OT 18- C- [July 31] Eight-minute homily in one page (L/22)
Introduction: The common theme of today’s readings is the futility of the greedy acquisition of wealth and power because everything and everyone is “here today and gone tomorrow.” So, the meaning of life cannot be found in selfishly hoarding wealth and possessions, but only in sharing these with the needy.
Scripture lessons: The first reading, taken from Ecclesiastes, reminds us that the greedy acquisition and hording of material wealth is useless because when the hoarder dies, he goes to eternity empty-handed, and his heir gains, and perhaps squanders, his riches. In the Responsorial Psalm (Ps 90), the Psalmist challenges us to listen to God and allow Him to soften our hearts that we may share our blessings with others. The Psalm Response urges, “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts” (Ps 95:8). In the second reading, Paul directs our attention to lasting, Heavenly treasures and warns that greed (pleonexia) for wealth and influence is idolatry. He advises, “Put to death, your parts that are earthly: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and the greed that is idolatry” (Col 3:5). In today’s Gospel, Jesus, telling the parable of the foolish rich man, warns us against all types of greed, because greed takes our life’s focus away from God and away from serving and loving Him in Himself and in other people. Jesus says that God calls the greedy rich man a fool because the man thought he would not die soon and that he was not accountable for the way he used his riches. Besides, the rich man forgot the fact that his wealth had been lent to him by God for sharing with the needy. Jesus also warns us that our eternal life does not consist of earthly possessions (Lk 12:15), which we should share to gain eternal life.
Life messages: 1) We are invited to share our blessings with others. The parable of the rich fool gives us a warning as well as an invitation. It reminds us that our possessions are merely lent to us by God, and that we are accountable for their use. We must be generous in sharing our time, our treasure, and our talents in Christian stewardship. Even if we are poor financially, we may be blessed with intelligence, good will, a sense of humor, or the ability to console, encourage, inspire, support, and help others. God expects us to give our thanks to Him for all these blessings by sharing them with others for His glory. The Old Testament Scriptures are clear about tithing – giving 10% of our income for God’s cause and for helping the needy. God never allows tithers to regret their generosity.
2) Let us control our greed. Our greed takes different shapes and forms. For some, it may be the desire for the approval and praise of others. For others, it is the uncontrolled desire for power, control, or fame. For still others, greed takes the form of excessive and sinful indulgence in eating, drinking, gambling, drugs, or sexual activities. Greed also turns our life away from God and away from loving and serving Him in Himself and in other people. As greed directs all our energy and attention to fulfilling the self, its objects become our false gods, and they will consume us, unless we become rich in the sight of God.
OT XVIII [C] (July 31) Eccl 1:2; 2:21-23; Col 3:1-5, 9-11; Lk 12:13-21
Homily Starter Anecdotes# 1: Candle in the Wind and Lighthouse in the Storm:The wedding ofPrincess Diana (Lady Diana Spencer), in 1981, was watched by 750 million people. She died in an accident at 36 on August 31, 1997. Her funeral in 1997 was viewed by 2.5 billion people. At her funeral, singer Elton John brought tears to the eyes of hundreds of mourners in Westminster Abbey when he sang: “Candle in the Wind.” (Watch: https://youtu.be/cxyf1caYbbU & Lyrics: http://www.letssingit.com/elton-john-lyrics-candle-in-the-wind-princess-diana-tribute-tf412h4) Interestingly, this song – with the line “Goodbye, Norma Rose” – was originally written for an equally glamorous woman, Norma Jeanne, who assumed the stage name ‘Marilyn Monroe’ and died at 36 on August 5, 1962, due to an overdose of sleeping pills. (https://youtu.be/7eIl_b5nHcE & https://youtu.be/w-M8Hi3vNKM). Diana and Marilyn share many things in common – both were beautiful and wealthy, photographed by paparazzi worldwide, yet, unhappy in marriage or relationships, and both died tragically in August at a young age – young icons snuffed out like candles in the wind. Ecclesiastes gives bad news to those who base their hopes on the perishable wealth and goods of this world, offering us a stark message: vanity of vanities, all is vanity! All of human life is ultimately meaningless if viewed in itself, apart from God. Five days after Princess Diana died there was another “going home,” this one for Mother Teresa (canonized as St. Teresa of Calcutta) who died on October 4, 1997 at 86). She was a “wise woman,” spending her whole life sharing Christ’s selfless, caring, agape love with the down-trodden in the streets of Calcutta. God blessed her sharing love by increasing her 12-member Missionaries of Charity congregation to 3000 serving the poor and the discarded in 100 countries. (Watch Mother Teresa’s simple funeral: https://youtu.be/cVreDCb3w0s) (Francis Gonsalves in Sunday Seeds for Daily Deeds). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)
# 2: Sad fate of nine richest and most powerful men: Legend has it that in 1923, a meeting of America’s most powerful men took place at the Edgewater Beach Hotel in Chicago. Attending the meeting were the following nine financiers and power brokers: the president of America’s largest steel company, the president of America’s largest utility company, the president of America’s largest gas company, the president of the New York Stock Exchange, the president of the Bank of International Settlements, the nation’s greatest wheat speculator, the nation’s greatest bear and speculator on Wall Street, the head of the world’s greatest monopoly, a member of President Harding’s cabinet. It was said to have been both a celebration of their success as well as an opportunity to plan their future exploits and dominance. These were the captains of their respective industries and some of the most successful businessmen of the era.
