November 12, 2020

November 23-28 weekday homilies

Nov 23- 28: Homilies up to Advent I are already uploaded in this  website (http://frtonyshomilies.com)  as I had a gall bladder removal surgery, two days in hospital and three days of quarantine at home. Nov 23 Monday (St. Clement I Pope & Martyr (https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-clement/) , St. Columban Abbot (https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-columban/) , Blessed Miguel Augustin Pro, Priest, Martyr (U.S.A.) (https://www.franciscanmedia.org/blessed-miguel-agusaint-iacute-n-pro/ ) : Luke 21: 1-4: He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury; 2 and he saw a poor widow put in two copper coins. 3 And he said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; 4 for they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all the living that she had.” USCCB video reflections: https://youtu.be/t0tjWIT0rvE 

The context: There were 13 trumpet-shaped receptacles that stood up against the wall of the Court of Women.  They were intended to hold the gifts of the faithful for the Temple treasury. As Jesus and his disciples sat and watched the comings and goings of those offering their gifts of support, they observed many wealthy worshipers placing significant sums into the Temple treasury.  But it was not until Jesus observed the tiny gift of two lepta (equivalent to a couple of pennies), given by a poor widow, that he was moved to comment on the proceedings.

Beginning with chapter 11 of Luke’s Gospel, Jesus is seen confronting the Temple authorities and challenging abuses in the “organized religion” of his time. Complimenting the poor widow in today’s Gospel, Jesus contrasted the external signs of honor sought by the scribes with the humble, sacrificial offering of a poor widow and declared that she had found true honor in God’s eyes. The Gospel presents a poor widow who sacrificially gave her whole life and means of livelihood to God, symbolizing the supreme sacrifice Jesus would offer by giving his life for others. The episode invites us to a total commitment to God’s service with a humble and generous heart free from pride and prejudice.

Life messages: # 1: We need to appreciate the widows of our parish:    Their loneliness draws them closer to God and to stewardship in the parish.  They are often the active participants in all the liturgical celebrations, offering prayers for their families and for their parish family.  Frequently, they are active in parish organizations, as well as in visiting and serving the sick and the shut-ins.  Hence, let us appreciate them, support them, encourage them and pray for them.

#2: We need to accept Christ’s criteria for judging people: We often judge people by what they possess.  But Jesus measures us on the basis of our inner motives and the intentions hidden behind our actions.  He evaluates us on the basis of the sacrifices we make for others and on the degree of our surrender to His holy will. What is hardest to give is ourselves in love and concern, because that gift costs us more than reaching for our purses. (Fr. Kadavil) (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/20

Nov 24 Tuesday (St. Andrew Dung-Lac, Priest Martyr and Companion Martyrs): Luke 21: 5-11: 5 And as some spoke of the Temple, how it was adorned with noble stones and offerings, he said, 6 “As for these things which you see, the days will come when there shall not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” 7 And they asked him, “Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign when this is about to take place?” 8 And he said, “Take heed that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name, saying, `I am he!’ and, `The time is at hand!’ Do not go after them. 9 And when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified; for this must first take place, but the end will not be at once.” 10 Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; 11 there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven. USCCB video reflections: https://youtu.be/gPZRmhx5czM 

The context: Today’s Gospel begins with Jesus’ reaction to the comments his disciples had been making about the splendor of the Temple in Jerusalem. The forty-foot tall pillars supporting the beams of the front porch were made of solid marble. Most of the decorations and the large vine on the front porch with six-foot long grape clusters were made of solid gold plates, while the dome was gold-plated. But Jesus prophesied this Temple’s total destruction. In AD 70, the Roman army invaded the city, plundered everything valuable, set fire to the Temple, pulled down its walls, killed one million Jews and took 97,000 healthy Jews as captives. Jesus also gave his disciples warning about false military messiahs and their deceptive doctrines about overthrowing the Romans. Then Jesus listed some signs of the end of the world, like wars between nations, earthquakes, famines, plagues and unnatural movements of the heavenly bodies.

