Oct 3-8 weekday homilies

Oct 3-8:Click on http://frtonyshomilies.com for missed homilies: Oct 3 Monday: Lk 10: 25-37: 25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read?” 27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And he said to him, “You have answered right; do this, and you will live.” 29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion, 34 and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, `Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed mercy on him.” And Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

The context: A scribe asked Jesus a very basic religious question: “What should I do to inherit eternal life?” In answer to the question, Jesus directed the scribe’s attention to the Sacred Scriptures. The Scriptural answer is, “Love God and express it by loving your neighbor.” However, to the scribe, the word “neighbor” meant another scribe or Pharisee, never a Samaritan or a Gentile. Hence, the scribe insisted on further clarification of the word “neighbor.” So, Jesus told him the parable of the Good Samaritan. The parable clearly indicates that a “neighbor” is anyone who needs help. Thus, the correct approach is not to ask who our neighbor is, but instead, to ask, “Am I a good neighbor to those I meet, helping them in their needs?” The Good Samaritan is a symbol of Jesus, himself, in his role as Savior of the world. The parable: In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus presents three philosophies of life concerning our relationship with our neighbor: 1) the philosophy of the thieves who robbed the Samaritan: “What is yours is mine; I will take it by force. 2) the philosophy of the Jewish priest and the Levite: “What is mine is mine; I won’t part with it.” 3) the philosophy of the Samaritan: “What is mine is yours as well. I shall share it with you.

Life message: We need to have hearts of mercy: We need to remember that the road from Jerusalem to Jericho passes right through our home, parish and workplace. Jesus is inviting us to show mercy and kindness to those who are being hurt or mistreated on any of the “Jericho Roads” of our lives in our family, neighborhood, school, workplace, and parish. (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

Oct 4 Tuesday (St. Francis of Assisi): https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-francis-of-assisi; (St. Francis of Assisi) https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-francis-of-assisi(Mt 11:25-30)St. Francis of Assisi is the best known and the most loved thirteenth century Italian saint. He was born in Assisi, Italy, the son of a rich merchant. As a carefree young man, he loved singing, dancing and partying. He joined the military and returned ill, as a changed man. He marked his conversion by hugging and kissing a leper. While at prayer in the Church of St. Damiano, he heard the message: “Francis go and repair my Church because it is falling down.” Francis took the command literally and got money by selling goods from his father’s warehouse. His father was furious and publicly disowned and disinherited Francis. Francis promptly gave back to his father everything except his hairshirt1 and started living as a free man, wearing sackcloth and begging for food. Possessing nothing, he started preaching the pure Gospel of Jesus. Strangely enough a few youngsters were attracted to Francis’ way of life and joined him. 1[Isidore O’Brien, OFM, Francis
of Assisi: Mirror of Christ (Chicago, Illinois: Franciscan Herald Press, 1978)

Pope Innocent III had a vision of Francis supporting the leaning Church of St. Johns Lateran in Rome. Subsequently, he approved the Religious Order begun by Francis, namely the Friars Minor [Lesser Brothers] which practiced Charity as a fourth vow along with Poverty, Chastity and Obedience. Soon, the Franciscan Order became very popular, attracting large numbers of committed youngsters. The friars traveled throughout central Italy and beyond, preaching and inviting their listeners to turn from the world to Christ. In his life and preaching, Francis emphasized simplicity and poverty, relying on God’s providence rather than worldly goods. The brothers worked, or begged, for what they needed to live, and any surplus was given to the poor. Francis wrote a more detailed Rule, which was further revised by the new leaders of the Franciscans. He gave up leadership of the Order and went to the mountains to live in secluded prayer. There he received the Stigmata, the wounds of Christ. Francis became partially blind and ill during his last years. He died at Portiuncula on October 4th, 1226 at the age of 44.

Francis called for simplicity of life, poverty, and humility before God. In all his actions, Francis sought to follow, fully and literally, the way of life demonstrated by Christ in the Gospels. Francis loved God’s gifts to us of nature, animals, and all natural forces, praising God for these “brothers and sisters.” One of Francis’s most famous sermons is one he gave to a flock of birds during one of his journeys. “From that day on, he solicitously admonished the birds, all animals and reptiles, and even creatures that have no feeling, to praise and love their Creator.” Francis is well known for the “Canticle of Brother Sun.” Written late in the saint’s life, when blindness had limited his sight of the outside world, the canticle shows that his imagination was alive with love for God in His creation.