But how did things turn out for these distinguished gentlemen? Within 25 years, all of these great men had met a horrific end to their careers or their lives: The president of the largest steel company, Charles Schwab, died a bankrupt man; the president of the largest utility company, Samuel Insull, died penniless; the president of the largest gas company, Howard Hobson, suffered a mental breakdown, ending up in an insane asylum; the president of the New York Stock Exchange, Richard Whitney, had just been released from prison; the bank president, Leon Fraser, had taken his own life; the wheat speculator, Arthur Cutten, died penniless; the head of the world’s greatest monopoly, Ivar Krueger the “match king”, also had taken his life; and the member of President Harding’s cabinet, Albert Fall, had just been given a pardon from prison so that he could die at home. The seventh Jessie Livermore, the eighth Ivor Krueger and the ninth Leon Fraser, all committed suicide. As for the Wall Street Bear, Jesse Lauriston Livermore, famous speculator in the stock and commodities markets, his end is perhaps the most tragic of all. A week after Thanksgiving in 1940, Jesse walked into the Sherry-Netherland Hotel in New York, had two drinks at the bar while scribbling something in his notebook, then proceeded to the cloak room where he sat on a stool and shot himself in the head. He was 62 and left behind $5 million, down from the $100 million fortune he had amassed just ten years earlier. (https://www.forbes.com/sites/joshuabrown/2012/07/25/the-nine-financiers-a-parable-about-power/?sh=3e59e9e13126) . Here is a striking proof of what Jesus tells us in today’s gospel: a man who was rich wanted to be richer, but the Lord called him “fool” and called him from this life before he could enjoy his riches. (Msgr. Arthur Tonne). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)
# 3: “Generous people are rarely mentally ill.” Dr. Carl Menninger, the world-renowned psychiatrist, was talking on one occasion to an unhappy but wealthy patient. He asked the patient what he was going to do with so much money. The patient replied, “Just worry about it, I suppose.” Menninger asked, “Well, do you get that much pleasure from worrying about it?” “No,” responded the patient, “but I get terrified when I think of giving some of it to somebody else.” Then Dr. Menninger went on to say something quite profound. He said, “Generous people are rarely mentally ill.” (David A. Renwick, http://www.2preslex.org/S020217.htm.) — I didn’t say that. Dr. Carl Menninger said it. “Generous people are rarely mentally ill.” He is right. People who cannot share with others have deep-seated problems. If your level of giving to the work of God and the service of others requires no sacrifice, then you have Jesus locked in a cupboard, and he is not really living in every part of your life. In today’s Gospel Jesus’ parable, God calls such people “fools.” (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)
# 4: Needs and wants: In an effort to lead her young charges on an exploration of their values, a second-grade teacher gave the following assignment to her class. Take a large piece of poster paper or cardboard and draw a line down the center. On the left side of the paper, write “Needs”; on the right side, put “Wants”. Then, either draw or cut pictures out of old magazines, which illustrate your needs and wants. A few days later, when the assignment was due, the classroom was filled with colorful and candid reminders of the materialistic matrix within which Christianity is challenged to make an impact. Little fingers and small hands had cut out images of video game systems, giant-screen color televisions, ten-speed bicycles, as well as ice-cream sundaes, cookies and a large assortment of candies. Unfortunately, many of these pictures were posted on the side of the poster labeled, “Needs”! Obviously, the teacher had her work cut out for her!– To distinguish needs from wants, and then to discern true needs from false and frivolous ones, is no easy task; it is, in fact, a lifelong process which requires continued evaluation. Had the same assignment been given to a classroom of adolescents or to a group of adults, would the results have been different? Or would the pictures simply have reflected the tastes and appetites of older people for sports cars, designer and name brand clothing, speed boats, luxurious homes, and the lifestyles of the rich and famous. Would the more mature person also have skewed the line between needs and wants? — Questions such as these are put before the gathered assembly today as the selected readings prompt a careful consideration of the integrity and authenticity of personal and communal values. (Sanchez Files) (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)
Introduction: The common theme of today’s readings is the futility of the greedy acquisition of wealth and power because everything and everyone is “here today and gone tomorrow.” Therefore, the meaning of life cannot be found in possessions and “pleonexia” (which literally means “the desire to have more and more”) but in the sharing of time, treasure, and talents with the needy.
Scripture lessons summarized: The first reading, taken from Ecclesiastes, reminds us that the greedy acquisition and selfish hoarding of goods are useless because when the hoarder dies, he goes to eternity empty-handed, and his heir gains, and perhaps squanders, his riches. In the Responsorial Psalm (Ps 90), the Psalmist challenges us to listen to God and allow Him to soften our hearts that we may share our blessings with others. The Psalm Response urges, “If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts” (Ps 95:8), while the verses remind us that human life passes swiftly on earth, and must end in death and the return of the body dust. In the second reading, Paul directs our attention to lasting Heavenly treasures and warns that greed for wealth and influence is idolatry. He advises the Colossians, “Put to death, your parts that are earthly: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and the greed that is idolatry” (Col 3:5). In today’s Gospel, Jesus, telling the parable of the foolish rich man, warns the disputing brothers, and us, against all types of greed, because greed takes our life’s focus away from God and away from serving and loving Him in Himself and in other people. Jesus says God called the greedy rich man a fool because the man thought he would not die soon and that he was not accountable for his riches. He forgot that his wealth had been lent to him by God for sharing with the needy. Jesus also warns us that our eternal life does not consist of earthly possessions (Lk 12:15), so we should share our possessions to gain eternal life.
First reading: Ecclesiastes 1:2; 2: 21-23, explained: The book of Ecclesiastes (also called Qoheleth), is the most pessimistic and cynical book in the whole Bible. The author claims that he has “seen all things that are done under the sun” and found them to be “a chase after wind” (Eccl 1:14). He expresses a ruthlessly honest pessimism about the prospects for finding true happiness in the greedy acquisition of earthly goods, because the greedy hoarder must leave everything behind at his death, and his heir may squander his hard-earned wealth. Even while he is alive, wealth and power give man worry and sleeplessness. “All his days sorrow and grief are his occupation; even at night his mind is not at rest” (Eccl 2:23). Hence, greed and selfishness are not worth the effort. Thus, the statement, “Vanity of vanities, all things are vanity!” (Eccl 1:2), is a blunt summation of Qoheleth’s disturbingly candid skepticism, underscoring the transitory and fleeting character of life. According to an old legend, Alexander the Great (356-323 BC), commanded that when he died and was carried forth to his grave, his hands should not be wrapped in the burial clothes, as was the custom, but should be left outside so that all might see them, and might see also, that they were empty. In the brief span of his thirty-three years, Alexander had conquered and possessed the riches of an empire that extended from Greece to India. Yet, in death, his hands were empty; none of his wealth could survive the passage through death.
Second reading: Colossians 3:1-5, 9-11 explained: We are living in a culture that caters to our desire for immediate gratification. It encourages us to amass possessions, and in many ways, it thrives on deceit. Hence, Paul directs our attention to those treasures that endure, warning that greed for wealth and influence is idolatry and that the Faith-life of a believer requires Christ as its first priority. Baptism is our participation in the death and Resurrection of Jesus. Paul reminds us that, since we have been raised with Christ through Baptism and are going in a Heavenly direction, we must “put to death immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and the greed that is idolatry” (Col 3:5). The desires of the human heart cannot be satisfied by what is here today and gone tomorrow because we have been made for “what is above”(Col 3:1). For Paul, the whole process of joining Christ in glory revolves around “taking off our old self with its practices and putting on the new self, which is being renewed…, in the image of its Creator” (Col 3:9-10). Although power, influence, and possessions come and go, our new self will endure because it is grounded in the power of the risen Lord.
