Oct 24-29: Click on http://frtonyshomilies.com for missed homilies
Oct 24 Monday: (St. Anthony Mary Claret, Bishop): For a short biography, click here: (https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-anthony-mary-claret); Lk 13:10-17: 10 Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. 11 And there was a woman who had had a spirit of infirmity for eighteen years; she was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. 12 And when Jesus saw her, he called her and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your infirmity.” 13 And he laid his hands upon her, and immediately she was made straight, and she praised God. 14 But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the people, “There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day.” 15 Then the Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his ass from the manger, and lead it away to water it? 16 And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?” 17 As he said this, all his adversaries were put to shame; and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him.
The context: Today’s Gospel tells us how Jesus healed a woman in the synagogue who had been suffering for 18 years from what seems to have been curvature of the spine. People in those days believed that she was possessed by a spirit which drained her strength. Jesus felt sympathy for her, called her to his side, laid his hands on her and said: “Woman, you are freed from your infirmity.” Immediately she was made straight, and she praised God.
The reaction: Instead of joining the healed woman in praising God, the ruler of the synagogue, in his zeal for fulfilling the Law (cf. Ex 20:8; 31:14; Lv 19:3-30), publicly scolded the people for seeking healing on a Sabbath day, indirectly blaming Jesus as a Sabbath-breaker. Jesus reacted promptly, accusing the ruler of hypocrisy and explaining that Sabbath rest was meant for doing acts of charity. Jesus asked the ruler why taking out cattle and asses for drinking water was no violation of Sabbath and releasing a poor woman from Satan’s bond was a violation of the Sabbath ban on work.
Life messages: 1) Many of us are bowed down with the burdens and worries of our lives. Many of us are weighed down and held captive by terrible burdens that we carry in solitary sadness like some terrible secrets or a paralyzing fear or some unconfessed great sins. 2) We are often affected by spiritual deafness which makes us incapable of hearing God speaking to us, or by spiritual dumbness which causes inability to proclaim our Faith in public. 3) We can also suffer from the spiritual leprosy of sins and possession by the evil spirit of addiction to sinful habits. 4) Jesus is ready to place a healing hand on us and liberate us if we approach the Sacrament of Reconciliation, if needed, and the Sacrifice of the Holy Mass with expectant Faith and fervent prayer, during the Eucharistic celebration. (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 25 Tuesday: Lk 13: 18-21: 18 He said therefore, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? 19 It is like a grain of mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his garden; and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.” 20 And again he said, “To what shall I compare the kingdom of God? 21 It is like leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.”
The context: Today’s Gospel contains two of Jesus’ one-line parables about the Kingdom of God. The parable of the mustard seed probably shows that Gentiles in the Church will one day outnumber Jews. The parable of the yeast indicates that all are invited to salvation, and the Gentiles, who were considered evil, like yeast, will enable the Church to grow.
The small beginnings and great endings: Using a pair of mini-parables, the mustard seed and yeast, Jesus explains how the Kingdom, or Reign, of God grows within us by the power of the Word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit living within us. When we surrender our lives to Jesus Christ and allow Jesus’ word to take root in our hearts, we are transformed and made holy by the power of the Holy Spirit who dwells in us. In the parable of the mustard seed, the primary point of comparison is the contrast between the smallness of the seed and the greatness of the result (“the largest of plants”). The life-principle in a small mustard seed enables it to grow into a large bush by a slow but steady process. The microscopic yeasts within a small piece of leaven transform a thick lump of dough overnight into soft and spongy bread. Christianity had a small beginning, like a mustard seed or yeast, with Jesus and a band of twelve Apostles in a remote corner of the world. But through the power of the Holy Spirit living in individual Christians, Christianity has become the largest religion in the world, spreading in all countries and embracing all races of people.
Life messages: 1) We need to allow the Holy Spirit to transform us from our evil ways and tendencies to living a life of holiness; from unjust and uncharitable conversation to speaking with God and listening to Him (prayer); from gossiping about people and a judgmental attitude to showing compassion for others and supporting them with consoling, encouraging, and inspiring words and deeds.
