Easter V [C] (May 15) Eight-page homily in one-page (L/22)
Introduction: Today’s readings are about renewal and new things: The New Jerusalem, a new Heaven and a new earth, and a new commandment. Scripture lessons: The first reading, taken from the Acts of the Apostles, describes how the small Christian communities helped the work of renewal in their members by their agápe love, imitating the agápe love of Paul and Barnabas. The second reading, from the Book of Revelation, explains how God renews His Church, the New Jerusalem, by being present in her members, in their parish communities, and in their liturgical celebrations. “See, I am making all things new.” Today’s Gospel passage gives us the secret of Christian renewal as the faithful practice of Jesus’ new commandment: “Love one another as I have loved you” (Jn 13:35). Jesus has added a new element to the Old Testament command of love by teaching us that the true test of discipleship is to love other people in the same way that he has loved us, with sacrificial, selfless, self-giving, unconditional, agápe love. Hence, the renewal of Christian life means a radical change of vision and a reordering of our priorities in life. Such a renewal brings us to embrace new attitudes, new values, and new standards of relating to God, to other people and, indeed, to our whole environment.
Life messages: 1) Let us learn to love ourselves so that we may learn to love each other. The old commandment (Lv 19:1-2, 9-18) says: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” We cannot learn to cherish others and care for them if we have never learned to do the same for ourselves. We live in a world that denies our basic human worth. How do we reclaim our basic worth? We can become whole and holy only when we learn to love ourselves properly, acknowledging the fact that we are children of God and that the Triune God resides in our souls, making our bodies the “temple of the Holy Spirit.”
2) Let us love others in our daily lives: We are asked to love as Jesus loved, in the ordinary course of our lives. We love others by responding to their everyday needs with love and compassion. We love others by comforting and protecting those who have experienced loss. We love others by serving others in every possible way, no matter how small, seeing the face of Jesus in them. We love others by forgiving rather than condemning, by challenging rather than condoning. Finally, we love others by sacrificially sharing our time, talents, and blessings with them.
3) Let us demonstrate our love for others in our gatherings and parish assemblies: When we are assembled as a religious or social community, we have an opportunity to demonstrate our love for one another. People must see Christians as people who interact with a love and concern for one another that reveals their strong love and appreciation for each other. They should see in us a quickness to appreciate and readiness to forgive, even as Christ has forgiven us.
Easter V [C] (May 5): Acts 14:21-27; Rv 21:1-5a; Jn 13:31-33a, 34-35
Homily starter anecdotes # 1: “Little children love one another:” St. Jerome relates of the apostle John that when he became old, he used to be carried to the assembled Churches, everywhere repeating the words, “Little children, love one another.” His disciples, wearied by the constant repetition, asked him why he always said this. “Because,” he replied, “it is the Lord’s commandment, and if it only be fulfilled, it is enough.” — John knew that the greatest truth was most apt to be forgotten because it was taken for granted. This is one of the greatest calamities in the Christian Church and the one that causes divisions. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
# 2: “I wouldn’t do that for a million dollars.” One day, as St. Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa, 1910-1997) and her Missionaries of Charity were tending to the poorest of the poor on the streets of Calcutta, they happened across a man lying in the gutter, very near death. He was filthy, dressed in little more than a rag and flies swarmed around his body. Immediately, Mother Teresa embraced him, spoke to him softly and began to pick out the maggots that were nesting in his flesh. A passerby was repulsed by the sight of the man and exclaimed to Mother Teresa, “I wouldn’t do that for a million dollars.” Her response was immediate, “Neither would I!” –Obviously, monetary gain did not motivate the diminutive woman known as the Saint of Calcutta; love did. In her writings, Mother Teresa frequently affirmed the motivating power of love. Quoting Jesus in today’s Gospel, she wrote, “Jesus said, ‘Love one another. Such as my love has been for you, so must your love be for each other.’” She continued, “We must grow in love, and to do this we must go on loving and loving and giving and giving until it hurts – the way Jesus did. Do ordinary things with extraordinary love: little things, like caring for the sick and the homeless, the lonely and the unwanted, washing and cleaning for them.” Elsewhere, Mother Teresa remarked that the greatest disease in the West today is not tuberculosis, leprosy or even A.I.D.S.; it is being unwanted, uncared for, unloved. That she did her part in trying to “cure” this disease was attested in everything she did and in every word she said. (Sanchez Files) (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
# 3: Catherine Lawes who transformed a notorious prison with love: In 1921, Lewis Lawes became the warden at Sing Sing Prison in New York state. No prison was tougher than Sing Sing during that time. But when Warden Lawes retired some 20 years later, that prison had become a humanitarian institution. Those who studied the system said credit for the change belonged