Gospel exegesis: The greed behind a property dispute: The Jewish rabbis were often asked to settle disputes among their countrymen. They judged cases using the Mosaic Law as given in the Torah – the Jewish book of civil, religious, and liturgical laws. In matters concerning the distribution of property in a family with two children, the Torah (Dt 21:15-17, Nm 27:1-11, 36:7-9), granted two-thirds of the wealth to the elder son and one-third to the younger. If there were several sons, the first-born would receive double the inheritance of his younger brothers and would serve as the patriarch of the family and executor of his father’s estate. In the case related in today’s Gospel, either the older brother had delayed the partition of property, or the younger brother was greedy. Jesus refused to be an arbitrator in this property dispute between two brothers because he had come to bring people to God by preaching the Good News of God’s forgiving and sharing love. But he used the occasion as a “teachable moment,” instructing the audience on the folly of greed and selfishness, while contradicting the Epicurean motto: “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”
Why did Jesus say God called the rich man a fool? Traditional Jewish good works included prayer, fasting, and alms-giving. Blessed with an excellent harvest, the rich landowner in Jesus’ parable did the opposite of giving alms. Instead of thanking God and sharing with the hungry, he planned to give himself over to a pagan orgy – “eat, drink and be merry.” Jesus said God called him a fool because:
1) He forgot God and failed to become “rich in what matters to God.” He forgot the truth that God was the real owner of all his possessions and blessings, and he was only God’s steward or manager. Instead, he was focused on himself and was selfish to the core. He liberally used the “aggressively possessive” pronouns “I” (six times) and “my” (five times). He was possessed by his possessions, instead of possessing them. In the process, he evicted God from his heart and never thought to thank God for having blessed him with a rich harvest. He was not thankful to God for His blessings; instead, he considered them as solely the fruit of his own labor. He also failed in his stewardship duties – the returning to God of His portion in paying his tithe. He did not recognize his possessions as on loan from God, given to him to share with others. He was taken up with worries or anxieties about his wealth. He was starving to death spiritually in the midst of God’s abundance. Yet, though he may have prayed the beautiful prayer in the book of Proverbs: “Give me neither poverty nor riches but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.” (Prv 30:8-9), he did not change.
2) He forgot others in need: As God had been ousted from his heart, that heart became narrow and constricted with no space left for others in it. He also forgot that God had given him everything he had – the land, the good growing season and the excellent harvest – not for himself alone but for all those around him who were in need. Hence, the rich man gave no thought to the poor workers who had labored in his field, nor to his poor relatives, nor to the poor people in his community. In doing this, he turned his back on his Jewish heritage, for the Torah demands that gleanings from a harvest be left for the poor, the widow, the orphan, and the immigrant (Lv 19:9-10; 23:22; Dt 24:21). The rich man in the parable did not care about others who were suffering. He did not show any regard for the hurting and needy. He did not voice any concern for keeping the community of which he was a part safe from unexpected droughts, famines, or plagues. The richer the man grew, the greedier he became, as suggested by the Roman proverb: “Money is like sea water; the more a man drinks the thirstier he becomes.” The rich man was called a fool because he did not consider sharing his wealth. In other words, he left other people out of his possessions. St. Gregory the Great taught that when we care for the needs of the poor, we are giving them what is theirs, not ours. We are not just performing works of mercy; we are paying a debt of justice. Life does not consist in possessions but in sharing what we possess with others. The goods of the earth have been given to everyone.
3) He forgot that he was going to die and never saw beyond this world. He forgot that he was going to die, sooner or later. It was as he was planning to build new barns and warehouses to store his wealth, that he heard the words all creatures will hear one day from their Creator: “This night your life will be demanded of you!” He left his soul out of his thoughts and, hence, left eternity out of his plans. This, as Jesus warns us in the parable, is folly.
Life messages: 1) We are invited to share our blessings with others. The parable of the rich fool gives us a warning as well as an invitation. It reminds us that our possessions are merely lent to us by God, and that we are accountable for their use. We must be generous in sharing our time, our treasure, and our talents, the three elements of Christian stewardship. Every one of us is rich in one thing or another. The parable instructs us to share these gifts. Even if we are poor financially, we may be blessed with intelligence, good will, a sense of humor or the ability to encourage, inspire, and support others. God expects us to give our thanks to Him for all these blessings by sharing them with others for His glory. Giving God the first fruits of our labors, not the meager leftovers, is a traditional way of becoming “rich in what matters to God.” The Old Testament Scriptures are clear about tithing – 10% — and that’s the top 10%, not the last 10%. God never allows tithers to regret their generosity. Not only are tithers better off economically, but also they feel a sense of personal satisfaction.
2) Let us control our greed. Our greed takes different shapes and forms. For some, it may be the desire for the approval and praise of others. For others, it is the uncontrolled desire for power, control, or fame. For still others, it takes the form of desire for excessive and sinful indulgence in eating, drinking, gambling, drugs, or sexual activities. Greed also turns our life away from God, away from serving and loving other people. As greed directs all our energy and attention to fulfilling the self, its objects become our false gods, and they will consume us unless we become rich in the sight of God. “The continued greed of the wealthy nations will certainly call down on them the wrath of the poor, with consequences no one can foretell.” … Pope Paul VI, Populorum Progressio
JOKEs OF THE WEEK
1) Lawyer’s greed and doctor’s greed: A doctor and a lawyer were attending a cocktail party when the doctor was approached by a man who asked advice on how to handle his ulcer. The doctor mumbled some medical advice, then turned to the lawyer and remarked, “I never know how to handle the situation when I’m asked for medical advice during a social function. Is it acceptable to send a bill for such advice?” The lawyer replied that it was certainly acceptable to do so. The next day, the doctor sent the ulcer-stricken man a bill. The lawyer also sent a bill to the doctor.
2) The greedy man and the genie. A man is walking down the beach and comes across an old bottle. He picks it up, pulls out the cork and out pops a genie!
The genie says, “Thank you for freeing me from the bottle. In return I will grant you three wishes.”
The man says “Great! I always dreamed of this and I know exactly what I want. First, I want one billion dollars in a Swiss bank account.”
Poof! There is a flash of light and a piece of paper with account numbers appears in his hand!
He continues, “Next, I want a brand-new red Ferrari right here.”
Poof! There is a flash of light and a bright red, brand-new Ferrari appears right next to him!
He continues, “Finally, I want to be irresistible to women.”
Poof! There is a flash of light and he turns into a box of chocolates.
3) A rich fool in a Boeing 707: An old lady was on a flight. She was sitting beside a rich, young businessman. After the in-flight meal she took out her Holy Bible and started her devotions. The businessman glanced at her and said, “Do you really believe all that stuff in the Bible is true?
“Well, yes, as a matter of fact I do,” said the old lady.
“Yeah, right…” the man scoffed, “like… what’s that guy’s name… the one who got swallowed by a whale…”
“You mean Jonah?”
“Yeah, Jonah. Do you actually believe he could have survived for three days in the belly of a fish?”
“Yes. I don’t know how,” she replied, “but I can ask him when I see him in Heaven someday.”
Feeling smart, the young man said: “OK, but what if he’s not in Heaven because he went to Hell?”
“Then you can ask him yourself when you get there, “replied the old lady calmly.
