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)

 

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)

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

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

(NJB)

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

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

Do not look to God for help in this world.

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

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

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

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

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

Be mindful!

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

Listen!

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

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

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

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

Know this:

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

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

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

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

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

This is the truth.

Consider the gospel reading for today:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jeremiah said:

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

Denounce him! Let us denounce him!’

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

Then we will master him and take our revenge!’

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

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

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

In your great love, answer me, O Lord.

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

In your great love, answer me, O Lord.

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

In your great love, answer me, O Lord.

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

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

The Gift Considerably Outweighed the Fall

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

Adam prefigured the One to come, but the gift itself considerably outweighed the fall. If it is certain that through one man’s fall so many died, it is even more certain that divine grace, coming through the one man, Jesus Christ, came to so many as an abundant free gift.
Gospel Acclamation – John 1:14, 12

Alleluia, alleluia!

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

Alleluia!
Alternative Acclamation – John 15:26, 27

Alleluia, alleluia!

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

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

Do Not be Afraid of those Who Kill the Body

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

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

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

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

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

(NJB)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let us reflect on the psalms for a moment:

God is with us wherever we are.

Wherever God is, that is God’s temple.

Enter the temple with hope and joy.

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

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

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

Know this!

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

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

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

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

Listen!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have faith!

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

God is with us!

Repent, which means turn, turn and believe.

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

God will make you well.

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

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

Do not look back.

Listen to Jesus and keep to the way.

Give without asking, share the grace of God.

Do not seek rewards or honors.

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

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

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

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

We are his people, the sheep of his flock.

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

We are his people, the sheep of his flock.

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

We are his people, the sheep of his flock.

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

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

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

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

Alleluia, alleluia!

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

Alleluia!

Alternative Acclamation Mark – 1:15

Alleluia, alleluia!

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

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

The Harvest is Rich but the Labourers are Few

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

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

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

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

A Homily – The Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Pentecost) Year A

First Reading Genesis 11:1-9
Psalm – Psalm 32(33):10-15 ©
Second Reading – Exodus 19:3-8, 16-20 ©
Canticle – Daniel 3:52-56 ©
Psalm – Psalm 106(107):2-9 ©
Fifth Reading – Romans 8:22-27 ©
Gospel Acclamation
The Gospel According to John 7:37-39 ©
Sixth Reading – Acts 2:1-11 ©
Psalm 103(104):1-2,24,27-30,35 ©
Seventh Reading 1 Corinthians 12:3-7, 12, 13 ©
Sequence – Veni, Sancte Spiritus
Gospel Acclamation
The Gospel According to John 20:19-23 ©

(NJB)

The Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Pentecost) Year A
It is the feast of Pentecost, and the beginning of the Apostolic Age.

Christians throughout the world celebrate this day; tradition tells us that on this day we commemorate the gift of the Holy Spirit, given by Jesus of Nazareth (Joshua son of Joseph), to the nascent Church that was founded in his name.

For the Church, this moment marks the beginning of a new era. Jesus has gone and care for community of believers is now in the hands of his disciples.

The departure of Jesus marks the beginning of the age of prophecy for the Christian community. It is a time of discernment in which the Church evolves, becoming a new creation. From this point forward Christianity is no longer merely a sect of Judaism. It becomes an international movement, transcending Palestine as it spreads throughout the Mediterranean region, North Africa and the Near East, all the way to India and around the world.

The Church becomes responsible for teaching the way of Jesus, the new way, preached in new languages, in every tongues, told through new stories shaped by every culture, and in this stories Joshua son of Joseph becomes something new, a myth, a man of power, godlike.

In Christian doctrine Jesus becomes God’s own self, the second person of the Holy Trinity, the creator of the universe in whom all things exist, without whom not one thing comes into being.

In his time and throughout his life Jesus preached the way of love, of service, of caring, of justice, of mercy of humility.

Remember this always keep it in the forefront of your mind when you are reading scripture:

God is a God of law and order. God, the creator of the universe, God is not a purveyor of magic tricks, God does not dabble in the supernatural or trade in miracles.

The narrative in The Book of Acts from the reading for today must be understood as a metaphor.

The meaning is this:

The Church had grown to include a great number of people from all parts of the Roman Empire, from Egypt and North Africa, from Arabia and Persia, from all around the Mediterranean Region, and from North and South of the Black Sea.

In the company of believers there were speakers and translators capable of sharing the Good News in every tongue that was known; from Ethiopia to Brittania, from Carthage to India.

The gift of tongues is to be understood as the blessing of a multi-national, multi-ethnic, multi-cultural blessing. An individual possessing the gift of tongues, was someone who had the ability to interpret between one language and another, so that everyone gathered to hear the Gospel and the Scripture expounded on, would be able to understand them.

The myth of Pentecost, as related here in the Gospel of Saint John, narrates some of the struggles of the early Church. It was written more than one hundred years after the death of Jesus, and decades after the Romans destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem. It was written for the Church, for John’s community, in an era when the differentiation among Christians and Jews had concretized, when the leaders in the new Christian movement were trying to establish their bona fides, as the true heirs of Jesus’ ministry.

These new Christians imagined the gift of the Holy Spirit as something that was released in a breath of ritual remembering, they imagined it as something new, something new to them, but they were wrong.

The Holy Spirit had always been with them, has always been with humanity, the Holy Spirit did not suddenly come to the world with Jesus’ death and subsequent ascension.

Listen to Jesus!

Jesus said: let the thirsty come, your thirst will be relieved.

Do not be confused on this point; belief is not the coin you exchange for access to God, simply come if you are thirsty. Drink and be restored.

Jesus call us to follow the way, and the way is life, trust him and keep to the way.

Do not muddle around in the rhetoric of John, do not let John’s confusion stop you from understanding. When John attempts to qualify the hopeful message of Christ, to circumscribe it, then John deviates from the way.

Remember this!

