Introduction: Today’s Scriptures are about announcing the Good News. They remind us that announcing the Good News of the Kingdom by words, deeds and life is not the task of only a few. Rather, it is a task for all baptized Christians.
Scripture lessons: In the first reading, Isaiah announces the good news to the returned Babylonian exiles that the ruined and desolate Jerusalem will take care of them “as a mother comforts her baby son.” Isiah assures the returned Jews that they will live in the certainty of Yahweh’s promises of love, protection, prosperity and salvation. In today’s second reading, Paul removes the confusion created by the Judaizers in the minds of the new Gentile Christians of Galatia. He clearly conveys the good news that it is Jesus’ death on the cross which brings one’s salvation and not Jewish heritage or practice of Torah laws. Paul reminds us that the mission of each member of the Church is to bear witness to the saving power of the cross of Christ through a life of sacrificial, self-giving service. In today’ Gospel, Luke describes the fulfillment of the prophetic promise made by Isaiah in Jesus’ commissioning of 72 disciples to preach the Gospel or the good news of God’s love and salvation in towns and villages in preparation for his own visit. Jesus gives the paired disciples “travel tips” for their missionary journey. They must be walking witnesses of God’s providence, relying on the hospitality of others, living very simple lives, preaching the Good News and healing the sick. Today’s Gospel reminds us that we, the 1.5 billion Christians in the world today, have the mission of the 72, to preach the Gospel of Christ to the rest of world’s 4.5 billion non-Christians.
Life Messages: 1) We need to continue the proclamation of the Gospel: Just as Jesus, in today’s Gospel, gave instructions to the seventy-two missionaries, he also gives each one of us a mission to carry out. As faithful Christians, we should attract others to the Faith by leading exemplary lives, just as a rose attracts people by its beauty and fragrance. This is our job and our responsibility. We must not miss the current opportunities to be apostles through our words and deeds in everyday life.
2) We need to avoid giving the counter-witness of practicing the “supermarket Catholicism” of our politicians who publicly proclaim their “Catholicism” and yet support abortion, gay marriage, human cloning and experimentation with human embryos. Nor should we be “armchair Catholics,” “cafeteria Catholics” or “Sunday Catholics” who bear counter-witness to Christ through our lives.
3) Let us start proclaiming the Gospel in our families by leading exemplary Christian lives, in which spouses love and respect each other, raise their children in the spirit of obedience and service, discipline them with forgiving love and teach them through persistent example to pray, love and help others by sharing their blessings.
OT XIV [C] (July 7): Is 66:10-14c; Gal 6:14-18; Lk 10: 1-12, 17-20
Homily starter anecdote # 1: Jesus needs leaders: One leader in the Old Testament who possessed both expressive and instrumental leadership abilities was Josiah (2 Kings 22-23). King Josiah was a great leader. When he came to the throne of Judah at age eight, the nation was essentially pagan. Heathen altars stood on the high hills, and the people offered incense to false gods. The Lord God was forgotten. The Law was lost. The Temple was closed, and the Passover was only a distant memory. When King Josiah died 31 years later, the nation had been completely changed! The pagan altars were only piles of rubble. The Covenant with God had been renewed. The Law once again was read and revered. The Temple doors were opened, and the priests fulfilled their duties faithfully. The Passover was celebrated and the Lord God, Yahweh, was worshiped. Josiah was a leader who knew how to lead God’s people Israel. Today’s Gospel outlines Jesus’ action plan for future leaders in his Church. (http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
Anecdote # 2: One-man army for Christ: The story of St. Philip Neri, who earned the title “Apostle of Rome” in the 16th century, is an example of the missionary zeal demanded by today’s Gospel. Philip came down to Rome in the early 1500s as an immigrant from Florence and a layman. When he arrived, he was horrified by the physical and moral devastation of the city. Rome had been sacked in 1527 by the Germans who had left much of the city in ruins. The Gospel wasn’t being preached, and many priests and cardinals were living in open defiance of Christ’s moral teachings. Philip prayed to God to learn what he might do. He read the letters that St. Francis Xavier had sent back to Europe from
India, where he had been converting tens of thousands. Philip thought that God was calling him to follow the great Basque missionary to India, to give his life in proclaiming the Gospel. When he went to his spiritual director and told him what he thought God was asking of him, the wise old priest affirmed his desire to serve and bear witness to Christ. However, he told Philip to focus his attention on re-evangelizing those around him, declaring, “Rome is to be your India!” This was quite a task for one man. But Philip, relying on God’s help, started — first as a layman, then as a priest — to convert Rome, one person at a time. He would cheerfully go to street corners and say, “Friends, when are we going to start to do good?” He developed various entertaining social and religious activities to give the people, especially the young people, better alternatives for their hearts and time than those offered by the debauched culture around them. His impact was enormous, and when he died in 1595, much of Rome had been reconverted. The same God who spoke to Philip almost five hundred years ago challenges each one of us this morning through the Scriptures, “Your home and your family, your workplace and your parish are your mission field!” (http://frtonyshomilies.com/)
Introduction: Today’s Scriptures are about announcing the Good News. They remind us that announcing the Good News of the Kingdom by words, deeds, and life is not the task of only a few. Rather, it is a task for all baptized Christians.
