(November 7-12, 2022) (Click on http://frtonyshomilies.comfor missed homilies).
Nov 7 Monday: Lk 17:1-6 1 And he said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin are sure to come; but woe to him by whom they come! 2 It would be better for him if a millstone were hung round his neck and he were cast into the sea, than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin. 3 Take heed to yourselves; if your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him; 4 and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, and says, `I repent,’ you must forgive him.” 5 The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” 6 And the Lord said, “If you had faith as a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this sycamore tree, `Be rooted up, and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.
The context: In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus gives us two warnings: 1) We should not give scandal to anyone. 2) We need to practice unconditional forgiveness. Jesus also stresses our need for trusting Faith in God’s power if we are to avoid giving scandal and to practice forgiveness.
The great sin of scandal: Literally, scandal is a trap or stumbling block. The catechism defines it as any saying, action, or omission which causes an occasion of sin for another. Giving scandal to children and beginners in the Faith is a serious sin because it causes a chain reaction of sins for years, affecting many, taking away the life of grace from the victims. That is why Jesus says that it would be better for its perpetrators to have their necks inserted in heavy circular millstones and to be drowned in the sea than to suffer God’s punishment for this sin.
The necessity of practicing forgiveness: Jesus commands his followers to forgive their offending brothers and sisters repeatedly, as often as they are repentant. Further, we need to offer fraternal correction to the offender with charity, without humiliating him or offending his feelings. At the same time, we should not allow the offender to violate our just rights. Sincere forgiveness leads us to forget the particular offense and to extend the hand of friendship, which in turn helps the offender to repent. Jesus concludes his instructions by reminding his followers that avoiding scandals and forgiving the offenders are possible only if they have the trusting faith in God which enables Him to work miracles in their lives.
Life messages: 1) We need to avoid giving scandal to any one because it causes a series of sins and does damage to a number of innocent victims. 2) We should ask God to enlarge our hearts to forgive others and to help us to be ready to grant forgiveness to those who have offended us. (Fr. Kadavil) (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/22
Nov 8 Tuesday: Lk 17:7-10: 7 “Will any one of you, who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep, say to him when he has come in from the field, `Come at once and sit down at table’? 8 Will he not rather say to him, `Prepare supper for me, and gird yourself and serve me, till I eat and drink; and afterward you shall eat and drink’? 9 Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? 10 So you also, when you have done all that is commanded you, say, `We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’
The context: Today’s Gospel gives Jesus’ warning on complacency in the spiritual life through a parable about a slave and his relationship with his master. The slave had the duties of a cook as well as those of a fieldworker. Jesus says that the master wanted him to do fieldwork till evening, then prepare the supper and serve him at the table. Since both were parts of his duty, he need not expect a “thank you” from the master. This parable was a warning also to the Pharisees, who thought that God was indebted to them because of their scrupulous observance of the Mosaic Law.
The Teaching: We are God’s servants because God owns everything, and all our possessions have been loaned to us by a generous God. Our efforts and accomplishments are nothing in comparison with the blessings of God which we have received. All our devotions, prayers and works of charity form only a negligible part of our return to God, and the power to do them is another of His gifts to us. We can never adequately repay the gifts God has given to us. The Blessed Virgin Mary was fully aware of this truth, and that is why she responded to God’s messenger saying: “Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord” (Lk 1:38). St. Bernadette of Soubirous (1844-1879), the girl to whom the Blessed Mother appeared in Lourdes, France lived a life in obscurity as a contemplative nun. A journalist was able to track her down and eventually got the permission of the Prioress to interview her. One question that the journalist asked of her was why she opted to live in obscure life when she was so well known all over the world. In answer Bernadette compared herself to a house broom which has been put aside in a closet after it had been used to clean the room.
Life messages: 1) We need to offer our prayers of thanksgiving and acts of charity to God so that we may grow in God’s grace. 2) We need to consider our service to our neighbors as a sacred duty we owe to God in return for His innumerable blessings. 3) God’s love and generosity should compel us to give Him the best that is in us as our acts of thanksgiving. (Fr. Tony) https://frtonyshomilies.com/ (L/22)
Nov 9 Wednesday: (Dedication of the Lateran Basilica): For a short account, click here:(https://www.franciscanmedia.org/dedication-of-saint-john-lateran/): Jn 2:13-22 Historical note: Today the Church celebrates the anniversary of the dedication of the Cathedral Church of Rome by Pope Sylvester I (AD 314-335), in AD 324. This Church serves as the Episcopal seat of the Pope as the Bishop of Rome and, hence, is called “the mother and head of all Churches of Rome and the world.” The basilica and baptistery were built originally by Emperor Constantine and called Basilica Constantinia. Later it was renamed the Arch-Basilica of the Most Holy Savior. However, it is now called St. Johns Lateran Basilica because it was built on property donated to the Church by the Laterani family, and because the monks from the monastery of St. John the Baptist and St. John the Divine served it. The name St. Johns comes, first, from the Baptistery, rebuilt after its hard treatment by the Visigoths (AD 410), by Pope St. Sixtus II (AD 432-440), and dedicated by him to St. John the Baptist. Later, Pope St. Hilary (AD 461-468), dedicated it to St. John the Evangelist, in thanksgiving to that apostle for saving his life. [Richard P. McBrien, Lives of the Popes (San Francisco, CA: HarperCollins Publishers,
1997), pp. 58-58, 71-72, 77-78.]. USCCB video reflections: http://www.usccb.org/bible/reflections/index.cfm
The context: Today’s Gospel gives us the dramatic account of Jesus’ cleansing of the Temple in Jerusalem. He drove out its merchants and moneychangers with moral indignation at the unjust commercialization of God’s House of Prayer and the exploitation of the poor pilgrims in the name of religion. The merchants charged exorbitant prices for animals for sacrifices, and the moneychangers charged unjust commissions for the required exchange of pagan coins for Temple coins. Jesus cleansed the Temple in Jerusalem. Originally built by Solomon in 966 BC and rebuilt by Zerubbabel in 515 BC after the Babylonians had destroyed it, the Temple was still being renovated for the last time finishing the work begun in 20 BC by King Herod the Great. The abuses which infuriated Jesus were 1) the conversion of a place of prayer to a noisy marketplace and 2) the unjust business practices of animal merchants and moneychangers, encouraged by the Temple authorities. Hence, Jesus made a whip of cords and drove away the animals and the moneychangers, quoting Zechariah the prophet, “Stop making My Father’s house a marketplace”(Zechariah 14:21).
Life messages: 1) We need to avoid the business mentality of profit and loss in Divine worship. Our relationship with God must be that of a child to his parent, one of love, respect and desire for the common good, with no thought of gain or loss. 2) We need to remember that we are the temples of the Holy Spirit. Hence, we have no right to desecrate God’s temple by impurity, injustice, pride, hatred, or jealousy. 3) We need to love our parish Church and use it. Our Church is the place where we come together as a community to praise and worship God, to thank Him for His blessings, to ask pardon and forgiveness for our sins, and to offer our lives and petitions on the altar. Let us make our Church an even more holy place by adding our prayers and songs to community worship and by offering our time, talents, and treasure in the various ministries of our parish. (Fr. Tony) https://frtonyshomilies.com/ (L/22)
Nov 10 Thursday: (St. Leo the Great, Pope, Doctor of the Church): For a short biography, click here: https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-leo-the-great Lk 17:20-25: 20 Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; 21 nor will they say, `Lo, here it is!’ or `There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.” 22 And He said to the disciples, “The days are coming when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. 23 And they will say to you, `Lo, there!’ or `Lo, here!’ Do not go, do not follow them. 24 For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in His day. 25 But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.
The context: The Jews believed that the sudden and unexpected arrival of the promised Messiah would be accompanied by special signs. They also believed that the Messiah would be a politician who would rule Israel forever after overthrowing all other rulers. Hence, they asked Jesus for the prophesied signs identifying the Messiah – if Jesus were the Messiah.
Jesus’ reply: Jesus replied that the kingdom of God was already within them, and that was the greatest messianic sign. The Greek word we translate as “within” means both within you and among you. Considering the kingdom of God as within you, we are to understand that the Messiah is going to rule the hearts and minds of individuals, creating a revolution in human hearts and converting them from stony hearts to Spirit-filled loving, merciful, and compassionate hearts. Considering the kingdom of God as among you, we are to understand that God Himself is present among His people in the Person of Jesus of Nazareth, representing the Kingdom of God and doing God’s will in the most perfect way possible. Jesus also warned the Pharisees not to search for the Messiah anywhere else. He would appear again in Jesus’ Second Coming, quite unexpectedly, and as unmistakably as a flash of lightning that “lights up the sky from one side to the other.”
Life messages: 1) Let us be Kingdom people by allowing Jesus, the true Messiah, to have complete control of our lives. 2)Let us allow Jesus, to rule our lives by giving Jesus priority in all our actions. (Fr. Tony) https://frtonyshomilies.com/ (L/22)
Nov 11 Friday: (St. Martin of Tours, Bishop): For a short biography, click here: https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-martin-of-tours Lk 17: 26-37: 26 As it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of man. 27 They ate, they drank, they married, they were given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. 28 Likewise as it was in the days of Lot — they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built, 29 but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom fire and sulphur rained from heaven and destroyed them all — 30 so will it be on the day when the Son of man is revealed. 31 On that day, let him who is on the housetop, with his goods in the house, not come down to take them away; and likewise let him who is in the field not turn back. 32 Remember Lot’s wife. 33 Whoever seeks to gain his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will preserve it. 34 I tell you, in that night there will be two in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. 35 There will be two women grinding together; one will be taken and the other left.” 37 And they said to him, “Where, Lord?” He said to them, “Where the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together.”
The context: In today’s Gospel, Jesus is prophesying three endings: 1) the end of his public life, 2) the destruction of Jerusalem, and 3) the end of the world. Jesus warns his listeners to be ready and not to think that they can postpone their preparations, because when the end strikes it will already be too late. Through this prophecy and warning, Jesus asks us, too, 1) to be ready to meet him as our Judge at his Second Coming, whenever that may take place, and 2) to be prepared to meet him and to give him an account of our lives at the moment of our death, which is also unknown to us.
We need to learn lessons from the past: Jesus gives the example of the Flood during Noah’s time, when people ate and drank right up to the moment of disaster. Similarly, he goes on, in the days of Lot, people were leading their ordinary, sinful lives when fire and brimstone rained down on the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Only Lot and his family, who had been previously warned, and directly assisted, by the angels, escaped. The same events would be repeated at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem (AD 70), and will be repeated again at the end of the world. Some will be saved and others destroyed. Some will be prepared to meet their God and will be rewarded, while the unprepared will be punished. The criterion of selection will be our intimacy with Jesus in a life of grace. If we really want to see the Kingdom of God on earth in our times, we need only look at people’s lives. The Kingdom is there when people are reflecting in their lives the vision of life and the values that Jesus revealed to us, that is, loving God in offering loving , humble service to all they encounter.
Life messages: 1) We need to stay ready always by living holy and prayerful lives spent in doing good for others. 2) We need to make reparation for our past sins and to prepare our lives to meet our Savior as our Judge by living lives of penance and prayer and by doing works of charity. (Fr. Tony) https://frtonyshomilies.com/ (L/22) Additional reflections: https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections
Nov 12 Saturday: (St. Josaphat, Bishop, Martyr): For a short biography, click here: https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-josaphat Lk 18:1-8: 1 And he told them a parable, to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. 2 He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor regarded man; 3 and there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, `Vindicate me against my adversary.’ 4 For a while he refused; but afterward he said to himself, `Though I neither fear God nor regard man, 5 yet because this widow bothers me, I will vindicate her, or she will wear me out by her continual coming.'” 6 And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. 7…8.
The context: Today’s Gospel gives a parable Jesus told during his last trip to Jerusalem. When Luke recorded this passage, the Parousia or Second Coming of Jesus had been delayed beyond the limits the early Church had expected. Further, the Church was experiencing persecution from both the Jews and the Romans. The persecuted early Christians were finding it increasingly difficult to maintain their Faith. Today’s Gospel lesson, addressing the issues of Faith in difficult times, must have reassured those disciples, as Jesus reassured His own contemporaries, that God was listening to their persistent prayers and would grant them justice and vindicate their Faith in the end. Jesus presents the widow in today’s Gospel as a model of the trust and tenacity with which all his disciples are to pray.
The parable: This parable is based on the corrupt Roman legal practices prevalent in Palestine at the time of Jesus. The judge in the parable was a magistrate appointed either by Herod or by the Romans. Such judges were avaricious and corrupt, demanding bribes for a favorable decision, and they had no fear of God or the public. By publicly badgering the judge every day, the woman was trying to shame this shameless person. Finally, the unjust judge was forced to yield. Hence, this parable is not only about the efficacy of persistent prayer, but also shows us how God’s Justice reaches out to the poor and the weak, enabling them to fight against injustice. The parable teaches us that the purpose of all our prayers is the augmentation of our trusting Faith in a loving and caring God Who is our Father.
Life messages: 1) Prayer attunes our minds to God’s, enabling us to do what He wants. The parable teaches us that our prayers do not change God’s will. Instead, they bring our hearts into line with His purposes. Sincere and persistent prayer makes us ready to accept and live out His will in love and trust. 2) We should not expect to get whatever we pray for. We would like to get from God what we want , when and how we want it! God always hears all our prayers, but He knows how and when to grant our prayers. Only God sees time whole, and, therefore, only God knows what is good for us, and when, in the long run. Hence, we have to leave it to God’s decision saying, “Thy will be done,” and to express our trusting Faith in, and dependence on, Him by persevering in our prayers. (Fr. Tony) https://frtonyshomilies.com/ (L/22)