The spirit has always been with us, all things come into being in the spirit of God, are sustained by God’s spirit and to God’s spirit all things and beings will return, just as the rain falls to the sea.

Reflect on the teaching of Paul:

God is the creator of the universe; the eternal God is the first source and center of all things. The infinite God engenders all potentialities and yet interferes with none of them, having created the universe in freedom.

God does not coerce creation, and yet the entirety of what is moves according to God’s eternal purpose, and there is no contradiction in this mystery.

The Spirit of God animates all beings, sustains all of creation throughout all time. Pentecost is a feast that celebrates the acknowledgement of this reality, not its instantiation at this point in time.

The mission and ministry of Jesus is passed on through this revelation, it is heard in the calling to love and care for, to serve those in greatest need, to love justice and be merciful in the face of the world’s horrors.

It is wise and good to anticipate the coming of God. It is wise and good to desire to be in the divine presence. Anticipate that moment, relish it, cherish it, but remain present to the people and events that are actually occurring in the world.

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.

Remember this and be mindful: the prayers we pray for ourselves, we are called on to pray for everyone, even our adversaries, including our most bitter enemies.

If you pray for light and understanding, if you pray for life and peace, if you pray for solace and grace, if you pray for healing and guidance, if you pray for any blessing at all, make that prayer for everyone, knowing that all who call on God will be saved.

Remember the wisdom of Isaiah who says: in the end every knee shall bend, and every tongue confess the name of God.

Remember what the Psalmist wrote: Let us affirm our trust in God; that God, the creator of the Universe is good, that God is not a partisan, that God made us in this world, and that God made us free, God made the world itself is free from coercion.

It is impossible to hide our sins, our guilt, our anger, and our self-loathing from God.

All sins are forgiven by God, though for us to forgive ourselves and for us to forgive each other, that is a much more difficult task.

We experience misery in our guilt until we admit our faults and ask forgiveness, until we give up our anger and forgive those who have hurt us, we are bound by it.

Have faith, trust: the death of the body is not an impediment to God’s salvific will. God will go beyond any threshold to save God’s children, including the veil of death.

There is nothing done that cannot be undone, nothing is impossible for the omnipotent.

If you follow the way Jesus encouraged then you are on the path of love and mercy, seeking reconciliation, you are forgiving and the forgiven.

God, the creator of the universe, God does not require or even desire our praise and exaltations, except insofar as those praises take the form of mercy expressed toward our fellow human beings.

Serve God through the love and kindness you show one another. God’s salvation is close.

Have no fear.

The glory of God does not come and go according to our deeds and merits.

Have no fear; God’s salvation reaches everyone.

God, the creator of the Universe, the God of Jesus Christ, God is the God of all people, and Pentecost reveals this.

All of those things which we imagine, which we hold in hearts and minds, the things that divide us one from another, these are illusions born of fear, a lack of trust (faith) in our neighbors, in ourselves, and in God.

We are all the children of God, of the living God who dwells in our beating hearts.

God speaks with the voice of love.

Remember this!
First Reading Genesis 11:1-9 ©

The Tower of Babel

Throughout the earth men spoke the same language, with the same vocabulary. Now as they moved eastwards they found a plain in the land of Shinar where they settled. They said to one another, ‘Come, let us make bricks and bake them in the fire.’ (For stone they used bricks, and for mortar they used bitumen). ‘Come,’ they said ‘let us build ourselves a town and a tower with its top reaching heaven. Let us make a name for ourselves, so that we may not be scattered about the whole earth.’

Now the Lord came down to see the town and the tower that the sons of man had built. ‘So they are all a single people with a single language!’ said the Lord. ‘This is but the start of their undertakings! There will be nothing too hard for them to do. Come, let us go down and confuse their language on the spot so that they can no longer understand one another.’ The Lord scattered them thence over the whole face of the earth, and they stopped building the town. It was named Babel therefore, because there the Lord confused the language of the whole earth. It was from there that the Lord scattered them over the whole face of the earth.
Psalm – Psalm 32(33):10-15 ©

Happy the people the Lord has chosen as his own.

He frustrates the designs of the nations,
he defeats the plans of the peoples.
His own designs shall stand for ever,
the plans of his heart from age to age.

Happy the people the Lord has chosen as his own.

They are happy, whose God is the Lord,
the people he has chosen as his own.
From the heavens the Lord looks forth,
he sees all the children of men.

Happy the people the Lord has chosen as his own.

From the place where he dwells he gazes
on all the dwellers on the earth;
he who shapes the hearts of them all;
and considers all their deeds.

Happy the people the Lord has chosen as his own.
Second Reading – Exodus 19:3-8, 16-20 ©

Moses Led the People Out of the Camp to Meet God

Moses 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.”

‘Those are the words you are to speak to the sons of Israel.’

So Moses went and summoned the elders of the people, putting before them all that the Lord had bidden him. Then all the people answered as one, ‘All that the Lord has said, we will do.’

Now at daybreak on the third day there were peals of thunder on the mountain and lightning flashes, a dense cloud, and a loud trumpet blast, and inside the camp all the people trembled. Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet God; and they stood at the bottom of the mountain. The mountain of Sinai was entirely wrapped in smoke, because the Lord had descended on it in the form of fire. Like smoke from a furnace the smoke went up, and the whole mountain shook violently. Louder and louder grew the sound of the trumpet. Moses spoke, and God answered him with peals of thunder. The Lord came down on the mountain of Sinai, on the mountain top, and the Lord called Moses to the top of the mountain.
Canticle – Daniel 3:52-56 ©

To you glory and praise for evermore.
You are blest, Lord God of our fathers.

To you glory and praise for evermore.
Blest your glorious holy name.

To you glory and praise for evermore.
You are blest in the temple of your glory.

To you glory and praise for evermore.
You are blest on the throne of your kingdom.

To you glory and praise for evermore.
You are blest who gaze into the depths.

To you glory and praise for evermore.
You are blest in the firmament of heaven.