Scripture lessons summarized: In the first reading, Isaiah announces the good news to the returned Babylonian exiles that the ruined and desolate Jerusalem will take care of them “as a mother comforts her baby son.” Isiah assures the returned Jews that they will live in the certainty of Yahweh’s promises of love, protection, prosperity and salvation. In today’s Responsorial Psalm, Ps 66, the Psalmist urges, “sing praise to the glory of God all the earth,” because of the wonders He has done. In today’s second reading , Paul removes the confusion created by the Judaizers, in the minds of the new Gentile Christians of Galatia. He clearly conveys the good news that it is Jesus’ death on the cross which brings one’s salvation and not Jewish heritage or practice of Torah laws. Paul reminds us that the mission of each member of the Church is to bear witness to the saving power of the cross of Christ through a life of sacrificial, self-giving service. In today’ Gospel, Luke describes the fulfillment of the prophetic promise made by Isaiah, in Jesus’ commissioning of 72 disciples to preach the Gospel or the Good News of God’s love and salvation in towns and villages in preparation for his own visit. Jesus gives the paired disciples “travel tips” for their missionary journey. They must be walking witnesses of God’s providence by relying on the hospitality of others, living very simple lives, preaching the Good News and healing the sick. Today’s Gospel reminds us that the 1.5 billion Christians in the world today have the mission of the 72, to proclaim the Gospel of Christ to the other 4.5 billion non-Christians.
First reading: Isaiah 66:10-14 explained: The prophet Isaiah is encouraging the Jews, who are returning to Israel from Babylonian exile, to see their beloved city of God, Jerusalem, alive under its ruins. In poetic and symbolic language, he describes the prosperity and peace which the New Jerusalem will give them. Both the Holy City of Jerusalem and God are presented under the image of a mother. The prophet offers a maternal image of God. The returned exiles will have the experience of a child being fondled by its loving mother. They will be like suckling infants enjoying the comfort and nurture of a mother because the city will give them the experience of Yahweh’s love and care, the Temple of Jerusalem will represent and house God’s presence in their midst, and “the Lord’s power shall be known to his servants.” The prophet calls on his fellow-Jews to rejoice and be glad because Jerusalem will be greater, more peaceful and more prosperous than she ever was before. In today’ Gospel, Luke describes the fulfillment of the prophetic promise made by Isaiah in Jesus’ commissioning of 72 disciples to preach the Gospel in towns and villages in preparation for his visit.
The Second Reading, Galatians 6:14-18 explained. Today we hear the concluding words of Paul’s letter to the Galatians. Shortly after Paul left Galatia, some ultra-conservative Judeo-Christians (“Judaizers”) arrived there from Jerusalem. They taught that, since the historical Jesus was Jewish, circumcised and observant of the Torah, his disciples had to be circumcised as Jews and had to observe the Torah. Responding, Paul wrote a letter to those in Galatia who were disturbed and confused by these new teachings. Paul was angry with the Galatians for their stupidly in accepting the false arguments of the Judaizers. In the letter, Paul argues forcefully that God requires no such thing, and that keeping such a false obligation is nothing to boast about. Astonishingly, Paul boasts about what would otherwise be shameful, the execution of Jesus on the cross. “Crucified to the world” is another strong image, meaning that Paul’s relationship with the world is no longer governed by the old Mosaic Law or anything else from the past, but by his relationship with Christ crucified.
Gospel exegesis: Travel tips for the seventy-two walking witnesses on their first mission trip: While all the synoptic Gospels mention a mission of the Twelve, only Luke adds a second mission of the 72. Moses selected the seventy-two elders to guide and govern his people. Here, Luke shows us Jesus doing something similar, sending out in pairs, seventy-two other disciples to towns and villages to announce his visit. In this way, Jesus connects his Messianic mission with the whole of Israel’s history in which 72 had become a symbolic number. In the Book of Genesis, seventy descendants of Jacob moved with him from Israel to Egypt to begin a new life. In the Book of Exodus, seventy elders go up the Mountain of God along with Moses to learn about the new Covenant with YHWH. The Jews also believed that there were seventy-two nations in the whole world, and they had seventy-two members in the Sanhedrin, the supreme council of the Jews. Each of us, by the very fact that we have heard the Lord’s call, is likewise sent on a mission. Hence, announcing the Good News of the kingdom is not something optional for a Christian. The disciples received instructions as to how they were to carry out their mission. For example, they were to “carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals.” There is also an ominous warning that they are sent as “lambs among wolves.” Their guidelines were simple: go where they were received (verses 5-6); remain in one place (verse 7) and eat what was set before them (verse 8). This would help them avoid the appearance of being mercenary. The basic idea behind Jesus’ instruction is that his disciples were sent as walking witnesses, and, hence, they were not to depend on anything or anybody except on the Holy Spirit of God and on Divine providence.
1) “Ask the Lord of the harvest to send workers to the harvest.” The mission of the seventy-two disciples was not a human project, and, hence, they needed strength from God to do the work. In proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom, we, too, participate in God’s work. It is the Lord Who is working in and through us. He gives us the power to announce His presence with our lives. Therefore, constant contact with the Lord of the harvest is necessary. This means that we must be men and women of prayer — not only for an hour a week at Mass but on a daily basis.