2) We need to act like yeast influencing the lives of others around us: Just as Christianity in the past transformed the status of women, children, slaves, the sick, and the poor by the power of Jesus’ Gospel, so we, as Christians in our time, have the duty to transform the lives of people around us by leading exemplary lives through the grace of God, according to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. (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 26 Wednesday: Lk 13:22-30: 22 He went on his way through towns and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. 23 And some one said to him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” And he said to them, 24 “Strive to enter by the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. 25 When once the householder has risen up and shut the door, you will begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, `Lord, open to us.’ He will answer you, `I do not know where you come from.’ 26 Then you will begin to say, `We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ 27 But he will say, `I tell you, I do not know where you come from; depart from me, all you workers of iniquity!’ 28 There you will weep and gnash your teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God and you yourselves thrust out. 29
The context: Continuing the fateful journey to Jerusalem, Jesus answered the question about how many would be saved by answering four presumed questions: Who will be saved? How? Why? When? Jesus clearly explained that anyone who entered through the narrow gate of sacrificial serving and sharing love would be saved. Jesus also admonished His followers to concentrate on their own salvation rather than on other people’s salvation. Explanation: When the Jewish questioner asked Jesus, “How many will be saved?” he was assuming that the salvation of God’s Chosen People was virtually guaranteed, provided they kept the Law. In other words, the Kingdom of God was reserved for the Jews alone, and Gentiles would be shut out. Jesus declared that entry to the Kingdom was never an automatic event based purely on formal religion or nationality. What Jesus is saying is that Salvation is not guaranteed for anyone. In order to be “saved” one has to live and to die in a close loving relationship with God and with others. Then Jesus added two conditions: a) Eternal salvation is the result of a struggle: Hence, we are to “keep on striving to enter.” b) We must enter through the “narrow gate” of sacrificial and selfless service. Our answer to the question: “Have you been saved?” should be: “I have been saved from the penalty of sin by Christ’s death and Resurrection. I am being saved from the power of sin by the indwelling Spirit of God. I have the hope that I shall one day be saved from the very presence of sin when I go to be with God.”
Life messages: 1) We need to make wise decisions and choose the narrow gate when God gives us the freedom to choose. That is, we need to choose consistent denial of self and the steady relinquishing of sinful pleasures, pursuits, and interests. 2) We need to check our path on a daily basis. The parable of the locked door warns us that the time is short. Each day sees endings and opportunities missed. “Opportunity will not knock twice at your door.” Let us ask this question every day: How much did I strive today to enter through the narrow gate of sacrificial and serving love in action? (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 27 Thursday: Luke 13: 31-35: 31 At that very hour some Pharisees came, and said to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” 32 And he said to them, “Go and tell that fox, `Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I finish my course. 33 Nevertheless I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the day following; for it cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem.’ 34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! 35 Behold, your house is forsaken. And I tell you, you will not see me until you say, `Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!'”
The context: Some Pharisees warned Jesus that he was in imminent danger of arrest by Herod. They might have been either his friends among the Pharisees or Jesus’ enemies who wanted him to leave their territory.
Jesus’ reaction: Jesus called Herod a fox – a cunning, fearful, and dangerous animal. But with prophetic courage, Jesus was determined to do the Messianic work entrusted to him by God his Father. Hence, Jesus sent the message to Herod that he would continue with his preaching and healing ministry. Prophesying his death in Jerusalem, Jesus expressed his love and longing for the Holy City of Jerusalem, using the image of a mother hen gathering all her chicks under her protective wings. Across the valley from the city of Jerusalem there is a church called Dominus flevit, which means, “The Lord wept.” On the base of the altar of that Church, there is a small mosaic showing a mother hen with her chicks. They are under her wings for protection, some of them peering out in the way that chicks do. “The image of being protected by wings, which occurs often in the Old Testament, refers to God’s love and protection of his people. It is to be found in the prophets, in the canticles of Moses (cf. Dt 32:11), and in many Psalms” (cf. 17:8; 36:8; 57:2; 61:5; 63:8). That mosaic is the representation of today’s Gospel text expressing God’s warm and protective maternal love. Jesus loved Jerusalem and its inhabitants. Hence, he felt deep sorrow at its lack of response to his message, a lack which would continue when he preached there in the last week of his earthly life. Finally, he said to those who had warned him, “Behold, your House is forsaken. And I tell you, you will not see me until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord'”(Luke 13:35) – either at Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday or at his final coming as Judge and Lord of all.
Life messages: 1) As Christians we should have the courage of our religious convictions, and the good will to practice them. 2) We need to be aware of the dire consequences of rejecting God’s graces and the chances He gives us every day to reform 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.
