Aug 22-27: Kindly click on https://frtonyshomilies.com/ for missed homilies: Aug 22 Monday: (The Queenship of Blessed Virgin Mary): https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/queenship-of-the-blessed-virgin-mary : Lk 1:26-38: This special Liturgical Feast was proclaimed by Pope Pius XII on October 11, 1954 through his Encyclical Letter Ad Caeli Reginam. But Mary’s title as “Queen of Heaven and Earth” is a great scandal to many non-Catholic Christians. Here is the Biblical argument supporting her Queenship given in the encyclical.
Theology of Mary’s queenship: Since Holy Scripture presents Jesus Christ as a king, his mother Mary is the Queen-Mother. Jesus is King by Nature, as God; but Mary is Queen by “Divine relationship,” that is, by being the Mother of God. Mary is also Queen by grace. She is full of grace, the highest in the category of grace, next to her Son. She is Queen by singular choice of God the Father. If a mere human can become King or Queen by choice of the people how much greater a title is the choice of the Father Himself! Biblical basis: Holy Father gives three biblical citations supporting Mary’s queenship.1) The messianic prophecies. In most of the Messianic prophecies given in the Old Testament books of Samuel, Micah (5:1), Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Daniel (7: 13-14), Christ, the Messiah, is represented as a King, an identity given to Jesus in the New Testament: Lk 1:32-33, Mt 2:2, Lk 19:38, Jn 18:37. 2) The annunciation scene: The beginning of the concept that Mary is a Queen is found in the Annunciation narrative, given in today’s Gospel (Lk 1:26-38). For the angel tells Mary that her Son will be King over the house of Jacob forever. So, she, His Mother, would be a Queen.3) Vision of Mary in the Book of Revelation: Mary’s Queenship can be seen in the great vision described in Revelation: “And a great portent appeared in Heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; she was with child and she cried out in her pangs of birth, in anguish for delivery” (Rv 12:1–2). Thus Revelation 12 portrays Mary as the new Queen-Mother in the Kingdom of God, sharing in her Son’s rule over the universe.
Role of Queen-mother in the Bible: In the monarchy of King David, as well as in other ancient kingdoms of the Near East, the mother of the ruling king held an important office in the royal court and played a key part in the process of dynastic succession. In fact, the king’s mother ruled as queen, not his wife or one of his wives. The prophet Jeremiah tells how the queen-mother possessed a throne and a crown, symbolic of her position of authority in the kingdom (Jer 13:18, 20). Probably the clearest example of the queen-mother’s role is that of Bathsheba, wife of David and mother of Solomon (1 Kgs 1:16–17, 31; 1 Kgs 2:19–20; 1 Kgs 2:19–20). Some Old Testament prophecies incorporate the queen-mother tradition when telling of the future Messiah. One example is Isaiah 7:13-14.
Life message: 1) Understanding Mary as Queen-Mother explains her important intercessory role in the Christian life. (Once, King Solomon responded to a request made by the queen-mother of the Davidic kingdom , Bathsheba, with “Ask it, my Mother, for I will not refuse you” 1 Kings 2:20), In this case, though, hearing the petition and discovering that the real petitioner, was a rival who desired to kill him and usurp the Kingdom entrusted to him by God through David, Solomon refused, not his Mother (whose will was always one with her son’s,) but the real petitioner whom he had killed at once (1 Kgs 2:21-25). So Jesus the king of the universe, responds to Mary, his Mother, whose will is completely one with that of God, and who serves Him in acting as our advocate before her Divine Son. Hence, we should approach our Queen-Mother with confidence, provided our requests are consonant with the Will of God, of course, knowing that she carries our petitions to her Royal Son. For additional reflections, click on https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections. https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/22
The prayer Salve Regina (Hail Holy Queen) is perfect for today: Hail holy Queen, Mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope. To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us. And after this our exile, show unto us the blessed Fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary. V: Pray for us, O holy Mother of God R: that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. Amen.
Aug 23 Tuesday: (St. Rose of Lima, Virgin): https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-rose-of-lima : Mt 23: 23-26:23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law, justice and mercy and faith; these you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. 24 You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel! 25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you cleanse the outside of the cup and of the plate, but inside they are full of extortion and rapacity. 26 You blind Pharisee! first cleanse the inside of the cup and of the plate, that the outside also may be clean. Additional reflections: Click on https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections
The context: Chapter 23 of Matthew’s Gospel presents the rolling thunder of Jesus’ anger and sorrow at the blatant hypocrisy of the Pharisees, in the form of a series of eight denunciations. Today’s Gospel passage contains the fourth, fifth, and sixth charges: unauthorized extra tithing, exaggerated zeal for the Law and undue emphasis on external cleanliness as a cheap substitute for internal purity. For Jesus, the essence of religion is offering a clean heart to God, a heart filled with love, mercy, compassion, and forgiveness. Mere external observance of rituals without cleansing the heart is hypocrisy.