2) “Do not carry a walking staff or traveling bag; wear no sandals.” In Jesus’ day, travelers carried a stick as a defense against snakes and wild animals, and used sandals as an aid in traveling along dusty roads and rocky byways. Likewise, a change of clothing as well as food and drink were thought necessary—but Jesus forbade all these. His command was that the disciples should give up even these
necessities so as to be both a living act of Faith in God and “walking signs” to those who saw them. The disciples were only armed with their Faith and the name of Jesus. They needed nothing more. Their detachment from material goods would enable them to uphold the absolute priority of preaching the Good News. They did not need a staff or provisions because God would take care of them through the people to whom they were to preach. The spirit of detachment would also help them to trust more deeply in Divine Providence and would oblige them to rely humbly on the hospitality of those who were receptive to the Gospel. Their life-style should help proclaim their message: “The reign of God is at hand.” In other words, “God is among you as Jesus of Nazareth, working with power.”
3) “Greet no one along the way.” (See also 2 Kings 4:29). This instruction implies that the mission was so urgent that nothing should divert the disciples from it. Likewise, the disciples were told to travel in pairs (perhaps for mutual support), suggesting that the work of evangelization should be a collective one.
4) Acceptance and rejection: One of the reasons we prefer to delegate our Lord’s evangelistic work to priests, religious and missionaries is that we fear rejection. When by our words and lifestyles we tell others about Jesus, we sometimes find ourselves labeled as “religious fanatics,” “Bible-thumpers,” or perhaps, simply as “old-fashioned.” Many times, we take the rejection personally. So Jesus consoles us: “Let your peace come back to you.” This means, “Don’t take it personally. You have done your part, so don’t worry about the outcome.” He goes on, telling them, “Rejoice because your names are written in Heaven” in the Book of Life! It is not up to us to force anyone to accept Jesus. Our mission is to prepare the way. If a person’s heart is open, the Lord will enter in.
5) Preach that the Kingdom of God is at hand. The Kingdom of God comes into being wherever God reigns, and wherever His will is done. The Kingdom of God is present in the people through whom God acts. “Hence the early Church equated Christ with the Kingdom of God because God reigns in Christ, God’s will is done in Christ, and God acts through Christ” (Lumen Gentium, #5). Thus, to proclaim the Kingdom of God is the same as to proclaim Christ. In fact, the Church from its beginning, by proclaiming the Good News of Christ, was being faithful to his mandate to proclaim the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God has come upon us if God reigns in our hearts, if we do God’s will and if God acts through us.
Life Messages: 1) We need to continue Christ’s mission by proclaiming the Good News: Just as Jesus in today’s Gospel gives instructions to the seventy-two missionaries, he also gives each one of us a mission to carry out. There were just a handful of followers in Jesus’ day to preach the Good News, but today there are over one billion Roman Catholics and about a half billion other Christians (in 30,000 denominations!) who accept Jesus as “Lord” and “Savior.” So there are 1.5 billion missionaries in a world of six billion people. A recent survey asked the question, “Why do adults join the Catholic Church in spite of the scandals publicized in the media?” Seventy-five percent of the new adult converts to the Catholic Church reported that they were attracted by a personal invitation from a Catholic who had a lively relationship with Christ and his Church. As faithful Catholics, we will attract others to the Catholic Church—just as a rose attracts people by its beauty and fragrance. It’s our job. It’s our responsibility. We must not miss the current opportunities to be apostles in everyday life by our words and deeds.
2) We need to avoid giving counter-witness: The Church is founded on the rock of Peter, a humble, uneducated fisherman who died for the Lord he loved. Compare his Faith and heroic witnessing with the “supermarket Catholicism” of our politicians who publicly proclaim their “Catholicism,” yet support abortion, gay marriage, human cloning and experimentation with human embryos. We should not be “Catholics for a Free Choice” who oppose anything proposed by the Church, including the most basic right to life. Nor should we be armchair Catholics, spiritual weekend-warriors, “cafeteria Catholics,” or “barely-make-it-to-Mass” members of the Church, who bear counter-witness to Christ. Instead of giving counter-witness, let us become heralds of the Kingdom in our own homes by treating each other with profound respect. When spouses respect each other and, thus, teach their children to do the same, our neighbors will experience the Kingdom in our families, because the Kingdom of God is God’s rule in our hearts enabling us to do His will.
3) The modern world needs the heroic witnessing of martyrs. The early writers of the Church never called the first Christians “martyrs,” in the modern sense of the word, but rather gave that name to those who died “giving witness” (martyrein) to Christ. The most important element wasn’t their deaths; it was their fidelity to their Faith until the last moment of their lives. Martyrs are not people to be relegated to the distant past. Recent history abounds with examples of martyrdom: civil war in Spain, religious persecution in Poland, Mexico, Vietnam, Russia, China, and Africa. The names of Edith Stein (Germany), Maximilian
Kolbe (Poland), Miguel Pro (Mexico), and Pedro Poveda (Spain) are only the beginning of a long list of innocent victims, witnesses for their Faith. Even today, religious freedom is still denied in various countries and, in fact, several Muslim nations forbid the celebration of the Sacraments. In our day, there are also “moral martyrs” who, although they are never physically killed, die an ignominious death, persecuted in the press, defamed in the media and falsely accused of faults they never committed. As successors of the seventy-two disciples, we are called upon to do Christ’s work with the courage of these martyrs’ convictions.
JOKES OF THE WEEK (on the preaching mission).
# 1 The definition of a good sermon: It should have a good beginning and a good ending and they should be as close together as possible. (George Burns). A rule of thumb for preachers: If after ten minutes you haven’t struck oil, stop boring! A pastor was greeting folks at the door after the service. A woman said, “Father, that was a very good sermon.” The pastor says, “Oh, I have to give the credit to the Holy Spirit.” “Then it wasn’t THAT good!” she says. A priest, whose sermons were very long and boring, announced in the Church on a Sunday that he had been transferred to another Church and that it was Jesus’ wish that he leave that week. The congregation in the Church got up and sang: “What a Friend we have in Jesus!”
