Aug 29- Sept 3

Aug 29- Sept 3: Kindly click onhttps://frtonyshomilies.com/for missed homilies:

Aug 29 Monday: (The Passion of St. John the Baptist): https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/martyrdom-of-saint-john-the-baptist

Mk 6:17-2914 King Herod heard of it; for Jesus’ name had become known. Some said, “John the baptizer has been raised from the dead; that is why these powers are at work in him.” 15 But others said, “It is Elijah.” And others said, “It is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.” 16 But when Herod heard of it he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.” 17 For Herod had sent and seized John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife; because he had married her. 18 For John said to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” 19 And Herodias had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not, 20 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and kept him safe. When he heard him, he was much perplexed; and yet he heard him gladly. 21 But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and the leading men of Galilee. 22 For when Herodias’ daughter came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will grant it.” 23 And he vowed to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom.” 24 And she went out, and said to her mother, “What shall I ask?” And she said, “The head of John the baptizer.” 25 And she came in immediately with haste to the king, and asked, saying, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” 26 And the king was exceedingly sorry; but because of his oaths and his guests he did not want to break his word to her….29.

The context: Today’s Gospel presents the last scene of a tragic drama with three main characters, Herod, Herodias, and John the Baptist. Herod was a jealous, weak puppet-king with a very guilty conscience, who answered to Rome for his rule of one section of Israel, at that time a Roman subject-province. Herod feared the prophet John because John had publicly scolded him for divorcing his legal wife without adequate cause and for marrying his sister-in-law Herodias who was his niece, thus committing a double violation of Mosaic Law. Herodias was an immoral and greedy woman, stained by a triple guilt and enraged by John’s public criticism of her: 1) She was an unfaithful woman of loose morals. 2) She was a greedy and vengeful woman. 3) She was an evil mother who used her teenage daughter for the wicked purposes of murder and revenge by encouraging the girl to dance in public in the royal palace against the royal etiquette of the day. John the Baptist was a fiery preacher and the herald of the Promised Messiah. He was also a Spirit-filled prophet with the courage of his prophetic convictions who dared to criticize and scold an Oriental monarch and his proud wife in public.

God’s punishment: After the martyrdom of John, Herod was defeated by Aretas, the father of his first wife. Later, both Herod and Herodias were sent into exile by Caligula, the Roman emperor.

Life message: 1) Like John, we need to have courage of our Christian convictions in practicing what we believe and we have to pray for that courage. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/22 (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/22

For additional reflections: Click on https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections

Aug 30 Tuesday: Lk 4:31-37: 31 And he went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee. And he was teaching them on the Sabbath; 32 and they were astonished at his teaching, for his word was with authority. 33 And in the synagogue, there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon; and he cried out with a loud voice, 34 “Ah! What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.” 35 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” And when the demon had thrown him down in the midst, he came out of him, having done him no harm. 36 And they were all amazed and said to one another, “What is this word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.” 37 And reports of him went out into every place in the surrounding region.

Context: After the sad experience in Nazareth, Jesus used the city of Capernaum, 30 miles away from Nazareth, on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, the center of the fishing business, as a base for a teaching, healing, and preaching ministry. The people were impressed by the authority with which Jesus taught. The Old Testament prophets had taught using God’s delegated authority, and the scribes and Pharisees taught quoting Moses, the prophets and the great rabbis. But Jesus, as God Incarnate taught using Divine authority and knowledge. Perfect knowledge of God, perfect obedience to the will of God His Father, and absolute confidence in God were the sources and supports of Jesus’ authority. The second part of today’s Gospel describes a healing by exorcism, which Jesus performed in the synagogue. We are told how Jesus, as God Incarnate, exercised Divine authority to cast out the devil by just one compound command: “Be silent, and come out of him!” The demon obeyed at once, throwing the man it had possessed to the floor in the midst of the people in the synagogue on its departure. The people were impressed with Jesus’ power and authority that could command even evil spirits.

