Weekday homilies for Sept 12-17

Sept 12-17: Click on http://frtonyshomilies.comfor missed homilies: Sept 12 Monday: (The Most Holy Name of Mary):https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/most-holy-name-of-the-blessed-virgin-mary Lk 7:1-10: 1 After he had ended all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. 2 Now a centurion had a slave who was dear to him, who was sick and at the point of death. 3 When he heard of Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his slave. 4 And when they came to Jesus, they besought him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy to have you do this for him, 5 for he loves our nation, and he built us our synagogue.”6 And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to him, saying to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; 7 therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed. 8 For I am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me: and I say to one, `Go,’ and he goes; and to another, `Come,’ and he comes; and to my slave, `Do this,’ and he does it.” 9 When Jesus heard this he marveled at him, and turned and said to the multitude that followed him, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” 10 And when those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the slave well. Context: Jesus’ healing of the centurion’s slave, described in today’s Gospel, shows us how God listens to our Faith-filled prayers and meets our needs. Centurions were reliable, commanding officers, brave captains in charge of 80 soldiers in the first century AD.. They were the backbone of the Roman army. According to Luke’s account (Lk 7:1-10), this centurion loved the Jews, respected their religious customs, built a synagogue for them, loved his sick servant, trusted in Jesus’ power of healing, and was ready to face the ridicule of his fellow-centurions by pleading before a Jewish rabbi.

The remote healing: The centurion asked Jesus to shout a command, as the centurion did with his soldiers, so that the illness might leave his servant by the power of that order. Jesus was moved by the centurion’s Faith-filled request and rewarded the trusting Faith of this Gentile officer by performing a telepathic healing. When we ask for the intercession of the saints, we are like the centurion, acknowledging that we are not worthy, by our own merits, to stand before the Lord and bring Him our request.

Life messag: 1) We need to grow to the level of the Faith of the centurion by knowing and personally experiencing Jesus in our lives. We do so by daily meditative reading of the Bible, by our daily personal and family prayers and by frequenting the Sacraments, especially the Eucharistic celebration. The next step to which the Holy Spirit brings us is the complete surrender of our whole being and life to Jesus whom we have experienced, by rendering loving service to others seeing Jesus in them. (Fr. Tony) (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/22

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

Sept 13 Tuesday: (St. John Chrysostom, Bishop, Doctor of the Church):https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-john-chrysostom Lk 7:11-17: 11 Soon afterward he went to a city called Nain, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him. 12 As he drew near to the gate of the city, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow; and a large crowd from the city was with her. 13 And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” 14 And he came and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” 15 And the dead man sat up, and began to speak. And he gave him to his mother. 16 Fear seized them all; and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and “God has visited his people!” 17 And this report concerning him spread through the whole of Judea and all the surrounding country.

The context: Today’s Gospel presents one of the three stories in the Gospel where Jesus brings a dead person back to life. The other stories are those of Lazarus and of the daughter of Jairus, the synagogue leader. Today’s story is found only in Luke. Nain is a village six miles SE of Nazareth, and it is mentioned nowhere else in the Bible. The scene is particularly sad because the mother in this story, who had already lost her husband, has now lost her only son and her only means of support.

Jesus’ touch of human kindness: Jesus was visibly moved by the sight of the weeping widow, perhaps because he could foresee his own mother in the same position at the foot of his cross. His compassionate heart prompted him to console the widow saying: “Do not weep.” Then Luke reports, “He touched the bier and when the bearers stood still, he said, ‘Young man, I say to you, arise.’ And the dead man sat up and began to speak. And he gave him to his mother,” and participated in her indescribable joy. There were instances in the Old Testament of people being raised from death, by Elijah (1 Kgs 17:17-24), and Elisha (2 Kgs 4:32-37). Jesus’ miracle took place near the spot where the prophet Elisha had brought another mother’s son back to life again (see 2 Kgs 4:18-37). These miracles were signs of the power of God working through His prophets. In the case of the widow’s son in today’s Gospel, the miracle showed the people that Jesus, like Elijah and Elisha, was, at the least, a great prophet.

Life messages: 1) St. Augustine compares the joy of that widow to the joy of our Mother the Church when her sinful children return to the life of grace: “Our Mother the Church rejoices every day when people are raised again in spirit.” 2) The event also reminds us to have the same love and compassion for those who suffer that Jesus had. (Fr. Tony) (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/22

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

Sept 14 Wednesday: (The Exaltation of the Holy Cross) https://www.franciscanmedia.org/-Exaltation-of-the-Holy-Cross : John 3:13-17.

Introduction: We celebrate this feast of the Exaltation of the Cross for two reasons: (1) to understand the history of the discovery and recovery of the True Cross and (2) to appreciate better the importance of the symbol and reality of Christ’s sacrificial love, namely, the cross in the daily life of every Christian.