# 2: Boring preacher: A man was walking a pit bull down the road. The dog got away, ran up to a preacher and bit him on the knee. Then the dog went across
the street and bit a beautiful young woman. The owner was brought before a judge who asked, “Why did your dog bite the preacher?” The man answered, “I don’t know! He’s never done anything like that before.” Then the judge asked, “Well why did he bite the young woman?” The owner replied, “Oh that’s easy to answer! Probably he wanted to get the taste of that boring preacher out of his mouth!”
# 3: Place of amusement: A pastor who was well known for the jokes he told during his sermons asked Park Benjamin, a famous humorist, why he never came to hear him preach. Benjamin replied, “Why, Sir, the fact is, I have conscientious scruples against going to places of amusement on
# 4: Abraham Lincoln put it rather strongly but effectively, when he said: “I do not care for cut-and-dried sermons. When I hear a man preach, I like to see him act as if he were fighting a bumblebee.
Useful Websites of the Week
1) The seventy disciples: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seventy_disciples
3)Daily Catholic: http://www.dailycatholic.org/issue/04Jan/index.htm
4) EWTN Library: http://www.ewtn.com/ewtn/library/search.asp
Videos on the commissioning of disciples
24- Additional anecdotes:
# 1: Doctors needed in Africa: Albert Schweitzer, the missionary doctor and Nobel Laureate, was born in 1875 in the region of Alsace, an area claimed vigorously both by France and Germany. Schweitzer was always attracted to scholarship and to his father’s ministry in the Church as pastor. He earned degrees in Theology and Philosophy while at the same time serving as a curate for a small congregation. And he kept that small ministry even when he was teaching at a prestigious university and writing a foundational work of theology, Quest of the Historical Jesus, in 1905. Schweitzer also achieved renown as an authority on the music of J.S. Bach. An organist of international repute, he produced a great edition of Bach’s works and wrote a six-hundred-page study of the composer. One day he chanced upon a notice in a magazine describing the need for doctors in Africa. And so he decided to leave behind all his accomplishments and answer the call. His friends and colleagues thought he was mad. But his mind was made up. He earned a medical degree with a specialty in tropical diseases and presented himself to the Paris Missionary Society, which sent him with his wife to the area of Africa now called Gabon. Within months he had designed and built an African-village-style hospital. He tried by his work as a missionary doctor to relate Christianity to the sacredness of life in all its forms. He followed strictly the guidelines for the preaching and healing mission Jesus gave to the seventy-two disciples, as described in today’s Gospel, and he became one of the great Christian missionaries of the twentieth century (http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
2) 007- James Bond and Jesus’ disciples. James Bond, according to MI5, is simply unacceptable as a spy. At least that is what MI5 said. In March 2003, MI5–Great Britain’s domestic intelligence agency–reported that characters like James Bond are too tall to serve as spies in Her Majesty’s Service because good spies should blend in with those around them. Since the average man is 6′ tall or less, then the upper acceptable height limit for Great Britain’s male spies is 5′ 11″ and for female spies, the upper limit is 5′ 8″. All the actors who have played James Bond in the movies have been 6′ or taller. By MI5’s current standards, none of them would have been qualified to serve as real domestic spies. A secret agent can’t exactly keep his secret status if he stands out too much [CNN.com – James Bond “too tall” to be a spy – Mar 6, 2004, International Edition London, England (Reuters).] I don’t think that Jesus chose his disciples on the basis of their height, do you? As he sent them out into the world, he certainly didn’t seem concerned that they would stand out too much. In fact, he warned them that they would stand out as walking witnesses of Jesus’ Good News -and that their mission could be dangerous (http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
3) “He did.” When Disney World opened in 1971, Walt Disney was not present to witness the grand opening of his greatest dream come true – he had died five years earlier. During the spectacular opening ceremonies, the host of the festivities introduced Walt’s widow, Lillian Disney, who would say a few words on stage for the occasion. “Mrs. Disney,” the host beamed with reverence, “I wish Walt could have seen this.” Lillian stood up, walked over to the podium, adjusted the microphone, and said, “He did.” And then she sat down. That simple statement said it all. [Pat Croce, Lead or Get Off the Pot! (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2004), p. 9.] Today’s Gospel tells us how Jesus planned the future of his church by selecting and training his disciples(http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
4) “I am Spartacus.” Spartacus was a slave who led an uprising against the Roman government … but the slaves were all captured by the Romans. The Roman general told them if they revealed Spartacus to him, he would spare their lives. At that moment, Spartacus stands and says, “I am Spartacus.” Unexpectedly, the slave next to him stands and says, “I am Spartacus.” And the next and the next until the entire group is standing. This inspiring scene illustrates the role of a leader in the Church to create levels of engagement such that when we, as leaders, stand on an issue, our people will stand with us. [Ken Blanchard and Mark Miller, The Secret (San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc., 2004), p. 53.] Today’s Gospel outlines the action plan for future leaders in the Church(http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
5) Serving leaders: Serving leaders make a powerful difference in society and in the Church. Like leaven, light, and salt, great serving leaders are examples like Josiah, and also like Nelson Mandela, who after 28 years in jail came out and was not angry. In fact, he invited his jailers to his inauguration. Jimmy Carter is perhaps the greatest ex-president, winning the Nobel Peace Prize, championing Habitat for Humanity, and various peace initiatives. There’s Martin Luther King Jr. and, of course, our Lord Jesus of Nazareth who served with a servant heart all the way to the cross. Today’s Gospel describes what servant leadership means(http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