to Lawes. But when he was asked about the transformation, here’s what he said: “I owe it all to my wonderful wife, Catherine, who is buried outside the prison walls.” Catherine Lawes was a young mother with three small children when her husband became the warden. Everybody warned her from the beginning that she should never set foot inside the prison walls, but that didn’t stop Catherine! When the first prison basketball game was held, she went … walking into the gym with her three beautiful kids, and she sat in the stands with the inmates. Her attitude was: “My husband and I are going to take care of these men and I believe they will take care of me! I don’t have to worry.” She insisted on getting acquainted with them and their records. She discovered one convicted murderer was blind so she paid him a visit. Holding his hand in hers she said, “Do you read Braille?” “What’s Braille?” he asked. Then she taught him how to read. Years later he would weep in love for her. Later, Catherine found a deaf-mute in prison. She went to school to learn how to use sign language. Many said that Catherine Lawes was the body of Jesus that came alive again in Sing Sing from 1921 to 1937. Then, she was killed in a car accident. The next morning Lewis Lawes didn’t come to work, so the acting warden took his place. It seemed almost instantly that the prison knew something was wrong. The following day, her body was resting in a casket in her home, three-quarters of a mile from the prison. As the acting warden took his early morning walk he was shocked to see a large crowd of the toughest, hardest-looking criminals gathered like a herd of animals at the main gate. He came closer and noted tears of grief and sadness. He knew how much they loved Catherine. He turned and faced the men, “All right, men, you can go. Just be sure and check in tonight!” Then he opened the gate and a parade of criminals walked, without a guard, the three-quarters of a mile to stand in line to pay their final respects to Catherine Lawes. — And every one of them checked back in. Every one! They had learned the commandment of love as practiced by Catherine. [Stories for the Heart compiled by Alice Gray (Portland: Multnomah Press, 1996), pp. 54-55.] (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
Introduction: Today’s readings are about new things: the New Jerusalem, a new Heaven and a new earth, and a new commandment. In the reading taken from the Book of Revelation, God tells us that His saving and healing work in the world is ongoing: “See, I am making all things new” (Rv 21:5a). The first reading, taken from the Acts of the Apostles, describes how the small Christian communities helped the work of renewal in their members by their agápe love, imitating the agápe love of Paul and Barnabas. The Responsorial Psalm (Ps 145) prays that “Your faithful ones” may “make known Your might to the children of Adam,” not just to Israel. The second reading, taken from Revelation, explains how God renews His Church by being present in her members and in their parish communities and liturgical celebrations. Today’s Gospel passage gives us the secret of Christian renewal as the faithful practice of Jesus’ new commandment: “Love one another as I have loved you” (John 13:35). Jesus has added a new element to the Old Testament command of love by telling us that the true test of discipleship is to love other people in the same way that he has loved us. Hence, the renewal of Christian life means a radical change of vision and a reordering of our priorities in life. Such a renewal brings us to embrace new attitudes, new values, and new standards of relating to God, to other people and, indeed, to our whole environment. For most of us, “renewal” is something that comes at different stages in our lives, each time bringing us to a deeper understanding, insight, and commitment.
First reading: Acts 14:21-27, explained: Each Jewish synagogue served its Faith community year-round as a) a House of Prayer (b) a House of Study and (c) a House of Assembly or Socialization. When Jesus came, acting as a Teacher, a rabbi, he gathered around him a talmudim — a small group of twelve men to travel with him, to share prayer, ministry, Faith, and values. Jesus promised his followers that wherever two or three would gather in his name, he would be present among them. After his death and Resurrection, Jesus’ disciples tried to establish small Christian communities wherever they found a welcome. Paul and Barnabas knew that evangelization and Baptism were but the first steps in a lifelong process of turning to, and being transformed by, Christ. Hence, in their subsequent visits to Christian communities, they continued to instruct their converts. Already in the first Christian century, believers understood that catechesis is a cradle-to-grave endeavor. Paul and Barnabas also considered their mission an extension of the small community’s outreach to the world. Because of this they were accountable to the Christian community that had sent them. Therefore, they returned to relate all that they had done, careful to credit God for their success and the increasingly universal character of the Church, for it was He who had “opened the door of the Faith to the Gentiles” (v. 27). It is a welcome sight to see modern Christian communities, which are criticized for too much structural set-up,returning to their first century roots by establishing congregations that are a network of individual Christians, bound together in prayer, Faith, mutual support, service, missionary outreach, and accountability. We may not be called to the same kind of missionary activity as were Paul and Barnabas, but we must be as unselfish in our service of others as were these early Christians.
