Visit http://frtonyshomilies.com for missed Sunday or weekday homilies October 5-10: Oct 5 Monday (Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos, Priest, U.S. A.) https://www.franciscanmedia.org/blessed-francis-xavier-seelos/ : Lk 10: 25-37: 25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read?” 27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And he said to him, “You have answered right; do this, and you will live.” 29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion, 34 and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, `Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed mercy on him.” And Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.” USCCB video reflections: https://youtu.be/ht-q9b8TTTA
The context: A scribe asked Jesus a very basic religious question: “What should I do to inherit eternal life?” In answer to the question, Jesus directed the scribe’s attention to the Sacred Scriptures. The Scriptural answer is, “Love God and express it by loving your neighbor.” However, to the scribe, the word “neighbor” meant another scribe or Pharisee, never a Samaritan or a Gentile. Hence, the scribe insisted on further clarification of the word “neighbor.” So, Jesus told him the parable of the Good Samaritan. The parable clearly indicates that a “neighbor” is anyone who needs help. Thus, the correct approach is not to ask who our neighbor is, but instead, to ask, “Am I a good neighbor to those I meet, helping them in their needs?” The Good Samaritan is a symbol of Jesus, himself, in his role as Savior of the world. The parable: In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus presents three philosophies of life concerning our relationship with our neighbor: 1) the philosophy of the thieves who robbed the Samaritan: “What is yours is mine; I will take it by force. 2) the philosophy of the Jewish priest and the Levite: “What is mine is mine; I won’t part with it.” 3) the philosophy of the Samaritan: “What is mine is yours as well. I shall share it with you.
Life message: We need to have hearts of mercy: We need to remember that the road from Jerusalem to Jericho passes right through our home, parish and workplace. Jesus is inviting us to show mercy and kindness to those who are being hurt or mistreated on any of the “Jericho Roads” of our lives in our family, neighborhood and parish. (Fr. Tony) (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/20
Oct 6 Tuesday (St. Bruno)( https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-bruno/) Priest, Blessed Marie Ross Durocher, Virgin, U. S. A.( https://www.franciscanmedia.org/blessed-marie-rose-durocher/) ): Lk 10:38-42: 38 Now as they went on their way, he entered a village; and a woman named Martha received him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving; and she went to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; 42 one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her.”USCCB video reflections: https://youtu.be/4RLfzdQThew
The context: Today’s readings are about hospitality and the necessity of listening to God before acting. Jesus welcomed and tended to the needs of all, reflecting in his actions the very hospitality of God. All four Gospels recount Jesus’ welcoming and feeding the multitudes of people who came to hear his teachings. The Gospel passage describes how Martha, a true child of Abraham, wanted to extend the traditional generous hospitality of her people to Jesus, the true Messiah, by preparing an elaborate meal for him, while her sister Mary spent her time in talking to him and listening to him.
Jesus’ advice: The episode is also intended to teach us where we should place our priorities. Presenting Martha as a dynamo of action and Mary as a true listener to the word of God, today’s Gospel invites us to serve others with Martha’s diligence, after recharging our spiritual batteries every day by prayer — listening to God and talking to God — as Mary did. We are able to minister truly to the needs of others only after welcoming God’s words into our hearts and minds.
Life messages: 1) We need to recharge our spiritual batteries: Without the “fuel” of prayer, silence, and communion with God, service can become a crushing responsibility, a burden rather than a vocation, an annoyed grumbling rather than a response to the invitation of God.
2) We need listening Marthas and serving Marys: Martha has become a symbol of action-oriented, responsible people who get the job done. Our world needs such men, women, boys and girls who get the job done. This is certainly true in the Church where we need the active cooperation of many parishioners in its various ministries. (Fr. Tony) (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/20
Oct 7 Wednesday (Our Lady of the Holy Rosary) https://www.franciscanmedia.org/our-lady-of-the-rosary/ : Lk 1:26-38: This feast was established by Pope St. Pius V in thanksgiving for the victory at Lepanto, 7 Oct 1571, which stopped the Turkish invasion of Europe. Importance: The word Rosary means “Crown of Roses” and each prayer in the Rosary is considered a flower presented to Mary. It is called the “Breviary of the Common People” and the “Psalms of the Illiterate.” The prayers we repeat are Biblical and hence “inspired,” and the mysteries we meditate upon are taken from the lives of Jesus and Mary. The “Our Father” is a prayer taught by Jesus himself. The “Hail Mary” is also rooted in the Scriptures. Its first half echoes the words of the Archangel Gabriel and those of Elizabeth, both addressed to Mary. The third prayer — the “Glory be to the Father” — ancient in its wording, surely reflects the unceasing prayer of adoration and praise found in the Book of Revelation. The various events in the lives of Jesus and Mary on which we meditate during the Rosary are expressions of the Paschal Mystery, that is, the Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus, in which Mary shared.