To you glory and praise for evermore.
Third Reading – Ezekiel 37:1-14 ©

A Vision of Israel’s Death and Resurrection

The hand of the Lord was laid on me, and he carried me away by the spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of a valley, a valley full of bones. He made me walk up and down among them. There were vast quantities of these bones on the ground the whole length of the valley; and they were quite dried up. He said to me, ‘Son of man, can these bones live?’ I said, ‘You know, Lord.’ He said, ‘Prophesy over these bones. Say, “Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. The Lord says this to these bones: I am now going to make the breath enter you, and you will live. I shall put sinews on you, I shall make flesh grow on you, I shall cover you with skin and give you breath, and you will live; and you will learn that I am the Lord.”’ I prophesied as I had been ordered. While I was prophesying, there was a noise, a sound of clattering; and the bones joined together. I looked, and saw that they were covered with sinews; flesh was growing on them and skin was covering them, but there was no breath in them. He said to me, ‘Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man. Say to the breath, “The Lord says this: Come from the four winds, breath; breathe on these dead; let them live!”’ I prophesied as he had ordered me, and the breath entered them; they came to life again and stood up on their feet, a great, an immense army.

Then he said, ‘Son of man, these bones are the whole House of Israel. They keep saying, “Our bones are dried up, our hope has gone; we are as good as dead.” So prophesy. Say to them, “The Lord says this: I am now going to open your graves; I mean to raise you from your graves, my people, and lead you back to the soil of Israel. And you will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and raise you from your graves, my people. And I shall put my spirit in you, and you will live, and I shall resettle you on your own soil; and you will know that I, the Lord, have said and done this – it is the Lord who speaks.”’
Psalm – Psalm 106(107):2-9 ©

O give thanks to the Lord for he is good, for his love has no end.

Alleluia!

Let them say this, the Lord’s redeemed,
whom he redeemed from the hand of the foe
and gathered from far-off lands,
from east and west, north and south.

O give thanks to the Lord for he is good, for his love has no end.

Some wandered in the desert, in the wilderness,
finding no way to a city they could dwell in.
Hungry they were and thirsty;
their soul was fainting within them.

O give thanks to the Lord for he is good, for his love has no end.

Then they cried to the Lord in their need
and he rescued them from their distress
and he led them along the right way,
to reach a city they could dwell in.

O give thanks to the Lord for he is good, for his love has no end.
Let them thank the Lord for his love,
for the wonders he does for men:
for he satisfies the thirsty soul;
he fills the hungry with good things.

O give thanks to the Lord for he is good, for his love has no end.

Alleluia!
Fourth Reading – Joel 3:1-5 ©

I Will Pour Out My Spirit on All Mankind

Thus says the Lord:

‘I will pour out my spirit on all mankind.

Your sons and daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men see visions.

Even on the slaves, men and women, will I pour out my spirit in those days.

I will display portents in heaven and on earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke.’

The sun will be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the day of the Lord dawns,
that great and terrible day.

All who call on the name of the Lord will be saved, for on Mount Zion there will be some who have escaped, as the Lord has said, and in Jerusalem some survivors whom the Lord will call.
Fifth Reading – Romans 8:22-27 ©

The Spirit Himself Expresses Our Plea in a Way that Could Never Be Put into Words

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. For we must be content to hope that we shall be saved – our salvation is not in sight, we should not have to be hoping for it if it were – but, as I say, we must hope to be saved since we are not saved yet – it is something we must wait for with patience.

The Spirit too 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

Alleluia, alleluia!

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of the faithful
and kindle in them the fire of your love.

Alleluia!
The Gospel According to John 7:37-39 ©

‘If Any Man is Thirsty, Let Him Come to Me!’
On the last day and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood there and cried out:

‘If any man is thirsty, let him come to me!

Let the man come and drink who believes in me!’

As scripture says: From his breast shall flow fountains of living water.

He was speaking of the Spirit which those who believed in him were to receive; for there was no Spirit as yet because Jesus had not yet been glorified.
Sixth Reading – Acts 2:1-11 ©

They Were All Filled with the Holy Spirit and Began to Speak

When Pentecost day came round, they had all met in one room, when suddenly they heard what sounded like a powerful wind from heaven, the noise of which filled the entire house in which they were sitting; and something appeared to them that seemed like tongues of fire; these separated and came to rest on the head of each of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak foreign languages as the Spirit gave them the gift of speech.

Now there were devout men living in Jerusalem from every nation under heaven, and at this sound they all assembled, each one bewildered to hear these men speaking his own language. They were amazed and astonished. ‘Surely’ they said ‘all these men speaking are Galileans? How does it happen that each of us hears them in his own native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; people from Mesopotamia, Judaea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya round Cyrene; as well as visitors from Rome – Jews and proselytes alike – Cretans and Arabs; we hear them preaching in our own language about the marvels of God.’
Psalm 103(104):1-2,24,27-30,35 ©

Send forth your spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth.

Alleluia!

Bless the Lord, my soul!
Lord God, how great you are,
clothed in majesty and glory,
wrapped in light as in a robe!

Send forth your spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth.

How many are your works, O Lord!
In wisdom you have made them all.
The earth is full of your riches.
Bless the Lord, my soul.

Send forth your spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth.

All of these look to you
to give them their food in due season.
You give it, they gather it up:
you open your hand, they have their fill.

Send forth your spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth.

You take back your spirit, they die,
returning to the dust from which they came.
You send forth your spirit, they are created;
and you renew the face of the earth.

Send forth your spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth.

Alleluia!
Seventh Reading – 1 Corinthians 12:3-7,12-13 ©

In the One Spirit We Were All Baptised

No one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord’ unless he is under the influence of the Holy Spirit.

There is a variety of gifts but always the same Spirit; there are all sorts of service to be done, but always to the same Lord; working in all sorts of different ways in different people, it is the same God who is working in all of them. The particular way in which the Spirit is given to each person is for a good purpose.