USEFUL WEBSITES OF THE WEEK (For homilies & Bible study groups)
1) Fr. Don’ collection of video homilies & blogs: https://sundayprep.org (Copy it on the Address bar and press the Enter button of the Key Board)
2) Video Sunday-Scripture study by Fr. Geoffrey Plant:
3) Fr. Nick’s collection of Sunday homilies from 65 priests & weekday homilies: https://www.catholicsermons.com/homilies/sunday_homilies
4) Dr. Brant Pitre’s commentary on Cycle C Sunday Scripture for Bible Class: https://catholicproductions.com/blogs/mass-readings-explained-year-C ; Biblical basis of Catholic doctrines: http://scripturecatholic.com/
7) http://sqpn.com/ (Tons of Catholic podcasts)
For pictures, type parable of the foolish rich man in Google search under images and click the Enter Button of your Key Board
35- additional anecdotes
1) “What does each get?”” 6th grade teacher posed the following problem to her arithmetic classes: “A wealthy man dies and leaves ten million dollars. One-fifth is to go to his wife, one-fifth is to go to his son, one-sixth to his butler, and the rest to charity. Now, what does each get?” After a very long silence in the classroom, little Joey raised his hand. The teacher called on Joey for his answer. With complete sincerity in his voice, Joey answered, “A lawyer!” — He’s probably right. Where there is a will, there is often a lawsuit. Someone in the crowd listening to Jesus said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)
2) Vanity of vanities: Years ago, a Chicago restaurant had specially printed place mats at all its tables. The mats were designed exclusively for the restaurant with the following decorative writing: “In 1923 an important meeting took place at Chicago’s Edgewater Beach Hotel. Attending the meeting were the following men: The president of the largest steel company, the president of the largest utility company, the president of the largest gas company, the president of the New York Stock Exchange, the president of the bank of International Settlements, the greatest wheat speculator, the greatest bear on Wall Street, the head of the world’s greatest monopoly, and a member of President Harding’s cabinet.” That’s a pretty impressive lineup of people. Yet 25 years later, where were those nine industrial giants? The president of the largest steel company, Charles Schwab, died bankrupt. The president of the largest utility company, Samuel Insull, died penniless. The president of the largest gas company, Howard Hobson, had gone insane. The president of the New York Stock Exchange, Richard Whitney had just been released from prison. The wheat speculator, Arthur Cutten, died penniless. The member of President Harding’s cabinet, Albert Fall, had just been given pardon from prison so that he could die at home. The bank president, Leon Fraser, the Wall Street Bear, Jesse Livermore and the head of the world’s greatest monopoly, Ivar Kruegar, committed suicide. — In terms of today’s Gospel parable these would be nine very foolish people. (Mark Link in Sunday Homilies), (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)
3) Silver glasses: : Henry Ford once asked an associate about his life goals. The man replied that his goal was to make a million dollars. A few days later Ford gave the man a pair of glasses made out of two silver dollar coins. He told the man to put them on and asked what he could see. “Nothing,” the man said. “The dollars are in the way.” — Ford told him that he wanted to teach him a lesson: If his only goal was dollars, he would miss a host of greater opportunities. He should invest himself in serving others not simply in making money. That’s a great secret of life that far too few people discover. Money is important. No question about that. But money is only a means by which we reach higher goals – loving service to others, loving obedience to God. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)
4) “Rich American with big checkbook has told a joke.” A wealthy American textile buyer attending a luncheon in Seoul, Korea, told a lengthy but amusing joke. When his translator repeated it in just a few phrases, the audience laughed loudly and applauded. The rich American asked the translator how he was able to translate the story with so few words. “It was not a problem,” the translator said. “I told them, ‘Rich American with big checkbook has told a joke. Do what you think is appropriate.’” — We are fascinated by people of great wealth — whether they are Donald Trump, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, or Warren Buffet. Aren’t you glad, by the way, that the latter three have decided to use at least part of their great wealth to do good? As for “The Donald,” who knows what the future holds for him? We can only hope, and perhaps, pray, that one day he will stand for more than conspicuous consumption. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
5) A reign of more than fifty years, but only fourteen genuinely happy days. The English historian, Edward Gibbon, tells about a man named Abdul Rahman. Abdul Rahman was one of the Muslim Caliphs of Spain. He built for his pleasure the city, palace, and gardens of Zehra, beautifying them with the costliest marbles, sculptures, gold and pearls. He had sixty-three hundred persons — wives, concubines, and eunuchs — at his service. His guard had belts and scimitars studded with gold. And yet, at his death, the following authentic memorial was found commemorating his life: “I have now reigned above fifty years in victory and peace . . . Riches, honors, power, pleasure . . .” Then the caliph adds these words to his epitaph: “the days of pure and genuine happiness which have fallen to my lot: they amount to fourteen.” — A reign of more than fifty years, but only fourteen genuinely happy days. Full barns–empty souls. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
6) 1.3 billion feet of rentable space: George Carlin said, “The essence of life is trying to find a place to put all your stuff.” In a real way he is probably right, though he was telling a joke. A close friend of mine owns mini-warehouses. Every time I see him I ask, “How’s business?” And with a big smile he says, “Business could never be better because America is full of stuff.” We have 32,000 self-storage businesses nationwide containing 1.3 billion feet of rentable space. One hundred million storage containers are sold by Rubbermaid each year so that we have some place to store our stuff. In fact, in the Tennessean today you can read that professional organizers will come to your house for as much as $75.00 per hour and organize your stuff for you so you can have a place to store it in a convenient manner. — Today’s Gospel tells us that life is more than your stuff. Life is more than your accomplishments. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
7) “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” We are all familiar with the hit television show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” Well, USA Today recently said the answer is: “Everybody.” In an article entitled, “Everyone wants a shot at being a millionaire,” I found out that we are a country drowning in millionaires. The estimate is there are now around five million Americans with assets of $1 million or more; while just ten years ago there were fewer than half that number. Billionaires are multiplying even faster. In 1983 Forbes counted 13 American billionaires; today there are 267. Never before in the history of this country has so much money been made so quickly by so many people. [“Everyone wants a shot at being a millionaire,” USA Today, Maria Puente, N.D.] — Well, on the one hand it may not be wrong to want to be a millionaire, but it can be very dangerous as explained by today’s Gospel. Did you know that eighty-five out of one hundred Americans have less than $250 in savings when they reach age sixty-five? Did you know that in the event of a loss of income or unexpected major expense, the average American family is three to six weeks away from bankruptcy? [Randy C. Alcorn, Money, Possessions and Eternity (Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1989).] (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
8) Actress searching for her most valuable possessions to save from fire: At the turn of the century, actress Alla Nazimova was one of this country’s earliest stars. Unlike many of her colleagues, Nazimova did not become trapped by a glamorous lifestyle. How did she escape? Her perspective on material things changed the day a fire swept through her Hollywood neighborhood. As the fire moved ever closer to her home, Nazimova ran from room to room, searching for her most valuable possessions to save. To her surprise, none of her pretty furnishings and knick-knacks mattered to her at that moment. The only things she took with her were a few photographs. The fire never reached Nazimova’s house, but when she returned to it, nothing felt the same. She began getting rid of her possessions, and reported greater happiness with fewer things. — Most of us can relate to that if we will think about it. Why do we get trapped in this cycle of wanting more and more nice things? Jesus in today’s Gospel says God does not call us evil people; simply foolish. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