Second Reading, Revelation 21:1-5, explained: The Book of Revelation was written to bolster the Faith of persecuted Christians in all ages. Today’s passage begins the final section of the book. The scene is really a vision of the new age of eschatological fulfillment inaugurated by the death and Resurrection of Jesus. The ancient city of Jerusalem had long been for the Jews a token of God’s presence with them. God had aided them in capturing and holding it, in making it their capital, in building His Temple there, and in returning to it to rebuild it after its destruction by their captors and their consequent exile in Babylon. Within the holiest chamber of the Jerusalem Temple, they kept the stone tablets of the Law given to Moses in a chest known as the Ark of the Covenant. God dwelt in a particular way above this chamber. These details give richness to the image of the “New Jerusalem” spoken of in Revelation. The image is a metaphor for the Church, which is always called to reveal God’s presence among us. Today’s passage from the Book of Revelation (21:3) gives us the assurance that “God’s dwelling is with the human race.” It affirms the fact that God is present at every moment of human history, even those most desperate and threatening. Jesus’ death and Resurrection have created a state in which a once-distant God is now present to every person and in every situation. Moreover, Jesus has given us the insight and power to transform everything in our lives by practicing agápe love in our interactions with people. It is through this constant love-centered interaction among us that the “new earth, the new Heaven, and the new Jerusalem” can begin to come into existence – not at some unknown future time and in some other place, but here and now. In this second reading, taken from Revelation, John shares a vision of nuptial love. When all the former things have passed away and sin and evil are completely overcome, God will welcome the redeemed as a husband welcomes a bride. The love and life that they will share will preclude tears, pain, crying out, mourning and death.
Gospel exegesis: Today’s Gospel reading comes from Chapters 13:1–17:26 of St. John’s Gospel, known as “The Last Discourse,” which took place at the Last Supper, on the night before Jesus went to the Cross. In these chapters, Jesus has left urgent messages for his Apostles and for us – things that he wanted to tell us before he went away. This farewell discourse is a powerful and intimate part of Jesus’ teaching on the Christian concepts of glory and love.
The Christian concept of glory: The glorification mentioned in today’s passage refers, above all, “to the glory which Christ will receive once he is raised up on the cross (John 3:14; 12:32). St. John stresses that Christ’s death is the beginning of his victory: his very crucifixion can be considered the first step in his Ascension to his Father. At the same time, it is glorification of the Father, because Christ, by voluntarily accepting death out of love, as a supreme act of obedience to the Will of God, performs the greatest sacrifice man can offer for the glorification of God. The Father will respond to this glorification which Christ offers Him by glorifying Christ as Son of Man, that is, in his holy human nature, through his Resurrection and Ascension to God’s right hand. Thus, the glory which the Son gives the Father is at the same time glory for the Son.” (The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries). As Christ’s disciples, we also will find our highest motivation and glory by identifying ourselves with Christ’s obedience in our daily lives, especially by keeping his new commandment of sacrificial, unconditional, forgiving agápe love.
The new commandment: In the second part of the farewell discourse, Jesus gives his followers a new commandment: they must love one another as he has loved them. They would be known, not by the sign of the fish or even of the cross, but by their mutual love, the fruit of their conversion. Just as Solomon, in the story of the disputed child, was able to discern the identity of the true mother by her love, so will the world be able to identify the true disciples of Jesus by their love for one another. The command of Jesus is both new and old. It repeats the precept of Lv 19:18 to love one’s neighbor as one’s self. What is new is that this love characterizes the new life inaugurated by Jesus and is proof of one’s love for God (1 Jn. 4:7). Jesus’ new commandment calls for love without limits, conditions, or prerequisites. This love opens our eyes to facts that we might otherwise overlook — that the poor in the world belong to our family; that those who live in despair may be saved by God through our care of them; that God’s peace can come to the world through our efforts as we pray and work with Him.