Just as a human body, though it is made up of many parts, is a single unit because all these parts, though many, make one body, so it is with Christ. In the one Spirit we were all baptised, Jews as well as Greeks, slaves as well as citizens, and one Spirit was given to us all to drink.
Sequence – Veni, Sancte Spiritus

Holy Spirit, Lord of Light,
From the clear celestial height
Thy pure beaming radiance give.

Come, thou Father of the poor,
Come with treasures which endure
Come, thou light of all that live!

Thou, of all consolers best,
Thou, the soul’s delightful guest,
Dost refreshing peace bestow

Thou in toil art comfort sweet
Pleasant coolness in the heat
Solace in the midst of woe.

Light immortal, light divine,
Visit thou these hearts of thine,
And our inmost being fill:

If thou take thy grace away,
Nothing pure in man will stay
All his good is turned to ill.

Heal our wounds, our strength renew
On our dryness pour thy dew
Wash the stains of guilt away:

Bend the stubborn heart and will
Melt the frozen, warm the chill
Guide the steps that go astray.

Thou, on us who evermore
Thee confess and thee adore,
With thy sevenfold gifts descend:

Give us comfort when we die
Give us life with thee on high
Give us joys that never end.
Gospel Acclamation

Alleluia, alleluia!

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful
and kindle in them the fire of your love.

Alleluia!
The Gospel of John 20:19-23

As the Father Sent Me, So Am I Sending You: Receive the Holy Spirit

In the evening of the first day of the week, the doors were closed in the room where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood among them. He said to them, ‘Peace be with you’, and showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were filled with joy when they saw the Lord, and he said to them again, ‘Peace be with you.

‘As the Father sent me, so am I sending you.’

After saying this he breathed on them and said:

‘Receive the Holy Spirit.

For those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; for those whose sins you retain, they are retained.’
The Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Pentecost) Year A

A Homily – Holy Week, Holy Saturday (Year A) A Holy Day of Obligation

First Reading – Genesis 1:1-2:2 ©
Psalm 103(104):1-2, 5-6, 10, 12-14, 24,35 ©
Second Reading – Genesis 22:1-18 ©
Psalm 15(16):5, 8-11 ©
Third Reading – Exodus 14:15 – 15:1 ©
Canticle – Exodus 15 ©
Fourth Reading – Isaiah 54:5-14 ©
Psalm 29(30):2, 4-6, 11-13 ©
Fifth Reading – Isaiah 55:1-11 ©
Canticle – Isaiah 12 ©
Sixth Reading – Baruch 3:9-15, 32-4:4 ©
Psalm 18(19):8-11 ©
Seventh Reading – Ezekiel 36:16-17, 18-28 ©
Psalm 41(42):2-3, 5, 42:3-4 ©
Epistle – Romans 6:3-11 ©
Psalm 117(118):1-2, 16-17, 22-23 ©
The Gospel According to Matthew 28:1 – 10 ©

(NJB)

Holy Week, Holy Saturday (Year A) A Holy Day of Obligation
Listen!

Take this away from the story of creation, and set everything else aside:

God created the Earth and everything in it and saw that it was good, from the beginning to the end God saw that it was good.

God created human beings in God’s own image, as rational creatures God created us, male and female we were made as beings in relationship, and God saw that it was good.

God saw the whole of it, all of us and God saw that we were good.

Remember this!
God is the creator of the universe, the eternal God is the first source and center of all things.

The infinite God engenders all potentialities, and yet interferes with none of them.

The universe that God created, God created it free from coercion, and yet the entirety of what is, moves according to God’s eternal purpose.

Therefore listen and be mindful, because there is much that is errant in scripture.

God did not interact with Abraham in the way God is depicted as doing in this tale from The Book of Genesis.

God never ordered the sacrifice of Isaac, but the culture Abraham came from did. His culture demanded that he make a sacrifice of his firstborn son.

Abraham rejected that demand, showing the people that God would accept something different in return: a lamb in the place of a human child.

It is not that God wanted the sacrifice of the lamb, God did not. Blood cannot serve for the expiation of guilt, only mercy can achieve that.

But God desired a reform in the tradition of Abraham’s people, God desired movement away from the horrors of human sacrifice.

Abraham gave God what God wanted.

This same impetus is reflected in the last acts of Jesus in this world. He gave his life, not as a sacrifice, but so that others would be spared.

God did not want Jesus’ blood, but God loved what Jesus did, God loved him for his fearlessness, for the compassion he showed his people and the mercy he showed to his persecutors on his way to his death on the cross.

Be mindful!

Jesus’ death was not a cosmic event, it was a political murder, it was ordinary in every respect.

There is nothing more to it than that.

Saint Paul and the Gospel writers did a disservice to the Church when they narrated his death as such, they deviated from the way when they translated the story of his death into a substitutionary sacrifice for the expiation of sin.

Jesus was not a goat or lamb, and good never desired the blood of animals for anything.

It was never that.

Take strength from the example of Jesus and trust in God. Faith and confidence are their own reward.

God is good, and all that is good flows from God, everything flows from divine and exists within it.

Look for the good of God in all creation, in everything that unfolds, find the good in you.

There are no alien gods, there are only misconceptions of the one God, including our misconceptions, be especially mindful of them.

All images of God are the stuff of idols, whether they are made of metal, of stone, of wood, or of words, whether they are painted on canvass, or merely colored in the mind.

God calls all of Gods children to God’s self, no one is left out, none are abandoned, not one is lost.

Listen!

It is shameful to portray God as a murderer.

It is shameful to praise the death and destruction of human beings, even those with whom you are fighting.

It is shameful to tell lies, through myth, fable and song, it is shameful to tell lies about the divine nature, and God’s plan for the human family.

