June 6-11 weekday homilies

June 6-11: June 6 Monday(Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church): NC Register: https://www.ncregister.com/blog/mfenelon/why-the-new-memorial-of-mary-mother-of-the-church-is-so-remarkable ( Gen 3:9-15, 20; Acts 1:12-14; Jn 19:25-34): https://youtu.be/9ymyPDzzBOQ?list=PLpTzvCOJa7DAlWO6X2kAG00Pyg_VQd3RD One of the most recent architectural additions to Saint Peter’s Square is the mosaic of Mary “Mother of the Church,” with the inscription Totus Tuus, yet another sign of Pope St. John Paul II’s great love for Our Lady. On Saturday, March 3, 2018, Pope Francis declared that, thenceforward, the Monday after Pentecost Sunday would be celebrated as the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church. The Memorial was to be observed annually. It has been added to the General Roman Calendar, the Roman Missal, and the Liturgy of the Hours with the Holy Father’s wish that this new feast day foster Marian piety and the maternal sense of the Church. Pentecost was the birth of the Church – the Mystical Body of Christ. As Mother of Christ, the Head of the Church, Mary is also the Mother of the Church, for she was with the apostles for that great event. In Catholic Mariology, Mother of the Church (Mater Ecclesiae) is a title officially given to Mary at the closing of the Second Vatican Council, by Pope St. Paul VI. The title was first used in the 4th century by Saint Ambrose of Milan. The same title was used by Pope Benedict IV in 1748 and then by Pope Leo XIII in 1885. Pope St. Paul VI made the pronouncement of the title Mother of the Church during his speech upon the closing of the third session of the Second Vatican Council on November 21, 1964: “For the glory of the Virgin and our consolation, we proclaim Mary the Most Holy Mother of the Church, that is, the Mother of the whole People of God, both the faithful and the pastors.” Later, the title was used by Pope St. John Paul II, and is also found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church which states that Mary joined in bringing about the birth of believers in the Church, who are members of its Head.” (CCC #963). “At once virgin and mother, Mary is the symbol and the most perfect realization of the Church.” (CCC # 507).

Pope St. John Paul II used the encyclical “Redemptoris Mater” (March 25, 1987), to explain how Jesus gave his mother to the care of John the apostle and how she became the Mother of the whole Church. The Pope said, “in her new motherhood in the Spirit, Mary embraces each and every one in the Church, and embraces each and every one through the Church.” Pope Benedict XVI addressed the issue of the relationship between Roman Catholic Mariology and ecclesiology quoting the theologian Hugo Rahner, SJ [elder brother of Karl Rahner SJ] that Mariology was originally ecclesiology. The Church is like Mary. The Church is virgin and mother, she is immaculate and carries the burdens of history. She suffers, and she is assumed into heaven. She is carrying the mystery of the Church. That is why in 2018 Pope Francis decreed that the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church be inserted into the Roman Calendar on the Monday after Pentecost and that it be celebrated every year. The decree was signed on 11 February 2018, the memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes, at the 160th anniversary of the Lourdes apparitions. The decree was issued on 3 March 2018.

As St. Augustine once said: “Mary is more blessed because she embraces Faith in Christ than because she conceives the flesh of Christ.” As St. Ambrose taught, “The Mother of God is a type of the Church in the order of Faith, Charity, and the perfect union with Christ.” She serves as the ultimate role model for all Christians in her willingness to cooperate with God’s will. So, while we rightfully acknowledge her as the Mother of God, the Theotokos, we also acknowledge her sanctity and her willingness to do God’s will. This is why another ancient name attributed to her will officially appear on the Church’s calendar for the first time this year. “The Cross, the Eucharist, and the Mother of God are three mysteries that God gave to the world in order to structure, fructify, and sanctify our interior life and lead us to Jesus.” (Robert, Cardinal Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments; retired February 20, 2021). Let us honor Mary the Mother of the Church by imitating her virtues of faith, humility, and total surrender. Additional reflections: Click on https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections(Copy and paste these web addresses on the Address bar of any Internet website like Google or MSN and press the Enter button of your Keyboard). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)L/ 22