The nature of Christian love: Jesus speaks ofagápe, a love that requires total commitment and trust. It is the kind of love with which God loves us, a love that should be the model of the love we have for others. This love should be more than just a warm feeling toward others; it should be a compassionate gift of ourselves to meet the spiritual and bodily needs of our brothers and sisters. Agápe implies a reaching out to others in a caring attitude for their wellbeing without expecting any favor in return. It is strong, positive, difficult, determined action. Jesus repeats the command to love one another three times, first explaining what it is (“a new commandment”), how it is to be applied (“as I have loved you“), and finally noting that this love would stand as the trademark of his disciples. Not only is this a new commandment, but also, Jesus teaches, it is the greatest. To love, in fact, is to know God—”Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love” (1 John 4:7-8). The early Christians practiced this love literally. That is why Tertullian stated why the heathens held the Christian congregations in high regard: “See, how these Christians love one another!” The fact is that Jesus’ death and Resurrection serve, not just as an example of how to love, but as the agent that actually frees us from our selfish love through His indwelling presence. It was this new kind of love which was manifested by the first disciples of Jesus in Jerusalem (Acts 2:44-45), and in the Churches in Macedonia (2 Cor 8:1-5). It was a love that was attentive to the poor and the needy. During his life on earth, Jesus Himself was lovingly present to those who were not at all lovable. He allowed himself to be moved with pity and compassion when he encountered those in need, and he was moved to tears in the midst of sadness. He openly shed tears at the tomb of Lazarus. He shed tears also over the city of Jerusalem (Lk 19:41-44). Even the anger that Jesus displayed in the Temple was rooted in love — the love for His Father and for His Father’s house. Jesus loved by serving others, by helping them, and by healing others. His was a love that healed and built up, challenged, and inspired people. It was a deeply forgiving and sacrificial love. “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (Jn 15:13).
St. Augustine’s commentary on the new commandment of love: Isn’t Jesus asking the “impossible” when he asks his disciples to “love one another” (Jn 13:31-35)? Can anything be harder? St. Augustine also wrestled with the question of love and demonstrated through the life of Jesus that love conquers all. Available on the “New Advent” website is his “Homily 7 on the Epistle of John” which contains the famous phrase, “love and do what you will.” His example contrasts the actions of beating and caressing: which of those two would you rather receive? Which is better: a father chastising his son, or a pedophile caressing his object of lust? Everything depends on what is in the heart of the person before and during the action. Augustine’s point is his interpretation of Jesus’ command to love one another as He has loved us. Some things may have a good appearance, but one’s actions are only discerned by the root of charity. This is why he confidently says, “love and do what you will.” If you have a right relationship with God and with others, then you have nothing to worry about. This kind of love is a sacrificial love, not a selfish love. It only thinks of the best for the other person – even if that “best” means corrective action out of love. If this kind of love is within you, then with Augustine we say “from this root can spring nothing but what is good.”
Life messages: 1) Let us learn to love ourselves so that we may learn to love each other. The old commandment (Lv 19:1-2, 9-18), says: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” How do we learn to cherish others and care for them if we have never learned to do the same for ourselves? We live in a culture that devalues life and worships death—a culture in which people drug themselves into oblivion. Women and girls are willing to starve themselves to fit some unrealistic media image of beauty and worth. People and relationships are sacrificed on the altar of “workaholism.” How are we to love ourselves when we are told over and over again that we are unlovable? How do we reclaim our basic worth? We can become whole and holy only when we learn to love ourselves properly, acknowledging the loving presence of the Triune God in our souls, making our bodies the “temple of the Holy Spirit.” Only those persons who are fully convinced that they are themselves lovable because God has loved them and so brought them into being can reach out comfortably and unconditionally to love those who themselves cannot love but can only hurt and hate and destroy. It is through constant love-centered interaction with God and each other that the “new earth, the new Heaven and the new Jerusalem” can begin to come into existence.
2) Let us love others in our daily lives: We are asked to love as Jesus loved, in the ordinary course of our lives. This means that we should love others by allowing ourselves to be moved with pity for them. We love others by responding to their everyday needs. We can show love by materially sharing with those who have less. We love others by comforting and protecting those who have experienced loss. We love others by serving others in every possible way, no matter how small. We love others by forgiving rather than condemning, by challenging rather than condoning. We love others by responding to the call of God in our lives and by walking in the footsteps of Jesus. We love others by making sacrifices for them. This is how the world will know that we are the Disciples of Christ.