Know this:

God, the creator of the universe, God is the parent of us all. God does not lead armies, God does not favor one person, one family, one tribe, or one nation above another. God does not intervene in human affairs, except to saythis:; love one another, be merciful to each other, forgive.
God is not a king. The creator of the universe is not a warrior or a general. God is not the Lord of Hosts. God is the divine parent, parent to us all, including those who have done you wrong.

Be mindful.

The blessings of the lord are often depicted with images of great wealth and ostentatious power.

This is not the way.

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

God will never leave us, and the peace of God will not be shaken,

We may not always be able to discern the presence of God., but God is with us. Even when we are disconsolate, unhappy, and feel like we are lost at sea. God is there, experiencing our tribulations with us, and God will deliver us from them in the end.

God, who created the universe, will not intervene in your affairs. God will not lift you up, God will not strike you down. God will not be angry with you, but God does love you, and God’s love is forever.

Listen to the prophet!

The grace of God is free, and all the good things God has in store for us are things God promises to deliver to everyone.

The covenant God made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the covenant God made with Moses, Joshua and David, is the covenant God made the prophets, with Jesus and is meant to be a blessing on all people, wherever they are, no matter how near or how far.

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

Preach it!

This is the grace of God, this is the way which Jesus instructed us in, this is the way to the fruits of paradise.

There is wisdom in the words of the prophet, follow it:

Be patient; salvation flows from the wellspring of God, from this life into the next world.

Great are the deeds of the creator, the creator of the universe is great.

Listen! Hear these words!

For some life is nasty, brutish and short. Some are born into suffering and die in it; without ever experiencing a moment of relief.

For most life a mixture of sorrow and joy; of grief and delight, of pleasure and pain. How the world apportions these to the individual is not according to any divine plan.

God made us free, and the creator of the universe does not intervene in our affairs.

There is no magic key, there is nothing we can do to bring the favor of the world to us, except that we be mindful, cautious and loving to one another.

We can prepare for famine and prepare against the onset of war. We can treat each other fairly and grow strong in our relationships to one another and the world.

Blessings will flow from there.

But we cannot prepare for the lightning bolt, it strikes without thought of who might be standing in its path.

When the scriptures tell us that the plight of the children of Israel, their expulsion from their homeland, their exile and their suffering were brought about by God, to punish them for their sin, know that this is false.

We suffer what we suffered because of the choices we make, our shortsightedness; we suffer for the choices other people, because of their cruelty, and sometimes we suffer for no reason at all.

God does not intervene in the lives of human beings, in our politics, in our wars, or in our conflicts.

When the scriptures suggest that God will rescue the same people and restore them to their proper place, it is the same old canard. God does not intervene in the lives people or the politics of human beings.

When we pray for deliverance we are praying for spiritual freedom and the grace to transcend the world. God’s rescue of the people of Israel is a metaphor. It is meant to inform us that no matterwho sinful and deviant we are God still loves us, and though we may not feel as if we deserve it God will save us all. God will save us in spite of ourselves.

Take comfort and joy in the presence of God, the creator of the universe is always with you.

When you are persecuted it is not God who has forgotten you, rather it is your persecutors who have forgotten that you, like they themselves are children of God, they have forgotten that God loves you as much as God loves them.

Do not fail to remember this when the wheel turns and you are in a position of power over others. Remember to see the face of God shining in the faces of all others.

Be mindful.

Jesus was not raised to new life for an extraordinary reason, but for the ordinary reason that God intends to raise all to life, out of the superabundance of God’s love.

Eternal life is not the reward a Christian should seek, as if it were payment for having lived a just life, or through the exhibition of grace and mercy.

True life is ours when we live well.

We defeat death when we stop fearing it.

We come to our authentic life when we free ourselves from the fear of death allowing us to live for what is good and beautiful and true, this is the way that Jesus followed, and instructed us to do the same.

It is true that the God is kind, loving, and merciful.

It is true that God comes to God’s children always in this way, even when God is exercising judgment and administering justice.

God has no enemies. God does not dwell behind the wall of a city. There are no gates barring access to God.

The divine dwells in all places, at all times, and in the hearts of all people.

God does not favor one child above another.

God is a bringing of life, not death.

God loves peace, not war.

Consider the Gospel for today, the narrative of the empty tomb, and know this, know that the mythological tropes in this story are not in the least bit instructive.

The tales of an earthquake, the conversation with the “Angel” of the lord, whose face was like lightning and whose robes were white as snow, these images do not elucidate the way.

They do not teach us anything.

What is important is this: It was not the twelve men who we know of as Jesus’ disciples who first heard the Gospel, and who first proclaimed it, it was two women: Mary of Magdala and the other Mary, sister of Martha and Lazarus.

This could not be unwritten, and it tells us that the earliest leaders of the Church were these brave women.

It is important to life them up, to celebrate their faith in a world that sought to dismiss them.

That is the Eater miracle.
First Reading – Genesis 1:1-2:2 ©

God Saw All that He Had Made, and Indeed it was Very Good

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was a formless void, there was darkness over the deep, and God’s spirit hovered over the water.

God said, ‘Let there be light’, and there was light. God saw that light was good, and God divided light from darkness. God called light ‘day’, and darkness he called ‘night.’ Evening came and morning came: the first day.

God said, ‘Let there be a vault in the waters to divide the waters in two.’ And so it was. God made the vault, and it divided the waters above the vault from the waters under the vault. God called the vault ‘heaven.’ Evening came and morning came: the second day.

God said, ‘Let the waters under heaven come together into a single mass, and let dry land appear.’ And so it was. God called the dry land ‘earth’ and the mass of waters ‘seas’, and God saw that it was good.

God said, ‘Let the earth produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants, and fruit trees bearing fruit with their seed inside, on the earth.’ And so it was. The earth produced vegetation: plants bearing seed in their several kinds, and trees bearing fruit with their seed inside in their several kinds. God saw that it was good. Evening came and morning came: the third day.