9) “We’re too poor to give money to charity:” Sam Foss, a writer and traveler, discovered a rustic little house in England situated at the top of a hill. A signpost read: “Help yourself to a cool drink.” Nearby he found a spring of ice-cold water. An old-fashioned gourd dipper hung above the spring, and on a bench was a basket of summer apples, along with another sign inviting passersby to help themselves. Foss was curious about the people who showed such hospitality to strangers. An elderly couple answered when he knocked at the door. Foss asked them about the well and the apples. They explained that their little plot of ground yielded a scant living, but because they were fortunate enough to have a well with abundant cold water, they wanted to share it with anyone who happened by. “We’re too poor to give money to charity,” said the husband, “but we thought that this would be a good way to do something for the folks who pass our way.” [Donald E. and Vesta W. Mansell, Sure As the Dawn (Review & Herald Publishing Association, 1993).] — It’s amazing how some people whom the world categorizes as smart, God sees as foolish, and how others whom the world sees as foolish, God knows to be wise. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
10) The dynamite king dies: In 1888, Alfred Nobel picked up a French newspaper and read his own obituary. His brother had died, and, by mistake, the newspaper printed Alfred’s obituary instead. In it, Alfred Nobel was remembered as the dynamite king, the merchant of death, a person who had amassed a great fortune out of explosives used extensively in wars. — Alfred Nobel didn’t like what he read. He set out to make a better name for himself. He established, among other things, the Nobel Peace Prize, which today continues to honor persons around the world who have championed the cause of peace. Alfred Nobel moved from success to significance. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
11) “But we thank you anyway.” In the movie Shenandoah, James Stewart plays a Virginia farmer during the Civil War years. He begins every meal with the same prayer: “Lord, I planted the seeds, I plowed the ground, I gathered in the harvest. If I hadn’t of put the food on the table it wouldn’t be here. But we thank you anyway.” — He forgot the truth that nature, by God’s providence, provides 95% of the energies necessary to produce a crop, while the farmer provides only 5%. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
12) Money as an idol or a tool or “my first, last, and only love.” Bible teacher Howard Hendricks tells about dining with a rich man from a blueblood Boston family. Hendricks asked him, “How in the world did you grow up in the midst of such wealth and not be consumed by materialism?” The rich man answered like this: “My parents taught us that everything in our home was either an idol or a tool.” That’s the difference: money as an idol or a tool, money as a servant or a master, money as a means or an end. Industrialist Armand Hammer once said, “Money is my first, last and only love.” — If so, that is sad. Money is only an instrument, not the symphony itself. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
13) Black Monday tragedy: On Black Monday, October 19, 1987, the Dow Jones average plunged 508 points. As it plunged the Pacific Stock Exchange requested that a suicide watch be placed on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. During the same week in Miami, a longtime speculator who lost large sums in the market’s crash walked into the local Merrill Lynch brokerage office and requested to see his broker and the office manager. He opened his briefcase, took out a handgun, and shot and killed the two men and himself. A friend commented, “His entire life was devoted to the market, and it collapsed around him.” [John A. Stroman, Thunder from the Mountain (Nashville: Upper Room).] — So it is with those who make money their god. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
14) “Yes, God is there, but those fellows don’t know it.” A teacher was talking to a class of little boys about the presence of God in daily life. He asked them if God is everywhere, and they correctly answered, “Yes.” In an effort to get the matter closer to their own personal living, he named actual situations. Is God in the Church? Yes. Is God in the home? Yes. On the street? Yes. Is God in the city prison? Silence. That one had them stopped. Finally, one boy came up with as good an answer as I’ve heard. “Yes, God is there, but those fellows don’t know it.” — That was this man’s trouble, wasn’t it? God was in his life, but he didn’t know it. God was in his fruits, God was in his fields, God was in his goods. God was everywhere except in his gratitude. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
15) The rich fool: When medicine was primitive, years ago, doctors, not knowing exactly what to prescribe to their patients, often prescribed sugar pills or bottles of colored water of no medicinal value with the assurance that some of their patients would still experience some relief as soon as the so-called medicine was taken. This form of treatment is called “the placebo effect,” and it has been noted that 30 to 60 per cent of those persons who receive a placebo — not real medicine but a harmless substitute — will experience some relief. Let’s consider for a few moments some of these placebos. Twenty years ago, there was a Greek tycoon whose name was a household word in this country. You have already guessed Aristotle Onassis. Onassis once said, “All that really counts these days is money. It’s the people with money that are the royalty now.” By that maxim, Onassis lived like a king. He had every plaything that you and I can imagine. He personified on a grand scale the excesses of the so called “jet set.” He had residences in half a dozen cities, a tropical island of his own, and an elegant art collection. He boasted the world’s most lavish yacht, the CHRISTINA, a 325-foot rebuilt Canadian frigate complete with sumptuous bathrooms lined in Siena marble and fitted with gold-plated faucets. He enjoyed the company of beautiful women and startled the entire world on October 20, 1968 by marrying one of the most famous and glamorous women on earth, the widow of a beloved former president of the United States Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/). — Aristotle Onassis had it all everything in this world that money can buy. But money is a placebo, an illusion. Nothing that we own is permanently ours. Nothing we own can meet our deepest needs. Life changed dramatically for Aristotle Onassis in 1973, when his son, Alexander, then twenty-four, was killed in a plane crash. “He aged overnight,” observed a close associate. “He suddenly became an old man.” Aristotle Onassis, the shrewd businessman, became absentminded and to a certain extent irrational. In the next two years, the value of his holdings declined by one-half. When he died, he was a sad, tired old man. He had no inner resources to deal with life’s greatest tragedies. He only had a placebo, his wealth, and it was not enough. (Time, March 24, 1975). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
16) “No, I have the same house, same car, same friends, same wife.” Robert Fulghum is a best-selling author. His best-known book is titled All I Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. More than 15 million copies of his books are in print, and they are sold around the world. Needless to say, he has done very well financially. In an interview several years ago with a Christian magazine called The Door, Fulghum reported that since his success, people are always saying, “Well, you must have a big house and a big car.” And he responds, “No, I have the same house, same car, same friends, same wife.” Fulghum admits to being on guard against all kinds of greed, and is committed to serving God, not money. Of course, fame is a challenge, Fulghum admits, “and the challenge is to be a good steward with this kind of authority and power‑-especially with the economics.” So one year he did a book tour, and used it to raise $670,000 for a number of good causes. “I don’t think I should be given extra credit for doing that,” he says. “I think you should think ill of me if I didn’t do that.” Death doesn’t scare Fulghum. In fact, in one of his books is a picture of the grave he has already picked out, and he likes to visit it. It reminds him to live for the goal of laying up for himself treasures in Heaven. And when Fulghum sees the grave, he says to himself, “Don’t get lost here. Know where you’re going.” [Dr. Daniel Lioy, Tarbell’s Lesson Commentary, September 2004‑August 2005 (Colorado Springs: Cook Communications).] — Good advice. I don’t know if he learned this in kindergarten or not. My guess is he learned it from today’s Gospel. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