Life messages: 1) Let us learn to practice the spirit of detachment of St. Francis that we may be liberated from our sinful attachments, addictions and evil habits. In poverty one makes oneself available for the Kingdom. Once the goods are no longer one’s own, they become available for all. Goods are made to be shared. Let us preach the Good News of Jesus’ love, mercy and forgiveness as St. Francis did, by imbuing the true spirit of the Gospel, loving all God’s creation and leading transparent Christian lives radiating Jesus all around us. 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

Oct 5 Wednesday (St. Faustina Kowalska, Virgin, https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-maria-faustina-kowalska; Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos, Priest U. S. A.)https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/blessed-francis-xavier-seelos ;

Lk 11:1-4: 1 He was praying in a certain place, and when he ceased, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” 2 And he said to them, “When you pray, say: “Father, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. 3 Give us each day our daily bread; 4 and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive every one who is indebted to us; and lead us not into temptation.” The context: The disciples were fascinated by watching their Master Jesus at prayer. They knew that John the Baptist had taught his disciples how to pray. In response to the request made by one of the apostles, Jesus taught the beautiful prayer, Our Father. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that the Our Father “is truly the summary of the whole Gospel” (CCC #2761). The great mystical Doctor of the Church Saint Teresa of Ávila gave this advice while praying the Lord’s Prayer: “Much more is accomplished by a single word of the Our Father said, now and then, from our heart, than by the whole prayer repeated many times in haste and without attention.” And Saint Thérèse of Lisieux said that the “Our Father” was one of the prayers she prayed when she felt so spiritually barren that she could not summon up a single worthwhile thought.

A prayer in two parts: In the first part of the prayer, we address God, lovingly acknowledging Him as our Heavenly Father, praising and worshipping Him. Then we ask Him that His Holy Will may be done by us in our lives on earth as perfectly as it is done in Heaven. In the second part, we ask our Father’s blessings on our present time (daily bread), our past (forgiveness of sins) and our future (protection against the tempter and his temptations). In this part we also invite the Triune God into our lives. We bring in 1) God the Father, the Provider, by asking for daily bread, 2) God the Son, our Savior, by asking forgiveness for our sins and 3) God the Holy Spirit, our Guide, Advocate, Comforter, and Illuminator, by asking for protection and deliverance from evil.

Special stress on spirit of forgiveness: In this prayer, Jesus instructs us to ask for forgiveness from others for our offenses and to give unconditional forgiveness to others for their offenses against us as a condition for receiving God’s forgiveness ourselves. (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

Oct 6 Thursday: (St. Bruno, Priest; https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-bruno; Blessed Marie, Rose Durocher, Virgin (U. S. A.) https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/blessed-marie-rose-durocher; Lk 11:5-13: 5 And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, `Friend, lend me three loaves; 6 for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7 and he will answer from within, `Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything’? ..13The context: After teaching a model prayer, Jesus instructs his disciples to pray to God their Heavenly Father with the same boldness, daring, intimacy, conviction, persistence, and perseverance that both Abraham and the “friend in need” in the parable used. Jesus gives us the assurance that God will not be irritated by our requests, nor will He be unwilling to meet them with generosity. Jesus stresses the power of intercessory prayer and the necessity for persistence, perseverance, trusting Faith, and the boldness of Faith in our prayer.

The parable: By presenting the parable of the “friend in need,” Jesus emphasizes our need for that persistent and persevering prayer which acknowledges our total dependence on God. In the ancient Hebrew world, hospitality was the essence of one’s goodness, and, hence, to welcome a visitor without food and drink was unthinkable. A traveler who was traveling in the evening to avoid the heat of the afternoon might well arrive late at night. So in this parable, when a man received an unexpected guest late at night and found his cupboard bare, he went to the man next door, woke him up, and asked him for a loaf of bread. Because of the persistence of his neighbor, Jesus says, the householder though not willing to get up for friendship’s sake, would get up and give him the bread he needed for his guest. This parable of Friend at Midnight is both an assurance that prayer is always answered and an encouragement to pray. This parable stresses the necessity for our persisting in prayer as the expression of our total dependence on God. St. Paul says, “Be constant in prayer” (Rom 12:12), pray at all times(Eph 6:18), “be steadfast in prayer(Col 4:2), and “pray constantly(2 Thes 5:17). Jesus assures us, “Knock and the door will be opened”(Lk 11: 10).

Life messages: We need to stop giving lame excuses for not praying. Modern Christians give four lame excuses for not praying: 1) We are “too busy.” This excuse should send us to our priorities list, where God needs to be first of all, if we are to be able to live in His peace. That settled, we will find that prayer in every form is our living connection with Him through which He gives us Grace, fills us with His love for us, and helps us to become our true selves. Then, with His help, we will be able to discern the truly important things in our lives and eliminate the unimportant and/or distracting, debilitating, and useless items. 2) We “don’t believe that prayer does that much good, other than giving us the psychological motivation to be better persons.” Such people forget the fact that prayer establishes and augments our responsive relationship with God, the Source of our power. 3) “A loving God should provide for us and protect us from the disasters of life, such as diseases or accidents, without our asking Him.” True – and He does! Prayer is not meant to inform God; it expresses our awareness of our need for God Who loves us unconditionally, and of our trusting dependence upon Him. 4) “Prayer is boring.” People who use this excuse forget the fact that prayer is a conversation with God: listening to God speaking to us through the Bible and talking to God through personal and family prayers. We can’t have a close relationship with anyone, including God, without persistent and intimate conversation. ((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