History:The Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross is one of twelve “Master feasts” celebrated in the Church to honor Jesus Christ, our Lord and Master. This feast is celebrated to memorialize the first installation of the remnants of the true cross of Jesus in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher at Mount Calvary, September 14, AD 335, and its reinstallation on September 14, AD 630. The original cross on which Jesus was crucified was excavated in AD 326 by a team led by St. Helena, the mother of the first Christian Roman Emperor, Constantine. The Emperor built the Church of the Holy Sepulcher on Calvary, it was consecrated on September 14, AD 335, and the remains of the cross were installed in it by Archbishop Maccharios of Jerusalem. After three centuries, the Persians invaded Jerusalem, plundered it of all valuables and took with them the relic of the Holy Cross. In AD 630, Heraclius II defeated the Persians, recaptured the casket containing the holy relic, and reinstalled it in the rebuilt Church, which was destroyed by Muslims in 1009. The crusaders rebuilt it as the present Church of the Holy Sepulcher in 1149. The largest fragment of the holy cross is now kept in Santa Croce Church in Rome. The first reading today (Nm 21:4b—9) describes how God healed the complaining Israelites through the brazen serpent. The second reading Phil 2:6-11) reminds us that Jesus, “ humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross,” In today’s Gospel, answering the question raised by Nicodemus, Jesus cites the example of how, when the Israelites were in the desert, the impaled brazen serpent (representing the healing power of God), which God commanded Moses to raise, saved from death the serpent-bitten Israelites who looked at it (Nm 21:4-9). Then Jesus explains how He is going to save the world by dying on the cross.

Life messages: 1) We should honor and venerate the cross and carry it on our person to remind ourselves of the love of God for us and the price Jesus paid for our salvation. 2) The cross will give us strength in our sufferings and remind us of our hope of eternal glory with the risen Lord. With St. Paul, we express our belief that the “message of the cross is foolishness only to those who are perishing” (1Cor 1:18-24), and that we should “glory in the cross of Our Lord” (Gal 6:14). 3) We should bless ourselves with the sign of the cross to remind ourselves that we belong to Christ Jesus, to honor the Most Holy Trinity, and to ask the Triune God to bless us, save us and protect us from all danger and evil. 4) The crucifix should remind us that we are forgiven sinners and, hence, we are expected to forgive those who offend us and to ask for forgiveness whenever we offend others or hurt their feelings. (Fr. Tony) (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/22

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

Sept 15 Thursday: (Our Lady of Sorrows or Mother of Sorrows) https://www.franciscanmedia.org/our-lady-of-sorrows/: Jn 19:25-27 or Lk 2:33-35:

Today we remember the spiritual martyrdom of the Mother of Jesus and her participation in the sufferings of her Divine Son. Mary is the Queen of martyrs because she suffered in spirit all Jesus suffered during His Passion and death, her spiritual torments were greater than the bodily agonies of the martyrs, and Mary offered her sorrows to God for our sake. The principal Biblical references to Mary’s sorrows are found in Lk 2:35 and Jn 19:26-27. Many early Church writers interpret the sword prophesied by Simeon as Mary’s sorrows, especially as she saw Jesus die on the cross. In the past, the Church celebrated two feasts to commemorate separately 1) the spiritual martyrdom of the Blessed Virgin Mary throughout her life as the mother of Jesus and 2) her compassion for her Divine Son during his suffering and death. The devotion to the Seven Dolors (sorrows) of Mary honors her for the motherly sufferings she endured during the whole life of Jesus on earth.In 1239 the seven founders of the Servite Order took up the sorrows of Mary who stood under the Cross as the main devotion of their religious Order. Originally, this day was kept on the Friday before Good Friday. It was Pope Pius XII who changed the date of the feast to the 15th of September immediately after the feast of the Triumph of the Cross. The nineteenth-century German mystic Anne Catherine Emmerich claimed to have received a vision in which Mary actually kisses the blood of Jesus in the many sacred places on the way of the cross. In his film, The Passion of the Christ, Mel Gibson, inspired by this vision, pictures Claudia, Pontius Pilate’s wife, secretly handing Mary cloths to collect the blood of Jesus from the streets of Jerusalem.The seven sorrows:There are seven times of great suffering in Mary’s life. These events remind many parents of their personal family experiences of sorrow and mourning for their dear children. 1) Hearing the prophecy of Simeon, 2) Fleeing with Jesus and Joseph into Egypt, to escape Herod’s soldiers sent to kill Jesus, 3) Losing Child Jesus in Jerusalem, 4) Meeting Jesus on the road to Calvary, 5) Standing at the foot of Jesus’ Cross, 6) Receiving the Body of Jesus as it is taken down from the Cross, and 7) The burial of Jesus.

Life message: 1) On this feast day let us pray for those who continue to endure similar sufferings that they may receive from God the strength that they desperately need to continue to carry their spiritual crosses. Let us try to enter into the sorrowing hearts of the mothers in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Nigeria and other terrorist-haunted nations and the mothers in the United States and other countries grieving for their children, soldiers and civilians alike. 2) Let us also remember with repentant hearts that it is our sins which caused the suffering of Jesus and Mary. [“At
cross her station keeping
,/ Stood
the mournful
mother weeping, / Close to Jesus to the last.// Through her
heart, his sorrow
, / All his bitter
anguish bearing, /
Now at length the sword has passed.”
)] (Fr. Tony) (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/22

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

Sept 16 Friday: (St. Cornelius, Pope )(https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-cornelius and St. Cyprian, Bishop, Martyrs (https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-cyprian ), Luke 8:1-3: 1 Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, preaching and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him, 2 and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, 3 and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means.