Life message: We need to learn from the signs of the times, like crises in morality, a culture of death, an increase in violence and terrorism, the “normalization” of sexual deviations, the breaking down of families and the moral degradation of society, and to prepare ourselves for the end times by living ideal Christian lives, helping others, sharing our blessings with others and getting reconciled with God and our neighbors, trusting in the living presence of Jesus in the church (Fr. Kadavil) (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/20

Nov 25 Wednesday (St. Catheryn of Sienna, Virgin, Martyr)https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-catherine-of-siena : Luke 21: 12-19: 12 But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake. 13 This will be a time for you to bear testimony. 14 Settle it therefore in your minds, not to meditate beforehand how to answer; 15 for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict. 16 You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and kinsmen and friends, and some of you they will put to death; 17 you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish.19 By your endurance you will gain your lives. USCCB video reflections: https://youtu.be/OApVzBOou_k 

The context: Today’s Gospel gives Jesus’ prophetic warning to his Apostles and followers about the sufferings they will have to bear for their Faith in him until his Second Coming. Jesus advises them to bear witness to him in spite of persecutions, for those persecutions would also encourage the disciples to flee to remote places and to preach the Gospel among the Jews and the Gentiles. Believers, Jesus warns, will be locked up in prisons and brought for trial before kings and governors. Jesus assures them that he will give them words of defense and witness-bearing through the Holy Spirit. (In the Acts of the Apostles, we read how Stephen was given the wisdom to bear witness to Jesus in Jerusalem). Since there will be divisions in families between believers and non-believers, Jesus declares, close relatives will betray their Christian family members to the pagan authorities and cause their martyrdom. But Jesus assures his followers in today’s Gospel passage that their suffering for him will be amply rewarded.

Life messages: 1) Although we may not get a chance to die for the Faith, we are invited to face “dry martyrdom,” a “living death” as outcasts in our contemporary materialistic, secular, liberal, agnostic and atheistic society.

2) We are called to bear witness to Christ by loving those who hate us, by showing mercy and compassion to those who hurt and ill-treat us, by forgiving those who continue to offend us, by accepting our sufferings without complaint and by continuing to keep Jesus’ word in our lives. (Fr. Kadavil) (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/20

Nov 26 Thursday: Luke 21: 20-28: (Thanksgiving Day homily, next) 20 “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near. 21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are inside the city depart, and let not those who are out in the country enter it; 22 for these are days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written. 23 Alas for those who are with child and for those who give suck in those days! For great distress shall be upon the earth and wrath upon this people; 24 they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led captive among all nations; and Jerusalem will be trodden down by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. 25 “And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth distress of nations in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, 26 men fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27 And then they will see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 Now when these things begin to take place, look up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” USCCB video reflections: http://www.usccb.org/bible/reflections/index.cfm

The context: Jesus is prophesying the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the world in today’s Gospel passage. He says that God is going to punish the city of Jerusalem for its sins, for its indifference shown to Christ and its rejection of Christ’s preaching as foretold by the prophets: “Behold the day of the Lord comes, cruel, with wrath and fierce anger to make the earth a desolation and to destroy its sinners from it” (Isaiah 13:9-13; Joel 2:1-2; Amos 5:18-20; Zephaniah 1:14-18). Josephus, the Jewish historian, reports that over a million inhabitants died when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem with the Temple in AD 70. Jesus also warns his disciples about the end of the world and his second coming, this time in glory as Judge of the whole human race, quoting Daniel’s prophecy 7:13-14. There will be visible changes in nature, in heavenly bodies and in the universe as a whole: “The powers of the heavens will be shaken.” But Jesus encourages his followers to be prepared for the event with the assurance of their Heavenly reward. Sacred Scripture describes the solemnity of this event, when the sentence passed on each person in the particular judgment will be confirmed, and God’s justice and mercy to men throughout history will shine out for all to see.

Life messages: 1) Today’s Scripture readings warn us to be ever prepared to give an account of our lives to Jesus, our Judge, at the moment of our death, which nobody knows.

