Kindly click on https://frtonyshomilies.com/ for missed Sunday and weekday homilies. Sept 20-25: Sept 20 Monday (St. Andrew Kim Tae-gon, Priest and Paul Chong Ha-sang, and companion Martyrs): Lk 8:16-18: 16 “No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a vessel, or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, that those who enter may see the light. 17 For nothing is hid that shall not be made manifest, nor anything secret that shall not be known and come to light. 18 Take heed then how you hear; for to him who has will more be given, and from him who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away.” USCCB video reflections: http://www.usccb.org/bible/reflections/index.cfm; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/ Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/21
The context: Today’s Gospel passage is taken from Luke’s version of Jesus’ teachings after telling the parable of the sower. It reminds us that we are the light of the world and that our duty is to receive and radiate around us Christ’s light of love, mercy, compassion, and forgiveness. The image of light and lamp: Lamps help people to see, move and work in the dark, and their light prevents our stumbling and falling down. For the Jews, light represented the inner beauty, truth, and goodness of God. God’s light illumines our lives with light, celestial joy, and everlasting peace. The glory of the Lord shone around the shepherds at Bethlehem (Lk 2:9). Paul experienced the presence of God in a blinding light (Acts 9:3; 22:6); God “dwells in inaccessible light” (1 Tim 6:16). That is why Jesus claims to be the light of the world. When the light of Christ shines in our hearts, we will be able to recognize who we are, who our neighbors are and who God is and to see clearly how we are related to God and our neighbors. When we live in Christ’s light, we will not foolishly try to hide truths about ourselves from ourselves, from our neighbors, or from God. Christ’s light will also remind us of the consequences of our loving the darkness of sinful ways and bad habits.
The paradox of the rich getting richer: In today’s Gospel, Jesus makes the comment, “for to him who has will more be given,” following the warning “Take heed how you hear….” Jesus is telling us that if we listen to Him with open minds and open hearts and walk in Jesus’ light, the tiny bit of wisdom and understanding that we’ve already gained will grow and grow with God’s help. If, on the other hand, our hearts are closed to Jesus, even the little bit of wisdom that we think we’ve got will be lost. Jesus is not talking about money or wealth in any form. Jesus is talking about the extent and depth of our connectedness to God. If we are already deeply rooted in God, our spirits will grow larger, richer, and fuller by the day. But if our connection to the Lord is only superficial, it certainly won’t grow, and it may well not last at all.
Life messages: As “light of the world” it is our duty 1) to remove the darkness from around us and 2) to show others the true light of Jesus, His ideas and ideals through our model Christian life. (Fr. Tony) (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/21
Sept 21 Tuesday (St. Mathew, Apostle, Evangelist): Mt 9:9-13: https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-matthew/ 9 As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax office; and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him. 10 And as he sat at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Jesus and his disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 Go and learn what this means, `I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” USCCB video reflections: http://www.usccb.org/bible/reflections/index.cfm; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/ Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/21
The context: Today’s Gospel episode of Matthew’s call as Jesus’ apostle reminds us of God’s love and mercy for sinners and challenges us to practice this same love and mercy in our relations with others. The call and the response: Jesus went to the tax-collector’s station to invite Matthew to become a disciple. Since tax-collectors worked for a foreign power and extorted more tax money from the people than they owed, the Jewish people, especially the Pharisees, hated and despised the tax collectors as traitors, considered them public sinners, and ostracized them. But Jesus could see in Matthew a person who needed Divine love and grace. That is why, while everyone hated Matthew, Jesus was ready to offer him undeserved love, mercy and forgiveness. Hence, Matthew abandoned his lucrative job, because, for him, Christ’s invitation to become Jesus’ follower, was a promise of salvation, fellowship, guidance, and protection. Scandalous partying with sinners. It was altogether natural for Matthew to rejoice in his new calling by celebrating with his friends who were also outcasts. Jesus’ dining with all these outcasts in the house of a “traitor” scandalized the Pharisees, for whom ritual purity and table fellowship were important religious practices. But they asked, not Jesus but the young disciples, “Why does your master eat with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus, coming to the rescue of the disciples, cut in, and answered the question, in terns of healing: “Those who are well do not need a physician; the sick do.” Then Jesus challenged the Pharisees, quoting Hosea, “Go and learn the meaning of the words, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice’” (Hosea 6:6). Finally, Jesus clarified, “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” [After the Ascension, Saint Matthew remained for over ten years in Judea, writing his Gospel there in about the year 44. Then he went to preach the Faith in Egypt and especially in Ethiopia, where he remained for twenty-three years. The relics of Saint Matthew were for many years in the city of Naddaver in Ethiopia, where he suffered his martyrdom, but were transferred to Salerno in the year 954].