God said, ‘Let there be lights in the vault of heaven to divide day from night, and let them indicate festivals, days and years. Let them be lights in the vault of heaven to shine on the earth.’ And so it was. God made the two great lights: the greater light to govern the day, the smaller light to govern the night, and the stars. God set them in the vault of heaven to shine on the earth, to govern the day and the night and to divide light from darkness. God saw that it was good. Evening came and morning came: the fourth day.

God said, ‘Let the waters teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth within the vault of heaven.’ And so it was. God created great sea-serpents and every kind of living creature with which the waters teem, and every kind of winged creature. God saw that it was good. God blessed them, saying, ‘Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the waters of the seas; and let the birds multiply upon the earth.’ Evening came and morning came: the fifth day.

God said, ‘Let the earth produce every kind of living creature: cattle, reptiles, and every kind of wild beast.’ And so it was. God made every kind of wild beast, every kind of cattle, and every kind of land reptile. God saw that it was good.

God said, ‘Let us make man in our own image, in the likeness of ourselves, and let them be masters of the fish of the sea, the birds of heaven, the cattle, all the wild beasts and all the reptiles that crawl upon the earth.’

God created man in the image of himself,
in the image of God he created him,
male and female he created them.

God blessed them, saying to them, ‘Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and conquer it. Be masters of the fish of the sea, the birds of heaven and all living animals on the earth.’ God said, ‘See, I give you all the seed-bearing plants that are upon the whole earth, and all the trees with seed-bearing fruit; this shall be your food. To all wild beasts, all birds of heaven and all living reptiles on the earth I give all the foliage of plants for food.’ And so it was. God saw all he had made, and indeed it was very good. Evening came and morning came: the sixth day.

Thus heaven and earth were completed with all their array. On the seventh day God completed the work he had been doing. He rested on the seventh day after all the work he had been doing.
Psalm 103(104):1-2, 5-6, 10, 12-14, 24,35 ©

Send forth your spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth.

Bless the Lord, my soul!
Lord God, how great you are,
clothed in majesty and glory,
wrapped in light as in a robe!

Send forth your spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth.

You founded the earth on its base,
to stand firm from age to age.
You wrapped it with the ocean like a cloak:
the waters stood higher than the mountains.

Send forth your spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth.

You make springs gush forth in the valleys;
they flow in between the hills.
On their banks dwell the birds of heaven;
from the branches they sing their song.

Send forth your spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth.

From your dwelling you water the hills;
earth drinks its fill of your gift.
You make the grass grow for the cattle
and the plants to serve man’s needs.

Send forth your spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth.

How many are your works, O Lord!
In wisdom you have made them all.
The earth is full of your riches.
Bless the Lord, my soul!

Send forth your spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth.
Second Reading – Genesis 22:1-18 ©

The Sacrifice of Abraham, Our Father in Faith

God put Abraham to the test. ‘Abraham, Abraham’ he called. ‘Here I am’ he replied. ‘Take your son,’ God said ‘your only child Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah. There you shall offer him as a burnt offering, on a mountain I will point out to you.’

Rising early next morning Abraham saddled his ass and took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. He chopped wood for the burnt offering and started on his journey to the place God had pointed out to him. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. Then Abraham said to his servants, ‘Stay here with the donkey. The boy and I will go over there; we will worship and come back to you.’

Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering, loaded it on Isaac, and carried in his own hands the fire and the knife. Then the two of them set out together. Isaac spoke to his father Abraham, ‘Father’ he said. ‘Yes, my son’ he replied. ‘Look,’ he said ‘here are the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?’ Abraham answered, ‘My son, God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering.’ Then the two of them went on together.

When they arrived at the place God had pointed out to him, Abraham built an altar there, and arranged the wood. Then he bound his son Isaac and put him on the altar on top of the wood. Abraham stretched out his hand and seized the knife to kill his son.

But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven. ‘Abraham, Abraham’ he said. ‘I am here’ he replied. ‘Do not raise your hand against the boy’ the angel said. ‘Do not harm him, for now I know you fear God. You have not refused me your son, your only son.’ Then looking up, Abraham saw a ram caught by its horns in a bush. Abraham took the ram and offered it as a burnt-offering in place of his son.

Abraham called this place ‘The Lord Provides’, and hence the saying today: On the mountain the Lord provides.

The angel of the Lord called Abraham a second time from heaven. ‘I swear by my own self – it is the Lord who speaks – because you have done this, because you have not refused me your son, your only son, I will shower blessings on you, I will make your descendants as many as the stars of heaven and the grains of sand on the seashore. Your descendants shall gain possession of the gates of their enemies. All the nations of the earth shall bless themselves by your descendants, as a reward for your obedience.’
Psalm 15(16):5, 8-11 ©

Preserve me, God, I take refuge in you.

O Lord, it is you who are my portion and cup;
it is you yourself who are my prize.
I keep the Lord ever in my sight:
since he is at my right hand, I shall stand firm.

Preserve me, God, I take refuge in you.

And so my heart rejoices, my soul is glad;
even my body shall rest in safety.
For you will not leave my soul among the dead,
nor let your beloved know decay.

Preserve me, God, I take refuge in you.

You will show me the path of life,
the fullness of joy in your presence,
at your right hand happiness for ever.

Preserve me, God, I take refuge in you.
Third Reading – Exodus 14:15 – 15:1 ©

The Sons of Israel Went on Dry Ground Right into the Sea

The Lord said to Moses, ‘Why do you cry to me so? Tell the sons of Israel to march on. For yourself, raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea and part it for the sons of Israel to walk through the sea on dry ground. I for my part will make the heart of the Egyptians so stubborn that they will follow them. So shall I win myself glory at the expense of Pharaoh, of all his army, his chariots, his horsemen. And when I have won glory for myself, at the expense of Pharaoh and his chariots and his army, the Egyptians will learn that I am the Lord.’