2) They also tell us to be ready to meet Jesus coming again, this time as the Judge of the universe, by avoiding sins and doing good to others, seeing the face of Jesus in each one of them. (Fr. Kadavil) (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/20

Nov 26 Thursday (Thanksgiving Day in the U. S. ): Nov 26, 2020 Thursday: https://youtu.be/Vh6U9uyglV4?t=19.

Introduction: Today is a day of national thanksgiving 1) for the blessings and protection God has given us. 2) for our democratic government and the prosperity, we enjoy 3) for our freedom of speech and religion 4) for the generosity and good will of our people.

History: The winter of 1610 at Jamestown, Virginia, had reduced a group of 409 settlers to 60. The survivors prayed for help, without knowing when or how it might come. When help arrived in the form of a ship filled with food and supplies from England, a thanksgiving prayer meeting was held to give thanks to God. President George Washington issued the first national Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1789. President Abraham Lincoln, in the midst of the Civil War, established Thanksgiving Day as a formal holiday to express our thanks to God. In 1941 Congress passed the official proclamation declaring that Thanksgiving should be observed as a legal holiday the fourth Thursday of each November.

Biblical examples of thanksgiving: (1) Today’s Gospel describes how one of the ten lepers Jesus healed, a Samaritan, returned to Jesus to express his gratitude while the nine Jewish lepers did not care to thank God and the one He had used to heal. Jesus asks the pained question: Where are the others? The episode tells us that even God expects gratitude from us. (2) In 2 Kings 5:1-9 Naaman the leper, the chief of the army of the Syrian king, returned to the prophet Elisha to express his thanks for the healing with a gift of 10 talents of silver, 6000 pieces of gold and six Egyptian raiments, as gifts. When Elisha refused the gifts, Naaman asked for permission take home two sacks of the soil of Israel to remember the Lord Who healed him, and he promised to offer sacrifices only to the God of Israel. (3) Jesus’ example of thanksgiving at the tomb of Lazarus: “Thank you Father for hearing my prayer(Jn 11:42-42). (4) St. Paul’s advice (Eph 5: 20): “Give thanks to God the Father for everything.”

The Eucharistic celebration is the most important form of thanksgiving prayer for Catholics. In fact, Eucharist is the Greek word for thanksgiving. In the Holy Mass we offer the sacrifice of Jesus to our Heavenly Father as an act of thanksgiving and surrender our lives on the altar with repentant hearts, presenting our needs and asking for God’s blessings.

Life messages: 1) Let us be thankful and let us learn to express our thanks daily: a) To God for His innumerable blessings, providential care and protection, and for the unconditional pardon given to us for our daily sins and failures. b) To our parents – living and dead – for the gift of life and Christian training and the good examples they gave us. c) To our relatives and friends for their loving support and timely help and encouragement. d) To our pastors, teachers, doctors, soldiers, police and government officers for the sincere service they render us. (Fr. Kadavil) (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/20

Thanksgiving Intercessory Prayers for Thanksgiving Day Holy Mass 

Response to priests prayer: Lord, hear our prayer.

C:        Let us give thanks for the Doctors, Nurses,

Paramedics and EMS who have so unselfishly cared for the sick.

May God bless their abilities. We pray to the Lord.

We give thanks for the researchers who have tirelessly

searched for vaccines to protect us.

May God bless their tenacity. We pray to the Lord.

We thank our family members, who have kept in touch with us

by phone, email, texting, and even in person.

May God bless their loving concern for us. We pray to the Lord.

We offer thanks for the First Responders, who have fought fires,

rescued people in the midst of hurricanes,

and in the aftermath of tornadoes and severe flooding.

May God bless their selflessness, and their skills. We pray to the Lord.

We continue to thank our Priests, and other ministers,

who have reached out to their congregations, kept in touch with them,

and offer their daily Masses for our spiritual well-being.

May God bless their Faith. We pray to the Lord

For the tender love You show Your whole creation. We give You thanks and pray to the Lord.

For the food we eat, the clothes we wear, and the homes in which we live. We give You thanks and pray to the Lord.