6) Captain James T. Kirk, Commander of the starship Enterprise. Kirk was not the smartest guy on the ship … so why did he get to climb on board the Enterprise and run it? The answer: There is this skill set called leadership. Kirk was the distilled essence of the dynamic manager, a guy who knew how to delegate, had the passion to inspire, and looked good in what he wore to work. He never professed to have skills greater than his subordinates … he established the vision, the tone. He was in charge of morale. [Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture (New York: Hyperion, 2008), pp. 43-44.] The Church needs morale-boosting servant leaders as outlined in today’s Gospel(http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
7) “Americans are willing to lie at the drop of a hat.” That is the conclusion of a recently published book entitled The Day America Told the Truth. The book is based on a survey which supports the fact that an alarming number of the citizens of our country have chosen the way of falsity–rather than the virtue of truth. Of those polled, ninety-one percent said they routinely lie. Assured of anonymity, the cross-section of Americans responding to some eighteen hundred questions, made the following admissions: 86% said that they lie regularly to parents; 75% lie to friends; 73% lie to siblings; 69% lie to spouses. One of the authors says that “lying is a part of Americans’ lives.” Does anything strike at the heart of virtue and morality more than the erosion of truth? To the folks who founded our country, it was inconceivable that the daring experiment of freedom would prosper without the blessing and the guidance of God, or that it would continue without the moral commitment of the people tempered by God’s judgment. Because of those beliefs, they drafted laws, and set in place the structures of a government which would encourage people to seek and uphold the truth, to choose what is right and to do it, and to live out what God required through the high moral demands of Scripture and the ethical teachings of Jesus. Thomas Jefferson, who, by his belief and commitment, helped shape the foundations of America perhaps more than any other person, revealed how intensely he believed in this moral accountability before God when he said, “I tremble for my country when I remember that God is just!” Today’s Gospel tells us how Christians should bear witness to Christ by the truth by their lives of integrity and holiness(http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
8) Where are the Church leaders? Barbara Tuchman, the acclaimed historian and Pulitzer Prize winner died in 1988. Just before her death, one of her essays appeared in the New York Times Sunday Magazine. Here is portion: “Decline of a nation or a society” (she wrote), “is a provocative historical problem. In Rome, it is associated with external pressure coupled with internal weakness. In the ancient Greek cities of Asia Minor (like Ephesus), it can be traced to the silting of harbors through environmental neglect, closing them to access by sea. In the Aztec Empire of Mexico, it was the invasion of ruthless Europeans. … In the United States, who knows? Will it be moral collapse from within? One certainly experiences a deteriorating ethic at every level of society, and with it, incompetence from the people who no longer function at their utmost, who grow lax and accept the mediocre. Violence is also symptomatic of a nation’s decline, and today’s deepening climate of bloody violence is not reassuring. More disturbing, however, is what is missing in American attitudes and public opinion: Where is the outrage? Why aren’t people angry about violence, injustice and immorality? Why aren’t we angry over misconduct and incompetence in Government by public officials of the highest rank? Where is the outrage over racism, over fraud in business, over deceit and betrayal of trust, over the trivialization of morality, where it is ‘moral’ if it works or makes us feel good? Anger when anger is due is necessary for self-respect and for the respect of this nation by other nations.… What has become of national self-respect, not to mention common decency? Why do we keep turning back to Sodom and Gomorrah?” (http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
9) Kim the missionary: A true story told by Father Ray. A couple of months ago, a man from our parish, Kim by name, came up to me and said, “Fr. Ray, please say an extra prayer for me. I’m giving a talk this afternoon to some high school teenagers at a public school, which my nephew attends. This year his class has been having ‘motivational speakers’ talk about how they have overcome the obstacles and difficulties they’ve faced in their lives. My nephew asked me to come and share my story.” Fr. Ray said to him, “That’s a public school, you know. Do you plan to tell them everything?” He asked that question because he knew Kim’s story. Kim’s step-son had been murdered, his step-daughter had died of cancer a week after she graduated from high school and his wife had been killed in a car accident. Prior to these tragedies Kim had lived the life of a pagan and hadn’t even been baptized. In the midst of the terrible sadness caused by these tragic events, however, he had opened his heart to God and embraced the Catholic faith. So Father Ray knew that if Kim were going to tell them everything—including the part about the Church and Sacraments—the officials at the school might not like it. So Fr. Ray repeated the question, “Do you plan to tell them everything?” Without hesitation, Kim answered, “Absolutely!” Fr. Ray then told him, “Then I’ll definitely pray for you – and if you get arrested for mentioning God, Jesus and the Catholic Church in a public school, I promise to come and visit you in prison!” Kim gave the talk. And what happened? The young people loved it! They thought it was so great that they voted him “the best speaker of the year,” and asked him to return in the fall to tell his story to the whole school! This current incident illustrates the deep hunger for God still present in this materialistic world, and it shows that young people like to hear authentic, sincere, witnessing to Jesus Christ. In today’s Gospel text (Luke 10), we are told that Jesus sent out seventy-two disciples into the towns he was planning to visit, to prepare people for his arrival. The disciples were to do this by proclaiming the Good News of God’s love and salvation and by healing the sick. This is what Kim did for those high school students! He healed the sick of heart by his words of witness, and he helped prepare some of them to receive Jesus Christ more fully into their lives! (http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