The context: Today’s Gospel describes how Jesus began his preaching and healing ministry in the company of the twelve Apostles and a group of women volunteers. Luke’s Gospel pays special attention to women. The female following of Jesus was out of the ordinary at the time and in the place where Jesus lived. In those days, strict rabbis would not speak to a woman in public, and very strict ones would not speak to their own wives in the streets or public places. In his Gospel, Luke provides Mary’s recollections of her own history with Jesus whom she outlived, describes several women around Jesus, like Elizabeth, Mary’s kinswoman, the prophetess Anna, the sinful woman, Martha and Mary, the crippled woman, the woman with hemorrhage, the women who supplied the needs of Jesus and his Apostles out of their own resources, and, in the parables, the woman kneading yeast into the dough, the woman with the lost coin and the woman who tamed the judge.

The ministry and the associates: Jesus started preaching the “Good News” that God His Father is not a judging and punishing God, but a loving and forgiving God Who wants to save mankind through His Son Jesus. Luke mentions the names of a few women who helped Jesus’ ministry by their voluntary service and financial assistance. Some among them were rich and influential like Joanna, the wife of King Herod’s steward, Chuza. We meet Joanna again among the women who went to the tomb on the morning of the Resurrection (Luke 24:10). Some others like Mary of Magdala were following Jesus to express their gratitude for the healing they had received from Jesus. This mixture of different types of women volunteers, all attracted by the person and message of Jesus, supported his Messianic Mission by providing food and other material assistance to Jesus and the Apostles who proclaimed the Gospel by word and deed and by their communal and shared life. It is nice to know that our Lord availed Himself of their charity and that they responded to Him with such refined and generous detachment that Christian women feel filled with a holy and fruitful envy (St. Josemaria Escriva). At crucial moments, Jesus was better served by the women disciples than by the men.

Life message: 1) The evangelizing work of the Church needs the preaching of the missionaries and preachers, feeding and leading the believers in parishes. 2) This work also needs the active support of all Christians by their transparent Christian lives, fervent prayers and financial assistance. (Fr. Tony) (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/22

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

Sept 17 Saturday: (St. Robert Bellarmine, Bishop, Doctor of the Church),(https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-robert-bellarmine) St. Hildegard of Bingen, Virgin, Doctor of the Church) https://mycatholic.life/saints/saints-of-the-liturgical-year/saint-hildegard-of-bingen/ Luke 8: 4-15: 4 And when a great crowd came together and people from town after town came to him, he said in a parable: 5 “A sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell along the path, and was trodden under foot, and the birds of the air devoured it. 6 And some fell on the rock; and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. 7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns grew with it and choked it. 8 And some fell into good soil and grew, and yielded a hundredfold.” As he said this, he called out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” 9 And when his disciples asked him what this parable meant, 10 he said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God; but for others they are in parables, so that seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand. 11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12 The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, that they may not believe and be saved. 13 And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy; but these have no root, they believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away. 14 And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature.

The context: Today’s Gospel passage gives us the parable of the sower, the seeds sown, and the yield (depending upon the soil type). This, the first parable of Jesus in the New Testament about the Kingdom of Heaven, is also a parable interpreted by Jesus himself. It was intended as a warning to the hearers to be attentive, and to the apostles to be hopeful, about Jesus’ preaching in the face of growing opposition to Jesus and his ideas. The sower is God—through Jesus, the Church, the parents, and the teachers. The seed sown is the high-yielding word of God which is also described as “a sharp sword” (Is 49:2), “two-edged sword” (Heb 4:12), and “fire and hammer” (Jer 23:29).

Soil type and the yield: The hardened soil on the footpath represents people with minds closed because of laziness, pride, prejudice, or fear. The soil on flat rock pieces represents emotional types of people who go after novelties without sticking to anything and are unwilling to surrender their wills to God. “I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 11:19). The soil filled with weeds represents people addicted to evil habits and evil tendencies, those whose hearts are filled with hatred, jealousy, or the greed that makes them interested only in acquiring money by any means and in enjoying life in any way possible. The good and fertile soil represents well-intentioned people with open minds and clean hearts, earnest in hearing the word and zealous in putting it into practice. Zacchaeus, the sinful woman, and the thief on Jesus’ right side, St. Augustine, St. Francis of Assisi and St. Francis Xavier, among others, fall into this category of the good soil.

Life message: Let us become the good soil and produce hundred-fold harvests by earnestly hearing, faithfully assimilating and daily cultivating the word of God we have received, so that the Holy Spirit may produce His fruits in our lives. (Fr. Tony) (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/22

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