17) “You look just like my fourth husband.” The Greek word for covetousness is very interesting. It literally means “a thirst for having more.” It refers to the attitude of wanting whatever you see and wanting more of it once you get it. I read about an old lady who moved to a retirement home, and she began to stare at this one particular man who had been in that retirement home for years. She would go to breakfast and sit right across the table from him and just stare at him. She would go to lunch, sit right across the table and stare at him. She would go to dinner and do the same thing. If he went out to the front porch to rock, she would go out and sit in the rocker next to him and just stare at him. After she did that for about four days, he said, “Lady, why do you keep staring at me?” She said, “You look just like my fourth husband.” He said, “How many husbands have you had?” She said, “Three.” I heard about a mother who saw her two-year-old boy swallow a nickel. She immediately ran over to him, picked him up, turned him upside down, began to beat him on the back. Well the little boy coughed up two quarters. This time she did go into a panic. She yelled for her husband who came running up and said, “What happened?” She said, “Billy just swallowed a nickel and I hit him, and he coughed up two quarters. What should I do?” He said, “Keep feeding him nickels!” — Greedy foolish people are everywhere. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
18) A bigger Fool: The story is told of a king of tremendous wealth who gave his jester a wand, saying “Keep this wand until you find a greater fool than yourself.” The jester laughingly accepted the wand and used it on festive occasions. One day the king lay dying. Calling the jester to his bedside he said, “I am going on a long journey.” “Where to?” asked the jester. “I don’t know.” came the reply. “What provisions have you made for the trip?” the jester asked. The king shrugged his shoulders. “None at all.” “Then” said the jester, “take this.” And placing the wand in the king’s hands, he added, “it belongs to you. You are a greater fool than I.” (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
19) The source of happiness or the cause of our..: We read that Elvis Presley was phenomenally rich. He owned eight cars, six motorbikes, two aeroplanes, sixteen television sets, a vast mansion, and several bulging bank accounts. On top of all this he was a superstar, literally idolized by fans from all over the world. With all of this one would have expected him to be supremely happy. Ironically that was far from the truth. In spite of fame, wealth and success, Elvis Presley experienced within himself a spiritual malaise and would often complain of both loneliness and boredom. In one particular interview, he very frankly confessed, “I never, never imagined that money would bring so many headaches!” Sadly, as we all know, the end came sooner rather than later, at the premature age of 42, leaving the entire world speechless with shock and benumbed with grief. The world had lost an idol, and the music world had lost a superstar. The accountant of John D. Rockefeller, the wealthiest man that ever lived in the USA, was once asked how much money the world-famous billionaire left behind. Without batting an eyelid, the accountant honestly answered with just one word, “Everything!” (James Valladares in Your Words, O Lord, Are Spirit, and They Are Life). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
20) Charles Dickens in his story, “A Christmas Carol,” gives the picture of a selfish man, Ebenezer Scrooge, whose sole aim in life was acquiring as much wealth as possible at any cost. He considered Christmas celebrations as humbug, and hated charity. He weighed human relationship against material wealth. He never bothered to care for his nephew or his employees. One day night, he saw an unusual figure in his bedroom. It was a ghost in chains. The ghost introduced himself as Scrooge’s deceased partner, Jacob Marley, and warned Scrooge about the futility of the life that he was leading. Marley told Scrooge that some spirits would come to him and he should listen to their message, to avoid the fate that Marley was suffering. First came the ghost of the past. He took Scrooge to his past where he saw himself as a young man who did not heed the voice of his parents; who abandoned the love of a beautiful maiden to amass wealth. The second ghost, the ghost of the present, took him to the Church where Christmas celebrations were being held; and to the house of one of his employees. The third ghost took him to the future. He was taken to a house where a dead body lay unattended and unlamented by anyone. He was curious to see the dead man. The ghost allowed him to see the corpse. Scrooge was shocked to see it was himself. There he learned what others thought of him. Everyone hated him due to his over attachment to wealth and was glad he had died. Ebenezer Scrooge learned that his frantic chase for and hoarding of wealth had been meaningless. It was leading lead him to eternal misery. The whole experience brought Scrooge to complete conversion, and his wealth became his servant to bring life to all around him. — This is the message of today’s readings. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
21) “But God said to him: ‘You fool!” The discovery of the tomb of King Tutankhamun gives ample evidence of this. When his tomb was opened, the excavators found great treasure buried along with his body. The list of contents describes breath-taking treasure and different types of objects, many of them made of gold and silver and encrusted with precious jewels. There were gold ornaments, silver ornaments, jewelry, furniture, weapons, thrones, jars, bottles, chariots, clothes, and statues representing servant. All these were meant to accompany him to the other world for a comfortable life there, but they stayed where he was buried. —The man in the story Jesus too is also like this. He exhorts himself, “eat heartily, drink well, and enjoy yourself.” He gives no consideration to his end. But God says to him: “You fool! This very night the demand will be made for your soul; and this hoard of yours, whose will it be then?” St. Paul advises us, “Let your thoughts be on heavenly things, not on the things that are on the earth.” (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
21) Vanity: Vanity is well illustrated by Aesop’s fable of the fox and the crow. The coal-black crow flew into a tree with a stolen piece of meat in her beak. A fox, who saw her, wanted the meat, so he said, “How beautiful you are my friend! Is your voice as beautiful?” The crow was so happy that she opened her mouth to sing. Down fell the piece of meat and the fox seized upon it and ran away. — In our time, vanity could be illustrated by the woman who, aiming to prove her contention that men are more vain than women, said in a speech: “It is a pity that most intelligent and learned men attach least importance to the way they dress. Why, sitting right here in this room is the most cultivated man in the world, wearing the most clumsily knotted tie!” As if on signal, every man in the room immediately put his hand to his tie to straighten it. (Harold Buetow in God Still Speaks: Listen! Quoted by Fr. Botelho). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
22) “Really Livin!” In one of his stories Bill Glass, an evangelist tells the story of a multi-millionaire Texas oil man. He planned that when he died, he would be buried in a solid gold, custom-made Cadillac surrounded by all his wealth. At his funeral a vast crowd assembled to pay their last respects. The dead man was dressed in his finest apparel — the kind Liberace wore when he performed — and was propped up in the front seat of his golden Cadillac. As the car was lowered into the grave, a young boy in the crowd said: “Man, that’s really livin!”– Bill Glass goes on to emphasize the point of his parable. What we often think of as “‘really livin'” is “really dyin’.” What we often pursue under the illusion of a “full life’” leads only to an empty, waiting grave’. Today’s reading says much the same thing. (Albert Cylwicki in His Word Resounds; quoted by Fr. Botelho). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
23) The Question: A rich man heard that a certain priest had a “hot line” to God, and he came to him in search of a favour. He wanted the priest to pray and find out if he, the rich man, was going to Heaven when he died. It was a strange request, but the priest decided to give it a go. A week later the rich man returned. “Did you find out?” he asked. “Yes, I did,” replied the priest. “Well then, what’s the answer”, the rich man asked very anxiously. “The answer is in two parts” replied the priest. “There is good news, and there’s bad news. Which would you like to hear first?” The man was quite nervous, but he ventured to hear the good news first. “The good news is that you are going to Heaven when you die.” The rich man was thrilled, and excited, and it was a few seconds before he spoke. “That’s great. That’s the good news. Surely what could be bad news after that? What’s the bad news?” “The bad news is that you’re going to die tonight!” (Jack McArdle in And That’s the Gospel Truth! Quoted by Fr. Botelho). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
24) The paradox of today: Today we have higher buildings and wider highways, but shorter tempers and narrower points of view.