June 7 Tuesday: Mt 5: 13-16 (“You are the salt of the earth and light of the world”): In the time of Jesus, salt was connected in people’s minds with three special qualities. (i) Salt was connected with purity because it was white and it came from the purest of all things, the sun and the sea. Salt was the most primitive of all offerings to the gods. Jewish sacrifices were offered with salt. As the “salt of the earth,” the Christian must be an example of purity, exercising absolute purity in speech, in conduct, and even in thought. God calls His children to preserve and purify. The Church is to preserve modesty (1 Tm 2:9), morality (Eph 5:3-12), honesty and integrity (Jn 8:44-47). (ii) Salt was the commonest of all preservatives in the ancient world when people did not have fridges and freezers. It was used to prevent the putrefaction of meat, fish, fruits, and pickles. As the salt of the earth, the Christian must have a certain antiseptic influence on life and society, defeating corruption and making it easier for others to be good. Christians are to be a preserving influence to retard moral and spiritual spoilage in the world. (iii) Salt lends flavor to food items. One of the main functions of salt is to season food, to give it taste and flavor. To be the salt of society also means that we are deeply concerned with its well-being. We have to preserve the cultural values and moral principles Jesus has given us, and in this way to make a contribution to the development of a “Culture of Life” to replace the “culture of death” currently darkening our world. Thus, we will be adding flavor to the common life, religious and social. As salt seasoned and preserved food, and as salt keeps a fire burning uniformly in an oven for a longer time, the disciples were to improve the tone of society (“season” it), preserve the Faith, and extend the fire of the Spirit through their evangelization efforts.

The four roles of Christians as Christ’s light of the world. (i) A light is something which is meant to be seen. Christians are a lamp stand. Jesus therefore expects His followers to be seen by the world (Jn 13:35; 17:21). In addition, they must radiate and give light. “Let your light shine before men” (Mt 5:16). By this metaphor Jesus means that our Christianity should be visible in our ordinary activities and interactions in the world, for example, in the way we treat a shop assistant across the counter, in the way we order a meal in a restaurant, in the way we treat our employees or serve our employer, in the way we play a game, or drive or park a motor car, in the daily language we use, and in the daily literature we read. (ii) A lamp or light is a guide to make clear the way. So then, a Christian must make the way clear to others. That is to say, a Christian must of necessity be an example, showing the world what Jesus would do in every situation. iii) A light can often be a warning light. A light is often the warning which tells us to halt when there is danger ahead. It is sometimes the Christian’s duty to bring to one’s brother/sister a necessary warning of dangers, present or ahead. If our warnings are given, not in anger, not in irritation, not in criticism, not in condemnation, but in love, they may be effective. iv) Light exposes everything hidden by darkness. (Note Jn 3:19; 1 Cor 4:5; Eph 5:8–11). Let us pause for a moment and ask ourselves whether we are carrying Jesus in our lives, shining through our Christian living, as the Light Who lovingly warns and guides. Additional reflections: Click on https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections.

June 8 Wednesday Mt 5: 17-19: 17 “Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. 19 Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. Additional reflections: Click on https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections

The context: Today’s Gospel passage, taken fromJesus’ Sermon on the Mount, presents Jesus as giving the highest compliments to the Mosaic Law. These words of Jesus that Matthew reports touched the communities of converted Jews, helping them to overcome the criticism of the brothers of their own race who accused them saying, “You are unfaithful to the Law of Moses.” Ironically, Jesus himself would be falsely condemned and crucified as a Lawbreaker. Jesus says that the Old Testament, as the word of God, has Divine authority and deserves total respect. The Mosaic Law was ultimately intended to help people honor God by practicing love. Its moral precepts are to be respected because they are, for the most part, specific, Divine-positive promulgations of the natural law. ButChristians are not obliged to observe the legal and liturgical precepts of Old Testament because they were laid down by God for a specific stage in Salvation History.