Oct 28 Friday: (Saints Simon and Jude, Apostles) For a short biography, click here:(https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saints-simon-and-jude): Lk 6:12-16 12 In those days he went out to the mountain to pray; and all night he continued in prayer to God. 13 And when it was day, he called his disciples, and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles; 14 Simon, whom he named Peter, and Andrew his brother, and James and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, 15 and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot, 16 and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.
Simon the Zealot was the brother of Jude and James the Lesser and, with them, was chosen by Jesus to become an apostle. His name appears in all four Gospels in the list of apostles. (According to tradition, Simeon, Jude, and James the Lesser were sons of Clophas (Alphaeus) and Mary, a cousin of Mary the mother of Jesus and hence cousins of Jesus). In order to distinguish him from Simon Peter, this Simon is called Simon the Zealot, probably because of his great zeal for the Jewish Law and its practice. The Zealots among the Jews were a Maccabaean rebel group of patriotic Jews who would only acknowledge Yahweh as their King. Therefore, they refused to pay taxes to the Roman Empire and were determined to fight against any foreign rule. Some of the Fathers of the Church think that it was Simon’s marriage celebration in Cana of Galilee at which Jesus transformed water into wine. As an apostle and admirer of Jesus, Simon was transformed into a zealous evangelizer who preached in Egypt, Ethiopia and Persia and, along with his brother Jude, suffered martyrdom.
Jude or Judas Thaddeus: He was the brother of James the Lesser and Simon the Zealot. The three were probably cousins of Jesus on his mother’s side. Jude was the one who asked Jesus at the Last Supper why he did not manifest himself to the world as Jesus had done to his disciples. Jude wrote one Epistle to the Churches in the East and preached in Judea, Samaria, Idumea, Syria, Mesopotamia and Libya. He was martyred by stoning. He is venerated as the patron saint of seemingly impossible cases because a) in his Epistle he stresses the importance of perseverance in harsh and difficult circumstances; b) he was a close relative of Jesus; and c) he was ignored (since he shared the name “Judas” with Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus). According to some first century Mesopotamian legends, he performed miracles that outshone those of the local sorcerers and magicians and cured a local king of leprosy.
Life message: We share the mission of the Apostles – the mission of preaching the Good News — by bearing witness to Christ’s love, mercy, and spirit of forgiveness and loving service to all, through our transparent Christian 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.
Oct 29 Saturday: Lk 14: 1, 7-11: One Sabbath when he went to dine at the house of a ruler who belonged to the Pharisees, they were watching him. 7 Now he told a parable to those who were invited, when he marked how they chose the places of honor, saying to them, 8 “When you are invited by any one to a marriage feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest a more eminent man than you be invited by him; 9 and he who invited you both will come and say to you, `Give place to this man,’ and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. 10 But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, `Friend, go up higher’; then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. 11 For every one who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Introduction: Today’s Gospel teaches us the need for true humility and the blessedness of generous sharing with the needy. It warns us against all forms of pride and self-glorification. It presents humility, not only as a virtue, but also as a means of opening our hearts, our minds, and our hands to the poor, the needy, the disadvantaged and the marginalized people in our society – the personal responsibility of every authentic Christian.
At a dinner party where Jesus was a guest of honor, he explained the practical benefits of humility, connecting it with the common wisdom about dining etiquette. The Master advised the guests to go to the lowest place instead of seeking places of honor, so that the host might give them the place they really deserved. Jesus’ words concerning the seating of guests at a banquet should prompt us to honor those whom others ignore, because if we are generous and just in our dealings with those in need, we can be confident of the Lord’s blessings.
Life Messages: 1) We need to practice humility in our personal and social life: Humility is based on the psychological awareness that everything I have is a gift from God and, therefore, I have no reason, on that account or any other, to elevate myself above others. On the contrary, I must use these God-given gifts to help others. 2) True humility requires us neither to overestimate nor to underestimate our worth. 3) We must admit the truths that we are sinners, that we do not know everything, and that we do not always act properly. Nevertheless, we must also recognize that we are made in the image and likeness of God, and that we are called to help build the kingdom of God with our God-given gifts. 4) We are of value, not because of those gifts, but because we are loved by God as His children and redeemed by the precious Blood of His Son, Jesus. 5) The quality of humility that Jesus is talking about has a sociological dimension too. For Jesus is inviting us to associate with the so-called “lower classes” of the society — even the outcasts. Jesus invites us to change our social patterns in such a way that we connect with and serve with agape love the homeless, the handicapped, the elderly, and the impoverished — the “street people” of the world. (Fr. Tony) (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/22Additional reflections: Click on https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections