannot disown his own self.
Gospel Acclamation – John 6:63, 68

Alleluia, alleluia!

Your words are spirit, Lord, and they are life;
you have the message of eternal life.

Alleluia!
Alternative Acclamation – 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Alleluia, alleluia!

For all things give thanks,
because this is what God expects you to do in Christ Jesus.

Alleluia!
The Gospel According to Luke 17:11 – 19 ©

No-one Has Come Back to Praise God, Only this Foreigner

On the way to Jerusalem Jesus travelled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered one of the villages, ten lepers came to meet him. They stood some way off and called to him, ‘Jesus! Master! Take pity on us.’ When he saw them he said, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’ Now as they were going away they were cleansed. Finding himself cured, one of them turned back praising God at the top of his voice and threw himself at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. The man was a Samaritan. This made Jesus say, ‘Were not all ten made clean? The other nine, where are they? It seems that no one has come back to give praise to God, except this foreigner.’ And he said to the man, ‘Stand up and go on your way. Your faith has saved you.’
28th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

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

First Reading – Habakkuk 1:2-3, 2:2-4 ©
Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 94(95):1-2, 6-9
Second Reading – 2 Timothy 1:6-8, 13-14 ©
Gospel Acclamation – 1 Samuel 3:9, John 6:68
Alternative Acclamation – 1 Peter 1:25
The Gospel According to Luke 17:5 – 10 ©
Listen!

We are guaranteed nothing in this life; neither justice nor injustice, though we may reasonably expected a share of each, there is no certainty. Be just toward all those you meet, and seek to do no harm.

God is not a mover of people, save by the pull of grace and love; a force like gravity, by which God calls every one of God’s children. It pull on us, though we are free to ignore, and even when we recognize it, most of us often do.

God is the creator of the universe, the cause of all that is. God made each of us free, the entire creation is free.

In our capacity as free agents we must work out our own justice.

Be mindful, we only have the power to be just to one other, we cannot seize justice for ourselves.

You will not be the cause of your salvation.

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

God is our wellbeing, and its final realization is not of this world.

Do not look for salvation in this world, it will not come from kings and princes, from popes or presidents.

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

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

God has prepared each of us for God’s blessing.

Consider the faith of Timothy

These are the words of political prisoner, exhorting us to faith and reminding us of our heritage; belonging to a tradition that places service to others over individual liberty.

Not everyone can follow the way to the end that Timothy did, or Jesus. They are the leaders of the faith, they point the way to the blessed life; a life that is just and merciful and good.

Be like Timothy if you can, follow the way of Jesus as well as you are able, but do not despair if you fail.

You will fail, and God will continue to love you.

When leaders rise among us. We must acknowledge them. When leadership is pure and we see that their work is holy, we must acknowledge that.

In acknowledging these things it is important to not embellish.

Remember:

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

God leads us in silence, except in the rhythm of the heart, the tug and pull of our conscience as it resonates with the good.

Here is the Gospel; God loves you, and you are saved. You are not saved for anything that you have done, you did not earn it, 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.

Share the word!

God has already forgiven you. You are already saved.

If you feel unworthy, stop. God has a plan for you.

God has prepared you and 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.

Do not be concerned with creeds and confessions, with decrees and decretals, or the doctrine of the church, those do not save.

Right belief does not save.

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.

Share the Gospel, share the good news.

Be mindful!

Pay close attention to the Gospel, especially on those occasions when the message is cryptic, or the meaning of the parable is unclear.

Interpret these passages from the middle of the way; interpret them through the lens of love, with hope and justice.

Faith means trust, it is not magic. Our faith is neither the content of our beliefs, neither can it be measured for quality, quantity, or intensity.

Faith is trust, which a person either has or does not have.

If we trust in the promise of the Gospel, if we trust in the good news that Jesus preached, then we may be able to free ourselves from greed and corruption, from the class-consciousness that foments injustice around the world.

In the Gospel for today we see Jesus rebuke the disciples, who then became the Apostles of the church. He rebuked them because he knew where their hearts were, and the spiritual poverty they were beset with, he knew that they are using their position in the community of believers to place themselves in positions of authority and influence over the average believer.

He rebuked them because they had abandoned the way, and he encouraged them to return to the place of the servant.

Jesus responded to their error with love, he did not reject them, he gave them further instruction, and he comforted them.
First Reading – Habakkuk 1:2-3, 2:2-4 ©

The Upright Man Will Live by His Faithfulness

How long, O Lord, am I to cry for help while you will not listen; to cry ‘Oppression!’ in your ear
and you will not save?