For our families, for husbands and wives, and especially children with their

joy and their trust, for grandparents and grandchildren, for aunts and uncles. We give You thanks and pray to the Lord. We give You thanks and pray to the Lord.

For the fields and their harvest, for farmers and their labors, for the good earth and all its bounty. We give You thanks and pray to the Lord.

 For our nation and all its people, and for the freedoms we enjoy, especially

for the freedom to worship You in peace. We give You thanks and pray to the Lord.

For the sufferings that come upon us and for the reminder they bring of the one thing needful. We give You thanks and pray to the Lord. We give You thanks and pray to the Lord. We give You thanks and pray to the Lord.

Above all for the Incarnation of our Lord, for His suffering and death, for His glorious Resurrection and Ascension and for the coming of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.  We give You thanks and pray to the Lord.

For the holy Church, for the divine waters of Baptism, for the comfort of Holy

Absolution, and for the life-giving Sacrament of the Altar. We give You thanks and pray to the Lord.

For the Sacred Scriptures, for the holy Law that shows us our sin, and for the

Holy Gospel that reveals the righteousness of Christ as Your gift to us. We give You thanks and pray to the Lord.

 For these and all Your mercies, mercies beyond number and measure, for all

of which it is our joy to stand before You and give You thanks. We give You thanks and pray to the Lord.

You are indeed blessed and holy and worthy of all honor and praise, O Father Almighty, O only begotten Son, O Spirit of Holiness. To You alone do we give all glory now and ever and unto the ages of ages! Amen

Nov 27 Friday: Lk 21: 29-33: 29 And he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees; 30 as soon as they come out in leaf, you see for yourselves and know that the summer is already near. 31 So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. 32 Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away till all has taken place. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. USCCB video reflections:https://youtu.be/tRSsCyhfIks

 The context: Foretelling the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 and the end of the world at an unspecified future time, Jesus warns his disciples in today’s Gospel that tribulations are inevitable before the Last Judgment and the coming of his Kingdom.  Jesus uses the small parable of the fig tree to explain his point that we must be prepared for the time of tribulation, his Second Coming and the Last Judgment. Fig trees in Israel produce fruits twice a year, at Passover time and in autumn.  The sign of the ripening of their fruits is the appearance of fresh leaves on the tree. The Jews believed that the Messiah would appear during the Passover period, which coincides with the appearance of fresh leaves on fig trees.  The destruction of Jerusalem would be the end of their world for the Jews. So, the generation in AD 70 saw the end of the world symbolically.  Jesus wants us to understand that the Kingdom of God will be near when wars, natural calamities, pestilences, and unnatural movements of heavenly bodies occur. Except for the last-named, these seem to occur in every age. Hence, we must be ever vigilant and prepared.

Life messages: 1) We must be able to read the signs of the times and stay in the kingdom of God by faithfully doing God’s will every day of our lives, serving others in humility and love and bearing witness to Jesus through the integrity and transparency of our Christian lives. L/20

Nov 28 Saturday: Lk 21: 34-36: 34 “But take heed to yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a snare; 35 for it will come upon all who dwell upon the face of the whole earth. 36 But watch at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of man.” USCCB video reflections: https://youtu.be/xvFhfNK69z4 

The context:  In St. Luke’s version of Jesus’ advice to his disciples before his passion and death, as given in today’s Gospel, Jesus emphasizes that every Christian needs to be vigilant and prepared because we cannot be sure of the time of our own death when we will be asked to give an account of our lives. Hence, Jesus advises us to be strengthened by prayer so that we may be free from evil addictions and unnecessary attachment to worldly pleasures.  Jesus also instructs us to be vigilant because we do not know the time either of our own death or of the end of the world and his Second Coming. St. Paul repeats this advice: “You are not in darkness, brethren, for that day to surprise you like a thief” (I Thes 5: 4). 

 Life messages: 1) We need to avoid spiritual laziness and indifference. 2) We need to be freed from excessive and crippling anxiety, needless worries and evil habits. 3) We need to get our strength from God by prayer, which means listening to God and talking to Him. (Fr. Tony) L/20