History: Prayer using rosary beads is as old as mankind. The Hindus in India used to recite the thousand names of their gods and goddesses and their “mantra” prayers using multi-beaded rosaries, and their sages wear such rosaries around the neck, constantly rolling the beads in prayer. The Jews used beads to repeat the psalms, the Laws of Moses and the memorized sayings of the prophets. The Muslims use rosaries with a hundred beads for their prayer. In the ninth century, the Christian monks who recited the 150 psalms instructed the illiterate common people to recite the Our Father 150 times. It was in the eleventh century that the Europeans added the Hail Mary to the Our Father. According to a legend, in 1214, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to St. Dominic Guzman and instructed him to pray the Rosary in a new form as an effective antidote against the Albigensian heresy. The Rosary devotion attained its present form by 1500 A.D. An additional boost to the Rosary devotion was given in 1917, when our Blessed Mother, in her sixth apparition to the three shepherd children, on the thirteenth of May, asked them to, “Say the Rosary every day… Pray, pray a lot and offer sacrifices for sinners… I’m Our Lady of the Rosary.” The “Fatima prayer” “O, my Jesus” was added in the twentieth century. Pope St. John Paul II enriched the Rosary by adding the “Luminous Mysteries” (Rosarium Virginis Mariae).
How to pray the Rosary: The ideal is to recite at least five decades of the Rosary (and if possible, the entire twenty), with one’s whole family daily. We need to say the Rosary slowly enough to make its recitation devout and reverent. We are to reflect for a minute or two on the mystery, and then concentrate on the meaning of the prayers as we say them, to avoid distractions. Besides saying the Rosary with others in the family before bedtime, let us make it a habit of reciting the Rosary during our journey to the workplace and during our exercises. (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/20USCCB video reflections: https://youtu.be/-nCEl3qfSt0
Oct 8 Thursday: Lk 11:5-13: 5 And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, `Friend, lend me three loaves; 6 for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7 and he will answer from within, `Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything’? ..13 USCCB video reflections: 3https://youtu.be/LFMSH-WN_P8
The context: After teaching a model prayer, Jesus instructs his disciples to pray to God their Heavenly Father with the same boldness, daring, intimacy, conviction, persistence, and perseverance that both Abraham and the friend in need in the parable used. Jesus gives us the assurance that God will not be irritated by our requests, nor will He be unwilling to meet them with generosity. Jesus stresses the power of intercessory prayer and the necessity for persistence, perseverance, trusting Faith and the boldness of Faith in our prayer.
The parable: By presenting the parable of the friend in need, Jesus emphasizes our need for that persistent and persevering prayer which acknowledges our total dependence on God. In the ancient Hebrew world, hospitality was the essence of one’s goodness, and, hence, to welcome a visitor without food and drink was unthinkable. A traveler who was traveling in the evening to avoid the heat of the afternoon might well arrive late at night. So in this parable, when a man received an unexpected guest late at night and found his cupboard bare, he went to the man next door, woke him up, and asked him for a loaf of bread. Because of the persistence of his neighbor, the unwilling householder got up and gave him the bread he needed for his guest. This parable of Friend at Midnight is both an assurance that prayer is always answered and an encouragement to pray. This parable stresses the necessity for our persisting in prayer as the expression of our total dependence on God. St. Paul says, “Be constant in prayer” (Romans 12:12), “pray at all times” (Ephesians 6:18), “be steadfast in prayer” (Colossians 4:2), and “pray constantly” (2 Thessalonians 5:17). Jesus assures us, “Knock and the door will be opened”(Luke 11: 10).