Life messages: 1) Jesus calls you and me for a purpose: Jesus has called us through our Baptism, forgiven us our sins, and welcomed us as members of the Kingdom. In fact, Jesus calls us daily through the Word and through the Church, to be disciples and, so, to turn away from all the things that distract us and draw us away from God. 2) Just as Matthew did, we, too, are expected to proclaim Christ through our lives by reaching out to the unwanted and the marginalized in society with Christ’s love, mercy, and compassion. (Fr. Tony) (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/21
Sept 22 Wednesday: Lk 9:1-6): 1 And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal. 3 And he said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, or bag, or bread, or money; and do not have two tunics. 4 And whatever house you enter, stay there, and from there depart. 5 And wherever they do not receive you, when you leave that town shake off the dust from your feet as a testimony against them.” 6 And they departed and went through the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere. USCCB video reflections: http://www.usccb.org/bible/reflections/index.cfm; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/ Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/21
The context: Today’s Gospel describes the commissioning of the twelve Apostles. Sent out with “power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases,” they exercised their preaching and healing mission according to the detailed action-plan given by Jesus.
Jesus’ instructions and travel tips. By these instructions, it is clear that Jesus meant the apostles to take no supplies for the road. They were simply to trust that God, the Provider, would open the hearts of believers to take care of their needs. The Jews supported their rabbis, and judged doing so a privilege as well as an obligation, because hospitality was an important religious tradition in Palestine. Jesus’ instructions also suggest that the apostles should not be like the acquisitive Jewish priests of the day, who were interested only in gaining riches. They should be walking examples of God’s love and providence in action. They should choose temporary accommodation in a reputable household, they should bless the residents with God’s peace, and they should be satisfied with whatever food and accommodation they receive, and not search for better.
Life messages: 1) We, too, have a witness-bearing mission: Each Christian is called not only to be a disciple but also to be an apostle. As apostles, we are sent out to evangelize the world by sharing with others, not just words, or ideas, or doctrines, but our experiences of God and His Son, Jesus. It is through our transparent Christian lives that we are to show the love, mercy and concern of Jesus to the people around us.
2) We also have a liberating mission: There are many demons which can control the lives of people around us, making them helpless slaves —the demon of nicotine, the demon of alcohol, the demon of gambling, the demon of pornography and promiscuous sex, the demon of materialism and consumerism. We need the help of Jesus to be liberated ourselves and to help Jesus liberate others from these bondages. (Fr. Tony) (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/21
Sept 23 Thursday (St. Pius of Pietrelcina, Priest): Lk 9:7-9: 7) Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done, and he was perplexed, because it was said by some that John had been raised from the dead, 8 by some that Elijah had appeared, and by others that one of the old prophets had risen. 9 Herod said, “John I beheaded; but who is this about whom I hear such things?” And he sought to see him. USCCB video reflections: http://www.usccb.org/bible/reflections/index.cfm; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/ Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/21
The context: Although King Herod respected and feared John the Baptist as a great prophet, he was not converted, and he was maneuvered into beheading John by his vengeful, intolerant, immoral, jealous wife Herodias. When his personal staff started reporting stories to Herod about the new prophet, Jesus, as the reappearance of Elijah the prophet, Herod expressed his fear that Jesus was the reincarnation of John the Baptist whom he had unjustly killed. He wanted to see Jesus — not to hear Jesus preaching of the Good News, but in order to get rid of his fear and feelings of guilt.
The haunting conscience: Herod Antipas was one of the several sons of Herod the Great, the King of Israel who had divided his kingdom among four of his sons. Herod Antipas ruled over Galilee and Perea from 4 BC to 39 AD. The conscience of this immoral oriental tyrant Herod started destroying his peace of mind when he realized the heinousness of his crimes of an illicit and immoral relationship with his niece and sister-in-law, Herodias, in gross violation of Mosaic laws, and his cooperation in the murder of John the Baptist. His discomfort led him, not to repentance, but to the fear that John had come back from the dead to punish him, a fear that might have prompted Herod’s wish to see Jesus in person. His wish was finally realized when Jesus was dragged to him during Jesus’ trial before Pilate. But Jesus did not yield to Herod’s demand for a miracle and kept silence.
Life messages: 1) We need to keep our conscience clean by repenting of our sins and being reconciled with God and His Church. Otherwise, our sins will haunt us, making our lives miserable.
2) It is necessary that we should have a clear understanding of Who Jesus really is. We need to see, experience and accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. Such an acceptance should lead us to a total adoption of Jesus’ ideas and ideals and way of life. Otherwise, we will be like Herod, who resembled the people who flock to healing services today, looking for miracles but not for Jesus. If our following of Jesus causes in us no change that transforms our souls and radiates Jesus outward from us, our attempts to have mountain-top experiences will be meaningless and vain. (Fr. Tony) (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/21
Sept 24 Friday: Lk 9:18-22: 18 Now it happened that as he was praying alone the disciples were with him; and he asked them, “Who do the people say that I am?” 19 And they answered, “John the Baptist; but others say, Elijah; and others, that one of the old prophets has risen.” 20 And he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered, “The Christ of God.” 21 But he charged and commanded them to tell this to no one, 22 saying, “The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.” USCCB video reflections: http://www.usccb.org/bible/reflections/index.cfm; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/ Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/21
The context: Today’s Gospel passage is the first of the three times when Jesus foretells His Passion, death and Resurrection. It consists of two sections, the Messianic confession of Peter and the prediction of the Passion by Jesus.
Jesus as the Christ, our Lord and Savior: Today’s Gospel explains the basis of our Faith as the acceptance of Jesus as the Christ, our Lord and Savior. It also tells us that Christ Jesus became our Savior by suffering, death and Resurrection. According to Matthew (16:13-19), and Mark (8:27-30), this famous profession of Faith by Peter took place at Caesarea Philippi, at present called Banias, twenty-five miles northeast of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus realized that if the apostles did not know Who He really was, then His entire ministry, suffering and death would be useless. Hence, Jesus decided to ask a question in two parts. 1) “What is the public opinion about Me? “and 2) “What is your personal opinion? “Their answer to the first question was: “Some say John the Baptist; but others say, Elijah; and others, that one of the old prophets has risen.” Peter volunteered to answer the second question, saying: “You are the Christ of God.” But Jesus charged and commanded them to tell this to no one and predicted His Passion and death.
Life messages: Let us experience Jesus as our Lord: 1) We experience Jesus as our personal Savior by listening to Jesus through the daily, meditative reading of the Bible, by talking to Jesus through daily, personal and family prayers, by offering Jesus our lives on the altar in frequent attendance at Holy Mass, by being reconciled with Jesus every night, asking pardon and forgiveness for our sins, and by receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation whenever we are in mortal sin.
2) The next step is the surrender of our lives to Jesus by rendering humble and loving service to others with the strong conviction that Jesus is present in every person. (Fr. Tony) (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/21
Sept 25 Saturday: Lk 9: 43-45: 43 And all were astonished at the majesty of God. But while they were all marveling at everything he did, he said to his disciples, 44 “Let these words sink into your ears; for the Son of man is to be delivered into the hands of men.” 45 But they did not understand this saying, and it was concealed from them, that they should not perceive it; and they were afraid to ask him about this saying. USCCB video reflections: http://www.usccb.org/bible/reflections/index.cfm; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/ Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/21
The context: Coming down from the mountain after His Transfiguration, Jesus healed an epileptic boy. Today’s Gospel begins with the reaction of the crowds to this cure: “and all were astonished at the majesty of God.” But Jesus uses this occasion of high popularity to explain that, in order to reveal Jesus’ real majesty, “the Son of Man is to be delivered into the hands of men.”
Jesus’ least understood prediction: His coming suffering and death: In fact, Jesus foretold three times great suffering through betrayal, rejection, and the punishment of a cruel death. The Apostles could not take it in because they were dreaming of a political messiah in Jesus. Besides, Jesus showed His glory to three of them on the mountain and baffled everyone by instantly healing an epileptic boy whom the Apostles could not heal, so plainly, no one could do this to Jesus by their own power. In addition, Jesus’ disciples were really frightened by such a prediction, perhaps fearing the same fate for themselves. They may also have been ignorant of the “Suffering Servant” prophecy of Isaiah, where the Messiah was pictured as making atonement for sins through suffering and death. When Jesus called Himself the “Son of Man,” the Apostles got the impression of the Messiah coming in glory as described by Daniel.
Life messages: 1) Jesus paid the ransom for our sins by His blood and freed us from the tyranny of sin and death through the Resurrection. Hence, it is our duty to live and die as free children of God, freed from all types of slavery to sin, evil habits and addictions.
2) We should ask Jesus for help to carry our daily crosses in the same spirit of atonement for our sins and those of others that marked Jesus’ willing, sacrificial sufferings and death for all of us. (Fr. Tony) (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/21