Why do you set injustice before me, why do you look on where there is tyranny?

Outrage and violence, this is all I see, all is contention, and discord flourishes.

Then the Lord answered and said, ‘Write the vision down, inscribe it on tablets to be easily read,
since this vision is for its own time only: eager for its own fulfilment, it does not deceive; if it comes slowly, wait, for come it will, without fail.

See how he flags, he whose soul is not at rights, but the upright man will live by his faithfulness.’
Psalm – Psalm 94(95):1-2, 6-9

LORD, avenging God, avenging God, shine forth!

Rise up, O judge of the earth; give the proud what they deserve!

They kill the widow and alien; the orphan they murder.

They say, “The LORD does not see; the God of Jacob takes no notice.”

Understand, you stupid people! You fools, when will you be wise?

Does the one who shaped the ear not hear? The one who formed the eye not see?
Second Reading – 2 Timothy 1:6-8, 13-14 ©

Never Be Ashamed of Witnessing to Our Lord

I am reminding you to fan into a flame the gift that God gave you when I laid my hands on you. God’s gift was not a spirit of timidity, but the Spirit of power, and love, and self-control. So you are never to be ashamed of witnessing to the Lord, or ashamed of me for being his prisoner; but with me, bear the hardships for the sake of the Good News, relying on the power of God.

Keep as your pattern the sound teaching you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. You have been trusted to look after something precious; guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.
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 – 1 Peter 1:25

Alleluia, alleluia!

The word of the Lord remains for ever.
What is this word?

It is the Good News that has been brought to you.

Alleluia!
The Gospel According to Luke 17:5 – 10 ©

Say, ‘We Are Merely Servants’

The apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith.’ The Lord replied, ‘Were your faith the size of a mustard seed you could say to this mulberry tree, “Be uprooted and planted in the sea,” and it would obey you.

‘Which of you, with a servant ploughing or minding sheep, would say to him when he returned from the fields, “Come and have your meal immediately”? Would he not be more likely to say, “Get my supper laid; make yourself tidy and wait on me while I eat and drink. You can eat and drink yourself afterwards”? Must he be grateful to the servant for doing what he was told? So with you: when you have done all you have been told to do, say, “We are merely servants: we have done no more than our duty.”’
27th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

A Homily – 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

First Reading – Amos 8:4-7 ©
Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 112(113):1-2, 4-8 ©
Second Reading – 1 Timothy 2:1-8 ©
Gospel Acclamation – Acts 16:14
Alternative Acclamation – 2 Corinthians 8:9
The Gospel According to Luke 16:1 – 13 ©
(NJB)
Know this:

God does not keep a tally of our good deeds and our bad deeds, at the end of our lives God does not set us on a scale and weigh the one against the other to determine if we are worthy.

God loves us. The creator of the universe has a plan for our salvation, for the good and the bad alike.

But know this as well, God knows what we have done, God knows all of our intentions, God knows whether we gave to the needy or stole from them.

God knows why we do what we do, and how we justify it to ourselves.

God knows and God remembers.

The creator of the universe does not intervene in the lives of individuals, or in the course of human history. God desires that we do good, that we walk humbly, and serve the interests of justice. God desires that we refrain from evil, but God has made us, and the whole of creation free.
It is wise to praise the creator, it is good to be thankful for existence itself, but do not look to God for favor in this world, look to your brothers and sisters, to your friends and family, seek it from the stranger, and give it in return.

Know this!

God wants everyone to be saved and reach full knowledge of the truth.

This is the heart of the gospel.

God, the creator of the universe, God desires the salvation of all people.

Our faith is in God, and God’s intention towards creation, that faith is the foundation of our hopes, and in those hopes we have the foundation of a loving and just society.

God will not intervene on your behalf, either to help you or to hinder you but God does hear you, God is with you.

Listen!

Jesus is not a lord.

Jesus was rich in spiritual gifts, he shared those gifts with many, with all whom he encountered, and in the sharing he only became richer in those gifts.

There was no poverty, lack or want in Jesus.

In Jesus we had a true friend.

Be mindful!

It is your task to find your way in the world, and it is a capricious place.

Find your way in it. Take the good with bad, you have no other choice.

Take the bad with good.