10) Travel guides: Savvy travelers about to embark on a trip often prepare themselves by consulting the appropriate experts. A wealth of helpful information can be found in the form of travel guides, which are readily available at any local library or bookstore. Therein travelers, amateur tourists and veteran globe-trotters alike, can become familiar with what there is to see and to do in their chosen destination. Maps of the region aid in planning travel routes. Charts of average temperatures and rainfalls, addresses and telephone numbers of tour operators, timetables for buses and trains, calendars of special events, tables of the monetary exchange rate and listings of local museums, galleries, post offices, markets, banks, etc., all prove helpful to those who wish their travels to be uneventful and worry-free. Many guide books also include a region by region description of the most important and interesting sites to visit as well as a brief survey of the history of the area and a profile of the personality of the local residents. Budget-minded or financially-strapped travelers usually appreciate the travel guides’ recommendations as to the price ranges of various restaurants, hotels and motels. Some guides contain descriptions and recommendations as to the local cuisine and certain gourmet specialties. Many also provide a brief dictionary of important words and useful phrases to facilitate the travelers’ efforts at communication. A few of the more detailed travel books even offer tips concerning certain mores and cultural sensitivities of which the average tourist may be unaware. More often than not, those who avail themselves of such information enjoy more pleasant and memorable travel experiences. In today’s Gospel, Luke has featured Jesus detailing a list of travel tips and information of a very different sort; while this advice may not compare to that which is included in a Fodor’s or a Michelin or any other such guide, it is nevertheless valuable and necessary for every would-be disciple. (Patricia Datchuck Sánchez) (http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
11) “Ma’am, before you do that again:” There is a funny story about two young Mormon missionaries who were going door to door. They knocked on the door of one woman who was not at all happy to see them. The woman told them in no uncertain terms that she did not want to hear their message and slammed the door in their faces. To her surprise, however, the door did not close and, in fact, almost magically bounced back open. She tried again, really putting her back into it and slammed the door again with the same amazing result–the door bounced back open. Convinced that one of the young religious zealots was sticking their foot in the door, she reared back to give it a third slam. She felt this would really teach them a lesson. But before she could act, one of them stopped her and politely said, “Ma’am, before you do that again, you really should move your spare shoe blocking the door.” (http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
12) Need of door-to-door preaching: There was an interesting story in Readers Digest sometime back by Elise Miller Davis titled, “When Someone Is Drowning, It’s No Time To Teach Him How to Swim.” Ms. Davis tells of sitting near a swimming pool one day and hearing a commotion. A head was bobbing in and out of the deepest water. Ms. Davis saw a man rush to the edge of the pool and heard him yell, “Hold your breath! Hold your breath!” Then a young lady joined him, screaming, “Turn on your back and float!” Their voices caught the attention of the lifeguard. Like a flash, he ran the length of the pool, jumped in, and pulled the man in trouble to safety. Later, the lifeguard said to Ms. Davis, “Why in the name of Heaven didn’t somebody holler that one word—’Help’? When someone’s drowning, it’s no time to teach him how to swim.” Do you understand that there are people in our community who are barely staying afloat? Families are disintegrating, young people are becoming chemically addicted, middle-aged people are facing life-crises that would blow your minds. Just because the strategy of going out two-by-two door-to-door is outmoded doesn’t mean the need has disappeared (http://frtonyshomilies.com/). .
13) Practical leadership: Ray Sexton, a psychiatrist tells about a troubled man who went to see a psychiatrist. After customary introductions, the psychiatrist asked him to tell him his problem. Embarrassedly, the patient reported that he had difficulty when he arrived in his home. He would walk into his bedroom thinking that something was under his bed. Consequently, he would crawl under his bed, look thoroughly and seeing nothing, he would then be hit with the idea that something was on top of his bed. Quickly, he would look to the top of his bed closely and see nothing. Again, the idea would hit him that something was under his bed. He would then drop down under his bed looking thoroughly and see nothing. He would feel that something was on top of his bed again. This would go on over and over. Top, underneath, top, underneath, top, underneath. The gentleman told the psychiatrist that this was driving him crazy. He needed some relief in order to carry on his other business. The psychiatrist reassured him that he had a correctable problem but that it would require weekly visits to dig out the deeper-rooted conflicts. The cost would be $100 per visit, per week over a period of about two years. Somewhat dazed, the patient left the office without making his appointments. He was not seen or heard from by the psychiatrist for about six months. The psychiatrist accidentally ran into him at a neighborhood restaurant. The psychiatrist asked him, “Joe I haven’t heard from you! Whatever happened?” The patient said, “Well when you told me how long it would take and the expense, I was devastated. I immediately went to the bar to drink away my despair but the bartender cured me in one session for ten dollars. I haven’t had a problem since.” The psychiatrist asked him, “What in the world did the bartender do?” Joe happily responded, “The bartender told me to go home and saw the legs off of my bed.” Leadership in the Church means the ability to solve the people’s problems in the Gospel way(http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
14) The story “Picture of Peace” by Catherine Marshall. There once was a king who offered a prize to the artist who would paint the best picture on peace. Many artists tried. The king looked at all the pictures. But there were only two he really liked, and he had to choose between them. One picture was of a calm lake. The lake was a perfect mirror for peaceful towering mountains all around it. Overhead was a blue sky with fluffy white clouds. All who saw this picture thought that it was a perfect picture of peace. The other picture too had mountains. But these were rugged and bare. Above was an angry sky, from which rain fell and in which lightning played. Down the side of the mountain tumbled a foaming waterfall. This did not look peaceful at all. But when the king looked closely, he saw behind the waterfall a tiny bush growing in a crack in the rock. In the bush a mother bird had built her nest. There, in the midst of the
rush of angry water, sat the mother bird on her nest – in perfect peace. Which picture do you think won the prize? The king chose the second picture. Do you know why? “Because,” explained the king, “peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be in calm in your heart. This is the real meaning of
peace.” This Sunday’s Gospel reading (Lk 10:1-12, 17-20), tells us about the mission of the seventy-two disciples who are called to be peace-bearers and peace givers. (Stories for the Heart, compiled by Alice Gray) (http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
15) Leader in Christ’s Church should sharpen his axe by prayer: A young man approached the foreman of a logging crew and asked for a job. “That depends,” replied the foreman. “Let’s see you fell this tree.” The young man stepped forward, and skillfully felled a great tree. Impressed, the foreman exclaimed, “You can start Monday.” Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday rolled by – and Thursday afternoon the foreman approached the young man and said, “You can pick up your paycheck on the way out today.” Startled, the young man replied, “I thought you paid on Friday.” “Normally we do,” said the foreman. “But we’re letting you go today because you’ve fallen behind. Our daily felling charts show that you’ve dropped from first place on Monday to last place today.” “But I’m a hard worker,” the young man objected. “I arrive first, leave last, and even have worked through my coffee breaks!” The foreman, sensing the young man’s integrity, thought for a minute and then asked, ‘”Have you been sharpening your axe?” The young man replied, “No, sir. I’ve been working too hard to take time for that!“ [Wayne Rice, More Hot Illustrations for Youth Talks (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing, 1995), p. 155.] (http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
16) “Here comes my friend Douglass.” Frederick Douglass approached the front door of the White House, seeking admission into Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Ball. Just as Douglass was about to knock on the door, two policemen seized him, barring the black man’s entrance. Douglass, a large, powerful man, brushed the officers aside and stepped into the foyer. Once inside, two more officers grabbed the uninvited guest, all the while uttering racial slurs. As Douglass was being dragged from the hall, he cried to a nearby patron, “Just say to Mr. Lincoln that Fred Douglass is at the door!” Confusion ensued. Then suddenly the officers received orders to usher Douglass into the East Room. In that beautiful room, the great abolitionist stood in the presence of the esteemed President. The place quieted as Lincoln approached his newly arrived guest, hand outstretched in greeting, and speaking in a voice loud enough so none could mistake his intent, the President announced, “Here comes my friend Douglass.” The President had called Frederick Douglass friend. Who dared demean Douglass if he was a friend of the President? Jesus Christ, the Lord of the universe, has called us his brothers and his sisters. God has called us His own children, but not only us — also the person who lies stripped and beaten by the side of the road. He or she is our friend, our neighbor(http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
17) St. Teresa of Avila wrote:
Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks with compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours (http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
18) Starving in a food store: Maria Janczuk was born in Poland and during World War II suffered privation, torture and hunger in a Nazi concentration camp. After the war, she lived in Leeds, England. On January 22, 1971 she was found dead of starvation in her house. She weighed only 41 pounds, and it was evident that she had been wasting her health. But her cupboards were full of eggs, butter, cheese and milk, which she hoarded. The policeman who investigated said, “It was like a food store.” The horrors of life and hunger in the concentration camp had probably created a fear in her mind which probably remained with her through the rest of her life. She died of starvation, even though her kitchen shelves were stocked. There is an abundance of blessings, promises, assurances of peace, joy, strength, love, hope, salvation, eternal life and all that one needs in this life, in the Word of God. Do we believe and let God work through us and for us? (Daniel Sunderaj in Manna for the Soul; quoted by Fr. Botelho) (http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
19) The living Gospel: There is a story of a chaplain who was serving on the battlefield. He came across a young man who was lying in a shell hole, seriously wounded. “Would you like me to read something from this book, the Bible?” he asked. “I’m so thirsty, I’d rather have a drink of water.” The soldier said. Hurrying away, the chaplain soon brought the water. Then the wounded man said, “Could you put something under my head?” The chaplain took off his overcoat, rolled it up and gently placed it under the man’s head for a pillow. “Now,” said the suffering man, “if I just had something over me -I’m cold.” The chaplain immediately removed his jacket and put it over the wounded man to keep him warm. Then the soldier looked the chaplain straight in the eye and said, “If there is anything in that book that makes a man do for another all that you have done for me, then please read it, because I’d love to hear it.” If my actions do not speak of Gospel values, be sure my words never will. What affects most people is often caught rather than taught. Indeed, we are the only book on Jesus Christ that others may ever read! (James Valladares in Your Words O Lord, Are Spirit and They Are Life; quoted by Fr. Botelho) (http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