Then the angel of God, who marched at the front of the army of Israel, changed station and moved to their rear. The pillar of cloud changed station from the front to the rear of them, and remained there. It came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel. The cloud was dark, and the night passed without the armies drawing any closer the whole night long.

Moses stretched out his hand over the sea. The Lord drove back the sea with a strong easterly wind all night, and he made dry land of the sea. The waters parted and the sons of Israel went on dry ground right into the sea, walls of water to right and to left of them. The Egyptians gave chase: after them they went, right into the sea, all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen.

In the morning watch, the Lord looked down on the army of the Egyptians from the pillar of fire and of cloud, and threw the army into confusion. He so clogged their chariot wheels that they could scarcely make headway. ‘Let us flee from the Israelites,’ the Egyptians cried. ‘The Lord is fighting for them against the Egyptians!’

‘Stretch out your hand over the sea,’ the Lord said to Moses, ‘that the waters may flow back on the Egyptians and their chariots and their horsemen.’

Moses stretched out his hand over the sea and, as day broke, the sea returned to its bed. The fleeing Egyptians marched right into it, and the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the very middle of the sea. The returning waters overwhelmed the chariots and the horsemen of Pharaoh’s whole army, which had followed the Israelites into the sea; not a single one of them was left. But the sons of Israel had marched through the sea on dry ground, walls of water to right and to left of them.

That day, the Lord rescued Israel from the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the shore. Israel witnessed the great act that the Lord had performed against the Egyptians, and the people venerated the Lord; they put their faith in the Lord and in Moses, his servant.

It was then that Moses and the sons of Israel sang this song in honour of the Lord:
Canticle – Exodus 15 ©

Hymn of Victory After Crossing the Red Sea

I will sing to the Lord, glorious his triumph!

I will sing to the Lord, glorious his triumph!
Horse and rider he has thrown into the sea!
The Lord is my strength, my song, my salvation.
This is my God and I extol him,
my father’s God and I give him praise.

I will sing to the Lord, glorious his triumph!

The Lord is a warrior! ‘The Lord’ is his name.
The chariots of Pharaoh he hurled into the sea,
the flower of his army is drowned in the sea.
The deeps hide them; they sank like a stone.

I will sing to the Lord, glorious his triumph!

Your right hand, Lord, glorious in its power,
your right hand, Lord, has shattered the enemy.
In the greatness of your glory you crushed the foe.

I will sing to the Lord, glorious his triumph!

You will lead your people and plant them on your mountain,
the place, O Lord, where you have made your home,
the sanctuary, Lord, which your hands have made.
The Lord will reign for ever and ever.

I will sing to the Lord, glorious his triumph!
Fourth Reading – Isaiah 54:5-14 ©

With Everlasting Love the Lord Your Redeemer Has Taken Pity on You

Thus says the Lord:

Now your creator will be your husband, his name, the Lord of Hosts; your redeemer will be the Holy One of Israel, he is called the God of the whole earth.

Yes, like a forsaken wife, distressed in spirit, the Lord calls you back.
Does a man cast off the wife of his youth? says your God.

I did forsake you for a brief moment, but with great love will I take you back. In excess of anger, for a moment I hid my face from you. But with everlasting love I have taken pity on you, says the Lord, your redeemer.

I am now as I was in the days of Noah when I swore that Noah’s waters should never flood the world again. So now I swear concerning my anger with you and the threats I made against you.

For the mountains may depart, the hills be shaken, but my love for you will never leave you and my covenant of peace with you will never be shaken, says the Lord who takes pity on you.

Unhappy creature, storm-tossed, disconsolate, see, I will set your stones on carbuncles and your foundations on sapphires. I will make rubies your battlements, your gates crystal, and your entire wall precious stones. Your sons will all be taught by the Lord. The prosperity of your sons will be great. You will be founded on integrity; remote from oppression, you will have nothing to fear; remote from terror, it will not approach you.
Psalm 29(30):2, 4-6, 11-13 ©

I will praise you, Lord, you have rescued me.

I will praise you, Lord, you have rescued me
and have not let my enemies rejoice over me.
O Lord, you have raised my soul from the dead,
restored me to life from those who sink into the grave.

I will praise you, Lord, you have rescued me.

Sing psalms to the Lord, you who love him,
give thanks to his holy name.
His anger lasts a moment; his favour all through life.
At night there are tears, but joy comes with dawn.

I will praise you, Lord, you have rescued me.

The Lord listened and had pity.
The Lord came to my help.
For me you have changed my mourning into dancing:
O Lord my God, I will thank you for ever.

I will praise you, Lord, you have rescued me.
Fifth Reading – Isaiah 55:1-11 ©

Come to Me and Your Soul Will Live, and I Will Make an Everlasting Covenant with You

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. See, I have made of you a witness to the peoples, a leader and a master of the nations. See, you will summon a nation you never knew, those unknown will come hurrying to you, for the sake of the Lord your God, of the Holy One of Israel who will glorify you.

Seek the Lord while he is still to be found, call to him while he is still near. Let the wicked man abandon his way, the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn back to the Lord who will take pity on him, to our God who is rich in forgiving; for my thoughts are not your thoughts, my ways not your ways – it is the Lord who speaks. Yes, the heavens are as high above earth as my ways are above your ways, my thoughts above your thoughts.

Yes, 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.
Canticle – Isaiah 12 ©

The Rejoicing of a Redeemed People

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

Truly, God is my salvation,
I trust, I shall not fear.
For the Lord is my strength, my song,
he became my saviour.
With joy you will draw water
from the wells of salvation.

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

Give thanks to the Lord, give praise to his name!
Make his mighty deeds known to the peoples!
Declare the greatness of his name.