3) Let us demonstrate our love for others: When we are assembled and have guests, we have an opportunity to demonstrate our love for one another. They must see Christians as people who are glad to see one another, who are willing to take the time to visit with each other and who know each other’s names. Our assemblies may be the only time some guests have the opportunity to see Christians interact with love and concern for one another, an interaction that reveals the strong love and appreciation for one another which the members have. Christians will often sin against one another and offend one another. But others should see in us a quickness to forgive, even as Christ has forgiven us.
Joke of the Week: One Sunday a priest was finishing up a series on marriage. At the end of the service, he was giving out small wooden crosses to each married couple. He said, “Place this cross in the room in which you fight the most and you will be reminded of Jesus’ new commandment, and you won’t argue as much.” One woman came up after the service and said: “You’d better give me five crosses.”
USEFUL WEBSITES OF THE WEEK
1) Fr. Don’ collection of video homilies & blogs: https://sundayprep.org
2) Video Sunday-Scripture study by Fr. Geoffrey Plant:
3) Dr. Brant Pitre’s commentary on Cycle C Sunday Scripture for Bible Class: https://catholicproductions.com/blogs/mass-readings-explained-year-c)
4) Catholic FAQ http://www.columbia.edu/cu/augustine/a/faq-cc.html: (=Catholic answers to frequently asked questions) & http://www.catholic.com/
5) USCCB Daily reflections videos: http://www.usccb.org/bible/reflections/
1) The bomber and the victim: Two World War II veterans, a German and an American, were attending a three-day seminar. As they were washing dishes one evening after dinner, they exchanged stories about the war. The American told of the horror he felt as a young pilot during the particularly savage bombing of a city in Germany. He had orders to bomb a hospital, which he would know by the huge Red Cross painted on the roof. The German — somewhat shocked by the story — revealed that his wife had been giving birth to their baby in that very hospital when it was being bombed, resulting in the death of the mother and the baby. After a few minutes of silence, the two men fell into each other’s arms weeping. — Imagine being in Heaven, at the end of the world, where we fall weeping upon one another, waves of reconciliation breaking upon us as we adjust ourselves to this dimension of pure love which Jesus demands from his followers in today’s Gospel passage. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)
2) Quest for Fire: In the early 1980s, an unusual film was playing in movie theatres across the nation. It was called Quest for Fire. Its French producer said it fulfilled a lifelong dream. He’d always dreamed of celebrating, in film, the discovery of fire. For it was the discovery of fire 80,000 years ago that saved people on the planet Earth from total extinction. It was the discovery of fire that made it possible for them to make tools for survival and to protect themselves against the cold. — Today, people on planet earth are beginning to worry again that we are teetering on the brink of global disaster. This time the danger comes not from something basic like the lack of fire but from something even more basic – the lack of human love, the kind of love Jesus preached. This makes us wonder. It makes us ask ourselves a question, a frightening question: ‘Do we love? Have we learned to love?’
(Mark Link in Sunday Homilies; quoted by Fr. Botelho). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)
3) Love is the Christian uniform: The renowned French artist Paul Gustave Dore once lost his passport while traveling in another country in Europe. When he came to a border crossing, he explained his predicament to one of the guards. Giving his name to the official, Dore hoped he would be recognized and allowed to pass. The guard, however, said that many people attempted to cross the border by claiming to be persons they were not. Dore insisted that he was the man he claimed to be. “All right,” said the official, “we’ll give you a test, and if you pass it we’ll allow you to go through.” Handing him a pencil and a sheet of paper, he told the artist to sketch several peasants standing nearby. Dore did it so quickly and skillfully that the guard was convinced he was indeed who he claimed to be. Dore’s actions confirmed his identity. — In today’s Gospel, Jesus gives us the mark of Christian identity: “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another (John 13:34-5). Love is the Christian’s identity. Love is the Christian’s uniform. Love is the Christian’s habit. If you are wearing the habit of love, you are in. If you are not wearing love as a habit, you are out. (Fr. Essau). Let us remember the words of Shakespeare in Measure for Measure (Act V: Scene 1, l. 263): “Cucullus non facit monachum” [a cowl does not make a monk]. A Christian name or a cross on a chain will not make us Christians, unless we practice Jesus’ new commandment of love given in today’s Gospel. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)