The fourth of the eight accusations is that the Pharisees practice non-required and silly tithing of herbs in the kitchen garden, while they fail to observe “the weightier matters of the Law, Justice, Mercy and Faith,” thus missing the spirit of tithing. Tithing was intended to acknowledge God’s ownership of all our possessions, to support the Temple worship, and to help the poor in the Jewish community. The fifth denunciation is of their exaggerated zeal for observing the letter of the Law, for instance filtering the drinks to avoid unclean insects, while committing serious sins without any prick of conscience. The sixth indictment is of their exaggerated zeal for ritual, external cleanliness while they leave their minds and hearts filled with pride, evil intentions, prejudice and injustice and fail to practice mercy or offer compassion to suffering people.
Life Message: 1) Let us not be pharisaical in our religious life by meticulously practicing external observance of piety and devotion while remaining unjust, uncharitable, arrogant, impatient, cruel, stubborn, irritable, and judgmental. We are tempted to hide the bad things about ourselves and advertise the good things. So, the bad things grow, and the good things are dissipated. Let us try to have noble intentions for all our good deeds. 4 Let us learn to love God living in others by rendering them sacrificial service with agápe love. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/22
Aug 24 Wednesday: (St. Bartholomew, Apostle): https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-bartholomew/John 1:45-51: ( 43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. And he found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Now Philip was from Beth-sa’ida, the city of Andrew and Peter). 45 Philip found Nathan’a-el, and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 Nathan’a-el said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” 47 Jesus saw Nathan’a-el coming to him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!” 48 Nathan’a-el said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” 49 Nathan’a-el answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50 Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You shall see greater things than these.” 51 And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.” Additional reflections: Click on https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections
In today’s Gospel of John (John 1:43-51), Nathanael, also called Bartholomew or “son of Tholomay,” is introduced as a friend of Philip. He is described as initially being skeptical about the Messiah coming from Nazareth, saying: “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” But he accepts Philip’s invitation to meet Jesus. Jesus welcomes him saying, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!” Jesus comment “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you” is probably based on a Jewish figure of speech referring to studying the Torah. Nathanael immediately recognizes Jesus as “the Son of God” and “the King of Israel“. Nathanael reappears at the end of John’s Gospel (John 21:2) as one of the disciples to whom Jesus appeared at the Sea of Tiberius after his resurrection from the tomb. The Gospels thus present Bartholomew as a man with no malice and lover of Torah with openness to truth and readiness to accept the truth. Nathanael was the first Apostle to make an explicit confession of faith in Jesus as the Messiah and as the Son of God. (Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”.
Life message: Let us pray for the grace to love the word of God as Bartholomew did and to accept the teaching of the Bible and the Church with open heart and open mind without pride or prejudice. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/22
Aug 25 Thursday: (St. Louis) https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-louis-of-france St. Joseph Calasanz): https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-joseph-calasanzMatthew 24: 42-51: 42 Watch therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43 But know this, that if the householder had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have watched and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 Therefore you also must be ready; for the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect. 45 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? 46 Blessed is that servant whom his master when he comes will find so doing. 47 Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. 48 But if that wicked servant says to himself, `My master is delayed,’ 49 and begins to beat his fellow servants, and eats and drinks with the drunken, 50 the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, 51 and will punish him, and put him with the hypocrites; there men will weep and gnash their teeth. Additional reflections: Click on https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections
The context: The central theme of today’s Gospel passage is the necessity for Faith and vigilant preparedness in the lives of Christ’s followers. The passage contains a pair of short parables in which the chief characters are a master (representing the risen Jesus), and his servants (Jesus’ followers, ourselves). Jesus warns the disciples that they must be prepared at all times because the Son of Man will come at an unexpected hour. According to the Fathers of the Church, Jesus’ words in this passage have two senses. In the narrower sense, the words refer to the Second Coming of Jesus, but in the broader sense they refer to the time of our own death, when God will call us to meet Him and to give Him an account of our life on earth. Jesus wants all of us to be ready at every moment to do God’s will by loving others through humble, sacrificial service.
Steadfast Faith and eternal vigilance: In the first part of this discourse, prior to today’s Gospel, Jesus teaches the disciples the need for constant vigilance, using the mini parable of the thief and the treasure. We should not lose our treasure of Divine grace or close relationship with Jesus, like the man who awoke one morning to discover that a thief had stolen his wealth in the night. In the second part (today’s Gospel), Jesus exhorts the disciples to be steadfast in their Faith and ever vigilant. When he had to be away from home, a master would make a servant his steward and entrust to him the management of the household. A trusted steward was expected to run his master’s house well, to govern the master’s servants, and to administer the master’s estate. When his master was not at home, a wise and trustworthy steward was ever vigilant. He prepared himself for his master’s return at any time of the day or night by always doing his duties faithfully. Jesus illustrates the same point by using another mini parable of the foolish and wicked steward who got drunk, abused the other servants, and was caught red-handed by his master.