You may steer your own vessel, but you do not control the storm, the wind, the rain, the waves, or the current. You have little say in the choices that other people make.

Be loving, merciful, and just; strive to possess these qualities; regardless of how you fail, and know this; you will fail time and time again, but regardless of your failings God loves you, God calls on you to love what is good and to avoid what is evil.

Be kind to people and develop friendships, we cannot go through life without them.
We need each other, we are communal beings. Our relationships are what truly matter; they matter more than wealth, or power, or prestige.

The world is full of caprice, we cannot save up enough money or store enough food to survive the calamities that are to come, and the world is full of calamities. We will not survive them without our friends.

First Reading – Amos 8:4-7 ©

I Will Never Forget your Deeds, you who Trample on the Needy

Listen to this, you who trample on the needy and try to suppress the poor people of the country, you who say, ‘When will New Moon be over so that we can sell our corn, and sabbath, so that we can market our wheat?

Then by lowering the bushel, raising the shekel, by swindling and tampering with the scales,
we can buy up the poor for money, and the needy for a pair of sandals, and get a price even for the sweepings of the wheat.’

The Lord swears it by the pride of Jacob, ‘Never will I forget a single thing you have done.’
Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 112(113):1-2, 4-8 ©

Praise the Lord, who raises the poor.

Praise, O servants of the Lord,
praise the name of the Lord!
May the name of the Lord be blessed
both now and for evermore!

Praise the Lord, who raises the poor.

High above all nations is the Lord,
above the heavens his glory.
Who is like the Lord, our God,
who has risen on high to his throne
yet stoops from the heights to look down,
to look down upon heaven and earth?

Praise the Lord, who raises the poor.

From the dust he lifts up the lowly,
from the dungheap he raises the poor
to set him in the company of princes,
yes, with the princes of his people.

Praise the Lord, who raises the poor.

Alleluia!

Second Reading – 1 Timothy 2:1-8 ©

Pray for Everyone to God, Who Wants Everyone to be Saved

My advice is that, first of all, there should be prayers offered for everyone – petitions, intercessions and thanksgiving – and especially for kings and others in authority, so that we may be able to live religious and reverent lives in peace and quiet. To do this is right, and will please God our saviour: he wants everyone to be saved and reach full knowledge of the truth. For there is only one God, and there is only one mediator between God and mankind, himself a man, Christ Jesus, who sacrificed himself as a ransom for them all. He is the evidence of this, sent at the appointed time, and I have been named a herald and apostle of it and – I am telling the truth and no lie – a teacher of the faith and the truth to the pagans.

In every place, then, I want the men to lift their hands up reverently in prayer, with no anger or argument.
Gospel Acclamation – Acts 16:14

Alleluia, alleluia!

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

Alleluia!

Alternative Acclamation – 2 Corinthians 8:9

Alleluia, alleluia!

Jesus Christ was rich,
but he became poor for your sake,
to make you rich out of his poverty.

Alleluia!
The Gospel According to Luke 16:1 – 13 ©

You Cannot Be the Slave of Both God and Money

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘There was a rich man and he had a steward denounced to him for being wasteful with his property. He called for the man and said, “What is this I hear about you? Draw me up an account of your stewardship because you are not to be my steward any longer.” Then the steward said to himself, “Now that my master is taking the stewardship from me, what am I to do? Dig? I am not strong enough. Go begging? I should be too ashamed. Ah, I know what I will do to make sure that when I am dismissed from office there will be some to welcome me into their homes.”

Then he called his master’s debtors one by one. To the first he said, “How much do you owe my master?” “One hundred measures of oil” was the reply. The steward said, “Here, take your bond; sit down straight away and write fifty.” To another he said, “And you, sir, how much do you owe?” “One hundred measures of wheat” was the reply. The steward said, “Here, take your bond and write eighty.”

‘The master praised the dishonest steward for his astuteness. For the children of this world are more astute in dealing with their own kind than are the children of light.

‘And so I tell you this: use money, tainted as it is, to win you friends, and thus make sure that when it fails you, they will welcome you into the tents of eternity. The man who can be trusted in little things can be trusted in great; the man who is dishonest in little things will be dishonest in great. If then you cannot be trusted with money, that tainted thing, who will trust you with genuine riches? And if you cannot be trusted with what is not yours, who will give you what is your very own?

‘No servant can be the slave of two masters: he will either hate the first and love the second, or treat the first with respect and the second with scorn. You cannot be the slave both of God and of money.’
25th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)