Life messages: 1) Our Faith is based on the Divinity of Christ, demonstrated by His miracles, which in turn give authority and validity to His teaching and promises. Hence, let us accept Jesus’ teachings, even if some of them are mysteries beyond our understanding 2) Let us read the authoritative word of God every day and assimilate it into our lives. 3) In our illnesses, let us confidently approach Jesus the Healer with trusting Faith first, then go to the doctors who are the ordinary instruments of Jesus’ healing ministry in our midst. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/22

For additional reflections: Click on https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections

Aug 31 Wednesday: Lk 4:38-44: 38 And he arose and left the synagogue and entered Simon’s house. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was ill with a high fever, and they besought him for her. 39 And he stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her; and immediately she rose and served them. 40 Now when the sun was setting, all those who had any that were sick with various diseases brought them to him; and he laid his hands on every one of them and healed them. 41 And demons also came out of many, crying, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them, and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Christ. 42 And when it was day he departed and went into a lonely place. And the people sought him and came to him, and would have kept him from leaving them; 43 but he said to them, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other cities also; for I was sent for this purpose.” 44 And he was preaching in the synagogues of Judea. .

The context: Today’s Gospel tells us that preaching the Good News of God’s love, mercy, and salvation, and healing the sick were the means Jesus used to build up the Kingdom of God. By preaching and healing, Jesus drew listeners to belief in a loving and providing God and to loving obedience to His will. We are told that Jesus drew renewed spiritual strength from God, His Father, every day by talking with and listening to Him, often in a desolate place at night.

Healing mission: Jesus never tired of healing the sick, thus demonstrating the mercy and compassion of His Heavenly Father to every sick person who approached with trusting Faith. Having finished the day’s preaching in the synagogue on one Sabbath, Jesus went to Simon’s home and healed Simon’s mother-in-law of a fever. In the evening, when the Sabbath rest was over, people brought all their sick dear ones to Jesus for healing and exorcism. Jesus either concluded the day or, as here, began the new day, by spending time with the Father in prayer in a lonely place.

Life messages: 1) We are called to continue Jesus’ preaching mission primarily by bearing witness to Christ through our day-to-day lives, radiating Christ’s mercy, love, forgiveness, and spirit of humble service to all around us. 2) We can participate in Jesus’ healing mission by praying for the sick and by visiting, helping, and encouraging the sick and shut-ins. 3) We, too, need to have our spiritual batteries recharged by prayer every day, as Jesus did. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/22

For additional reflections: Click on https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections

Sept 1 Thursday: Lk 5:1-11: 1 While the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret. 2 And he saw two boats by the lake; but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. 3 Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. 4 And when he had ceased speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” 5 And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” 6 And when they had done this, they enclosed a great shoal of fish; and as their nets were breaking, 7 they beckoned to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. 8 But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” 9 For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the catch of fish which they had taken; 10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; henceforth you will be catching men.” 11 And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.

The context: The scene is the Sea of Galilee (Gennesaret in Greekand Tiberius in Latin). The story of the miraculous catch of fish described in today’s Gospel is similar to the post-Resurrection appearance of Jesus recounted in Jn 21:4-14. It is one of the “epiphany-call stories” which direct our attention to the fact that Jesus had distinct criteria for selecting people to be apostles. The reading challenges us to examine our own personal calls to conversion and discipleship.

The miraculous catch followed by the call: After teaching the crowd from a seat in the boat of Simon, Jesus said to him “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” Simon and his companions were stunned by the biggest catch of their lives. This event led Simon to acknowledge his unworthiness, as a sinner, even to stand before the Divine Presence of Jesus. Impressed by Simon’s obedience and confession of unworthiness, Jesus immediately invited Simon, Andrew, James and John to become close disciples and so to “catch men” instead of fish.

Life Messages: 1) Our encounter with the holiness of God needs to lead us to recognize our sinfulness. The Good News of today’s Gospel is that our sinfulness — our pride and self-centeredness – does not repel God. That is why we offer this Mass asking God’s pardon and forgiveness, and why we receive Jesus in Holy Communion only after acknowledging our unworthiness.

2) With Jesus, the seemingly impossible becomes possible. Today’s Gospel passage tells us an important truth about how God works in and through us for His glory. God chooses ordinary people – people like you and me – as His ambassadors. He uses the ordinary circumstances of our daily lives and our responses. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/22

For additional reflections: Click on https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections

Sept 2 Friday: Lk 5:33-39: 33 And they said to him, “The disciples of John fast often and offer prayers, and the disciples of the Pharisees do the same; but yours eat and drink.” 34 Jesus answered them, “Can you make the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? 35 But the days will come, and when the bridegroom is taken away from them, then they will fast in those days.” 36 And he also told them a parable. “No one tears a piece from a new cloak to patch an old one. Otherwise, he will tear the new and the piece from it will not match the old cloak. 37 Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins, and it will be spilled, and the skins will be ruined. 38 Rather, new wine must be poured into fresh wineskins. 39 (And) no one who has been drinking old wine desires new, for he says, ‘The old is good.’