Life message: 1) These parables encouraging “wakefulness” and “preparedness” are addressed to all believers. Since the time of our death is quite uncertain, we, too, must be ever ready to meet our Lord at any moment. Our Master should find us carrying out our tasks of love, mercy and service, rather than leaving things undone or half-done or postponed. He should also find us at peace with God, ourselves and with our fellowmen (Eph 4:26) (Fr. Tony) https://frtonyshomilies.com/ (L/22)
Aug 26 Friday; Mt 25:1-13: 1 “Then the kingdom of heaven shall be compared to ten maidens who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3 For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; 4 but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. 5 As the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. 6 But at midnight there was a cry, `Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ 7 Then all those maidens rose and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said to the wise, `Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the wise replied, `Perhaps there will not be enough for us and for you; go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ 10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast; and the door was shut. 11 Afterward the other maidens came also, saying, `Lord, lord, open to us.’ 12 …13 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 parable, taken from Matthew’s Gospel, brings the usual warnings about preparation for the end of our own world, the end of our own times, and our own passage to another world. The parable tells us that a searching, watching, and growing heart is essential for a lively, dynamic Faith in God; it also asks us whether we are ready for these events and how we are preparing for them.
The parable: Since a wedding was a great occasion, the whole village would line up at the sides of the road to wish God’s blessings on the bride and groom in procession. The invited ones would join the procession, which started from the bride’s house, and ended at the groom’s house to take part in the week-long celebration. Since the bridegroom might come to the bride’s house unexpectedly, the bridal party had to be ready at any time, with virgins carrying lighted torches and reserve oil in jars. The five foolish virgins who could not welcome the groom’s party lost not only the opportunity of witnessing the marriage ceremony, but also of participating in the week-long celebration that followed. The local meaning is that the foolish virgins represent the “Chosen People of God” who were waiting for the Messiah but were shut out from the Messianic banquet because they were unprepared. The universal meaning is that the five foolish virgins represent those who fail to prepare for the end of their lives and for the Final Judgment. They do not put their Faith in Jesus and live it out by keeping Jesus’ Commandment to love others as Jesus Himself did.
Life messages: 1) We must be wise enough to remain ever prepared: Wise Christians carefully make their daily choices for God. They are ready to put the commandment of love into practice by showing kindness and forgiveness. 2) Let us be sure that our lamps are ready for the end of our lives: Spiritual readiness, preparation and growth come as a result of intentional habits built into one’s life. These include taking time for prayer and being alone with God; reading God’s Word; leading a Sacramental life; cooperating with God’s grace by offering acts of loving service to others; practicing moral faithfulness, and living always in loving obedience to Him. (Fr. Tony) https://frtonyshomilies.com/ (L/22)
Aug 27 Saturday: (St. Monica): https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-monica Matthew 25:14-30 : 14 “For it will be as when a man going on a journey called his servants and entrusted to them his property; 15 to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them; and he made five talents more. 17 So also, he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19 Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, `Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ 21 His master said to him, `Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master.’ 22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, `Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ 23 His master said to him, `Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master.’ 24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, `Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not winnow; 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master answered him, `You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sowed, and gather where I have not winnowed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.’ Additional reflections: Click on https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections
The context: The three parables in the twenty-fifth chapter of Matthew (The Wise and Foolish Virgins, The Talents, The Last Judgment) are about the end times, the end of the world, and the end of our lives. The parable of the talents is an invitation for each one of us to live in such a way that we make the best use of the talents God has given us. Then, at the hour of our death, God will say: “Well done, My good and faithful servant! Come and share the joy of your Master.” The parable challenges us to ask the questions: Are we using our talents and gifts primarily to serve God? Are we doing everything we can to carry out God’s will? The story: A very rich person, about to set off on a journey, entrusted very large sums of wealth (talents), to three of his slaves, each according to his personal ability: five, two, and one. Through skillful trading and investing, the first and second slaves managed to double their master’s money. Afraid of taking risk and lazy by nature, the third slave buried his talent in the ground. On the day of accounting, the master rewarded the two clever slaves (“Come, share your master’s joy.”), but punished the third slave whom he calls “wicked and slothful” (v. 26).
Life messages: 1) We need to trust God enough to make use of the gifts and abilities we have been given.Everyone is given different talents and blessings by God. So, we should ask ourselves how we are using our particular gifts in the service of our Christian community and the wider society. 2) We need to make use of our talents in our parish. We should be always willing to share our abilities in the liturgy, in Sunday school classes and in social outreach activities like feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, visiting the sick and the shut-ins. 3) We need to trade with our talent of Christian Faith: All of us in the Church today have received at least one talent. We have received the gift of Faith. Our responsibility as men and women of Faith is not just to preserve and “keep” the Faith but to live it out daily and pass it on faithfully to the next generation in our family and in our parish community. (Fr. Tony) https://frtonyshomilies.com/ (L/22)