We have bigger houses, but smaller families.
We spend more but enjoy less; we have more medicines but less health; we have much more food, but less nutrition.
We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We have finer houses, but more broken homes.
We reached the Moon and came back, but we find it troublesome to cross our own street and meet our neighbors.
We have increased our possessions, but we have reduced our values;
Many have higher incomes, but lower morals.
We have more quantity, but we are short on quality,
We have learned to make a living, but not how to live.
We have added years to life, but not life to years.
Many have more leisure, but less good fun.
We can travel long distances, but have trouble crossing the streets!
We spend their younger days losing health to get wealth, and we spend their older days losing wealth to gain health!
We live as if we will never die, and die as if we had never lived.
It’s not who has the most, that’s important, but who needs the least.
— But if you have GOD in your life, food on your table, a roof over your head, clothes on your back, reasonable income and, love and faith in your heart… Be happy and glad. For anything else that life can offer is nothing more than La-La.
(Quoted by Fr. Tony Kayala). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
25) Be honeycomb-givers: There are three kinds of givers: the flint, the sponge, and the honeycomb. Which kind are you? To get anything from the flint, you must hammer it. Yet, all you get are chips and sparks. The flint gives nothing away if it can help it, and even then, only with a great display. To get anything from the sponge, you must squeeze it. It readily yields to pressure and the more it is pressed, the more it gives. Still, one has to squeeze it. To get anything from the honeycomb, however, all one must do is take what freely flows from it. The comb gives its sweetness generously, dripping on all without pressure, without begging or badgering. — The honeycomb is a renewable resource. Unlike the flint or the sponge, the honeycomb is connected to life; it is the product of the ongoing work and creative energy of bees. If you share like a honeycomb-giver your life will be continually replenished and grow as you give. When we share, we freely give, and we acknowledge that all we have is on loan and others have as much right to the things of God’s creation as we do. (Keith Wagner, But, I Need It!). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
26) The Rich Man’s Reward: There is an old story about a very wealthy man who died and went to heaven. An angel guided him on a tour of the celestial city. He came to a magnificent home. “Who lives there?” asked the wealthy man. “Oh,” the angel answered, “on earth he was your gardener.” The rich man got excited. If this was the way gardeners lived, just think of the kind of mansion in which he would spend eternity! They came to an even more magnificent abode. “Who’s is this?” asked the rich man almost overwhelmed. The angel answered, “She spent her life as a missionary.” The rich man was really getting excited now. Finally, they came to a tiny eight-by-eight shack with no window and only a piece of cloth for a door. It was the most modest home the rich man had ever seen. “This is your home, ‟ said the angel. The wealthy man was flabbergasted. “I don’t understand. The other homes were so beautiful. Why is my home so tiny?” The angel smiled sadly, “I’m sorry, ‟ he said. “We did all we could with what you sent us to work with…” — Out of the abundance we receive, we are to give cheerfully to the poor. We are to support the ministries of the church cheerfully. We are to respond joyfully to the extravagant generosity of God. (Fr. Tony Kayala). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
27) $100 million divorce money and $20 for church and charities: Did you read about the couple in Florida who had been married twenty-one years and were getting a divorce? The terms of the settlement called for the woman to be able to maintain “a reasonable lifestyle.” Since the couple listed their assets at $100 million, here’s what the judge decided: She could fly to New York once a month to get her hair fixed; she would receive $2,600 a month to eat out; and she would receive a liberal expense account for gasoline, oil, and maintenance of her $100,000 Mercedes. In addition, she was to receive, each month: $10,446 for vacations; $6,452 for clothing; $1,592 for groceries; $1,440 for local beauty parlors; $1,407 miscellaneous; $171 for pet care; and $20 for Church and charities. (“The Messenger,” Bacon Heights Baptist Church, Lubbock, Texas, 1991.) — Is there something wrong with this picture? One hundred million dollars and she was giving $20 a month to Church and charities? Wealth is ours for the sharing. Sure, there is passing satisfaction in the little luxuries of life, but not as much as being involved in something great and lasting. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
28) There Is No Slave or Free man: Officially the American Civil War was fought to preserve the Union the Americans achieved through the Revolution. But the initial and strongest issue at stake was the preservation or the abolition of black slavery. The North had no economic reason for keeping slavery, but slavery meant much to the economy of the South, particularly in the raising of cotton. Behind the ambivalent struggle loomed the debated question: Should any human person be held in bondage, especially in the “Land of Liberty”? During the War in 1863, President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation declared free all black slaves in the seceded Confederate states. The war came to an end on April 9, 1865 – four years after the firing of the first gun. Robert E. Lee, beloved head of the Confederate Armies, surrendered to General U.S. Grant at Appomattox Court House, Virginia. Many of his loyal followers wanted to fight on; but Lee saw it would only waste life uselessly. Having handed over his sword, the Southern leader returned home, now a private citizen. How would the General accommodate the Emancipation? Basically, he was no lover of slavery, having fought the war in defense of state’s rights. A few weeks after Appomattox, he showed his attitude towards emancipation at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Richmond. At communion time, a newly freed Black rose and went to the railing. Now, in pre-war southern churches (Catholic as well as Protestant), there had been a social segregation. Here is how Lee’s biographer Charles Bracelen Flood describes what happened. ”The congregation froze: those who had been ready to go forward and kneel at the altar rail remained in their pews … General Robert E. Lee was present and, ignoring the action of the Negro, arose in his usual dignified and self-possessed manner, and reverently knelt down to partake of the communion, not far from the Negro. The other communicants went forward to the altar and the service continued.”– General Lee knew what St. Paul had written: “There is no Greek or Jew here, slave or free man.” We who believe that also should be leaders in social justice. (Fr. Robert F. McNamara). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
29) St. John Maia Vianney and money: St John Vianney, the poor parish priest of Ars, France, who lived in the 1800s, learned this lesson well. When he started to become famous because of his holiness, his ministry in the confessional, and his miracles, his tiny parish was flooded with pilgrims. Many of these pilgrims were so grateful to him that they made donations to his parish. At first, he used these donations to repair and beautify the parish church. When that was complete, he still accepted donations. In fact, he continued to beg the pilgrims to give him large donations. And as soon as these would add up to a certain amount of money, he would immediately use that money to sponsor an annual parish mission in other parishes through a missionary order of priests. He never saved his money longer than necessary to sponsor another parish mission. Pilgrims used to be surprised at his excitement when their donation put him over the top with enough for a sponsorship. He ended up endowing dozens of these missions, assuring that even long after his death, he would still be contributing to the good of the Church and of his neighbor. — This was a man who had learned the true value of money and used it well. (E-Priest). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
30) The Skeletons of Pompeii: We are all familiar with the famous eruption of Mt Vesuvius in ancient times, which buried the city of Pompeii in lava in a matter of minutes. The lava and ash came quickly and inhuge quantities, preserving a snapshot of life in that ancient city, as if freezing a moment from the past. When archeologists uncovered the lava-caked city, they found entire families gathered around a meal – buried in lava before they even knew the volcano had erupted; they found beasts of burdenstanding in their stables; they also found some people who had seen or heard the eruption and were trying, in vain, to run awaywhen the eruption caught up with them. But according to some records, the very first human remains that the archeologists found were the skeletons of a man and a woman, preserved in their lava shell. When they broke through that shell, they found the skeletons’ bony fingers clutching handfuls of gold coins. — The temptation to trust too much in money is an old one – as old as money itself. Today Jesus is encouraging us once again notto fall into such temptation. (E-Priest). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
31) Let us learn our mission: Christ has given each oneof us a mission – even if we seem to lead the most ordinary of lives. Let me prove it to you by giving you a quiz. This quiz has two parts. Each part has three questions, which I want you to answer silently, to yourself. Here are the questions in the first part: Name the MVPs of the last World Series, Super Bowl, Stanley Cup finals, and NBA finals. Name five Nobel or Pulitzer prize winners. Name the winner of the last two Miss America contests. OK. Remember how many of those questions you got right. Now, here are the questions in the second part of the quiz. Name a teacher who has helped you learn and grow as a person. Name someone who has helped you through a difficult time. Name 2 friends who have been there for you during good times and bad. Now, remember how any of those questions you got right. Most of us were probably able to answer all three questions of the second part and maybe one question from the first part. — This shows that what’s most important in life is not always what’s most spectacular. The biggestimpact doesn’t always make the biggest headline. St. Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa) used to say that no one of us is called to be successful, but all of us are called to be faithful. What God is asking each one of us to be and to do in our lives may not make the highlights on the eleven o’clock evening news, but they will certainly help someone become wiser and happier, and bring someone closer to heaven, and that’s much more important. (E-Priest). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
32) The Transition to the Euro: When the European Union was ready to transition to one unit of currency—the Euro—it was a three-year process. At midnight on January 1st, 1999 the exchange rates of the participating countries were locked, and non-physical transactions (such as traveler’s checks and bank transfers) began to be done in Euros. It was expected that the German mark would last for a while in parallel, but it disappeared from the markets almost immediately as traders switched to the Euro. The old coins and physical currency (Italian lira, French francs, etc.) remained legal tender for three years, until new coins and physical currency were put into use on January 1st, 2002. Those who used the old currency only received the Euro in exchange. A few months after the new coins and notes were minted, the old currency ceased to have any legal value. If you are visiting Italy and discover a trunk of lira in your attic, you’re out of luck. — The “currency” of Heaven is holiness and virtue. The only other legal tender accepted is the Lord’s mercy. (E-Priest). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
33) Planning Your Retirement: If there’s one practical lesson that the wealthy retiree in today’s Gospel didn’t learn, it is that when you plan for retirement, you must be ready for anything. You may not be able to stay in your home due to poor health or financial problems. Inflation may force you to pinch pennies. Declining health may require you to move to an Assisted Living facility. Your plan must have the financial security to face whatever may arise. This is important, but also a potential source of anxiety. — The key is not to treasure your expected outcome in this world: no one can see the future. If you focus on the outcome in eternity, nothing that happens here below should worry you. (E-Priest). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
34) Someone who has a WHY to live, can endure almost any HOW: On October 19th, 1944, a prominent Jewish psychiatrist named Viktor Frankl was transported to Auschwitz. Over the course of the next year his wife, his brother, and his mother all died in concentration camps. Frankl survived, and wrote a book about his experiences, entitled (in English), Man’s Search for Meaning. In it he describes the Nazis attempt to demoralize the prisoners. They tried to get them to focus on the hopelessness of their situation, and thereby to lead them to despair. They would use tactics like withholding food, and then, when everyone was starving, throw bread in the middle of the prison yard and allow everyone out to get it. The Nazi expectation was that the adults would rip the bread away from starving children, and thus dehumanize themselves. However, Frankl said that not everyone behaved as expected. Some chose to act nobly, even though they knew they might die for it. From such observations, and from his own experiences, he coined his famous dictum that someone who has a WHY to live, can endure almost any HOW. — When we keep our eyes fixed on the eternal joy of heaven, we start to see the events of this world in their proper perspective. (E-Priest). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
35) There Is No Slave Or Freeman: Officially the American Civil War was fought to preserve the Union the Americans achieved through the Revolution. But the initial and strongest issue at stake was the preservation or the abolition of black slavery. The North had no economic reason for keeping slavery. Slavery meant much to the economy of the South, particularly in the raising of cotton. Behind the ambivalent struggle loomed the debated question: Should any human person be held in bondage, especially in the “Land of Liberty”? During the War in 1863, President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation declared free all black slaves in the seceded Confederate states. The war came to an end on April 9, 1865 – four years after the firing of the first gun. Robert E. Lee, beloved head of the Confederate Armies, surrendered to General U.S. Grant at Appomattox Court House, Virginia. Many of his loyal followers wanted to fight on; but Lee saw it would only waste life uselessly. Having handed over his sword, the Southern leader returned home, now a private citizen.How would the General accommodate the Emancipation? Basically, he was no lover of slavery, having fought the war in defense of state’s rights. A few weeks after Appomattox, he showed his attitude towards emancipation at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Richmond. At communion time, a newly freed Black rose and went to the railing. Now, in pre-war southern churches (Catholic as well as Protestant), there had been a social segregation. Here is how Lee’s biographer Charles Bracelen Flood describes what happened.“The congregation froze: those who had been ready to go forward and kneel at the altar rail remained in their pews … General Robert E. Lee was present and, ignoring the action of the Negro, arose in his usual dignified and self-possessed manner, and reverently knelt down to partake of the communion, not far from the Negro. The other communicants went forward to the altar and the service continued.”General Lee knew what St. Paul had written: “There is no Greek or Jew here, slave or freeman.” We who believe that also should be leaders in social justice. (Father Robert F. McNamara) (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
For Pope Francis’ message to Seminarians & novices in three parts: click on
“Scriptural Homilies” Cycle C (No. 45) by Fr. Tony:
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 email@example.com. Visit https://www.catholicsermons.com/homilies/sunday_homilies of Fr. Nick’s collection of homilies or Resources in the CBCI website: https://www.cbci.in. (Special thanks to Vatican Radio website http://www.vaticannews.va/en/church.html -which completed uploading my Cycle A, B and C homilies in May 2020) Fr. Anthony Kadavil, Chaplain, Sacred Heart Residence of the Little Sisters of the Poor, 1655 McGill Ave, Mobile, AL 36604