The context: Today’s Gospel passage gives Jesus’ reply to the question asked by a few disciples of John the Baptist about fasting and feasting. Prayer, fasting, and almsgiving were three cardinal works of Jewish religious life. Hence, John’s disciples wanted to know why they and the Pharisees fasted while Jesus’ disciples were seen feasting with him and never fasting.

Jesus’ reply: Jesus responds to their sincere question using three metaphors: the metaphor of the “children of the bridal chamber,” the metaphor of patching torn cloth, and the metaphor of wineskins. First, Jesus compares the apostles with the children of the bridal chamber, the selected friends of the bride and groom who feasted in the company of bride and groom during a week of honeymoon. Nobody expected them to fast. Jesus explains that the apostles will fast when Jesus, the bridegroom, has been taken away from them. In the same way, we are to welcome both the joys of Christian life and the crosses it offers us. Jesus uses the comparisons of the danger of using new, unshrunken cloth to make a patch for an old garment and of using old wineskins to store freshly fermented wine, to tell the questioners that they must have more elastic and open minds and larger hearts to understand and follow the new ideas they are hearing, which are in many cases different from the traditional Jewish teachings.

Life messages: 1) We need to be adjustable Christians with open and elastic minds: The Holy Spirit, working actively in the Church and guiding the Church’s teaching authority, enables the Church to have new visions, new ideas, and new adaptations and to replace old ways of worship with new. So, we should have the generosity and good will to follow the teachings of the Church.

2) At the same time, we need the assistance of the Holy Spirit, Who works through the Church’s magisterium to interpret and apply Scripture – the Old Testament revelations and the New Testament teachings — and Sacred Tradition to our daily lives. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L22

For additional reflections: Click on https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections

Sept 3 Saturday: (St. Gregory the great, Pope, Doctor of the Church): https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-gregory-the-greatLuke 6:1-5: 1 While he was going through a field of grain on a Sabbath, his disciples were picking the heads of grain, rubbing them in their hands, and eating them. Some Pharisees said, “Why are you doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?” Jesus said to them in reply, “Have you not read what David did when he and those (who were) with him were hungry? (How) he went into the house of God, took the bread of offering, which only the priests could lawfully eat, ate of it, and shared it with his companions.” Then he said to them, “The Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.”

The context: Today’s Gospel passage gives Jesus’ teaching on the purpose of the Sabbath and on its proper observance. This was Jesus’ response to a criticism and a silly accusation made by some Pharisees against the apostles who, to satisfy their hunger on a Sabbath, had plucked ears of grain from a field for their snack, removed the husks by rubbing the grain between their palms and blowing away the chaff. The Pharisees accused them of violating Sabbath laws by performing three items of work forbidden on Sabbath, namely, harvesting, threshing and winnowing!

Counter-arguments: Jesus gives three counter-arguments from Holy Scripture defending the apostles. (1) Basic human needs, like hunger, take precedence over Divine worship and Sabbath observance. Jesus cites from Scripture the example of the hungry David and his selected soldiers. They approached Abimelech, the priest of Nob, who gave them for food the “offering bread” which only the priests were allowed to eat (1 Sm 21:1-6). (2) No law can stand against Divine worship. That is why the priests were not considered as violating Sabbath laws, although they did the work of preparing two rams for sacrifice in the Temple (Nm 28:9-10). (3) Jesus quotes the prophet Hosea to remind the accusers of God’s words: “I want mercy, not sacrifice” (Hos 6:6). Further augmenting the counter-arguments, Jesus, as Son of Man (a Messianic title), claims Lordship over the Sabbath itself.

Life messages: Like the Jewish Sabbath, the Christian Sunday is to be 1) a day of rest and refreshment with members of the family; 2) a day for thanksgiving and the recharging of spiritual batteries, (through participation in the Eucharistic celebration, for Catholics); 3) a day for parents to teach religious Faith and the Bible to their children; 4) a day to do works of charity in the neighborhood and in the parish and 5) a day for socializing with family members, neighbors and fellow-parishioners. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/22

For additional reflections: Click on https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections