Kindly click on https://frtonyshomilies.com/ for missed Sunday and weekday homilies, RCIA & Faith formation classes:Click on the link given after the name of the saint for biograpgy. Nov 22-27:Nov 22 Monday (St. Cecilia, Virgin, Martyr) https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-cecilia: Lk 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.” Additional reflections: https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections
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. Tony) (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/21
Nov 23 Tuesday (St. Clement I, Pope (https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-clement) , Martyr; St. Columban Abbot (https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-columban); Blessed Miguel Austin Pro, Priest, Martyr (U.S.A.) https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/blessed-miguel-agustin-pro : Lk 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. Additional reflections: https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections
The context: Today’s Gospel begins with Jesus’ reaction to the comments the 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 the City’s walls, killed one million Jews, and took 97,000 healthy Jews as captives. Jesus also gave the disciples warnings 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, getting and staying reconciled with God and our neighbors, and trusting in the living presence of Jesus in the Church . (Fr. Tony) (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/21
Nov 24 Wednesday (St. Andrew Dung-Lac, Priest, and companions, Martyrs) https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-andrew-dung-lac-and-companions : 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. Additional reflections: https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections
The context: Today’s Gospel gives Jesus’ prophetic warning to the apostles and disciples about the sufferings they will have to bear for their Faith in Him until Jesus’ 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 the Holy Spirit will give them words of defense and witness-bearing. (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 the disciples 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. Tony) (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/21
Nov 26 Thanksgiving Day: 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; and 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 think to thank God and the One He had used to heal. Jesus asks the pained question: Where are the other nine? The episode tells us that God, too, expects gratitude from us. (2) In 2 Kgs 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 his complete healing from leprosy 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, “Give thanks to God the Father for everything” (Eph 5:20).
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 we 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. Tony) (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/21 Additional reflections: https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections
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. Additional reflections: https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections
The context: Foretelling the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, and the end of the world at an unspecified future time, Jesus warns the disciples in today’s Gospel that tribulations are inevitable before the Last Judgment and the coming of Jesus’ Kingdom. Jesus uses the small parable of the fig tree to explain the point that we must be prepared for the time of tribulation, Jesus’ 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. 2) We need to continue serving others in humility and love and bearing witness to Jesus through the integrity and transparency of our Christian lives. (Fr. Tony) (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/21
Nov 27 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.” Additional reflections: https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections
The context: In St. Luke’s version of Jesus’ advice to the 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. Vigilance consists in getting 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 Jesus’ 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) (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/21