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

Sing a psalm to the Lord
for he has done glorious deeds;
make them known to all the earth!
People of Zion, sing and shout for joy,
for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.
Sixth Reading – Baruch 3:9-15, 32-4:4 ©

In the Radiance of the Lord, Make Your Way to Light

Listen, Israel, to commands that bring life; hear, and learn what knowledge means. Why, Israel, why are you in the country of your enemies, growing older and older in an alien land, sharing defilement with the dead, reckoned with those who go to Sheol? Because you have forsaken the fountain of wisdom. Had you walked in the way of God, you would have lived in peace for ever. Learn where knowledge is, where strength, where understanding, and so learn where length of days is, where life, where the light of the eyes and where peace. But who has found out where she lives, who has entered her treasure house?

But the One who knows all knows her, he has grasped her with his own intellect, he has set the earth firm for ever and filled it with four-footed beasts. He sends the light – and it goes, he recalls it – and trembling it obeys; the stars shine joyfully at their set times: when he calls them, they answer, ‘Here we are’; they gladly shine for their creator. It is he who is our God, no other can compare with him. He has grasped the whole way of knowledge, and confided it to his servant Jacob, to Israel his well-beloved; so causing her to appear on earth and move among men.

This is the book of the commandments of God, the Law that stands for ever; those who keep her live, those who desert her die. Turn back, Jacob, seize her, in her radiance make your way to light: do not yield your glory to another, your privilege to a people not your own.
Israel, blessed are we: what pleases God has been revealed to us.
Psalm 18(19):8-11 ©

You have the message of eternal life, O Lord.

The law of the Lord is perfect,
it revives the soul.
The rule of the Lord is to be trusted,
it gives wisdom to the simple.

You have the message of eternal life, O Lord.

The precepts of the Lord are right,
they gladden the heart.
The command of the Lord is clear,
it gives light to the eyes.

You have the message of eternal life, O Lord.

The fear of the Lord is holy,
abiding for ever.
The decrees of the Lord are truth
and all of them just.

You have the message of eternal life, O Lord.

They are more to be desired than gold,
than the purest of gold
and sweeter are they than honey,
than honey from the comb.

You have the message of eternal life, O Lord.
Seventh Reading – Ezekiel 36:16-17, 18-28 ©

I Shall Pour Clean Water Over You and I Shall Give You a New Heart

The word of the Lord was addressed to me as follows: ‘Son of man, the members of the House of Israel used to live in their own land, but they defiled it by their conduct and actions. I then discharged my fury at them because of the blood they shed in their land and the idols with which they defiled it. I scattered them among the nations and dispersed them in foreign countries. I sentenced them as their conduct and actions deserved. And now they have profaned my holy name among the nations where they have gone, so that people say of them, “These are the people of the Lord; they have been exiled from his land.”

‘But I have been concerned about my holy name, which the House of Israel has profaned among the nations where they have gone.

‘And so, say to the House of Israel, “The Lord says this: I am not doing this for your sake, House of Israel, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you have gone. I mean to display the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned among them. And the nations will learn that I am the Lord – it is the Lord who speaks – when I display my holiness for your sake before their eyes. Then I am going to take you from among the nations and gather you together from all the foreign countries, and bring you home to your own land.

‘“I shall pour clean water over you and you will be cleansed; I shall cleanse you of all your defilement and all your idols. I shall give you a new heart, and put a new spirit in you; I shall remove the heart of stone from your bodies and give you a heart of flesh instead. I shall put my spirit in you, and make you keep my laws and sincerely respect my observances. You will live in the land which I gave your ancestors. You shall be my people and I will be your God.”’
Psalm 41(42):2-3, 5, 42:3-4 ©

Like the deer that yearns for running streams, so my soul is yearning for you, my God.

My soul is thirsting for God,
the God of my life;
when can I enter and see
the face of God?

Like the deer that yearns for running streams, so my soul is yearning for you, my God.

These things will I remember
as I pour out my soul:
how I would lead the rejoicing crowd
into the house of God,
amid cries of gladness and thanksgiving,
the throng wild with joy.

Like the deer that yearns for running streams, so my soul is yearning for you, my God.

O send forth your light and your truth;
let these be my guide.
Let them bring me to your holy mountain,
to the place where you dwell.

Like the deer that yearns for running streams, so my soul is yearning for you, my God.

And I will come to the altar of God,
the God of my joy.
My redeemer, I will thank you on the harp,
O God, my God.

Like the deer that yearns for running streams, so my soul is yearning for you, my God.
Epistle – Romans 6:3-11 ©

Christ, Having Been Raised from the Dead, Will Never Die Again

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.

If in union with Christ we have imitated his death, we shall also imitate him in his resurrection. We must realise that our former selves have been crucified with him to destroy this sinful body and to free us from the slavery of sin. When a Christian dies, of course, he has finished with sin.

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.
Psalm 117(118):1-2, 16-17, 22-23 ©

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

Give thanks to the Lord for he is good,
for his love has no end.
Let the sons of Israel say:
‘His love has no end.’

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

The Lord’s right hand has triumphed;
his right hand raised me up.
I shall not die, I shall live
and recount his deeds.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

The stone which the builders rejected
has become the corner stone.
This is the work of the Lord,
a marvel in our eyes.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!
The Gospel According to Matthew 28:1-10 ©

He Has Risen from the Dead and Now He is Going Before You into Galilee

After the sabbath, and towards dawn on the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala and the other Mary went to visit the sepulchre. And all at once there was a violent earthquake, for the angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled away the stone and sat on it. His face was like lightning, his robe white as snow. The guards were so shaken, so frightened of him, that they were like dead men. But the angel spoke; and he said to the women, ‘There is no need for you to be afraid. I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said he would. Come and see the place where he lay, then go quickly and tell his disciples, “He has risen from the dead and now he is going before you to Galilee; it is there you will see him.” Now I have told you.’ Filled with awe and great joy the women came quickly away from the tomb and ran to tell the disciples.

And there, coming to meet them, was Jesus. ‘Greetings’ he said. And the women came up to him and, falling down before him, clasped his feet. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers that they must leave for Galilee; they will see me there.’
Holy Week, Holy Saturday (Year A) A Holy Day of Obligation