Life messages: We need to stop giving lame excuses for not praying. Modern Christians give four lame excuses for not praying: 1) We are “too busy.” This excuse should send us to our priorities list, where God needs to be first of all, if we are to be able to live in His peace. That settled, we will find that prayer in every form is our living connection with Him through which He gives us Grace, fills us with His love for us, and helps us to become our true selves. Then, with His help, we will be able to discern the truly important things in our lives and eliminate the unimportant and/or distracting, debilitating, and useless items. 2) We don’t believe that prayer does that much good, other than giving us the psychological motivation to be better persons. Such people forget the fact that prayer establishes and augments our responsive relationship with God, the Source of our power. 3) A loving God should provide for us and protect us from the disasters of life, such as diseases or accidents, without our asking Him. True – and He does! Prayer is not meant to inform God; it expresses our awareness of our need for God Who loves us unconditionally, and of our trusting dependence upon Him. 4) Prayer is boring. People who use this excuse forget the fact that prayer is a conversation with God: listening to God speaking to us through the Bible and talking to God through personal and family prayers. We can’t have a close relationship with anyone, including God, without persistent and intimate conversation. ((http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/20
Oct 9 Friday (St. Denis, Bishop & Companions Martyrs) (https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-denis-and-companions/) , (St. John Leonardi, Priest) https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-john-leonardi/ : Lk 11:15-26: 15 But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the prince of demons”; 16 while others, to test him, sought from him a sign from heaven. 17 But he, knowing their thoughts, said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and a divided household falls. 18 And if Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebul. 19 And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore, they shall be your judges. 20 But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 21 When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are in peace; 22 but when one stronger than he assails him and overcomes him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted, and divides his spoil. 23 He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters. 24 “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a man, he passes through waterless places seeking rest; and finding none he says, `I will return to my house from which I came.’ 25 And when he comes he finds it swept and put in order. 26 Then he goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. USCCB video reflections: http://www.usccb.org/bible/reflections/index.cfm
The context: When Jesus healed a mute man by exorcism, the jealous scribes and the Pharisees spread the malicious slander that Jesus was collaborating with Beelzebul, the head of the devils, to cast out smaller devils.
Jesus’ response: Jesus makes his counterattack, first by asking the rhetorical question “By whom do your sons (the Jewish exorcists), cast them out?” The implication is that, if what they say about Him, Who casts them out with a single command, is true, the Jewish exorcists, who require so much more prayer and so many more exercises to do exorcisms, must certainly have to seek the help of the big devil to exorcise minor devils. Then Jesus asserts that no kingdom, divided against itself, can survive for long. Obviously, then, the chief devil will not help any exorcists to cast out devils. Jesus then claims that the fact that he has expelled demons is proof that he has brought the Kingdom of God. When people are liberated from the control of evil spirits, it is a sure sign that the loving power of God (the finger of God), is at work. Then Jesus uses the image of a strong man guarding his house and keeping his possessions safe until someone stronger attacks and overthrows him. Jesus claims that he is the stronger one and the evil spirits are being driven away by him. They are helpless before him. This liberation of people and society from evil powers is one of the most dramatic proofs that the all-powerful reign of God is present in the Person of Jesus.
Life messages: 1) Jesus teaches us that the devil is relentless in his struggle against man. The devil continues to lay his traps, in spite of man’s rejecting him with the help of grace. That is why St. Peter warns us to be sober and vigilant because, “your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your Faith” (1 Peter 5:8-9). 2) We have to fortify ourselves against the devil by prayer, penance, the Sacraments and the effective use of the word of God. (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/20
Oct 10 Saturday: Lk 11:27-28: 27 As he said this, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts that you sucked!” 28 But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” USCCB video reflections: http://www.usccb.org/bible/reflections/index.cfm
The context: A woman in the audience was so impressed by Jesus’ powerful refutation of a slander against him (that Jesus collaborated with the devil in exorcisms), that she shouted a blessing, praising the mother of Jesus: “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts that you sucked!” She meant that any woman would be proud to have such a great son.
The reason for real blessedness: Completing the truth of the blessing the woman had pronounced, Jesus states that the real source of blessedness is the willingness to hear and the readiness to obey the word of God. Mary heard God’s message at the Annunciation, and her prompt response was, “I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). That is why she could boldly proclaim to her cousin Elizabeth in her canticle, “All generations will call me blessed” (Luke 1:48). No one listened more attentively to the word of God than Mary did. She “kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart” (Luke 2:10). Jesus clarified the same truth on another occasion, stating that His true mother and brothers and sisters are those who hear the word of God and do it (Luke 8:21). In today’s Gospel, Jesus declares that that those who hear God’s word and keep it are more blessed than those who are related to him only by blood.
Life message: 1) We become the members of the Heavenly family of the Triune God, that is, we are made children of God and brothers and sisters of Jesus, by our Baptism. But it is our fidelity in hearing the word of God and in putting that word into practice in our daily lives that makes us really blessedWhat makes a person happy in this life and in the life to come is precisely the fulfillment of God’s will, as we learn through the attentive reading of, and listening to, His words. (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/20