Jesus’ teaching: In Jesus’ time, the Law was understood differently by different groups of the Jews to be: 1) The Ten Commandments, 2) The Pentateuch, 3) The Law and the Prophets, or 4) The oral (Scribal) and the written Law. Jesus, and later Paul, considered the oral Law as a heavy burden on the people and criticized it, while honoring the Mosaic Law and the teachings of the prophets. At the time of Jesus, the Jews believed that the Torah (Law given to Moses), was the eternal, unchangeable, Self-Revelation of God. In today’s Gospel, Jesus says that he did not come to destroy the Torah but to bring it to perfection by bringing out its inner meaning because He IS the ultimate self-Revelation of God, the Lawgiver. That is why the Council of Trent declared that Jesus was given to us, “not only as a Redeemer, in whom we are to trust, but also as a Lawgiver whom we are to obey” (“De Iustificatione,” can. 21). Jesus honored the two basic principles on which the Ten Commandments were based, namely the principle of reverence and the principle of respect. In the first four commandments, we are asked to reverence God, reverence His holy Name, reverence His holy day and reverence our father and mother. The next set of commandments instructs us to respect life, the marriage bond, one’s personal integrity and others’ good name, the legal system, another’s property and spouse, and one’s own spouse. Jesus declares that he has come to fulfill all Divine laws based on these principles. By “fulfilling the law,” Jesus means fulfilling the purpose for which the Law was given: that is, justice, or “righteousness,” as the Scriptures call it – a word that includes a just relationship with God).

Life messages: 1) In obeying God’s laws and Church laws, let us remember these basic principles of respect and reverence. 2) Our obedience to the laws needs to be prompted by love of God and gratitude to God for His blessings. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/22

June 9 Thursday: (St. Ephrem, Deacon, Doctor of the Church): https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-ephrem; Mt 5:20-26: 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 21 “You have heard that it was said to the men of old, `You shall not kill; and whoever kills shall be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, `You fool!’ shall be liable to the hell of fire. 23 So if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Additional reflections: Click on https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections

The context: For the Scribes and the Pharisees, the external fulfillment of the precepts of the Mosaic Law was the guarantee of a person’s salvation. In other words, a man saved himself through the external works of the Law. Jesus rejects this view in today’s Gospel passage, taken from the Sermon on the Mount. For Jesus, justification or sanctification is a grace, a free, strengthening gift from God. Man’s role is one of cooperating with that grace by being faithful to it and using it as God means it to be used. Jesus then outlines new moral standards for his disciples.

Control of anger: Anger is the rawest, strongest, and most destructive of human emotions. Describing three stages of anger and the punishment each deserves, Jesus advises his disciples not to get angry in such a way that they sin.

1) Anger in the heart (“brief stage of insanity” Cicero): It has two forms: a) a sudden, blazing flame of anger which dies as suddenly. b) a surge of anger which boils inside and lingers, so that the heart seeks revenge and refuses to forgive or forget. Jesus prescribes trial and punishment by the Village Court of Elders as its punishment.

2) Anger in speech: The use of words which are insulting (“raka“=“fool”), or damaging to the reputation (“moros” = a person of loose morals). Jesus says that such an angry (verbally abusive) person should be sent to the Sanhedrin, the Jewish religion’s Supreme Court, for trial and punishment.

3) Anger in action: Sudden outbursts of uncontrollable anger, which often result in physical assault or abuse. Jesus says that such anger deserves hellfire as its punishment. In short, Jesus teaches that long-lasting anger is bad, contemptuous speech or destroying someone’s reputation is worse and harming another physically is the worst.