Oct 7 Friday (Our Lady of the Rosary):  https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/our-lady-of-the-rosary((Our Lady of the Holy Rosary) https://www.franciscanmedia.org/our-lady-of-the-rosary/

Lk 1:26-38: This feast was established by Pope St. Pius V in thanksgiving for the victory at Lepanto, 7 Oct 1571, which stopped the Turkish invasion of Europe. Importance: The word Rosary means “Crown of Roses,” and each prayer in the Rosary is considered a flower presented to Mary. It is called the “Breviary of the Common People” and the “Psalms of the Illiterate” and “a compendium of the Gospel,” Pope Pius XII) The prayers we repeat are Biblical and hence “inspired,” and the mysteries we meditate upon are taken from the lives of Jesus and Mary. The “Our Father” is a prayer taught by Jesus Himself. The “Hail Mary” is also rooted in the Scriptures. Its first half echoes the words of the Archangel Gabriel and those of Elizabeth, both addressed to Mary. The rest of our petition, “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us, sinners, now and at the hour of our death” is added by the Church, seeking Mary’s intercession for all of us. The third prayer — the “Glory be to the Father….” — ancient in its wording, surely reflects the unceasing prayer of adoration and praise found in the Book of Revelation. The various events in the lives of Jesus and Mary on which we meditate during the Rosary are expressions of the Paschal Mystery, that is, the Life, Death, Resurrection, Ascension of Jesus to Heaven and Decent of the Holy Spirit, in which Mary shared.

History: Prayer using rosary beads is as old as mankind. The Hindus in India used to recite the thousand names of their gods and goddesses and their “mantra” prayers using multi-beaded rosaries, and their sages wear such rosaries around the neck, constantly rolling the beads in prayer. The Jews used beads to repeat the psalms, the Laws of Moses and the memorized sayings of the prophets. The Muslims use rosaries with a hundred beads for their prayer. In the ninth century, the Christian monks who recited the 150 psalms instructed the illiterate common people to recite the Our Father 150 times. It was in the eleventh century that the Europeans added the Hail Mary to the Our Father. In 1214, according to the legend, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to St. Dominic Guzman, founder of the Order of Preachers, commonly known now as the Dominicans and instructed him to pray the Rosary in a new form as an effective antidote against the Albigensian heresy. The Rosary devotion attained its present form around 1500 A.D. An additional boost to the Rosary devotion was given in 1917, when our Blessed Mother, in her sixth apparition to the three shepherd children, on the thirteenth of May, asked them to, “Say the Rosary every day… Pray, pray a lot and offer sacrifices for sinners… I am Our Lady of the Rosary.” The “Fatima prayer(O my Jesus forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell and lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who are most in need of Your mercy), requested by Mary herself at Fatima (July 13, 1917), was added following the “Glory be…” after the 1930 acceptance by the Bishop of the apparitions as genuine. Pope St. John Paul II enriched the Rosary by adding the “Luminous Mysteries” (Rosarium Virginis Mariae).

How to pray the Rosary: The ideal is to recite at least five decades of the Rosary (and if possible, the entire twenty), with one’s whole family daily. We need to say the Rosary slowly enough to make its recitation devout and reverent. We are to reflect for a minute or two on the mystery, and then concentrate on the meaning of the prayers as we say them, to avoid distractions. Besides saying the Rosary with others in the family before bedtime, let us make it a habit of reciting the Rosary during our journey to the workplace and during our exercises. (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

Oct 8 Saturday: Lk 11:27-28: 27 As he said this, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts that you sucked!” 28 But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”

The context: A woman in the audience was so impressed by Jesus’ powerful refutation of the slander (that Jesus collaborated with the devil in exorcisms), that she shouted a blessing, praising the mother of Jesus: “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts that you sucked!” She meant that any woman would be proud to have such a great son. Jesus tells her that His mother is more blessed for obeying the word of God throughout her life.

The reason for real blessedness: Completing the truth of the blessing the woman had pronounced, Jesus states that the real source of blessedness is the willingness to hear and the readiness to obey the word of God. Mary heard God’s message at the Annunciation, and her prompt response was, “I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38). That is why she could boldly proclaim to her cousin Elizabeth in her canticle, “All generations will call me blessed(Lk 1:48). No one listened more attentively to the word of God than Mary did. She “kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart(Lk 2:10). Jesus clarified the same truth on another occasion, stating that His true mother and brothers and sisters are those who hear the word of God and do it (Lk 8:21). In today’s Gospel, Jesus declares that that those who hear God’s word and keep it are more blessed than those who are related to Him only by blood.

Life messages: 1) We become the members of the Heavenly family of the Triune God, that is, we are made children of God and brothers and sisters of Jesus, by our Baptism. But it is our fidelity in hearing the word of God and in putting that word into practice in our daily lives that makes us really blessed. What makes a person happy in this life and in the life to come is precisely the fulfillment of God’s will, as we learn through the attentive reading of, and listening to, His words. (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