20) The Holy Name of Jesus: St. Gregory of Tours relates that when he was a boy his father fell gravely ill and lay dying. Gregory prayed fervently for his recovery. When Gregory was asleep at night, his Guardian Angel appeared to him and told him to write the Name of Jesus on a card and place it under the sick man’s pillow. In the morning Gregory acquainted his mother with the Angle’s message, which she advised him to obey. He did so, and placed the card under his father’s head, when, to the delight of the whole family, the patient grew rapidly better. In today’s Gospel, we heard the seventy-two other disciples, when they returned from their mission of preaching, joyfully exclaimed to Jesus, “Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through your name.” The disciples experienced power in the name of Jesus. We too can experience the same. (John Rose in John’s Sunday Homilies; quoted by Fr. Botelho) (http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
21) Let your greeting be Peace!: Jesus sent the seventy-two disciples to proclaim peace. They were called to be peace-makers and peace-givers. Heroic peace-makers, like Francis of Assisi, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, were inspired and sustained by their belief in the power of goodness to triumph over all the machinations of evil. Francis utterly disregarded all dangers as he crossed the lines between the Crusaders and the army of the Sultan. He believed that the way to justice was not through the use of superior power but through the proclamation of goodness and brotherhood. Later in his life, when Assisi was rent asunder by the dispute between the mayor and the bishop, Francis did not dally with the rights and wrongs of the case but from his sick-bed he sent his brothers to sing of the blessedness of those who overcome wrongdoing by granting pardon. Gandhi drew strength and vision from the Sermon on the Mount and especially from the Beatitudes. He maintained this Gospel Faith unshaken even when evil continued to rear its violent head. Anybody who attempts to take seriously the path of Gospel goodness can expect to be tested by the backlash of evil. Martin Luther King likewise was constantly faced with every ugliness of discrimination, exploitation, and bitter memory that his opponents could come up with. Towards the end of his life he seemed to be walking more in his visionary land of peace than in the ugly society around him. Peace can be built only on the foundation of justice. (Sylvester O’Flynn in The Good News of Luke’s Gospel; quoted by Fr. Botelho) (http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
22) We are instruments of His peace: The world-famous Paganini was scheduled to begin his violin recital, one evening, when he found that his Stradivarius violin had been stolen from its case and had been replaced with an old, ordinary violin. The audience was already seated and there was no time to go elsewhere and bring in another violin worthy of the maestro. Undaunted, Paganini took the old instrument, tuned it to concert pitch and began to perform as it nothing untoward has happened. When he finished the recital, the audience gave him a standing ovation. Paganini then announced, “Friends, today I’ve performed on an old, ordinary violin; and, I’ve proved to you that the music is not in the instrument but in the maestro!” In today’s Gospel, the maestro of mission, Jesus, sends out seventy-two disciples on mission as instruments of his peace. (Francis Gonsalves in Sunday Seeds for Daily Deeds; quoted by Fr. Botelho) (http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
23) Shalom!!! Elie Wiesel tells a very disturbing story in one of his books. Once after delivering a lecture in New York he met a man who looked vaguely familiar. He began to wonder who he was and where they had met before. Then he remembered. He had known him in Auschwitz. Suddenly an incident involving this man came back to him. As soon as children arrived by train at Auschwitz, together with the elderly and the sick, they were immediately selected for the gas chamber. On one occasion a group of children were left to wait by themselves for the next day. This man asked the guards if he could stay with the children during their last night on earth. Surprisingly his request was granted. How did they spend that last night? He started off by telling the children stories in an effort to cheer them up. However, instead of cheering them up, he succeeded only in making them cry. So what did they do? They cried together until daybreak. Then he accompanied the little ones to the gas chamber. Afterwards he returned to the prison to report for work.
Flor McCarthy quoted by Fr. Botelho(http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
24) Superstars: What is it that makes an athlete a superstar? Perhaps what makes a superstar shine more brightly than others is his or her confidence and capacity to perform consistently with excellence, especially in pressure situations. One thinks, for example, of the great quarterbacks in pro football, of men like Joe Montana, who with two minutes left in a game can lead his team downfield to snatch a victory out of the clutches of defeat. When the going gets tough you want superstars like Wade Boggs in the batter’s box, or Larry Bird with the basketball in the final seconds of overtime. When the pressure is the greatest, you can almost sense that a superstar like Jack Nicklaus will sink that long putt on the 18th green, or that Wayne Gretzky will put the puck in the net in the last minute of play. -Now what is true of superstars in sports is also true of saints in the Christian life. They have the capacity to come through when the pressure is the greatest. Today’s readings show why. In the first reading from Isaiah, the chosen People are in exile and yet the prophet tells them to exult: “Rejoice, Jerusalem, be glad for her, all you who mourned her … Now towards her I send flowing peace, to his servants Yahweh will reveal his hand…” (Albert Cylwicki in His World Resounds; quoted by Fr. Botelho )(http://frtonyshomilies.com/). L/19
“Scriptural Homilies” Cycle C (No. 37) by Fr. Tony: email@example.com
Visit this website: By clicking on http://frtonyshomilies.com/ for missed or previous Cycle C homilies, 141 Year of Faith “Adult Faith Formation Lessons” (useful for RCIA classes too) & 197 “Question of the Week.” Contact me only at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit http://www.vaticannews.va/en/church.html for the Vatican version of this homily and https://www.catholicsermons.com/homilies/sunday_homilies under CBCI or in the CBCI website https://cbci.in/SundayReflectionsNew.aspx?&id=cG2JDo4P6qU=&type=text .
Fr. Anthony Kadavil, Chaplain, Sacred Heart Residence of the Little Sisters of the Poor, 1655 McGill Ave, Mobile, AL 36604.