Life messages: 1)Let us try to forgive,forget, and move toward reconciliation as soon as possible. St. Paul advises us “Be angry (righteous anger), but do not sin” (Eph 4:26). 2) When we keep anger in our mind, we are inviting physical illnesses like hypertension, and mental illnesses like depression. 3) Let us relax and keep silence when we are angry and pray for God’s strength for self-control , and for the grace, first to desire to forgive, and then actually to forgive, those who have injured us Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/22

June 10 Friday: Mt 5.: 27-32: But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell. 31 “It was also said, `whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, makes her and adulteress; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. Additional reflections: Click on https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections

The context:In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus outlines a new moral code for his followers, which is different from the Mosaic moral code. He insists that adultery, the violation of the Sixth Commandment, is also committed through willfully generated evil and impure looks, and evil thoughts and desires purposely created and held in the mind.

Interpreting Jesus’ words about self-mutilation. Our hands do not themselves sin, but are made the mind’s agents for sin according to what we touch and how we touch, in lust or greed or violence. Our eyes become agents of sins according to what they look at. In recommending mutilation of eyes and hands, Jesus is not speaking literally because we have more sins than we have body-parts. Besides, even if all offending parts were removed, our minds — the source of all sins — would still be intact, causing us to sin by thoughts and desires. So Jesus teaches us that, just as a doctor might remove a limb or some part of the body like an infected gall bladder, an inflamed appendix, cancerous colon sections, etc., in order to preserve the life of the whole body, so we must be ready to part with anything that causes us to commit grave sin or which leads to spiritual death (the “near occasions of sin.”) Hence, these warnings are actually about our attitudes, dispositions, and inclinations. Jesus recommends that our hands become agents of compassion, healing, and comfort, and that our eyes learn to see the truth, goodness, and beauty that are all around us.

Clear teaching on divorce: According Matthew’s account, adultery is the only ground in the Old Testament for sanctioning divorce. Based on the NT teachings given in Mk 10:1-12, Mt 5:31-32; Mt 19:3-9; Lk 16:18; and 1 Cor 7:10-11, the Catholic Church teaches that Marriage is a Sacrament involving both a sacred and legal contract between a man and a woman and, at the same time, a special Covenant with the Lord. “Divorce is also a grave offense against the natural law. Besides, it claims to break the contract, to which the spouses freely consented, to live with each other till death….” Divorce is immoral also because it introduces disorder into the family and into society” (CCC #2384, 2385).Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/22

June 11 Saturday (St. Barnabas, Apostle): https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-barnabas: Mt 10:7-15: 7 And preach as you go, saying, `The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying, give without pay. 9 Take no gold, nor silver, nor copper in your belts, 10 no bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor a staff; for the laborer deserves his food. 11 And whatever town or village you enter, find out who is worthy in it, and stay with him until you depart. 12 As you enter the house, salute it. 13 And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. 14 And if any one will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town. 15 Truly, I say to you, it shall be more tolerable on the Day of Judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that townAdditional reflections: Click on https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections

The context: Today’s Gospel describes the commissioning of the twelve apostles for the apostolic work of preparing the towns and villages for Jesus’ coming visit to them. Sent out in pairs to preach the coming of the Kingdom of God, repentance, the forgiveness of sins, and liberation, they were to follow Jesus’ detailed action-plan and bear witness to Jesus by their simple lifestyle.

Jesus’ instructions and travel tips. By his instructions, it is clear that Jesus meant his disciples 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. Jesus’ instructions also suggest that the apostles should not be like the acquisitive priests of the day, interested only in gaining riches. They should be walking examples of God’s love and providence. The Jews supported their rabbis, and they judged doing so a privilege as well as an obligation, seeing hospitality as an important religious tradition. The apostles are told they should choose temporary accommodation in a reputable household, should bless the residents with God’s peace, and should be satisfied with the food and accommodation they received, not search for better. They are to preach “’the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand,’ heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, and cast out demons.”

Life messages: 1) We, too, have a witnessing mission:Each Christian is called not only to be a disciple, but also to be an apostle. As apostles, we have to evangelize the world by sharing with others, not just words, or ideas, or doctrines, but our experience of God and His Son, Jesus. It is through our transparent Christian lives that we must 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, the demon of promiscuous sex, the demon of materialism, and the demon of consumerism. We need the help of Jesus to liberate ourselves and others from these things. (Fr. Tony) (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/22