4) “This is an Arab bus”: The Reverend Timothy J. Kennedy tells of traveling by bus throughout Israel one summer. On one part of the journey, the bus driver placed a big white sign by the passenger side windshield. Since it was in Arabic, Kennedy asked their guide to translate. The sign said, “This is an Arab bus, owned and operated by Arabs. Please do not throw stones.” When they got close to Tel Aviv, the driver pulled another sign from behind his seat, and replaced the first sign in the windshield. Since it was in Hebrew, Kennedy asked their guide to translate again. The new sign said, “This is a Jewish bus, owned and operated by Israelis. Please do not throw stones.” — How do you tell the difference between an Arab bus and a Jewish bus? A big plastic sign in the windshield. But back to our primary question, how do you identify a Christian? I guess we could wear plastic signs. But would that really do the trick? (1. http://grace-lutheran-church.com/sermons/2006/03/1). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)
5) “I missed!”: President Reagan told a humorous story during the last days of his administration. It was about Alexander Dumas. It seems that Dumas and a friend had a severe argument. The matter got so out of hand that one challenged the other to a duel. Both Dumas and his friend were superb marksmen. Fearing that both men might fall in such a duel, they resolved to draw straws instead. Whoever drew the shorter straw would then be pledged to shoot himself. Dumas was the unlucky one. He drew the short straw. With a heavy sigh, he picked up his pistol and trudged into the library and closed the door, leaving the company of friends who had gathered to witness the non-duel outside. In a few moments a solitary shot was fired. All the curious pressed into the library. They found Dumas standing with his pistol still smoking. “An amazing thing just happened,” said Dumas. “I missed!” — I am amazed how many Christians have been in the Church all their lives and still have missed the Gospel of Jesus’ new commandment. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)
6) Christian love in action: Comedian Jerry Clower tells a story about Christian love in action. Two Christian businessmen were having lunch in a downtown restaurant. The waitress serving their table dumped a bowl of hot soup right over one of these businessmen. Everybody gasped and stared. As Clower tells it, “They just couldn’t wait for the manager to run out and fire this lady. They just couldn’t wait for this man, standing there, dripping, with his suit ruined, to cuss this waitress out, but the fellow looked at that waitress and said, ‘Young lady, I am so sorry this happened to you. I know it embarrasses you.” — How would you have handled that situation? Can you love as the Master would have us love? Can any of us do that? How? [Jerry Clower, Life Ever Laughter (Nashville, Tennessee: Rutledge Hill Press, 1988.] (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)
7) Mother Teresa’s love: One day, as St. Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa) and her Missionaries of Charity were tending to the poorest of the poor on the streets of Calcutta, they happened across a man lying in the gutter, very near death. He was filthy, dressed in little more than a rag and flies swarmed around his body. Immediately, Mother Teresa lovingly lifted him up him, cleaned his body, spoke to him softly and laid him comfortably in her ambulance. A passerby was repulsed by the sight of the man and exclaimed to Mother Teresa, “I wouldn’t do that for a million dollars.” Her response was immediate, “Neither would I!” — She demonstrated the type of love that Jesus wants from Christians. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)
8) “Grandma, please”: In Chicago there is a unique telephone service called “Grandma, Please” that is geared to latch-key kids. “Grandma, Please” provides free number kids can call if they are home alone and need someone to talk to. Senior citizens volunteer their time to answer telephones and talk to kids who are lonely or scared and need a little adult company. The “Grandma, Please” switchboard gets about 800 calls per month. Many of the children want to share the news of their school day with someone. Some will call because they heard a noise outside and got scared. Most call simply for the chance to connect with another human being. They are so lonely.– One volunteer reports that her phone calls often end with the child saying, “I love you, Grandma. What is your name?” (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)
9) Christian love of a coach: Author James Moore tells about K.C. Jones, the former coach of the Boston Celtics basketball team. Jones became famous for his unique ability to give his players some unforgettable words of encouragement when they needed it most. If a player scored 50 points or made the game-winning basket, Jones would not say much more than, “Nice game!” But when a player was down and really struggling, Coach Jones would be there to comfort and help and inspire. All-star forward Kevin McHale asked Coach Jones about this one day, and K.C. Jones answered: “Kevin, after you’ve made the winning basket, you’ve got 15,000 people cheering for you, TV commentators come rushing toward you, and everybody is giving you high fives. You don’t need me then. — When you need a friend, most is when nobody is cheering.” (Collected Sermons, King Duncan, Dynamic Preaching, 2005, 0-000-0000-20) (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)
10) The dreadful accident on the battleship USS Iowa: Do you remember the tale of the dreadful accident on the battleship USS Iowa? It occurred in the spring of 1989. Forty-seven young men were killed in a still unexplained explosion in a gun turret. The investigation showed that the explosion was the result of a significant overrun of the powder bags into the already-loaded guns. There is much tragedy in the sad story. But also, one can find strong threads of glory. The storyteller reminds us the glory belongs, paradoxically perhaps, not to the survivors but to the casualties. The heroes were not the men who may have kept the battleship afloat after the accident. Rather, the heroes were the sailors who died. They shall ever be numbered among the Navy’s honored dead. Writes the poet, “They shall not grow old…At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.” — As it was for these young men, so it was for Jesus. That is why you will find the word glory mentioned an extraordinary five times in the opening two sentences of today’s Gospel. So can it be for you and me – if, of course, we have spiritual courage and discipline. (Fr. James Gilhooley) (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)
11) Love changes everything: In 1976 a car accident tore open the head of a 21-year-old Chicago young man named Peter. His brain was damaged, and he was thrown into a deep coma. Doctors told Peter’s family and friends that he probably wouldn’t survive. Even if he did, he’d always be in a comatose state. One of the people who heard that frightening news was Linda, the girl Peter planned to marry. In the sad days ahead, Linda spent all her spare time in the hospital. Night after night, she’d sit at Peter’s bedside, pat his check, rub his brow, and talk to him. “It was like we were on a normal date,” she said. All the while Peter remained in a coma, unresponsive to Linda’s loving presence. Night after night, for three and a half months, Linda sat at Peter’s bedside, speaking words of encouragement to him, even though he gave no sign that he heard her. Then one night Linda saw Peter’s toe move. A few nights later she saw his eyelash flutter. This was all she needed. Against the advice of the doctors, she quit her job and became his constant companion. She spent hours massaging his arms and legs. Eventually she arranged to take him home. She spent all her savings on a swimming pool, hoping that the sun and the water would restore life to Peter’s motionless limbs. Then came the day when Peter spoke his first word since the accident. It was only a grunt, but Linda understood it. Gradually, with Linda’s help, those grunts turned into words — clear words. Finally, the day came when Peter was able to ask Linda’s father if he could marry her. Linda’s father said, “When you can walk down the aisle, Peter, she’ll be yours.” Two years later Peter walked down the aisle of Our Lady of Pompeii Church in Chicago. He had to use a walker, but he was walking. Every television station in Chicago covered that wedding. Newspapers across the country carried pictures of Linda and Peter. Celebrities phoned to congratulate them. Families with loved ones in comas called to ask their advice. Today, Peter living a normal life. He talks slowly, but clearly. He walks slowly, but without a walker. He and Linda even have a lovely child. — Today’s Gospel message is to love others as Jesus did. (Mark Link in Sunday Homilies; quoted by Fr. Botelho). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)
12) “Boy! I would like to be that kind of brother.” In the lovely book, Chicken Soup for the Soul, there’s a story about a man who came out of his office one Christmas morning and found a little boy from a nearby project looking with great admiration at the man’s new vehicle. The little boy asked, “Does this car belong to you?” And the man said, “Yes. In fact, my brother gave it to me for Christmas. I’ve just gotten it.” With that, the little boy’s eyes widened. He said, “You mean to say that somebody gave it to you? And you didn’t have to pay anything for it?” And the man said, “That’s right. My brother gave it to me as a gift.” With that the little boy let out a long sigh and said, “Boy, I would really like…” And the man fully expected the boy to say, “I would like to have a brother like that, who would give me such a beautiful car,” but instead the man was amazed when the little boy said, “Boy! I would like to be that kind of brother. I wish I could give that kind of car to my little brother.” –Somehow that child understood the secret of the “new commandment” of love, which Jesus gave to his apostles during his last discourse, as described in today’s Gospel: “Love one another as I have loved you” (Jn 13:34). True love consists, not in “getting” something from the lover, but in “giving” something to the loved one. The most familiar example of this type of love is a mother’s love for her child. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)
13) The humble lady: There is a beautiful legend about a king who decided to set aside a special day to honor his greatest subject. When the big day arrived, there was a large gathering in the palace courtyard. Four finalists were brought forward, and from these four, the king would select the winner. The first person presented was a wealthy philanthropist. The king was told that this man was highly deserving of the honor because of his humanitarian efforts. He had given much of his wealth to the poor. The second person was a celebrated physician. The king was told that this doctor was highly deserving of the honor because he had rendered faithful and dedicated service to the sick for many years. The third person was a distinguished judge. The king was told that the judge was worthy because he was noted for his wisdom, his fairness, and his brilliant decisions. The fourth person presented was an elderly woman. Everyone was quite surprised to see her there, because her manner was quite humble, as was her dress. She hardly looked like the greatest subject in the kingdom. What chance could she possibly have, when compared to the other three, who had accomplished so much? Even so, there was something about her the look of love in her face, the understanding in her eyes, her quiet confidence. The king was intrigued, to say the least, and somewhat puzzled by her presence. He asked who she was. The answer came: “You see the philanthropist, the doctor, and the judge? Well, she was their teacher!” — That woman had no wealth, no fortune, and no title, but she had unselfishly given her life to her pupils. She practiced love as Jesus instructs). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)
14) The leader who led the army from the front: In 1336 BC Alexander the Great began his conquest of the world. It was his dream to conquer India, the land of legends. With his army he marched towards India and reached the city of Multan. Alexander saw that the city was well fortified. He was not ready to give up. He led the assault against the city of Multan. He climbed the fortress and ascended on the top of the city walls. Below he saw a large army aiming their poisoned arrows at him. He did not wait. He jumped into their midst. Two of his soldiers followed him. The great leader of war led from the front and his soldiers followed him. — History presents a few examples of such heroic men who led from the front and others followed him. We do not see any leader other than Jesus admonishing his followers to imitate him. Jesus told his apostles, “Love one another as I have loved you” (Jn 13:34). (Fr. Bobby Jose). V(https://frtonyshomilies.com/)
15) Emperor who abdicated his throne for the realization of his love. Edwards VIII ascended the throne of the British Empire after the death of his father. But his proposal to marry Wallis Simpson, a divorced American Socialite, led to a constitutional crisis in British Empire. Religious, legal, political, and moral objections were raised. Mrs. Simpson was perceived to be an unsuitable consort to him. But king Edward was not ready to give up his love in exchange for the throne. The conservative leaders and people were unwilling to compromise. Edward abdicated his throne for the realization of his love. — Jesus came down from his heavenly glory and lived like one of us to teach demonstrate how God loves mankind and gave us his new commandment: “Love one another as I have loved you” (Jn 13: 34). (Fr. Bobby Jose). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)
16) God Dwelling Among Men: December 27, 537 AD, was a day of triumph for the Christian Roman Emperor, Justinian I. On that date he attended the dedication of the great church of Holy Wisdom (Sancta Sophia or Hagia Sophia) that is still the chief monument of Constantinople (Istanbul). Justinian had entrusted the design of the building to Anthemius of Tralles and Isodorus of Miletus, and these architects had produced an epochal masterpiece. A vast and subtle structure of many domes, its interior was sheathed with marbles and fine mosaics. King Solomon had built a magnificent temple in Jerusalem, but Justinian boasted, with permissible pride, “Solomon, I have vanquished you!” (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)
— There is an old running debate among Christians whether it is better to spend money on splendid churches or to keep the churches simple and to spend the money on the needy. In one sense, Jesus Himself solved this dilemma. When the devout woman of Bethany anointed His feet with costly perfume, it was Judas Iscariot who said, “This is waste, it would have been better to spend the price on the poor!” Our Lord countered by praising her good intentions, and said she was preparing His body for burial. “The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me.” (Jn 12:1-8) It would certainly be irresponsible to spend thousands on a building when the local people were in the clutches of poverty. But a beautiful church is an alms to another sort of poverty – poverty of heart. For ages Christians have had their hearts lifted by the sight of a great cathedral. Its loveliness enthralls them and reminds them that God dwells there in a special way. Surely a beautiful home is becoming to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. The more we reverence God’s home the more we will reverence God. By blessing ourselves with holy water on entering, by maintaining a devout silence in church, by doing our best to ward off from it anything irreverent or unseemly, we are saying to God, as in today’s liturgy, “Your house is a house of prayer, and Your presence makes it a place of blessing.” (Father Robert F. McNamara). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/22
“Scriptural Homilies” Cycle C (No. 32) by Fr. Tony: email@example.com
Visit my website by clicking on https://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 also https://www.catholicsermons.com/homilies/sunday_homilies under Fr. Tony’s homilies and under Resources in the CBCI website: https://www.cbci.in for other website versions. (Vatican Radio website: http://www.vaticannews.va/en/church.html uploaded my Cycle A, B and C homilies in from 2018-2020) Fr. Anthony Kadavil, Chaplain, Sacred Heart Residence of the Little Sisters of the Poor, 1655 McGill Ave, Mobile, AL 36604 .