All posts by Tony Kadavil

Nov 7-12 weekday homilies

(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

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

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)

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

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)

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

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)

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

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)

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

O. T. 32 (C) Nov 6, 2022

O.T. 32 [C] Sunday homily (Nov 6) one-page summary (L/22)
Introduction: As we near the end of the Church’s liturgical year, the readings become more eschatological — having to do with the end times. The main theme of today’s readings is the reality of life after death and of the relationship between our lives on earth and the life of glory or punishment that will follow. The readings invite us to consider the true meaning of the Resurrection in our lives.

Scripture lessons summarized
: The first reading describes a Jewish family, consisting of a mother and her seven sons, who refuse their conqueror’s command to eat pork, forbidden as “unclean” by Jewish Law. Because of their obedient Faith in God, they endure suffering and accept martyrdom. During their torture, three of the brothers speak, and each of them finds strength in the belief that he will eventually be raised and rewarded by God. In the refrain for today’s Responsorial Psalm (Ps 17) we proclaim our Faith: “Lord, when Your glory appears, my joy will be full!” The second reading encourages the Thessalonians who hoped for the “Second Coming of Jesus in their lifetime, to trust in the fidelity of God Who would strengthen their hearts in every good work and word without being discouraged by people of no faith who will ill-treat them. This same belief in the resurrection of the dead is the basis of the confrontation described in today’s Gospel passage. In this confrontation, Jesus ingeniously escapes from a doctrinal trap set for him and explains the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, supported by the Pharisees and denied by the Sadducees. Jesus speaks of God as the God of the living and declares that heavenly life with God in glory is totally different from earthly life, explaining that there is no marriage in Heaven in the earthly sense.

Life messages: 1) We need to live as people of the Resurrection This means that we are not to lie buried in the tomb of our sins and evil habits. Instead, we are to live joyful and peaceful lives, constantly experiencing the real Presence of the Risen Lord. In addition, the hope of our resurrection to eternal life with God provides us with lasting peace and celestial joy to counter the boredom and tension of our day-to-day lives. Cultivating our awareness of the all-pervading Presence of the Spirit of the living God will help us to control our thoughts, desires, words, and behavior. The salutary thought of our own resurrection and eternal glory, or eternal punishment, should also inspire us to honor our bodies, keeping them holy, pure, and free from evil habits, and to respect those with whom we come in contact, rendering them loving and humble service.
2) We need to offer living worship to a living God. If our God is the God of the living, our worship of this living God also has to be alive. That means our participation in prayers and songs during the Holy Mass should be active and our behavior in Church reverent, as we offer our lives and all our activities to our living God on the altar with repentant and grateful hearts.

OT 32 [C] (Nov 6) II Mc 7:1-2, 9-14; II Thes 2:16–3:5; Lk 20:27-38

Homily starter anecdotes: #1: Resurrection of the dead: The film Amadeus ends showing the funeral of the great musician Mozart. (https://youtu.be/vCY4ryE9uF ) He died at the age of 35. A genius as a composer, he never had to make corrections, so his first draft was also his final copy. A child prodigy, he started playing several instruments at the age of four, wrote several symphonies by the age of eight and created at least 528 musical compositions before he died at age 35. He was a genius, whom one authority calls “one of the brightest stars in the musical firmament.” What a waste, that he should have died so young! It makes you wonder: is this life all there is? Imagine a beloved spouse, a darling parent or grandparent, a close friend, lying cold in the coffin. Is this life all there is? We try to comfort ourselves with the doctrine of the resurrection. We say: the genius of people like Mozart is not going to be wasted. The love of dear ones – the squeeze of their hands and the music in their voices – that love will be enjoyed in even greater intensity. A Sadducee in Jesus’ time might say, “I don’t believe it; the doctrine is absurd.” — That was the point the Sadducees wanted to make by challenging Jesus in today’s Gospel, with an absurd story of a woman who married seven husbands. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

# 2: Sign of the cross by Brezhnev’s wife: As Vice-President, George H. W. Bush represented the U.S. at the 1982 funeral of former Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev who had been the president of the USSR for 18 years. Bush was deeply moved by a silent protest carried out by Brezhnev’s widow, Mrs. Natalia. She stood motionless by the coffin until seconds before it was closed. Then, just as the soldiers touched the lid, Brezhnev’s wife performed an act of great courage and hope, a gesture that must surely rank as one of the most profound acts of civil disobedience ever committed: she reached down and made the sign of the cross on her husband’s chest.—There, in the citadel of secular, atheistic power, the wife of the man who had run it all hoped that her husband was wrong. She hoped that there was another life, that that life was best represented by Jesus who died on the cross, and that the same Jesus might yet have mercy on her husband. [Gary Thomas, Christian Times (October 3, 1994), p. 26.] Today’s Gospel is Jesus’ teaching on the resurrection of the dead. (

) (Gary Thomas, Christian Times, October 3, 1994, p. 26.) (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

# 3: The epitaph of Benjamin Franklin: In one of his lighter moments, Benjamin Franklin (one of the most important Founding Fathers of the United States: author, political theorist, politician, printer, scientist, inventor, civic activist, and diplomat), penned his own epitaph. It seems he must have been influenced by Paul’s teaching on the resurrection of the body. Here’s what he wrote: The Body of B. Franklin, the former printer lies here, food for worms, like the cover of an old book: its contents torn out, and stripped of its lettering and gilding. But the work shall not be wholly lost: for it will, as he believed, appear once more in a new & more perfect edition, corrected and amended by its Author. (http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/treasures/franklin-epitaph.html). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

4) Winners and losers: In 1983, now aged 61 years old, Albert Ernest Clifford Young  won the inaugural Westfield Sydney to Melbourne Ultramarathon, a distance of 875 kilometers (544 miles). The race was run between what were then Australia’s two largest Westfield shopping centers: Westfield Parramatta in Sydney and Westfield Doncaster in Melbourne.[8] Young arrived to compete in overalls and work boots, without his dentures (later saying that they rattled when he ran).[9] He ran at a slow and loping pace and trailed the pack by a large margin at the end of the first day. While the other competitors stopped to sleep for six hours, Young kept running. He ran continuously for five days, taking the lead during the first night and eventually winning by 10 hours. Before running the race, he had told the press that he had previously run for two to three days straight rounding up sheep in gumboots.[10] He said afterwards that during the race he imagined he was running after sheep trying to outrun a storm. The Westfield run took him five days, fifteen hours and four minutes,[1] almost two days faster than the previous record for any run between Sydney and Melbourne, at an average speed of 6.5 kilometers per hour (4.0 mph). All six competitors who finished the race broke the old record. Upon being awarded the prize of A$10,000 (equivalent to $32,067 in 2018), Young said that he did not know there was a prize and that he felt bad accepting it as each of the other five runners who finished had worked as hard as he did—so he split the money equally between them, keeping none. (Wikipedia). Today’s first reading describes seven such Jewish Maccabean winners who won their heavenly reward for martyrdom for keeping their faith in God their Yahweh.

Introduction: As we near the end of the Church’s liturgical year, the readings become more eschatological — having to do with the end times. The main theme of today’s readings is the reality of life after death and of the relationship between our lives on earth and the life of glory or punishment that will follow. The readings invite us to consider the true meaning of the Resurrection in our lives. The first reading states the first century BC Jewish theology of martyrdom and the resurrection of the just. The intense sufferings to which good Jews were subjected brought them to the conviction that the justice of God would reward the faithful in the afterlife and would also punish the wicked. In the refrain for today’s Responsorial Psalm (Ps 17), we proclaim our Faith: “Lord, when Your glory appears, my joy will be full!” The Psalm itself reminds us to ask God to protect us from yielding to evildoers who would destroy us (and who will perish) and to bring us Home to Him after death: “Keep me as the apple of Your eye, hide me in the shadow of Your wings; …. But I in justice shall behold Your face: on waking I shall be content in Your Presence” (v. 8, 15) The second reading was meant to encourage the Thessalonians who were waiting for the Parousia (the second coming of Christ and the resurrection of the dead), to trust in the fidelity of God. It was also meant to open their eyes to the fact that the Lord would strengthen their hearts in every good work and word. The same theme, the resurrection of the dead, is the basis of the confrontation described in today’s Gospel passage. Today’s Gospel affirms the victory of God and God’s love over the power of death. Jesus speaks of God as the God of the living, Who promises that the ones who will rise to life in Heaven are God’s children. The Gospel shows us how Jesus ingeniously escaped from a doctrinal trap set for him and explained the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead which was supported by the Pharisees but denied by the Sadducees. Jesus also explains that heavenly life with God in glory is totally different from earthly life, and that there is no marriage in Heaven in the earthly sense.

First reading: II Mc 7:1-2, 9-14 explained: A belief in Divine Judgment with reward or punishment for each of us after death, together with a lively hope for resurrection, is not clearly seen in the Jewish writings until the second century BC. I Maccabees, written in Hebrew by a Palestinian Jew, and II Maccabees, written in Greek by an Alexandrian Pharisee, both in the late second century BC, are named after Judas Maccabaeus, the hero of the war for Jewish independence against Antiochus IV Epiphanes who had wrested Egypt from the control of Ptolemy, King of Egypt, then raided the Temple in Jerusalem, carrying off all its golden vessels and treasures. He next attempted to Hellenize the Jews by imposing Greek culture and idol worship on them under pain of torture and death. The Second Book of Maccabees is the story of invaders who had the job of convincing the Jews who remained faithful to the Law and Covenant, to give up their Faith. The invaders met with heroic resistance. In today’s passage, the resisters express their hope of resurrection, and this hope helps them defy their persecutors. The selection describes a Jewish family, consisting of a mother and her seven sons, who refused Antiochus IV Epiphanes’ command to eat pork, (forbidden as “unclean” by Jewish law). Because of their obedient Faith in God, they endure suffering and accept martyrdom. The conviction that the dead would be raised on the last day was not widely accepted at that time, nor even by the time of Jesus. But in our first reading, three of the brothers speak, and each of them finds strength in the belief that he will eventually be raised by God. One says, “You may discharge us from this present life, but the King of the world will raise us up.” Another says that he hopes to receive his severed limbs again in Heaven. The fourth son also says that he is “relying on God’s promise that we shall be raised up by Him.”

The second reading: II Thes 2:16–3:5 explained: Today’s second reading is comprised of three short prayers. In the first (2:16-17), and third (3:5) prayers, Paul asks that the Thessalonians remain constant in their commitment, bolstered by the knowledge that theirs is truly the work of the Gospel. In the second prayer (3:1-4), Paul asks that the community remember him and his ministry to God. Prayer prepares us and equips us to welcome even that most dreaded moment of life, its ending, and, in that moment, to embrace death as a passage through which we will come face to face with the God who calls us to Life Everlasting. Paul hints at the necessity of adjustment to an adverse religious environment in Thessalonica when he prays for the community’s endurance (II Thes 2:16-3:5). The belief that the Parousia, or the “second coming of Jesus in glory,” was just around the corner, was common among the Thessalonian Christians. So Paul was anxious about three things: i) keeping the Thessalonian Christians from getting off track in their excitement about the end, ii) getting the word of God spread as far as possible while there was still time, and iii) keeping them steadfast and faithful to the Gospel. “May the Lord,” he writes, “direct your hearts to the love of God and to the endurance of Christ.”

Gospel exegesis:
The context: Jesus had reached Jerusalem for his final Passover feast. He wept over Jerusalem (Lk 19:41-44), cleansed the Temple (Lk 19:45-47) and started teaching there. As part of a well-planned plot to trap Jesus, the chief priests, the scribes and the Pharisees approached him with two controversial questions: i) “Tell us, by what authority are you doing these things and who is it who gave you this authority?” (Lk 20:2), and ii) “Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?” (Lk 20:22). Learning that Jesus had ingeniously escaped from the first two traps, the Sadducees, in today’s Gospel lesson, asked a question concerning the marital state after the resurrection. The challenge to Jesus was clear: do you believe in the written Torah, which is silent on the resurrection, or do you side with the Pharisees, accepting their belief in the resurrection based on oral traditions and interpretations, and thus subjecting Moses to ridicule?
Afterlife theology of the Pharisees: The Pharisees were an entirely religious group with no political ambitions and were content with any government which gave them religious freedom. They accepted both the Torah and the Prophets as authoritative Scripture, and they relied heavily on oral tradition to understand Scripture. They observed all the regulations and rules of the oral and ceremonial law, such as the Sabbath laws and the laws about ritual handwashing. The Pharisees believed in, and hoped for, the coming of the Messiah. They believed also in the resurrection of the dead, in angels, in spirits and in fate, i.e., that a man’s life was planned and ordered by God. The word “resurrection” does not appear in the Pentateuch (Torah), but the beginnings of the concept are found in Job 19:26; Psalm 16:10; 49:15; Isaiah 25:8; 26:16-19; Daniel 12:2; and Hosea 13:14. “Those who had died would be raised so that they too could receive their due reward.” (Daniel 12:2 [165 BC]). Ezekiel 37 recounts the prophet’s vision of dry bones rising to life, but the image refers to the Jewish nation rather than to individual persons. The idea of the resurrection is further developed in the Deuterocanonical books (see II Mc 7).

Heaven-on-earth theology of the Sadducees: The Sadducees constituted a party of wealth, power, and privilege, which controlled the Temple worship. Although few in number, the Sadducees were the Jewish governing class, and they supported Roman rule. Nearly all priests were Sadducees. They acknowledged only written Scripture as bearing God’s word, accepting only the first five books of the Hebrew Bible as authoritative; they rejected the oral tradition which Pharisees found necessary for applying God’s revealed word to everyday life. They gave the writings of the prophets a lower place in their system. The Sadducees believed in unrestricted free-will and not in fate or Divine Providence. They assumed that we control our own destinies through our personal actions. They rejected the idea of the resurrection, because it was not found in the Torah. Nor did they believe in the coming of the Messiah.
The trap: When the Sadducees saw that Jesus had silenced the emissaries of the Sanhedrin, they confronted him with a question ridiculing the belief in the resurrection of the dead about which, they claimed, Moses had written nothing. Their question put Jesus in a no-win political position. If Jesus defended the concept of the resurrection, he would displease the Sadducees. If he failed to do so, he would displease the Pharisees. Thus, either way, he would alienate a part of the crowd. The Sadducees’ question was based on the Levirate Law of marriage included in the Mosaic regulations, and hence was regarded as binding by the Sadducees. That law provided for the economic and social security of widows in a Jewish society where women had no legal rights and could not earn wages [Dt 25:5-10] According to that law, if a man died childless, his brother must marry the widow and beget children to carry on the dead man’s line. In their hypothetical question, they asked Jesus who, in Heaven, would be the husband of the woman who had been married in succession to seven of her brothers–in-law (“levires”), and had died childless. Jesus turns their insincere query into an occasion for genuine teaching. First, he draws a sharp distinction between “this age” (our earthly life) and “that age” (life at the resurrection or life after death). He makes it clear that the resurrection is not simply a continuation of earthly life. He speaks here of the resurrection not of everyone but only of “those judged worthy of a place in the age to come.”

Going on the offensive as defense: Jesus begins his counterargument by pointing out the Sadducees’ ignorance about the existence and nature of life after death with God. He refutes their misconception that eternal life is in this world. Then Jesus goes on the offensive, making two points. First, he provides positive Biblical proof for the reality of resurrected existence: God said to Moses from the burning bush, “I AM the God of your Fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob” (Ex 3:1-6). Jesus here presumes that Yahweh’s burning bush statement is in the present tense. Since God is claiming at the time He is speaking to Moses that He IS God of the patriarchs, these three patriarchs must still alive at the time of Moses, 600 years after their deaths. So God must somehow be sustaining the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob by granting them resurrection and eternal life: “Now He is not the God of the dead, but of the living; for all live to Him” (Lk 20:38). Thus, Jesus uses the Sadducees’ sacred text of the Torah to respond to their anti-resurrection belief, and therefore, the resurrection of the body can be proved from the Torah itself. Second, Jesus explains that the afterlife won’t be just an eternal replay of this life. Things will be different after we die. Normal human relations, including marriage, will be transformed. Then Jesus tells the Sadducees (who denied angels and spirits), that those whom God considers worthy of the resurrection and heavenly life with Him are immortal, like the angels and hence are “children of God.”
Teaching of the Church: According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, our belief in the resurrection is based upon a Faith-relationship with God as Creator. “God revealed the resurrection of the dead to His people progressively” (CCC #992). Resurrection is implied in the earlier books of the Old Testament, becomes clearer in the later books and is emphatically asserted in II Maccabees (Ex 3:6; Jb 19:25-26; Ps 16:9-10; 49:15; 73:24; Hos 6:1-2; Dn 12:2). The teaching of Jesus and the Apostles on this topic is crystal clear in the New Testament [Mt 26:17-31, 31-46, 28:1-10,  Mk 16:1-8, Jn 3:16, 5:29, 11:1-57, 11:25-26, 2:19,  20:1-18, 20:10-18, Acts 1:1-11, 2:23-24, Rom 1:3-4, 4:25, 5:8, 10:9, 1 Cor 1:15, 1:18,  15:1-58, Heb 11:1, 12:2, 1 Thes 4:13-18, 1 Jn 3:16, 2 Tm 1:10.] Hence, the whole of Christian theology is based on the belief in our resurrection and everlasting life of reward or punishment.

Life messages: 1) We need to live as people of the Resurrection: This means that we are not to lie buried in the tomb of our sins and evil habits. Instead, we are to live joyful and peaceful lives, constantly experiencing the real Presence of the Risen Lord who gives us the assurance that our bodies also will be raised. In addition, the hope of our resurrection and eternal life with God gives us lasting peace and celestial joy amid the boredom and tension of our day-to-day lives. An awareness of the all-pervading presence of the Spirit of the living God [Jn 11:27; Acts 14:14; Rom 9:26; 1 Thes 1:9; 1 Tm 3:15, 4:10, 6:17; 2 Cor 3:3, 6:16; Heb3:12, 9:12, 10:31, 12:22; Rv 7:2] will help us to control our thoughts, desires, words and behavior. The salutary thought of our own resurrection and eternal glory should also inspire us to honor our bodies, keeping them holy, pure, and free from evil habits, and to respect those with whom we come in contact, rendering them loving and humble service.

2) We need to offer living worship to a living God. The reason we come together each week to pray for the needs of the community, share the Word and break the Bread is that we have Faith and Hope in a living God Who loves us and Whom we love. If God is the God of the living, should not worship of this God also be alive? Our worship services and relation to God must be life-giving rather than life-draining experiences. Unfortunately, Holy Mass and other worship services are often described as “dead” or “boring.” Even Church volunteers sometimes complain of being exhausted in their work. The proclamation that our God is the God of the living has to mean something positive to us. It should affect our lives today and every day, especially during our Sunday worship. In response to Him, our participation in prayers and songs during the Holy Mass should be active and our behavior in Church reverent, though not gloomy. As we continue our Eucharist celebration and gather around the Table of the Lord, let us give thanks to Almighty God for this foretaste of the Heavenly Banquet that awaits us in the place that God has prepared for us.

JOKES OF THE WEEK: 1) An elderly priest of our diocese was asked, “Do you believe in purgatory?” He answered, “Not only do I believe in purgatory, I’m counting on it!”
2) Sign boards found on church property. A singing group called “The Resurrection” was scheduled to sing at a Church. When a big snowstorm postponed the performance, the pastor fixed the outside sign to read, “The Resurrection is postponed.”
3) When is the Resurrection? A young preacher, very zealous about soul-winning, came upon a farmer working in his field. Being concerned about the farmer’s soul the preacher asked the man, “Are you laboring in the vineyard of the Lord, my good man?” Not even looking at the preacher and continuing his work the farmer replied, “Naw, these are soybeans.” The young, determined preacher tried again asking the farmer, “Are you prepared for the resurrection?” This caught the farmer’s attention and he asked, “When’s it gonna be?” Thinking he had accomplished something the young preacher replied, “It could be today, tomorrow, or the next day.” Taking a handkerchief from his back pocket and wiping his brow, the farmer remarked, “Well, don’t mention it to my wife. She doesn’t get out much and she’ll wanna go all three days.”
4) A grown man, half-jokingly, half in earnest, explains his fear of flying: “Suppose the plane blows up in the air and I am blown to pieces. At the resurrection of the body, God will certainly find it difficult to assemble all my shattered pieces. I’d rather die as one piece so I will be among the first to raise whole from the dead.”
5) During a recollection for a group of high school students, a boy voiced a problem: “My eldest brother was born ten years ahead of me, but he died when he was only two years old. My mother died when she was 50 years old. Suppose I die at 60 and then meet my brother and my mother in heaven, would I be older than either of them?”
6) This incident took place in Veneto, Italy. Sr. Tiziana’s elderly father died of a massive stroke. The disconsolate widow was crying her heart out at the funeral. Sr. Tiziana gently reminded her grieving mom that the separation was temporary for she would be reunited with him in Heaven. Her mom cried even more and retorted: “Have you not heard what the Gospel says: in the next life we will be like angels and there will be no such thing as marriage? In Heaven, I will no longer be his wife!”

USEFUL WEBSITES OF THE WEEK (For homilies & Bible study groups)

1) Fr. Don’ collection of video homilies & blogs: https://sundayprep.org/featured-homilies/ (Copy it on the Address bar and press the Enter button)

2) Fr. Geoffrey Plant’s beautiful & scholarly video classes on Sunday gospel, Bible & RCIA topics: https://www.youtube.com/user/GeoffreyPlant20663)
3)Fr. Nick’s collection of Sunday homilies from 65 priests & weekday homilies: https://www.catholicsermons.com/homilies/sunday_homilies
4) Dr. Brant Pitre’s commentary on Cycle C Sunday Scripture for Bible Class: https://catholicproductions.com/blogs/mass-readings-explained-year-Biblical basis of Catholic doctrines: http://scripturecatholic.com/
5) Agape Catholic Bible Lessons: http://www.agapebiblestudy.com/

22 Additional anecdotes:

1) Fight like a man: A Church Elder came by to visit the new pastor one Sunday afternoon. He had been a highly respected member of this congregation for over 25 years. While they were sitting on the back porch of the parsonage, the man said, “Pastor, I’ve got something to tell you. I’ve never told this to a soul, … it’s extremely difficult to tell you this now, … my wife and I … have argued … or had a fight almost every day … for the past 30 years … of our marriage.” The pastor was taken back. He nervously took a sip of his coffee. He wasn’t sure what to say. After a brief pause, the young Pastor said, “Every day?” “Yes, … just about … every day.” “Did you fight today, before you came to church?” “Yes.” …. “Well, how did it end up?” “She came crawling to me on her hands and knees.” “My Goodness! What did she say?” “Come out from under that bed you coward, and fight like a man!” — Well, our Gospel lesson today recalls the friction, the arguing, and the fighting that was going on between the Pharisees and the Sadducees almost every day during this Biblical period. (Rev. J. Jeffrey Smead). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

2) “I wouldn’t mind a few more years”: Father Mark Granito illustrates from his personal experience how we are tied down to this world of miseries in spite of our Faith in the Resurrection and everlasting life. “My mother died four years ago this month. I remember we used to celebrate her birthday in May, and I’d always take her out to some nice restaurant. When she turned 80, she said, “Well, I’m 80 now…that’s a very big number. There won’t be many more years left now.” At 81 and 82 she said, “It’s a big number! No one in my family has lived this long!” Occasionally, she’d say, “I wish God would take me! I’m fed up! I’m fed up with being sick! I’m ready to go on to Heaven!” And then she said, “I wonder what heaven is like…I hear you float around up there….!” Strangely, just a few weeks before she died, she said, “You know, I’m ready to go, but I wouldn’t mind a few more years…” — Perhaps most priests have had similar experiences in their pastoral life in ministering to terminally ill patients who are unwilling to die in spite of their strong Faith in a heavenly reward awaiting them, as mentioned in today’s readings. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

3) Seven Brides for Seven Brothers: You are middle-aged or older if you remember when the movie Seven Brides for Seven Brothers was first released. It was an exuberant, fast-paced musical about seven brothers on the frontier of the United States who were all looking for brides. Such “commodities” were rare in their part of the world. But, of course, in the end each brother got his bride. — The story in our Gospel passage for today is about one bride for seven brothers, but the end of the story is not as happy and upbeat as was the movie. The story is part of a “knock-down, drag-out” debate or argument between Jesus and some of his most powerful opponents. (https://youtu.be/QbzJtP75NqM) (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

4) The story of a gamomaniac: Karl Shaw tells in his book Oddballs and Eccentrics about Charles Radclyffe, the fifth Earl of Derwentwater. Shaw calls Radclyffe a gamomaniac. Gamomania is an obsessive disorder characterized by persistent proposals of marriage. Charles Radclyffe proposed on fifteen occasions to the reluctant Countess of Newburgh who became so annoyed by the constant harassment that she bolted herself in her home and gave instructions to her servants to throw him off the property on sight. The Earl finally found a way into her house by climbing on to her roof and lowering himself down the chimney into her drawing room where, black from soot, he made his sixteenth marriage proposal. This time his persistence paid off and she agreed to marry him. (Castle Books, p. 11)– I guess he had finally worn her down. That’s a remarkable story. Fifteen rebuffs, and he had to climb down a chimney before she accepted his proposal! That story is almost as extraordinary as a riddle that some of the Sadducees posed for Jesus in today’s Gospel of a woman married to seven successive husbands. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

5) “10,000 space capsules up there flying around?” When the United States government got ready to launch the space program, some of the people who were opposed to the project asked, “What are we going to do when we get 10,000 of those things up there flying around?” That may have been an intelligent question, but those who asked it had stretched the whole space program out of proportion in order to make a point. In an effort to thwart the space program and make it look ridiculous, they imagined the heavens filled with space capsules. — The Sadducees did not believe in the theory of resurrection, and in an effort to present an argument against it, they reduced the doctrine to the point of absurdity by telling a story found in the Book of Tobit of seven brothers who in succession married the same woman. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

6) Vietnam Veterans Memorial artist on death and after life: Last spring, Maya Ying Lin stunned the architectural world when she won the nationwide design competition for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial which was to be built on the Mall near the Lincoln Memorial. In an interview with Phil McCombs of the Washington Post, she shared some insights about death and our uneasiness with it. It is interesting to see ourselves through the eyes of this twenty-two-year-old Asian. She said: “We are supposedly the only creature that realizes its mortality … Man reacts to that by denying its existence. We don’t tell children about it. We say someone ‘went away, passed away.’ We can’t admit it to ourselves. That’s always disturbed me. If you can’t be honest about something that fundamental, if you tell little kids, ‘He’s just gone away,’ it’s just an unbelievable lie.” — If the whole idea of resurrection is an unbelievable lie, perhaps a part of the reason is that we refuse to break out of the molds, relationships and structures that we currently find meaningful but which can be a stumbling block when we try to carry them forward into another life. Today’s Gospel gives us Jesus’ teaching on resurrection of the dead and the nature of their life after death. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

7) Warren Buffett’s fear of death: Warren Buffett, a financial investment genius and the second-richest man in America, has his doubts about life beyond the grave, and it worries him. Buffett admits, “There is one thing I am scared of. I am afraid to die.” His biographer Roger Lowenstein writes: “Warren’s exploits were always based on numbers, which he trusted above all else. In contrast, he did not subscribe to his family’s religion. Even at a young age, he was too mathematical, and too logical, to make the leap of faith. He adopted his father’s ethical underpinnings, but not his belief in an unseen Divinity.” And thus Warren Buffet, one of the most successful men in the world, is stricken with one terrifying fear–the fear of dying. On a lighter note, Buffett once said, “What I want people to say when they pass my casket is, “Boy, was he old!” [Roger Lowenstein, “Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist,” found in Thoughts of Chairman Buffett, compiled by Simon Reynolds (New York: Harper Business, 1998).] — Today’s Gospel tells us about the prospect of a resurrected life with God in Heaven. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

8) Apple from the Garden of Eden: Anthony DeMello S.J. tells the story of a Muslim holy man who had just finished preaching. A heckler (cynic) from the audience shouted, “Instead of spouting spiritual theories why don’t you show us something practical?” Somewhat surprised, the holy man asked, “What kind of practical thing do you want me to show you?” The man, pleased that he had made the speaker uncomfortable and that he was making an impression on the audience, replied, “For instance, show us an apple from the Garden of Paradise.” Immediately the holy man bent down and picked up an apple from his shoulder bag and handed it to his questioner. “But this apple is bad on one side,” said the man. “Surely a heavenly apple would be perfect.” “True,” said the Mullah, “but given your present faculties, this is as near to a heavenly apple as you will ever get.” — How are we to see a perfect apple with imperfect eyes? The same situation confronted the Sadducees in today’s Gospel lesson when they faced Jesus with a ridiculous question on the marital relationship in heaven. St. Paul said: “Eye has not seen nor ear heard what God has in store for those that love him.” (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

9) Hope of reincarnated resurrection: A story came out of China sometime back that was heartbreaking. Fifty-one peasant girls seeking a better position in life committed suicide in 15 separate group-drownings in Jiangxi province, China. Many of the despairing teenagers dressed in their best clothes before jumping, in order to present a good image to the gods of the other-world. They were hoping to be reincarnated as rich, sophisticated city women. [The Comedian Who Choked .. . . . by the Editors of Fortean Times (Cader Books, New York, 1996), p. 57.] — As people used to say, “They are so heavenly-minded that they are no earthly good.” (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

10) “It’s time to rest, to go home, be with God and with my husband.” The Reverend George Alexander tells a profoundly moving story about a woman he met when he was beginning his clinical pastoral education. She was 71 years old. Alexander was 24. “The Lord’s been good to me but my husband’s gone, my children are grown; it’s time to rest, to go home, be with God and with my husband.” Alexander, with the inexperience of youth, thought she was afraid of surgery. So he reassured her. “Oh,” she said, “these are fine doctors and the nurses are great but I’ve had a good life, a full life, I’m ready to go home.” The young pastor-to-be was baffled in the face of her contentment; she was calm. Nurses came to take her to surgery and she asked him to read the 23rd Psalm. He read it, she shouted it and the nurses joined in what became, says Alexander, an unforgettable moment of joy. He later went to see her but the nurses met him, told him, before this elderly woman of Faith could be put to sleep, she went to sleep; she went to be with God. — Here is how George Alexander sums up his experience: “I’d listened critically with ears and mind but my heart knew. I named the voice of God fear, accepted the joy in her life and denied her enthusiasm about death. I stood next to eternity and couldn’t accept it.” (http://www.stcatherines.org/RevAlexanderSermons.html). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

11) Film -The Day After: When the movie The Day After was shown on television in 1983, it caused quite a controversy. (https://youtu.be/Iyy9n8r16hs ) This was because it was focused on the ultimate What if- the event of a global nuclear war. What if the population of Kansas City is instantly reduced to vaporized silhouettes; What if the blistered wounded are doomed to die; What if some survivors are surrounded by radioactive fallout that settles like a fine white dust all over the earth? The Day After was intended primarily to provoke serious reflection and discussion about nuclear disarmament. But it also provokes questions about our Faith. Would a good God allow such a terrifying evil to happen? Why do we have to die at all? Is there really a resurrection? —- Today’s readings suggest some answers to these questions, not in the sense of complete explanations, but in the sense of strengthening our Faith in Jesus Christ, the Risen Son of the Living God. (Albert Cylwicki in His Word Resounds; quoted by Fr. Botelho). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

12) Perfect “Time Out.” I was watching a college football game. It was between the University of Clemson and North Carolina State. It turned out to be a fantastic game full of all kinds of drama. With only a few seconds to go North Carolina State was in position to win the game with a field goal. Just before the ball was snapped the head coach of Clemson called a quick time out. He wanted to rattle the place-kicker. He had already missed a couple of field goals and I’m sure Clemson’s coach thought if the young man was interrupted that perhaps some doubt and fear would overcome him and he would miss again. Well, Clemson’s strategy worked perfectly. The young man tried his best but he was off by a couple of feet and the game went into overtime where Clemson went on to win the game. — I was amazed at the precise timing of Clemson’s time out. It was faultless. It was called with just enough time to get into the young man’s mind and create some doubt in his ability to kick the field goal. It was done just at the right time to rattle him. And it worked. Our passage in Luke this morning deals with a time in Jesus’ life that the same type of devilish strategy was being attempted on Jesus. (Rev. Emie Arnold). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

13) Beware of “curve balls.” A successful major league batter gets a hit only 30 percent of the time he comes to bat. One of the ways pitchers lower these chances even further is by throwing a curveball. A curveball is a pitch that appears to be moving straight toward home plate but that is actually moving down and to the right or left by several inches. Obviously, a pitch that curves is going to be harder to hit than a fastball that is moving straight. Any baseball pitch begins with how the pitcher grips the ball. To throw a curveball, a pitcher must hold the baseball between his thumb and his index and middle fingers, with the middle finger resting on the baseball seam. When the pitcher comes through his motion to throw the ball, he snaps his wrist downward as he releases the ball, which gives the ball topspin. The spinning action created when the pitcher releases the ball is the secret behind the curveball. This spinning causes air to flow differently over the top of the ball than it does under the ball. This imbalance of force is called the Magnus Effect, named for physicist Gustav Magnus, who discovered in 1852 that a spinning object traveling through liquid is forced to move sideways. To play the game correctly you have to watch the spin. In public relations, spin is a form of propaganda, achieved through providing an interpretation of an event or campaign to persuade public opinion in favor or against a certain organization or public figure. While traditional public relations may also rely on a “creative” presentation of the facts, “spin” often implies disingenuous, deceptive and/or highly manipulative tactics. For year, businesses have used fake or misleading customer testimonials by editing/spinning a customer’s clients to reflect a much more satisfied experience than was actually the case. Another spin technique involves a delay in the release of bad news so it can be hidden in the shadow of more important or favorable news or events. –The Sadducees in today’s Gospel text were all concerned about marriages and the afterlife and who is going to married to whom and Jesus breaks all that up because he says in describing Heaven that life there is not as it is on earth. (Rev. Amiri Hooker). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

14) Life is full of questions isn’t it? We start asking questions quite young. Can’t you remember that younger brother or sister, nephew, niece, or grandchild who kept on asking you “Why?” Why is the sky blue? Why is the grass green? Why do I have to go to the dentist? Why can’t I have my cake before supper? Why? Why? Why? Too many questions can drive you insane. You probably ask a lot of them too. Our lives are filled with more ‘questions’ than ‘answers’. Humans are the only species on this planet which have this powerful, even maddening capacity to reason, to imagine, to doubt and to question. The animals that I have had, even the smartest ones, do not question things, but they react to things. People however, raise questions concerning things they know little or nothing about. We have strange and even complicated curiosity. We encourage our children to raise questions, because asking questions can make us make us smart, or maybe it will turn us into what my mother called me a couple of times, a ‘smart aleck’. — Certainly, in the Sadducees in today’s Scripture could have been called ‘smart alecks’. Several times in this chapter various religious leaders come to Jesus with questions. In fact, the whole chapter is built upon 4 questions, 3 of which came from religious leaders themselves and one of which came from Jesus. All the questioning in this chapter starts with one very big, leading question: “Tell us, (Jesus) by what authority are you doing these things?” The question that comes in our text near the end of the chapter builds upon this one. The Sadducees, as Luke explains– ‘those who say there is no resurrection’—came to ask Jesus a question (vs. 27) about the resurrection they did not believe in. Of course, they were trying to trick Jesus into giving a wrong answer. The answer they got gave them a big surprise. The greatest rabbi in Judaism often answered questions by raising even bigger questions. It was a culture which said you ought to think through and answer the biggest questions yourself. ( Rev. Dr. Charles J. Tomlin). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

15) Apple or Android? Toyota or Honda? Hardwood or laminate? What kind of hard choices have you had to make recently? If you’re in the market for a car, you’ll do your research because you don’t want to pay good money for a vehicle that will break down in a couple of years. But with so many choices out there how can you be certain that you’ll pick the right one? You can never be sure that the car, computer, or condo you buy will live up to the vendor’s claims, but there’s not much you can do about it. Like everyone else you’ll have to plunk down your money and hope for the best. — Thankfully that’s not how we have to handle mankind’s biggest question: “Is there life after death?” In our homily text today Jesus assures us that there is life after death because we can trust God’s power, and we can trust God’s pronouncements. (Rev. Daniel Habben). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

16) In front of St. Peter at the pearly gates. A man opens his eyes and realizes he’s in front of St. Peter at the pearly gates. Immediately St. Peter said, “It’s not so easy getting into Heaven. There are some criteria to be met before entering. “For example,” Peter said, “were you religious? Did you attend Church? Were you generous; give money to the poor? What about charities? Do you do any of these things?” The man sheepishly said, “No.” “Oh, that’s bad,” Peter mumbled. “Well, did you do any good deeds? …help your neighbor? Anything?” The man only shook his head. “Look,” Peter said, “everybody does something nice sometime. Work with me! I’m trying to help. Now think!” The man’s face took on a smile then he said. “There was this old lady. See, I came out of the store and found her surrounded by a dozen mean bikers. They had her purse and were shoving her, taunting and abusing her. So, I threw down my bags and fought through the crowd, got her purse back and helped her to her feet. Then I went up to the biggest biker and told him how despicable, cowardly and mean he was then spat in his face.” “Wow,” Peter said, “that’s impressive. When did this happen?” The man replied, “Oh, about 10-minutes ago.” — The Master must have felt like the beleaguered old lady with the Sadducees, serving as the mean bikers, constantly going against Him. This time, the Sadducees were coming at Jesus in our focus scripture of Luke 20:27 through 38, with their disbelief in the resurrection of the soul. (Rev. Joe Tilton). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

17) People often ask me about Heaven. Will my grandpa and grandma be there? Will they be the same age- will they like the same things they like(d) on earth? How about my little poodle, “Itty Bit”? Will my pets and my friends be in Heaven? From time to time, I am asked these questions and generally I answer, “I don’t know.” I don’t have a definitive answer to most of these questions because Heaven is something that still awaits me. In his great vision (Rv 21), John saw streets of gold and pearly gates, but there is no mention of what our relationships with one another and “daily” life will be like in Heaven. It will be a new thing for those of us on earth. I look forward to it with all my heart, but I don’t have answers to many of the questions I receive. I have opinions, but they’re only opinions. I know many, many people who expect to live with their spouse when they get to Heaven, but I also know people who would consider such a reunion to be “hell.” Indeed, apart from God’s grace, I don’t even know if those who are asking me about Heaven will actually get to Heaven! People wonder about Heaven. My son died when he was just 3, grandpa lived to be 103- will the one be forever a toddler and the other forever old? Will there be diapers in Heaven? Baseball? Lawyers? My brother’s always been fat- will he be obese in Heaven?– I don’t know, I don’t know… but I do know that the river of life runs through Heaven, and I know that the Communion we share in Church is just a foretaste of the banquet we will share, face-to-face, with our Lord and our God. I don’t know what will be served, but I do know that the last will be first. I don’t know who will be in Heaven and who won’t be, but I do know that Heaven will be filled with forgiven sinners, some of whom gave their lives for Christ and some of whom cried out, “Remember me,” with their dying breath. I don’t what we will do in Heaven, but I pray that Heaven won’t involve any committee meetings. I don’t know whether Heaven will be filled with traditional or contemporary Christian music, but I do know that Heaven will be a place of worship and response. I also know that, in Heaven, we will finally be free of self and able, at last, to love God with all of our hearts and our neighbors as ourselves. Heaven will be a place of humility. Every knee will bow to Christ and every tongue will confess Him as Lord. I don’t know whose names will be written in the Book of Life, but I know that Heaven will be filled with people who lived lives marked by the fruits of the Spirit. I also know that everyone in Heaven will be childlike, and that Heaven will be a place without hospitals, or prisons, or graveyards. There will be no violence, no betrayal, no manipulation, no scorecards; nor will there be any Alzheimer’s, or cancer, or addiction, not even any knee replacements in Heaven. In today’s Gospel Jesus gives the answer. (Rev Ken Shedenhelm). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
18) Riddles answered by Jesus: There are no riddles with Christ because He will always tell the truth and no one can outsmart Jesus because He is God! Let’s start with some fun; many of you will recognize them right away, so if that is you, please don’t answer. What is it? A box without hinges, key, or lid; Yet golden treasure inside is hid. [An egg]. What has roots as nobody sees, Is taller than trees, Up, up it goes, And yet never grows? [A mountain]. It cannot be seen, cannot be felt, cannot be heard, cannot be smelt. It lies behind stars and under hills, And empty holes it fills. It comes first and follows after, ends life, kills laughter. [Darkness]. This thing all things devours: Birds, beasts, trees, flowers; Gnaws iron, bites steel; Grinds hard stones to meal; Slays king, ruins town, and beats high mountain down. [Time]. These were riddles between Bilbo Baggins and Gollum in the book The Hobbit! — What’s the purpose of riddles? Riddles are used for trying to outsmart another person! We will note 2 riddles in our Gospel passage today. What were they, why were they asked, and what were the answers? (Rev. Paul Clemente). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

19) There is no resurrection just as there is no life outside mother’s womb! In a mother’s womb were two babies. One asked the other: “Do you believe in life after delivery?” The other replied, “Why, of course. There has to be something after delivery. Maybe we are here to prepare ourselves for what we will be later.” “Nonsense” said the first. “There is no life after delivery. What kind of life would that be?” The second said, “ I don’t know, but there will be more light than here. Maybe we will walk with our legs and eat from our mouth. Maybe we will have other senses that we can’t understand now.” The first replied,” That is absurd. Walking is impossible. And eating with our mouths? Ridiculous ! The umbilical cord supplies nutrition and everything we need. But the umbilical cord is so short. Life after delivery is to be logically excluded.” The second insisted,” Well I think there is something, and maybe it’s different than it is here. Maybe we won’t need this physical cord anymore.” The first replied, “Nonsense. And moreover, if there is life, then why has no one ever come back from there? Delivery is the end of life, and in the after-delivery there is nothing but darkness and silence and oblivion. It takes us nowhere. ” Well, I don’t know,” said the second, “but certainly we will meet Mother and she will take care of us.” The first replied “Mother? You actually believe in Mother? That’s laughable. If Mother exists then where is She now?” The second said.” She is all around us. We are surrounded by her. We are of Her. It is in Her that we live. Without Her this world would not and could not exist.” Said the first: “Well I don’t see her, so it is only logical that she doesn’t exit.” To which the second replied, “Sometimes, when you’re in silence and you focus and listen, you can hear Her loving voice, calling.” — Does that sound like the Sadducees’ argument in today’s Gospel? (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

20) Reward after the resurrection: A priest died and went to the Pearly Gates. Resplendent in his clerical collar and colorful vestments, he’s waiting in line and just ahead of him is a guy dressed in sunglasses, a loud shirt, leather jacket, and jeans. Saint Peter addresses this guy, “Who are you, so that I may know whether or not to admit you into heaven?” The guy replies, “I’m Joe Green, New York City taxi-driver.” Saint Peter consults his list, smiles and says to the taxi-driver, “Take this silken robe and golden staff, and enter.” So, the taxi-driver enters Heaven with his robe and staff, and the minister is next in line. Without being asked, he proclaims, “I am Rev. Michael O’Connor, pastor of Saint Mary’s for the last forty-three years.” Saint Peter consults his list and says, “Take this cotton robe and wooden staff and enter into Heaven.” “Just a minute,” says the pastor, “that man was a taxi-driver, and you gave him a silken robe and golden staff. But I get a cotton robe and wooden staff? How can this be?” “Up here, we go by results,” says Saint Peter. “When you preached, people slept — when he drove, people prayed.” (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

21) The Children of This Age Marry: St. Aloysius (or Louis) Gonzaga has long been ranked by the church as model and patron of Catholic young people, especially because of his exemplary chastity. “Chastity” is a word seldom used today except as the butt of coarse jokes. Those who sneer at it do so perhaps because they have never understood its motives.
Aloysius was born in 1568, the elder son of Ferrante Gonzaga, Marquis of Castiglione in northern Italy. As a nobleman’s son, he was a boy-functionary in the court of the Duke of Mantua, and later on in Spain a page in the court of the crown prince. This was intended to prepare him to succeed his father as Marquis. Italian-court life in those days, however glamorous it appeared to be, was melodramatically bad, even described as “a society of fraud, dagger, poison, and lust of the most hideous kind.” Youngsters born into this aggressive atmosphere quickly learned about the seamy side of life. By the time Louis was only nine, he was using every means of self-discipline he could think of to keep pure in body and heart. But his desire soon went farther. He wanted to make a complete break and vow himself to celibate chastity – that is, to not marrying – as a priest. He therefore entered the order of Jesuits when eighteen, despite his father’s initial objections. Six years later he died. Though not yet ordained a priest, he had taken his vow of chastity and grown very close to God. His death stemmed from his efforts at nursing victims of the plague. During his last illness Aloysius spoke only of heavenly things; and as death approached he said, “We are going – gladly, gladly!”– Most people, Catholic lay persons included, do not fully comprehend the celibacy of priests or religious, or even of lay Catholics who have chosen to vow not to marry. If good people fail to understand this, it is because God has not given them the gift, which He gives to relatively few. The celibate’s motive is this: marriage and child-bearing are a Divine pleasure and privilege; but they are very temporary. As Jesus says in today’s Gospel, marriage and begetting belong to this world, not the next. So those gifted with celibate chastity say to the rest of us: “Marry if you will, and God prosper you! I, with God’s help, will hold off, in anticipation of Heaven.” Celibate priests, sisters, brothers and vowed lay persons, whether they realize it or not, thus become constant signs to the rest of mankind. By their self-denial they remind us that there is a Heaven awaiting the “sons of God.” In that Heaven even the greatest joys of earthly married love will be seen to have been only like the light of a flickering candle in the brightness of the noonday sun. (Fr. Robert F. McNamara). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
22) One of the most intense episodes in the film, Romero, was the martyrdom of Lucia, a young beautiful lady who cooperated with Bishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador in his fight for justice for the poor. Lucia, asleep in her room, was abducted from that room at night, and gang-raped, by her captors who brutally cut off her tongue. The government henchmen then brought her to the city dump to be executed. They shoved her to the ground and ordered her to kneel. Lucia defiantly rose from the dump. With dignity, she courageously faced her executioners who shot her to death. While her lifeless body crumpled upon the filthy garbage, the blood of her martyrdom fecundated the community of believers in El Salvador. — The martyrdom of Bishop Romero, Lucia and many others replicates the courage of the Jewish martyrs narrated in this Sunday’s Old Testament reading (II Mc 7:1-2, 9-14) and evokes the faith they had evinced in the living God who would raise them up to eternal life. (Lectio Divina). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/). L/22

“Scriptural Homilies” Cycle C (No. 62) by Fr. Tony: akadavil
Visit my website by clicking on akadavil. Visit https://www.catholicsermons.com/homilies/sunday_homilies of Fr. Nick’s collection of homilies or Resources in the CBCI website: https://www.cbci.in. (Special thanks to Vatican Radio website http://www.vaticannews.va/en/church.html -which completed uploading my Cycle A, B and C homilies in May 2020) Fr. Anthony Kadavil, Chaplain, Sacred Heart Residence of the Little Sisters of the Poor, 1655 McGill Ave, Mobile, AL 36604

All Souls Day Homily (Nov 2, 2022)

All Souls’ Day (November 2, 2022) Homily- One-page summary (L-22)

All Souls’ Day is a day specially set apart that we may remember and pray for our dear ones who have gone for their eternal reward and who are currently in a state of ongoing purification.
Ancient belief supported by Church tradition: People of all religions have believed in the immortality of the soul and have prayed for the dead:
1) The Jews, for example, believed that there was a place of temporary bondage from which the souls of the dead would receive their final release. The Jewish catechism Talmud states that prayers for the dead will help to bring greater rewards and blessings to them. Prayer for the souls of the departed is retained by the Orthodox Jews today who recite a prayer known as the Mourner’s Kaddish for eleven months after the death of a loved one so that he/she may be purified.
2) First century practice: Jesus and the apostles shared this belief and passed it on to the early Church. “Remember us who have gone before you, in your prayers,” is a petition often found inscribed on the walls of the Roman catacombs (Lumen Gentium-50).
3) The liturgies of the Mass in various rites dating from the early centuries of the Church include “Prayers for the Dead.”
4) The early Fathers of the Church encouraged this practice. Tertullian (AD 160-240) wrote about the anniversary Masses for the dead, advising widows to pray for their husbands. St. Augustine (AD 354 – 430) remarked that he used to pray for his deceased mother, remembering her request: “When I die, bury me anywhere you like, but remember to pray for me at the altar” (St. Augustine of Hippo, Confessions, Book 9, Chapter 11, Section 27).
5) The Synods of Nicaea, Florence and Trent encouraged the offering of prayers for the dead, citing Scriptural evidences to prove that there is a place or state of purification for those who die with venial sins on their souls.

Theological reasoning
: According to Revelation 21:27: “nothing unclean shall enter Heaven.” Holy Scripture (Proverbs 24:16) also teaches that even “the just sin seven times a day.” Since it would be contrary to the mercy of God to punish such souls with venial sins in Hell, they are seen as entering a place or state of purification, called Purgatory, which combines God’s justice with His mercy. This teaching is also contained in the doctrine of the Communion of Saints.

Biblical basis 1) II Maccabees, 12:46 is the main Biblical text incorporating the Jewish belief in the necessity of prayer and sacrifice for the dead. The passage (II Maccabees 12:39-46), describes how Judas, the military commander, “took up a collection from all his men, totaling about four pounds of silver and sent it to Jerusalem to provide for a sin offering” (II Mc 12:43). The narrator continues, “If he had not believed that the dead would be raised, it would have been foolish and useless to pray for them.” 2) St. Paul seems to have shared this traditional Jewish belief. At the death of his supporter Onesiphorus, he prayed: “May the Lord grant him mercy on that Day” (II Timothy: 1:18). Other pertinent Bible texts: Matthew 12:32, I Corinthians, 3:15, Zechariah 13:19, Sirach 7:33.

The Church’s teaching: The Church’s official teaching on Purgatory is plain and simple. There is a place or state of purification called Purgatory, where souls undergoing purification can be helped by the prayers of the faithful (Council of Trent). Some modern theologians suggest that the fire of Purgatory is an intense, transforming encounter with Jesus Christ and his fire of love. They also speak of Purgatory as an “instant” purification immediately after death, varying in intensity from soul to soul, depending on the state of each individual.

How do we help the “holy souls”? The Catechism of the Catholic Church recommends prayer for the dead in conjunction with the offering of the Eucharistic Sacrifice and also encourages “almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance undertaken on behalf of the dead” (CCC #1032). Let us not forget to pray for our dear departed, have Masses offered for them, visit their graves, and make daily sacrifices for them. God can foresee and apply the merits of our prayers, penances and works of charity, done even years after their death, for our departed dear ones, in favor of our deceased dear ones, at the moment of their deaths.

ALL SOULS’ DAY: (Nov 2, 2022): Wis 3:1-9; Rom 5:5-11; Jn 6:37-40
Introduction: This is a day specially set apart that we may remember and pray for our dear ones who have gone to their eternal reward, and who are currently in a state or process of ongoing purification. In fact, the Church remembers the faithful departed not just on this day but throughout the entire month of November in a special way. As a part of our annual celebration of the Christian doctrine of the Communion of Saints, yesterday we celebrated All Saints Day, the thanksgiving feast of the Church Triumphant. Today is All Souls Day, our Thanksgiving Feast for the Church Suffering, and tomorrow should be our day of prayer and thanksgiving for All of Us, the Church Militant, thus completing the Communion of Saints.

Ancient tradition: From time immemorial, people of all religions have believed in the immortality of the soul and have prayed for the dead. The Jews, for example, believed that there was a place of temporary bondage from which the souls of the dead would receive their final release. The Jewish Talmud states that prayers for the dead will help to bring greater rewards and blessings to them. Since Jesus in no way contradicted this ancient belief, the efficacy of prayers for those who have died was incorporated by the infant Church in its teachings and practice. Evidence suggests that the belief dates back to the first century of the Church. “Remember us who have gone before you, in your prayers,” is a petition often found inscribed on the walls of the Roman catacombs (Lumen Gentium 50). In addition, Mass liturgies dating from these early centuries of the Church include “Prayers for the Dead.” Some of the earliest Christian writings outside the New Testament, like the Acts of Paul and Thecla and the Martyrdom of Perpetua and Felicity (both written during the second century), refer to the Christian practice of praying for the dead. Praying for the deceased members of the family as part of their family night prayers was also an ancient practice of oriental Christians. The early Fathers of the Church encouraged this practice which they believed had been inherited from the Apostles.

Church Fathers: Tertullian (AD 160-240) wrote about the anniversary Masses for the dead, advising widows to pray for their husbands. St. Augustine (AD 354 – 430) remarked that he used to pray for his deceased mother, remembering her request: “When I die, bury me anywhere you like, but remember to pray for me at the altar” (St. Augustine of Hippo, Confessions, Book 9, Chapter 11, Section 27). St. Cyril of Jerusalem (d. 386), in one of his many catechetical discourses, explained how at Mass both the living and dead are remembered, and how the Eucharistic Sacrifice of our Lord is of benefit to sinners, living and dead. St. Ambrose (d. 397) preached, “We have loved them during life; let us not abandon them in death, until we have conducted them by our prayers into the House of the Lord.” St. John Chrysostom (d. 407) stated, “Let us help and commemorate them. If Job’s sons were purified by their father’s sacrifice, why would we doubt that our offerings for the dead bring them some consolation? Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them.” Pope St. Gregory the Great (AD ca 540- 604) said, “Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them.” The words Trinity and Incarnation aren’t in Scripture either, yet those doctrines are clearly taught in it. Likewise, Scripture teaches that Purgatory exists, even if it doesn’t use that word. According to the New Catholic Catechism: “All who die in God’s grace and friendship but imperfectly purified are indeed assured of their eternal salvation, but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of Heaven.”

Logical belief supported by Synods. Purgatory, essentially, is seen in our belief in two realities: First, that there will be a purification of believers prior to entering Heaven and second that the prayers and Masses of the faithful are sure to benefit those in the state of purification. We know that we are not perfect enough for Heaven and not wicked enough for Hell. So, there must be a middle state of purification. Not even all the canonized saints go immediately to heaven because, even though they live the Christian faith with heroic virtue, there may be parts of their life that are not totally redeemed, they may still have some defects, whether anger, impatience, vanity, lack of total forgiveness for those who have hurt them, or other means. The observance of All Souls Day is based on the theological premise that some of those who have departed from this world, have not been perfectly cleansed from venial sin, or have not fully atoned for their past transgressions. Hence, the Catholic Church teaches that not everyone who dies in God’s grace is immediately ready for the Beatific Vision, that is, the direct experience of God and His perfect Nature in Heaven. So, they must be purified of “lesser faults” and the temporal punishment due to sin in a place or state of purification. The Catholic teaching on Purgatory essentially requires belief in two realities: 1) that there will be a purification of believers prior to entering Heaven, and 2) that the prayers and Masses of the living faithful in some way benefit those who have left this life and are in the state of purification. The Synods of Florence and Trent encouraged the offering of prayers for the dead, citing Scriptural evidence to prove that there is a place or state of purification for those who die with venial sins on their souls. According to Revelation 21:27, “Nothing unclean shall enter Heaven” (cfr. also Is 35:8 and Wis 7:25). Holy Scripture teaches that even “the just sin seven times a day” (Prv 24:16). Since it would be contrary to the mercy of God to punish such souls in Hell, they are seen as entering a place or state of purification, Purgatory, which combines God’s justice with His mercy. This teaching is also contained in the doctrine of the Communion of Saints. The Catholic Church understands the Communion of Saints as a relationship of love joining the faithful, living and departed. The Saints, both in Heaven and in Purgatory, pray for us, and we pray both to the Saints in Heaven for their intercession, and for those in Purgatory, that they may swiftly enter the Beatific Vision. Thus, death is no barrier to prayerful communion with the dead. We lovingly remember them and thank God for their eternal reward. These souls can experience the love of Christ who frees them from their imperfections. As the Second Vatican Council repeats, “fully conscious of this communion of the whole Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, the pilgrim Church from the very first ages of the Christian religion has cultivated with great piety the memory of the dead” (Lumen Gentium, n. 50). Said Pope St. John Paul II: “Before we enter into God’s kingdom, every trace of sin within us must be eliminated, every imperfection in our soul must be corrected.” (CCC #1030-1032).
Biblical basis: 1) II Maccabees, 12:46 is the main Biblical text incorporating the Jewish belief in the necessity of prayer and sacrifice for the dead. The passage (II Maccabees 12:39-46), describes how Judas, the military commander, discovered that those of his men who had died in a particular battle had been wearing forbidden pagan amulets. His men at once “begged that the sin committed might be fully blotted out” (2 Mc 12:42). Judas then “took up a collection from all his men, totaling about four pounds of silver and sent it to Jerusalem to provide for a sin offering” (2 Mc 12:43). The narrator continues, ”If he had not believed that the dead would be raised, it would have been foolish and useless to pray for them; whereas, if he had had in view the splendid recompense reserved for those who make a pious end, the thought was holy and devout. This was why he had this atonement sacrifice offered for the dead, so that they might be released from their sin” (2 Mc 12:44-46). These verses so clearly illustrate the existence of Purgatory that, at the time of the Reformation, Protestants had to cut the books of the Maccabees out of their Bibles in order to avoid accepting the doctrine. Not only can we show that prayer for the souls of the departed was practiced by the Jews of the time of the Maccabees, but it has even been retained by Orthodox Jews today, who recite a prayer known as the Mourner’s Kaddish for eleven months after the death of a loved one so that the loved one may be purified.
2) St. Paul seems to have shared this traditional Jewish belief. At the death of his supporter Onesiphorus, he prayed: “May the Lord grant him mercy on that Day” (II Timothy: 1:18).
3) In St. Matthew’s Gospel Mt 12: 32), Jesus says, “Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come,” implying quite clearly that there are some sins that can be forgiven in the age to come, the type of sin which St. John’s first letter says is not “mortal” or “deadly” (1 John 5:16). St. Augustine and Pope St. Gregory the Great interpret this phrase, “in the age to come,” as a reference to Purgatory. Jesus’ statement that certain sins “will not be forgiven either in this world or in the world to come,” at least suggests a purging of the soul after death. Pope St. Gregory the Great (d. 604) stated, “As for certain lesser faults, we must believe that, before the Final Judgment, there is a purifying fire.” The Council of Lyons (1274) likewise affirmed this interpretation of our Lord’s teaching.
4) In I Corinthians, 3:15, St. Paul speaks of a “test by fire” after death to prove the worth of our work in this world: “But if your work is burnt up, then you will lose it; but you yourself will be saved, as if you had escaped through the fire.” Several of the early Church Fathers considered this a reference to a process of purification after death.
5) Zechariah 13:19 “And I will test the third that survives and will purify them as silver is purified by fire.” The Jewish School of Rabbi Shammai interpreted this passage as a purification of the soul through God’s mercy and goodness, preparing it for eternal life. The Fathers of the Church interpret the statement as a reference to Purgatory.
6) Sirach 7:33 “Withhold not your kindness from the dead” The Jewish rabbis used to interpret this passage as imploring God to cleanse the souls of the deceased.
The Church’s teaching: The Church’s official teaching on Purgatory is plain and simple. There is a place or state of purification called Purgatory, where souls undergoing purification can be helped by the prayers of the faithful (Council of Trent). In Lumen Gentium (50-52), Purgatory is seen in the broader context of salvation and heaven. Vatican II’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church asserts, “This sacred council accepts loyally the venerable Faith of our ancestors in the living communion which exists between us and our brothers who are in the glory of Heaven or who are yet being purified after their death; and it proposes again the decrees of the Second Council of Nicaea, of the Council of Florence, and of the Council of Trent” (No. 51). The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes Purgatory as the “final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned” (CCC #1031). “All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death, they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of Heaven” (CCC #1030). “Hope does not disappoint,” says St. Paul in today’s second reading. Purgatory is a good-news, bad-news situation for those who are there. The good news is: You are on the way to salvation. The bad news is: You have to suffer temporarily as you prepare for the presence of God. But it is very different from the pain of hell. Purgatory is suffering, but not torment. “The souls of the just are in the hand of God, and no torment shall touch them,” says today’s first reading. Purgatory is an invention of our God of great mercy, Who never wants to give up on us. “And this is the will of the One who sent me,” says Jesus in the Gospel, “that I should not lose anything of what He gave me, but that I should raise it on the Last Day.”
Modern interpretations: Some modern theologians suggest that the fire of Purgatory is an intense, transforming encounter with Jesus Christ and his fire of love. They also speak of Purgatory as an “instant” purification immediately after death, varying in intensity from soul to soul, depending on the state of each individual. According to this view, the refining fire of Purgatory is only a relic of medieval imagery. It is actually the fire of Divine love. It may, in fact, be a form of “blazing enlightenment” which penetrates and perfects our very being. God can anticipate and apply the merits of our present and future prayers for the dead, in favor of the souls we pray for, at the time of their purification. Pope Benedict considers Purgatory as an “existential state” and, hence, it is not necessarily accurate to speak of a location or duration of Purgatory. According to Pope Benedict XVI, “the souls that are aware of the immense love and perfect justice of God consequently suffer for not having responded correctly and perfectly to that love.” It is the suffering of the holy souls. He continues that Purgatory is thus “the fringe of heaven, a state where heaven’s eternal light has a refining effect on the “holy souls” (not ‘poor souls’), who are held in the arms of Divine Mercy.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=dWf_BtITG1Y .
How do we help the “holy souls”? Second Maccabees tells us, very succinctly, “It is a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they might be loosed from their sins” (2 Macc 12:45). The Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “From the beginning the Church has honored the memory of the dead and offered prayers in suffrage for them, above all the Eucharistic sacrifice, so that, thus purified, they may attain the beatific vision of God. The Church also commends almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance undertaken on behalf of the dead” (CCC 1032). The Catechism (CCC #1032) recommends prayer for the dead in conjunction with the offering of the Eucharistic Sacrifice. God has set up the economy of salvation so that our deeds of love offered in union with Christ’s own sacrifice may help others. Christ calls us to be co-redeemers with him. Just as his passion, death and resurrection brought salvation to the whole human race, so our deeds of love united to his, by God’s own design, can help those who have gone before us. This is one of the reasons why St. Paul could exclaim, “In my own flesh, I make up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ for the sake of His Body, the Church” (Col 1:24). The Church teaches that praying for the dead is a spiritual work of mercy, a spiritual work of loving co-redemption. And the greatest prayer of all we could offer for the dead is the prayer of the Mass, when we unite our own personal prayers — those emanating from our lips, our hearts, even our bodies in all types of actions of loving sacrifice for others — to Christ’s own prayer in the Mass, the continuous, saving sacrifice once-and-for-all begun during the Last Supper and finished on the Cross. That is why the Church has venerated for centuries the practice of praying for the dead at Mass, explicitly having Masses offered for a particular loved one as well as praying, in every Eucharistic prayer, for all those “who have gone before us with the sign of faith” (Eucharistic Prayer I), as well as “all the dead, whose faith you {God] alone have known” (Eucharistic Prayer IV).

Pope Leo XIII in his encyclical Mirae caritatis (1902), states, “The grace of mutual love among the living, strengthened and increased by the Sacrament of the Eucharist, flows, especially by virtue of the Sacrifice [of the Mass], to all who belong to the Communion of Saints. The Vatican Council II affirmed, “This sacred council accepts loyally the venerable Faith of our ancestors in the living communion which exists between us and our brothers who are in the glory of Heaven or who are yet being purified after their death…” (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium) No. 51). The Catechism asserts, “From the beginning the Church has honored the memory of the dead and offered prayers in suffrage for them, above all the Eucharistic Sacrifice, so that, thus purified, they may attain the Beatific Vision of God” (CCC #1032). In the same item, the Catechism also encourages “almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance undertaken on behalf of the dead.” All these prayerful acts are to be conducted as matters of Faith and not as something magical. The greatest act is to offer Mass for the dead, because in this One Sacrifice, the merits of our Lord Jesus are applied to the dead. Hence, this reconciling offering of the Lord is the greatest and most perfect prayer, which we can offer for the dead in their state of purification. Every member of the Communion of Saints is remembered and prayed for in every Mass. There is a Mexican saying that we die three deaths: the first when our bodies die, the second when our bodies are lowered into the earth out of sight, and the third when our loved ones forget us. Let us not forget to pray for our dear departed, to have Masses offered for them, to visit their graves, and to make daily sacrifices for them. God can foresee and apply the merits of our prayers, penances and works of charity, done even years after their death, in favor of (for) our deceased dear ones at the moment of their deaths. However, if indeed the departed soul has been purified and now rests in God’s presence in Heaven, then those prayers and sacrifices offered benefit the other souls in purgatory through the love and mercy of God.

Let us raise this prayer to God: “God of infinite mercy, we entrust to Your immense goodness all those who have left this world for eternity, where You wait for all humanity, redeemed by the precious blood of Christ Your Son, Who died as a ransom for our sins. Look not, O Lord, on our poverty, our suffering, our human weakness, when we appear before You to be judged for joy or for condemnation. Look upon us with mercy, born of the tenderness of Your heart, and help us to walk in the ways of complete purification. Let none of Your children be lost in the eternal fire, where there can be no repentance. We entrust to You, O Lord, the souls of our beloved dead, of those who have died without the comfort of the sacraments, or who have not had an opportunity to repent, even at the end of their lives. May none of them be afraid to meet You, after their earthly pilgrimage, but may they always hope to be welcomed in the embrace of Your infinite mercy. May our Sister, corporal death find us always vigilant in prayer and filled with the goodness done in the course of our short or long lives. Lord, may no earthly thing ever separate us from You, but may everyone and everything support us with a burning desire to rest peacefully and eternally in You. Amen.” (Fr Antonio Rungi, Passionist, Prayer for the Dead). (from Pope Francis’ Angelus message on Nov 2, 2014).
Testimony by Fr. Paddy: When I was young, the devotion to the Holy Souls was very popular. People offered Masses for the Holy Souls. On All Souls Day each Priest offered three Masses, people came in great numbers for the Masses, and they visited the Church often during the day to gain indulgences by their prayers. Even today relatives have Mass offered for their loved ones on their anniversary, birthday, Christmas and Easter. Sadly, however, prayer for the Holy Souls is not as popular as in times past. If I were to ask what is the best thing you can do for a loved one who has died what would you say? A funeral to talk about them? A nice grave and headstone? A tree, plant or a beautiful flower? Have a wonderful reception? Yes, all those things are nice. But the best gift is prayer because that is the only thing that can help them on their journey to the Lord. I have put at the end of my will, “Please don’t spend time talking about me, spend time praying for me.” For it is a holy and wholesome thing to pray for the dead that they may be loosed from their sin. (Oct 30, 2009) (sacredheartparish)
On Dad’s Shoulders: In Kohima, Nagaland, there is a War cemetery where the allied soldiers who died during the War are buried. On the door of the Cemetery it is written, “Tell them that we gave our today for your tomorrow.” Like the soldiers of World War II, the memory of our near and dear ones is a reminder that we need to be grateful to them because what we are today is mainly due to their efforts and sacrifices. A Scottish poet has written, “If I have done anything in life, it is because I was able to stand on the shoulders of my dad.” (Elias Dias in Divine Stories for Families; quoted by Fr. Botelho).
“And this is where they left their clothes.” A child was walking through a cemetery one day with his granddad. Puzzled by the gravestones he asked his granddad. His granddad said, “These people were living in those houses. Then God called them and now they’re living in God’s house.” The boy said, “And this is where they left their clothes.” What better way could we explain passing from this life to the next? (Fr. Jack McArdle).
“I will be seeing you soon!” One day a priest was preparing a group of children for their First Communion. He wanted to know how much the kids understood the Church’s teaching on Final Judgment. He asked one of the little boys, “What will God say on Judgment day to those who have led a very good life on earth?” Without any hesitation the boy replied, “Come and enter Heaven and live with me.” The priest asked a second boy, “What will the Lord say to those who have lived a very bad life?” The boy said, “You cannot come to Heaven. You will have to go to Hell.” Then the priest went on: “Now what will God say to those who are not good enough to enter heaven at once nor bad enough to go to Hell?” After a pause a little girl put up her hand and said, “God will say, ‘I will be seeing you soon!’” (Elias Dias in Divine Stories for Families) L/19
Websites of the week on All Souls Day
http://www.americancatholic.org/messenger/nov2000/wiseman.asp
http://www.catholic.com/tracts/purgatory
⦁ The best=http://www.prayforsouls.org/library/articles/article.php?NID=3723
http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2010/06/c-s-lewis-belief-in-purgatory-and.html
http://www.catholicmatters.com/tlft00.htm
http://www.ncregister.com/site/article/purgatory_a_process_of_purification/
7) Do our souls go to sleep when we die?


“Scriptural Homilies” Cycle C (No. 61) by Fr. Tony: akadavil

Oct 31- Nov 5 weekday homilies

October 31—November 4, Click on http://frtonyshomilies.com for missed homilies (L/22)
Oct 31 Lk 14:12-14: He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your kinsmen or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return, and you be repaid. 13 But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. You will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”
The context: Jesus was invited to a dinner where he noticed how the invitees were rushing for the best places. So, he used the occasion as a teachable moment for the guests, then advised the host on the motives behind one’s generosity and the criteria to be followed while inviting guests for banquets. Jesus instructed him to “invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, and the blind” in the community and obtain the blessing of God on the day of the Last Judgment.
Life message: We need to check the motives behind all our acts of generosity to assess if they are meritorious acts or not. If a generous act is done chiefly out of sense of duty or obligation (as we pay our income tax because it is the state’s law), or if we pay tithes in the parish mostly because it is God’s law, we lose most of the merit. If a rationalized self-interest, like a future reward in Heaven, is the only motive for our good action, we lose the merit of the action once again. We lose the merit of an act of generosity if vainglory or a desire for fame or for acknowledgement from others is the only motive behind our generosity. That is why the Jewish rabbis used to advise their disciples that in the best kind of giving, the giver should not know to whom he is giving, and the receiver should not know from whom he is receiving. Pure altruism with agápe love and overflowing charity are the motives God shows us in His gifts to us, and He expects from us the same in all our acts of generosity, charity and service to Him done to others. (Fr. Tony) (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/22
Foradditional reflections:https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily- reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections; https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/22
Nov 1 Tuesday: (All Saints Day: Holiday of obligation): For a short account, click here: https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/solemnity-of-all-saints: The feast and its objectives: All baptized Christians who have died and are now with God in glory are considered saints. All Saints Day is intended to honor the memory of countless unknown and uncanonized saints who have no feast days. Today we thank God for giving ordinary men and women a share in His holiness and Heavenly glory as a reward for their Faith. This feast is observed to teach us to honor the saints, both by imitating their lives and by seeking their intercession for us before Christ, the only mediator between God and man (I Tm 2:5). The Church reminds us today that God’s call for holiness is universal, that all of us are called to live in His love and to make His love real in the lives of those around us. Holiness is related to the word wholeness, wholesomeness. We grow in holiness when we live wholesome lives of integrity, truth, justice, charity, mercy, and compassion, sharing our blessings with others. Reasons why we honor the saints: 1- The saints put their trust in Christ and lived heroic lives of Faith. St. Paul asks us to serve and honor such noble souls. In his Epistles to the Corinthians, to the Philippians, and to Timothy, he advises Christians to welcome, serve, and honor those who have put their trust in Jesus. The saints enjoy Heavenly bliss as a reward for their Faith in Jesus. Hence, they deserve our veneration. 2- The saints are our role models. They teach us by their lives that Christ’s holy life of love, mercy, and unconditional forgiveness can, and should be lived, with God’s grace, by ordinary people from all walks of life and at all times.
3- The saints are our Heavenly mediators who intercede for us before Jesus, the only mediator between God and us. (Jas 5:16-18, Ex 32:13, Jer 15:1, Rv 8:3-4,). 4- The saints are the instruments that God uses to work miracles at present, just as He used the staff of Moses (Ex), the bones of the prophet Elisha (2Kgs 13:21), the towel of Paul (Acts 19:12), and the shadow of Peter (Acts 5:15) to work miracles.

Life messages: 1) We need to accept the challenge to become saints. Jesus exhorts us: “Be made perfect as your Heavenly Father is Perfect” (Mt 5:48). St. Augustine asked: “If he and she can become saints, why can’t I?” (Si iste et ista, cur non ego?).
2) We can take the short cuts practiced by three Teresas: i) St. Teresa of Avila: Recharge your spiritual batteries every day by prayer, namely, listening to God and talking to Him; ii) St. Therese of Lisieux: Convert every action into prayer by offering it to God for His glory and for the salvation of souls and by doing God’s will to the best of one’s ability; iii) St. Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa): Do ordinary things with great love.
Additional reflections: https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections; https://frtonyshomilies.com/)
L/22
Nov 2 Wednesday: (All Souls’ Day) For a short account, click here https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/commemoration-of-all-the-faithful-departed :
All Souls’ Day is a day specially set apart that we may remember and pray for our dear ones who have gone for their eternal reward and who are currently in a state of ongoing purification.
Ancient belief: 1) People of all religions have believed in the immortality of the soul, and have prayed for the dead.
2) The Jews, for example, believed that there was a place of temporary bondage from which the souls of the dead would receive their final release. The Jewish catechism Talmud states that prayers for the dead will help to bring greater rewards and blessings to them. Prayer for the souls of the departed is retained by Orthodox Jews today, who recite a prayer known as the Mourner’s Kaddish for eleven months after the death of a loved one so that he/she may be purified.
3) Jesus and the apostles shared this belief and passed it on to the early Church. “Remember us who have gone before you, in your prayers,” is a petition often found inscribed on the walls of the Roman catacombs (Lumen Gentium-50).
4) The liturgies of the Mass in various rites dating from the early centuries of the Church include “Prayers for the Dead.”
5) The early Fathers of the Church encouraged this practice. Tertullian (A.D. 160-240) wrote about the anniversary Masses for the dead, advising widows to pray for their husbands. St. Augustine remarked that he used to pray for his deceased mother, remembering her request: “When I die, bury me anywhere you like, but remember to pray for me at the altar” (St Augustine of Hippo, Confessions, Book 11, Chapter 13 Sections 35-37).
6) The synods of Nicaea, Florence and Trent encouraged the offering of prayers for the dead, citing Scriptural evidences to prove that there is a place or state of purification for those who die with venial sins on their souls.
8) Theological reason: According to Rv 21:27, “nothing unclean shall enter heaven.” Holy Scripture (Prv 24:16) also teaches that even “the just sin seven times a day.” Since it would be contrary to the mercy of God to punish such souls with venial sins in Hell, they are seen as entering a place or state of purification, called Purgatory, which combines God’s justice with His mercy. This teaching is also contained in the doctrine of the Communion of Saints.
Biblical evidence: 1) II Mc 12:46 is the main Biblical text incorporating the Jewish belief in the necessity of prayer and sacrifice for the dead. The passage (II Mc 12:39-46) describes how Judas, the military commander, “took up a collection from all his men, totaling about four pounds of silver and sent it to Jerusalem to provide for a sin offering” (II Mc 12: 43). The narrator continues, “If he had not believed that the dead would be raised, it would have been foolish and useless to pray for them.”
2) St. Paul seems to have shared this traditional Jewish belief. At the death of his supporter Onesiphorus, he prayed: “May the Lord grant him mercy on that Day” (II Tm 1:18). Other pertinent Bible texts: Mt 12:32, I Cor, 3:15, Zec 13:19, Sir 7:33.
The Church’s teaching: The Church’s official teaching on Purgatory is plain and simple. There is a place or state of purification called Purgatory, where souls undergoing purification can be helped by the prayers of the faithful (Council of Trent). Some modern theologians suggest that the fire of Purgatory is an intense, transforming encounter with Jesus Christ and His fire of love. They also speak of Purgatory as an “instant” purification immediately after death, varying in intensity from soul to soul, depending on the state of each individual.
How do we help the “holy souls”? The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC #1032) recommends prayer for the dead in conjunction with the offering of the Eucharistic Sacrifice. It also encourages “almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance undertaken on behalf of the dead.” Let us not forget to pray for our dear departed, have Masses offered for them, visit their graves, and make daily sacrifices for them. (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

  Nov 3 Thursday: (St. Matin De Porres, Religious): For a short biography, click here: https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-martin-de-porres  Lk 15:1-10: 1 Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him.2 And the Pharisees and the scribes murmured, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” 3 So he told them this parable: 4 “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, `Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost.’ 7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. 8 “Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? 9 And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, `Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I had lost.’ 10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Additional reflections: https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections

 The context:  Today’s Gospel passage, taken from chapter 15 of Luke’s Gospel, is known as the Gospel in the Gospels,” or the “distilled essence of Christ’s Good News.” In this chapter, using three parables, Jesus answers two accusations made by the Scribes and Pharisees, namely, that Jesus is mingling with the sinners and sharing their meals.  These parables teach us that our God is a loving, patient, merciful, and forgiving God. He is eager to be merciful toward us, not vengeful and punishing. He is always in search of His lost and straying children.

The parables: Since the self-righteous Pharisees who accused Jesus of befriending publicans and sinners could not believe that God would be delighted at the conversion of sinners, Jesus told them the parable of the lost sheep and the shepherd’s joy on its discovery; the parable of the lost silver coin (a drachma, worth about a denarius, a farm worker’s “daily wage”), and the woman’s joy when she found it; and the parable of the lost son and his Father’s joy at His repentant son’s return.  Besides presenting a God Who is patiently waiting for the return of sinners, ready to pardon them, these parables teach us God’s infinite love and mercy. Christianity is not about man seeking God, but rather about a Holy God seeking a sinful man. In other words, in  salvation, as in forgiveness, the initiative  is always God’s. These three parables defend Jesus’ alliance with sinners and respond to the criticism leveled by certain Pharisees and scribes at Jesus’ frequent practice of eating with and welcoming tax collectors and sinners.

Life messages: 1) We need to meet the challenge for self-evaluation and return to God’s mercy: If we have been in sin, God’s mercy is seeking us, searching for our souls with a love that is wild beyond all imagining.  God is ready to receive and welcome us back as Jesus welcomed sinners in his time.  2) Let us get reconciled with God, through the Sacrament of Reconciliation when we are in mortal sin, and in asking His forgiveness for our sins every night before we sleep. We also need to ask God for the courage to extend this forgiveness to others who have offended us. As we continue with the celebration of the Holy Mass, let us pray as well for God’s Divine Mercy on those who have fallen away from grace.  (Fr. Tony) (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/21

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

Nov 4 Friday: (St. Charles Borromeo, Bishop) For a short biography, click here: https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-charles-borromeo Luke 16:1-8: 1 He also said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a steward, and charges were brought to him that this man was wasting his goods. 2 And he called him and said to him, `What is this that I hear about you? Turn in the account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward.’ 3 And the steward said to himself, `What shall I do, since my master is taking the stewardship away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. 4 I have decided what to do, so that people may receive me into their houses when I am put out of the stewardship.’ 5 So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he said to the first, `How much do you owe my master?’ 6 He said, `A hundred measures of oil.’ And he said to him, `Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ 7 Then he said to another, `And how much do you owe?’ He said, `A hundred measures of wheat.’ He said to him, `Take your bill, and write eighty.’ 8 The master commended the dishonest steward for his shrewdness; for the sons of this world are shrewder in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light.
The context: In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells us the strange parable of a steward who was a rascal to teach us that serving God is a full-time job, not a part-time job or a spare-time hobby. Jesus also teaches us that, in matters spiritual and eternal, we should use the same ingenuity and planning which business people show in the business world. The parable challenges us to use our blessings — time, talents, health, and wealth — wisely and shrewdly, so that they will count for our reward in eternity. We are on the right road only if we use our earthly wealth to attain our Heavenly goal. The parable: In the parable, Jesus tells us how the slave-steward of an absentee landlord, caught red-handed in misappropriating his master’s wealth, ingeniously cheated his master by his unjust manipulation of the master’s business clients. His tricks were intended to make him the friend of his master’s debtors and gave him the prospect of becoming rich by working for them (or blackmailing them?) when he was fired by his master from the stewardship.
Life messages: 1) We need to be faithful in the little things of life: As Saint John Chrysostom said, “Faithfulness in little things is a big thing.” Our future opportunities in the eternal service of God largely depend on our stewardship in handling the little opportunities we have had on earth. As Mother Teresa used to recommend, “Do little things with great love.”
2) We have to act shrewdly, trusting in the power and assistance of God. Let us make use of our resources — like Hope in God’s justice, Faith in God’s assistance, and Trust in God’s grace, celebrating the Mass and the Sacraments as sources of Divine grace and prayerfully studying the Holy Bible as the word of God for daily meditation.
3) Let us remember that as God’s stewards we need to be prepared to give an account of our lives at any time (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 5 Saturday: Lk 16:9-15: 9 And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous mammon, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal habitations. 10 “He who is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and he who is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much. 11 If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will entrust to you the true riches? 12 And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? 13 No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” 14 The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all this, and they scoffed at him. 15 But he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts; for what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.
The context: After telling the parable of the rascally steward as an example of shrewdness and as a warning against using unjust means for gain, Jesus advises his listeners to make friends with the poor by almsgiving and to be faithful and honest in the little things entrusted to them by God.
The teaching: Jesus advises his followers to imitate the shrewd steward who used money generously to make friends for himself. Jesus suggests that his disciples should show their generosity and mercy by almsgiving: “sell your possessions and give alms” (Luke 12:33). The recipients immediately become friends of the kind donor. It is God’s generosity which makes one rich, and, hence, the money we have is unrighteous in the sense that it is unearned and undeserved. So, God expects us to be generous stewards of His generous blessings. Generosity curtails our natural greed, making almsgiving an act of thanksgiving to God for His generosity. Then Jesus tells us that what we get in Heaven will depend on how we have used the things of the earth and on how faithful we have been in the little things entrusted to us. A slave is the exclusive property of his master, and our Master, God, is the most exclusive of masters. So, serving Him cannot be a part-time job or spare-time hobby; it is full-time job. Finally, Jesus warns the Pharisees that material prosperity is not a sure sign of one’s goodness and God’s blessing, but a sign of God’s mercy and generosity.
Life messages: 1) We need to share our blessings with others. Since all our blessings are God’s generous loans to us, we need to be equally generous with others. 2) We need to serve God full-time: Since God owns us totally, we are expected to be at His service doing His holy will all the time. Hence, there is no such thing as a part-time Christian. (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

O. T. XXXI (Oct 30 ) Sunday homily

OT 31[C] Sunday (Oct 30) Eight-minute Homily in  One-page summary 

Introduction: The common theme of today’s readings is the benevolent, compassionate, forgiving mercy of God for sinners and the response of repentance and conversion expected from us.

Scripture lessons summarized: The first reading reminds us that God’s Almighty Power includes His strength to be merciful. That is why God, Who created the universe mercifully, waits for sinners to repent. God continues to love us, even when we do not love Him in return. The reading focuses on the love God has for all He has created, the love that overlooks sin so that we all have time for repentance. God shows us His redemptive love through His mercy. In the Responsorial Psalm (Ps 145), the Psalmist also tells us that the Lord is good to all, and His compassion covers all that He has made. The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness (Ps 145:8). In the second reading, St. Paul encourages the Thessalonians to persevere in their Christian Faith, giving glory to God without idly waiting for the “second coming” of Christ in their lifetime. He advises them to continue to live good Christian lives every day, allowing God to work in them so that they may be worthy of their vocation as Christians. Today’s Gospel presents the story of the instantaneous conversion of the tax-collector, Zacchaeus, whom God’s grace led to a moment of conversion. The account describes how Jesus recognized Zacchaeus for exactly what he was, a lost sinner in need of a Savior, and shows us how God’s grace worked in Zacchaeus to lead him from idle curiosity to repentance, conversion, and restitution. The episode emphasizes the fact that such a conversion can only result from a person’s fully receiving the love, acceptance, and grace offered to everyone one by a merciful Lord.

Life messages: (1) We need to accept the Divine invitation for repentance as Zacchaeus did.  The best way to do it is to examine our conscience every night, ask God’s pardon and forgiveness for our sins and confess our serious sins to a priest in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

(2) Let us welcome Jesus coming to our home as Zacchaeus did, realizing the truth that Jesus comes to us through the Holy Bible, through the Holy Eucharist, through the other sacraments and in the guise of people around us.

(3) Let us love others as Jesus loved Zacchaeus, despite his sins.    Parents and teachers need to accept children lovingly, without first setting up standards of behavior as conditions for being loved. Husband and wife may have qualities that irritate each other. But they should not, because of that, withhold love from each other. Nor should they withhold their love from a rebellious teenager making stupid and even dangerous choices because of immaturity and peer-pressure.

(4) Let us show our generosity to God by acts of restitution and continuous renewal of life. We do the restitution for our past sins by avoiding the occasions that led us to sin, practicing more self-control and doing corporal and spiritual   works of charity.

OT XXXI [C] (Oct 30) Wis 11:22–12:2; 2 Thes 1:11–2:2. Lk 19:1-10

Homily starter anecdotes: #1: Life is Worth Living. In the early 1950s, a TV program captured the attention of millions throughout the word, particularly the English-speaking segment. It was Ven. Bishop Fulton Sheen’s program: Life is Worth Living. The opening, dramatic lines spoken by the Bishop as he introduced the program were, “Is life worth living, or is it dull and monotonous? Life is monotonous if it is meaningless; it is not monotonous if it has purpose.”– Today’s readings tell us that life is worth living, if we are ready to experience the mercy of a forgiving God Who accepts us as we are. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

#2: A man who decided to change himself: William L. Stidger in his book, There Are Sermons in Stories, once told about the owner of a small drugstore. For some reason, this druggist hated his work, so he spent his mornings looking for something better and his afternoons at the ballpark. He soon decided it was foolish to leave a business about which he knew something for one about which he knew nothing. So, he decided to make the best of what he had. He would build up his business by giving the best service possible. When a customer who lived near would call in an order on the telephone, he would repeat each item being ordered and his assistant would fill the order. With the order filled, the owner would keep the customer on the line while the delivery boy dashed out the front door. When the delivery boy reached the house of the customer, who was still on the line with the drugstore owner, she would excuse herself for a minute to answer the door. Coming back to the phone she would express great surprise at the quickness with which the order was delivered. News got around about the drugstore that filled orders so promptly, and soon Charles R. Walgreen, founder of the great Walgreen drugstore empire, had more business than he could handle. Walgreen said his work was easy, like a game, and he soon found great joy in what he had once despised. [Rev. J.B. Fowler, Jr.,
Illustrated Sermons for Special Occasions, (Nashville, Tennessee: Broadman Press, 1988).] — Walgreen decided that, since he could not change his situation, he would change himself. That is what Zacchaeus did in today’s Gospel story. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

# 3: “I’m so not the Material Girl now.” In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, the singer and actress, Madonna explains how her life has changed since she first came to fame in the early 80s. Referring to one of her more famous songs, “Material Girl,” Madonna claims, “I’m so not the Material Girl now. There were many years when I thought fame, fortune, and public approval would bring me happiness. But one day you wake up and realize they don’t.” [“Oprah Talks to Madonna,” O nMagazine (January 2004), p. 122).] Motherhood is what ultimately inspired the singer to seek out the more meaningful things in life. “The big turning point was when I was about to become a parent. I wanted to understand what I would teach my daughter, and I didn’t know where I stood on things. I wanted to know the meaning of true lasting happiness and how I could go about finding it,” revealed Madonna. — Today’s Gospel describes how Zacchaeus came to the same conclusion the day Jesus entered his life. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

Introduction: The common theme of today’s readings is the benevolent, forgiving mercy of God for sinners and the response of repentance and conversion expected from us. In the words of today’s Responsorial Psalm (Ps 145), “The Lord is good to all, and compassionate toward all His works” (v. 9). The first reading reminds us that God’s Almighty Power includes His strength to be merciful. That is why God, Who created the universe mercifully, waits for sinners to repent. He “rebukes the offenders little by little,”warns them of their sins,” and reminds them to “abandon their wickedness.” God continues to love us even when we do not love Him in return. The reading focuses on the love God has for all He has created, the love that overlooks sin to give us time for repentance. In the Responsorial Psalm (Ps 145), the Psalmist also tells us, “The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness” (Ps. 145:8). In the second reading, St. Paul encourages the Thessalonians to persevere in their Christian Faith, giving glory to God without idly waiting for the “second coming” of Christ in their lifetime. He advises them to continue living good Christian lives every day, allowing God to work their lives so that they may be worthy of their vocation as Christians. “We always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his call and may fulfill every good resolve and work of Faith by His power” (2 Thes 1:11). St. Paul advises his Christian community to place its trust in the Lord and rely on His love and mercy. He wants them to endure their daily circumstances patiently and to stop worrying about the next day’s possible troubles, especially those rumors about the end-time. Today’s Gospel presents the beautiful story of the instantaneous conversion of the tax-collector, Zacchaeus, whom God’s grace led to a moment of conversion. The account describes how Jesus recognized Zacchaeus for exactly what he was, a lost sinner in need of a Savior, and shows us how God’s grace worked in Zacchaeus to lead him from idle curiosity to repentance, conversion and restitution. The episode emphasizes the fact that such a conversion can only result from a person’s fully receiving the love, acceptance and grace offered to everyone by a merciful Lord.

The first reading: Wisdom: 11:22-12:2 explained. The writer, a learned sage from the ancient university city of Alexandria, is attempting to boost the Faith of his fellow Jews by answering the question, “Why doesn’t God do away with evil men?” The answer is that, unlike men, God is benevolent toward all His creatures. God´s love for what He has created becomes a redemptive love through His mercy. God loves His creation, and because of this love He pardons and is patient with people who have gone astray, so that they may repent. God’s Providence for all His creatures is clearly shown through His strength and the compassion with which He both can and does deal mercifully with all men. What the Book of Wisdom tells us is that we could not even exist if we were not loved by God. Through His gifts of Faith and Love, God graciously calls each one of us. Through this Divine mercy, we see the fulfillment of the promise, “For I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more” (Jer 31:34; Heb 8:12). The Book of Wisdom consoles us saying, “You overlook people’s sins so that they may repent” (11:23).

The second reading: II Thessalonians 1:11-22 explained. St. Paul’s second letter to the Church in Thessalonica encourages the Thessalonians to persevere in their Christian Faith, giving glory to God without idly waiting for the “second coming” of Christ in their lifetime. This letter was intended to correct certain misunderstandings which had arisen in the community. Someone had brought to the believers at Thessalonica either a message or a letter alleged to be from Paul. The letter asserted that the Day of the Lord, i.e., the second coming of Jesus, had already occurred. Some people in the community reacted with terror, while others quit work, and were making nuisances of themselves as they awaited the full effect of the Lord’s coming (The Collegeville Bible Commentary). The letter exhorts the Thessalonians, and us, to glorify the Name of Jesus and to conduct ourselves in such a way as to become worthy of God’s call by “relying on the power of God, who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to His own purpose and grace.”

Gospel exegesis: The context: A rich ruler came to Jesus asking how he might be saved (Luke 18). But he went away sad after learning that he would have to sacrifice his riches. When the Apostles wondered if any man with possessions could be saved, Jesus assured them, “What is impossible for mortals is possible for God” (18:18-27). This account leads naturally to our Gospel lesson, the story of Zacchaeus, a rich man who found salvation when he surrendered himself to the grace of God. The rich ruler was too attached to his possessions to give them to the poor. The repentant Zacchaeus, on the other hand, voluntarily pledged to give half his possessions to the poor and to make fourfold restitution to any one he might have cheated. The story of Zacchaeus reinforces the lessons of the fifteenth chapter of Luke in which a lost sheep and a lost coin are found, and a lost son is embraced. It also demonstrates the fact that nobody is beyond the possibility of conversion.

The tax and tax-collectors: Jericho was a very wealthy, commercial town in the Jordan valley, famous for its date palms and balsam groves. There were two major highways in Israel at that time, and one of them went through Jericho. Hence, Jericho was one of the great tax centers of Palestine and its tax-collectors were rich and notorious. Zacchaeus, as chief tax-collector in Jericho (roughly equivalent to a district director of the U. S. Internal Revenue Service, the IRS), was probably a man of much wealth and few friends. From the time of Julius Caesar, the options for collecting Rome’s taxes were auctioned off to the highest bidder in each municipality. In order to win the bid, the prospective tax collector would have had to pay to Rome, in advance, all the taxes due in his locale. Then, he would hire agents who would help in collecting the taxes so that he could recoup his initial investment, pay his agents and make a generous profit as well. He cheated not only on his return, but everyone else’s. He had figured out a way to skim some money off the top and squeeze the last drop from peoples’ wallets. Moreover, being a boss himself, no doubt Zacchaeus also took a little off the top from each of his tax-collectors. Because the tax collectors extorted sizable amounts of interest in addition to the taxes fixed by Rome, they were despised by their own townspeople. Since Zacchaeus had reached the top of his profession, he was the most hated man in the district, considered by the other Jews as a traitor, a thief. and an outcast.

The official climbs a tree: It was Passover time, which meant that tens of thousands of Jewish pilgrims were coming down from Galilee, by-passing Samaria and coming to the toll booth at Jericho to pay their taxes. Bible scholars tell us that two or three million people showed up for the Passover. Jesus also made this trip, coming from Galilee in the north, to Jerusalem in the south, by way of Jericho. Since Jesus had become very famous by that time, people passing through the customs-house at Jericho wanted to see him. Naturally, Zacchaeus was curious to see the new rabbi from Nazareth who, people said, welcomed tax-collectors and sinners as his friends. Zacchaeus might even have heard that a former tax-gatherer, Levi, was one of Jesus’ disciples. Therefore, despite the expected ridicule he might receive from the crowd, he resolved to get a look at Jesus. To escape the crowd and get a clear vision of Jesus, he climbed a sycamore tree--(It was a sycamore-fig tree,  Ficus sycomorus with edible fruits. American Sycamore tree is Platanus occidentalis, a tree with poisonous fruits)-a tree with a short trunk and wide branches–and sat hidden in its leafy branches. Jesus noticed him, however, and cheerfully called, “Zacchaeus! Come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house!” They went off together, the sinner and the Son of God. Just as Zacchaeus had exposed himself to ridicule by climbing a tree, so Jesus exposed himself to criticism by visiting Zacchaeus’ house. A mere glance and a few words of acceptance from Jesus changed this man from the sinner the community thought him to be into a man to whom Jesus had brought salvation. The presence of Jesus had given to Zacchaeus the twin gifts of Grace and Justification. Zacchaeus’ heart was changed, and he repented of his sins. We, too, are often blocked from seeing the Lord because other people get in the way. They block our sight in many ways. Parents block the sight of their children when they don’t pray with them or take them to Mass. Cultural forces, like those in the entertainment industry or in public schools or institutions of higher learning, or sports and games impede our vision by distorting Jesus’ image, ignoring him altogether, or ridiculing those who believe in him. Sometimes even those who should be icons of Jesus — priests, religious, catechists, godparents — obscure our vision through their scandalous lives or un-Christian behavior. The example of Zacchaeus challenges each of us to consider what is the extent to which we go and what trees or obstacles we must overcome in order to see Jesus more clearly.

The secret of instant conversion: What was the cause of Zacchaeus’ instantaneous conversion? By entering Zacchaeus’ house, Jesus gave back to its owner the dignity that he had lost and restored his sense of self-worth. Jesus gave him a new life. By making no demands on Zacchaeus, Jesus gave him a feeling of acceptance and a new direction for his life. Hence during the banquet, Zacchaeus made the solemn announcement of his repentance and committed himself to doing justice by the sharing of his wealth (giving half his possessions to the poor), and the making of reparations (fourfold to the defrauded). This exceeded what the Torah asked (Ex 22:1-4, 21:2). [According
to the law as recorded in the Jewish scriptures, when one who had cheated
another confessed his guilt and volunteered to make restitution, the
amount required was equal to the amount stolen plus one fifth more (Leviticus
6:5, Numbers 5:7.] Zacchaeus did not make this offer to win Jesus’ approval, but to show his gratitude. Hence, confirming the integrity of Zacchaeus’ conversion and affirming the quality of his Faith, Jesus announced that salvation had come, not to Zacchaeus alone, but rather to his entire household. Zacchaeus’ household would now share in his blessings as they had previously shared in his unjust practices (Acts 10:2, 11:14, 16:15, 16:31, 18:8).

Son of Abraham once again: The story of the conversion of Zacchaeus ends with Jesus’ declaration, “the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost.” This man, who had previously considered an outcast, was addressed by Jesus as a “son of Abraham.” Zacchaeus was not saved in isolation. His salvation would affect the entire community, since he would provide support for the poor and make restitution to any he had defrauded. A community would be transformed by the presence of a tax-collector whom people could trust. Zacchaeus reminds us that Jesus continues to call the strangest people from the strangest places. With more than seventy-five percent of people suffering from a conviction of low self-worth, Zacchaeus serves as a good example of how to resist and survive the critical comments of others.

Life messages: 1) We need to accept the Divine invitation for repentance. Jesus takes the initiative of knocking at the door of our souls, asking for entry. We have one thing in common with Zacchaeus: like him, we are all sinners, and we all need salvation. The total rehabilitation of a formerly sinful man accomplished by a process of discipleship: seeking, meeting, undergoing conversion, and following Jesus Who is God. To refuse to admit that we are sinners is a fundamental impediment to the working of the mercy and grace of God in our hearts. A second, more common impediment is to refuse to listen to the call to repentance, which God so frequently sends out to us. We are all sinners to a greater or lesser degree. Jesus is inviting each one of us to total conversion today by means of this Gospel lesson. Jesus is our loving Brother who died that we might live. He is the Son of God, a God of Infinite Love. Hence, let us expose and confess all our weaknesses and injustices to Him. Let us remember that Jesus loves us in spite of our ugly thoughts, broken promises, sullied ideals, lack of prayer and Faith, resentments, and lusts. He will put us back on the straight road to Heaven. We will become again true “sons and daughters of Abraham.” In the Sacrament of Reconciliation, Jesus, acting through the priest in the confessional, ministers to us individually, just as he interacted individually with Zacchaeus. As Zacchaeus did, we, too, need to “come down,” to leave the perches of our pride and allow Jesus to go to work through his ministerial priests.

2) We need to love others as Jesus loves us, in spite of our sins. Jesus loved Zacchaeus–the greatest of sinners–and by that love Zacchaeus was transformed. How many parents and teachers can accept children lovingly, without first setting up standards of behavior as conditions for being loved? Sometimes we have the temptation to withhold love from people we consider sinners. For example, a husband and wife may have qualities that grate on each other, prompting one spouse to withhold love from the other. There may be a temptation to withhold one’s love from a rebellious teenager. Perhaps our children make choices that disappoint us, and we become so frustrated by the consequences of their poor choices that we withhold our love from them. Our boss may be unlovable and autocratic, or our neighbor may become an object of hatred because of his incessantly barking dog. But just as Jesus loved Zacchaeus, even though he was the worst of sinners, and loves us the same way, so we must love others in spite of their sin. Jesus expects this of us, so he offers us the strength and grace to do it, if we will accept these gifts and use them.

3) We are called to generosity: Zacchaeus was changed from being greedy to being generous, from selfishness to selflessness. There was a change deep within his heart. Jesus wants us to move from our small and feeble Faith to a greater and more powerful Faith, just as Zacchaeus did. God wants us to be financially and spiritually generous. When we feel the warmth of God’s presence within us, that warmth will, in itself, melt our coldness and selfishness and lead us to repentance and a change of life.

4) How would we respond to Jesus’ demand, “I must stay at your house today?” How would we react to such an invitation? Would we be ready to welcome Jesus into our home? Indeed, Jesus has visited the homes of each and every one of us! Through the Sacrament of Confirmation, we have received the indwelling Spirit of Christ within us. Through the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, we receive the Divine Presence of the Lord. Further, if we love one another, God lives in us, and His love is perfected in us (1 Jn. 4:13). Hence, let us be thankful to the Lord for coming to us. For those of us who have not yet received the Lord into our homes and lives, it is never too late to repent and welcome Him. Our Lord is a God of Love, Grace and Mercy. He does not wish to see anyone lost. If we allow Jesus to enter our lives, our lives will change. Grace is the driving power behind this transformation. As we continue with the celebration of the Holy Mass, let us pray for all of us who do not yet have the indwelling of the Lord God in our homes and lives. Let us ask the Lord to reach out to us all as he reached out to Zacchaeus. The result will be repentance, transformation, sanctification, salvation.

For pictures, type Zacchaeus coming down from the tree  in Google images

JOKES OF THE WEEK

1) A pastor was asked by one of the presidential candidates,
“Name something my government can do to help your church if I am elected president.” The pastor replied, “Quit making one-dollar bills.”

2) Dear Lord, so far today I’ve done all right. I haven’t gossiped, haven’t lost my temper, and haven’t been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish, or overindulgent. I’m very thankful for that. But in a few minutes, Lord, I’m going to get out of bed, and from then on, I’m probably going to need a lot more help. Amen

3) The homiletic professor challenged a student Deacon to preach on Zacchaeus in three sentences. Here is the Deacon’s homily: “First, Zacchaeus was a man of small stature; so am I. Second, Zacchaeus was very much up a tree; so am I. Third, Zacchaeus made haste and came down; so will I.”

USEFUL WEBSITES OF THE WEEK (For homilies & Bible study groups)

1)Fr. Nick’s collection of Sunday homilies from 65 priests & weekday homilies: https://www.catholicsermons.com/homilies/sunday_homilies

2)Fr. Don’ collection of video homilies & blogs: https://sundayprep.org/featured-homilies/ (Copy it on the Address bar and press the Enter button)

3) Fr. Geoffrey Plant’s beautiful & scholarly video classes on Sunday gospel, Bible & RCIA topics: https://www.youtube.com/user/GeoffreyPlant20663)

4) Dr. Brant Pitre’s commentary on Cycle C Sunday Scripture for Bible Class: https://catholicproductions.com/blogs/mass-readings-explained-year-Biblical basis of Catholic doctrines: http://scripturecatholic.com/

5) Agape Catholic Bible Lessons: http://www.agapebiblestudy.com/

6) 51 audio sermons by Bishop Sheen: http://www.americancatholictruthsociety.com/articles/sheen.htm

7) Domestic ChurchAn on-line magazine for Catholic Families, http://www.domestic-church.com/

8) The Mary Page – All about the Blessed Virgin http://campus.udayton.edu/mary/index.html

9) Theological errors:http://www.catholic-dispatch.com/

10) Video Scripture study on O. T. 31 Non Catholic: https://youtu.be/h3nvDuSb2Wo

23- Additional anecdotes:

1)  Blank spots on the tape. Time-lapse photography compresses a series of events into one picture. Such a photo appeared in an issue of National Geographic. Taken from a Rocky Mountain peak during a heavy thunderstorm, the picture captured the brilliant lightning display that had taken place throughout the storm’s duration. The time-lapse technique wove a fascinating, spaghetti-like web out of the individual bolts. In such a way, our sin presents itself before the eyes of God. Where we see only isolated or individual acts, God sees the overall web of our sinning. What may seem insignificant to us, something that passes with hardly any notice taken, creates a much more dramatic display from God’s panoramic viewpoint.  Imagine when you die that Jesus comes to meet you and shows you the “time–lapse video” of your entire life.  You will be surprised to see a number of blank spots on the tape along with all the good things you did.  You ask why there are such blank spots and Jesus tells you these were the times when you sinned and asked for God’s mercy. —  When God forgives, He completely blanks out our sins and does not remember them. That’s what happens in today’s Gospel story. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

2) My world crashed about me.”  J. C. Penney was a man of advanced years before he committed his life fully to Jesus Christ.  He had been a good man, honest, but primarily interested in becoming a success and making money.  “When I worked for six dollars a week at Joslin’s Dry Goods Store back in Denver,” he confessed as he looked back on his life, “it was my ambition, in the sense of wealth in money, to be worth one hundred thousand dollars.  When I reached that goal, I felt a certain temporary satisfaction, but it soon wore off and my sights were set on becoming worth a million dollars.”  Mr. and Mrs. Penney worked hard to expand their business, but one day Mrs. Penney caught pneumonia, which claimed her life.  It was then that J. C. Penney realized that having money was a poor substitute for the real purpose of life.  “When she died,” he said, “my world crashed about me.  To build a business, to make a success in the eyes of men, to accumulate money–what was the purpose of life?  What had money meant for my wife?  I felt mocked by life, even by God Himself.”  After several more fiery trials, J. C. Penney was financially ruined and, naturally, in deep distress.  That is when God was able to deal with his self-righteous nature and his love for money.  — After a spiritual conversion, he testified to God’s workings in his life.  “I had to pass through fiery ordeals before reaching glimmerings of conviction that it is not enough for men to be upright and moral.  When I was brought to humility and the knowledge of dependence on God, sincerely and earnestly seeking God’s aid, it was forthcoming, and a light illumined my being.  I cannot otherwise describe it than to say that it changed me as a man.”  Grace led him to a moment of conversion as it did Zacchaeus. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

3) “I work for the IRS“: There is a story about a local fitness center that was offering $1,000 to anyone who could demonstrate that they were stronger than the owner of the place. Here is how it worked. This muscle man would squeeze a lemon until all the juice ran into a glass, and then hand the lemon to the next challenger. Anyone who could squeeze just one more drop of juice out, would win the money. Many people tried over time – other weightlifters, construction workers, even professional wrestlers, but nobody could do it. One day, a short and skinny guy came in and signed up for the contest. After the laughter died down, the owner grabbed a lemon and squeezed away. Then he handed the wrinkled remains to the little man. The crowd’s laughter turned to silence as the man clenched his fist around the lemon and six drops fell into the glass. As the crowd cheered, the manager paid out the winning prize and asked the short guy what he did for a living. “Are you a lumberjack, a weightlifter, or what?” The man replied, “I work for the IRS.” — Today’s Gospel describes the conversion of a Jew who worked for the first-century Roman IRS. Fr. Lakra. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

4) The transforming touch of the master’s hand: Snow Man was a gray white horse that Harry De Leyer picked up cheaply at a horse auction. Harry trained Snow Man, and the horse served well at the girls’ school where Harry was the riding master. However, when the school closed for the summer, a neighbor made a generous offer for Snow Man, and Harry could not afford to refuse it. So, Snow Man had a new home. Snow Man, however, liked his old home and his old master. Time and time again he jumped the neighbor’s high fences and returned to Harry. Finally, Harry bought his horse back. In that series of events, though, was a clue to Snow Man’s real greatness. Snow Man was a natural jumper, and the horse that once jumped fences to return to his loving previous master later jumped at Madison Square Garden for two national titles! [Paul Aurandt, ed., Paul Harvey’s the Rest of the Story, ed. (New York: Bantam Books, 1977), pp. 68).] — All Snow Man needed was the love and attention of his master. That is what Zacchaeus needed as well. Zacchaeus knew that there was something more in life, and he was determined to experience it. He was willing to make whatever change was necessary in life to see his dream come true. After he had felt the touch of the Master’s hand, he was willing to live up to his new commitment by no longer being dishonest in his work, by making restitution for the wrongs he had done in the past, and by sharing what he had with the needy. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

5) Laurin Chapin encountered Jesus as Zacchaeus did:  One of the most popular weekly programs in the early days of television was Father Knows Best. One of the stars of that show was little Laurin Chapin who played 11-year-old Kathy Anderson. Those familiar with this wholesome family program remember little Kathy in all of her innocence and charm. Unfortunately, Laurin Chapin’s real life was nothing like Kathy Anderson’s. We are told that Laurin’s mother drank very heavily. When the Father Knows Best series ended, Laurin couldn’t get another job in television. Alienated from her mother and from the world of make-believe that had given substance to her life, she began running wild. She turned to drugs, casual lovers and fast company. The next several years of her life were filled with eight miscarriages, welfare, a mental hospital and a host of times in and out of jails. At 38 years of age, Laurin Chapin encountered Jesus as Zacchaeus did in today’s Gospel. “All my life I’ve wanted to be loved,” she said. “God’s love is the most complete love, and I think that’s what I was looking for.” (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

6) Hunger for somebodiness: A few years ago, Vance Packard wrote a book he called The Staus Seekers. From him and others like him, we learn that having an office with a window and a carpet might be more important than getting a raise. — So what encouragement is there for those who make sandwiches for a cafeteria? Or who fill mail orders at Wards? Or who make boxes at Hoerner Waldorf? Or who are retired – whose job history is in the past? Martin Luther King Jr. coined a word that says what we all hunger for: somebodiness. It seems to me that’s one way to describe what was driving Zacchaeus, his urge to be somebody. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

7) “Hands off, Zacchaeus.” The Eighth Commandment is God’s way of screaming “Hands off!” There are hundreds of ways to steal. Just consider all the words we have for it: gyp, lift, loot, nab, pinch, pluck, pilfer, snatch, swindle, embezzle, defraud, and plagiarize. Stealing can be as direct as a woman putting on three slips in a fitting room, putting her dress on over them, and walking out. Or, stealing can be as complicated as borrowing money on non-existent ammonia tanks or setting up bogus corporate accounts in which to deposit illegal fees. Consider these modern means of theft: junk bonds, computer hacking, stock manipulation and influence-peddling. Or a cotton broker could sell cotton to himself while collecting under the agricultural subsidy program. Larceny is in our blood. Look back across our history. We stole land from the Native Americans by trading beads, baubles, and alcohol. We built the entire economy of the South on the legal theft of liberty and labor from African American slaves. We have a long and infamous history of theft. — There is a socio-economic injustice related to stealing. Poor people, with no money to hire skilled attorneys, waste away in prisons for stealing a car or TV, while officers of huge corporations manipulate the stock market, embezzle, and bill our government for defense contract overruns. Few of them are ever even accused of wrong-doing. Ours is a society “on the take,” and stealing is one of our most blatant sins. Today’s Gospel challenges the stealers to follow the example of conversion shown by Zacchaeus. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

8) “You see, he’s Paul Adams now.” The novelist, A. J. Cronin, tells a story from his own experience as a doctor that catches the wonder of this gift of grace. The Adams family at the close of the Second World War decided to open their home to a little refugee boy with the outlandish name of Paul Piotrostanalzi. The Adams had two daughters and a son named Sammy. Sammy and Paul became inseparable friends, but little Paul was a difficult child, and often disobeyed Mr. and Mrs. Adams. One day, little Paul went swimming in some contaminated water. He became very ill with a high fever, and the doctor suggested he sleep in an attic bedroom. But little Sammy missed his friend Paul so much that one night he crept up the attic stairs and into bed with Paul. Paul’s hot breath fell on Sammy’s neck all night. In the morning, Sammy, never a strong child, became deathly ill. Paul recovered his health, but Sammy died within three days. It was a terrible tragedy for the Adams family. A year later Dr. Cronin decided to pay a call on the Adams family. But as he pulled into their driveway, he was amazed and then angry as he saw Paul, the refugee boy, working in the garden with Mr. Adams. He got out of his car and angrily approached Mr. Adams. “What’s this Paul Pio…….. whatever his name is, doing here after what he did to your family?” Mr. Adams looked at the doctor and then said quietly, “Dr. Cronin, you won’t have any more trouble with Paul’s name. You see, he’s Paul Adams now. We’ve adopted him.” –That is a wonderful story of costly grace, and that is exactly the wonderful gift that Jesus once gave to a heart-hungry tax collector named Zacchaeus. [A. J. Cronin, Adventures in Two Worlds (The Ryerson Press, 1952).] (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

9) “Am I a worthless sinner?” Things to remember next time you feel like a worthless sinner whom God can’t use: Noah was a drunk, Abraham was too old, Isaac was a day-dreamer, Jacob was a liar, Leah was ugly, Joseph was abused, Moses had a stuttering problem, Gideon was a coward, Sampson had long hair and was a womanizer, Rahab was a prostitute, Jeremiah and Timothy were too young, David had an affair and was a murderer, Elijah was deeply depressed, Isaiah preached naked, Jonah ran from God, Naomi lost both her husband and her two sons to death and her daughter-in-law Ruth was a foreigner, not a Jew. Job went bankrupt, John the Baptist ate locusts, Peter denied Christ, the apostles fell asleep while praying, Martha worried about everything, Mary was extravagant, the Samaritan woman was divorced more than once, Zacchaeus was too small, Paul was a fanatic, Timothy had an ulcer…and Lazarus was dead! — We have no more excuses now.  God can use us to our full potential.  Besides, we aren’t the message; we are just the messenger. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

10) “Your teacher sent me to help you with nouns and adverbs.” Several years ago, a schoolteacher assigned to visit children in a large city hospital received a routine call requesting that she visit a particular child. She took the boy’s name and room number and was told by the teacher on the other end of the line, “We’re studying nouns and adverbs in his class now. I’d be grateful if you could help him with his homework, so he doesn’t fall behind the others.” It wasn’t until the visiting teacher got outside the boy’s room that she realized it was located in the hospital’s burn unit. No one had prepared her to find a young boy horribly burned and in great pain. She felt that she couldn’t just turn and walk out, so she awkwardly stammered, “I’m the hospital teacher, and your teacher sent me to help you with nouns and adverbs.” The next morning a nurse on the burn unit asked her, “What did you do to that boy?” Before she could finish a profusion of apologies, the nurse interrupted her: “You don’t understand. We’ve been very worried about him, but ever since you were here yesterday, his whole attitude has changed. He’s fighting back, responding to treatment . . . It’s as though he’s decided to live.” The boy later explained that he had completely given up hope until he saw that teacher. It all changed when he came to a simple realization. With joyful tears he expressed it this way: “They wouldn’t send a teacher to work on nouns and adverbs with a dying boy, would they?” [Parables, Etc. (Dallas: Word Publishing, 1991).] — To know that someone believes in us makes all the difference in the world. The conviction that Jesus believed him caused the instant conversion of Zacchaeus. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

11) “I can be a lady to you.” Many of you have seen the delightful Broadway musical and motion picture, My Fair Lady. It is based on George Bernard Shaw’s wonderful play, Pygmalion. It is about a brilliant professor, Henry Higgins, who transforms a humble flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, into an elegant English lady. In the midst of her brilliant transformation, Eliza falls in love with Henry Higgins, but he treats her only with disdain. Towards the end of the play, she expresses her complaint to their mutual friend, Colonel Pickering: “You see,” she says, “Really and truly, apart from the things anyone can pick up (the dressing and the proper way of speaking, and so on), the difference between a lady and a flower girl is not in how she behaves, but how she is treated. I shall always be a flower girl to Professor Higgins, because he always treats me as a flower girl, and always will; but I know I can be a lady to you, because you always treat me as a lady, and always will.” — It is both interesting and encouraging to notice how Jesus treated people, whether it be the woman of the streets or the tax collector in the tree. He saw something no one else could see. That is the first thing we need to see. Jesus was even more eager to see Zacchaeus than Zacchaeus was to see him. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

12) Pig traveling in the first class from Philadelphia to Seattle: Speaker Les Parrot tells about a pig that flew aboard a US Airways jet from Philadelphia into Les’s  home city of Seattle. Two passengers had convinced an airline representative that the pig needed to fly with them as a “therapeutic companion pet”–like a seeing-eye dog–so the representative decided to permit the pig to sit with them in the first-class cabin of the plane. It was a decision he would soon regret. Passengers described the 300-pound pig as “enormous, brown, angry, and honking.” He was seated in three seats near the front of the plane, but the attendants reportedly had difficulty strapping him in. “He became restless after takeoff and sauntered through the cabin,” one passenger said. “He kept rubbing his nose on people’s legs trying to get them to give him food and stroke him.”
Upon landing, things only got worse. The pig panicked, running up and down through economy class and squealing. Many passengers, also screaming, stood on their seats. It took four attendants to escort the beast off the plane. And when they reached the terminal, the pig escaped, only to be recaptured in another part of the airport. When asked to comment on the story, a US Airways spokesman named David said, “We can confirm that the pig traveled, and we can confirm that it will never happen again.” [Shoulda Coulda Woulda: Live in the Present and Find Your Future (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2003).] — That’s repentance. It happened. It was a mistake. It will never happen again. Zacchaeus said, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house . . .” Zacchaeus was a changed man. He wasn’t simply a better man — he was a man who had moved from darkness to light. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

13) George Wilson must be hanged: Back in 1830 George Wilson was convicted of robbing the U.S. Mail and was sentenced to be hanged. President Andrew Jackson issued a pardon for Wilson, but he refused to accept it. The matter went to Chief Justice Marshall, who concluded that Wilson would have to be executed. “A pardon is a slip of paper,” wrote Marshall, “the value of which is determined by the acceptance of the person to be pardoned. If it is refused, it is no pardon. George Wilson must be hanged.” For some, the pardon comes too late. For others, the pardon is not accepted. (Prokope, V. 11, #5). — Today’s Gospel describes how the tax collector wholeheartedly accepted the pardon offered by Jesus.

 14) “The life of Christianity consists of possessive pronounsThe life of Christianity consists of possessive pronouns.”  It is one thing to say, “Christ is a Savior”; it is quite another thing to say, “He is my Savior and my Lord.” The devil can say the first; the true Christian alone can say the second. (A quote attributed to Martin Luther, but not found in any of his woks). — Today’s Gospel tells us how Zacchaeus wholeheartedly accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior. (Bible.org: Resource, July/August 1990). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

15) The “Tiny” star of Cincinnati Royals: Several years ago, there was a basketball player by the name of Nate Archibald. When Nate finished college, most of the professional teams ignored him because they thought he was too short. In fact, his nickname was ‘Tiny.” The Cincinnati Royals decided to take a chance on Nate and signed him to play on their team. Well, Nate made it big in the NBA because he was lightning fast, had good hands, and was a great shooter. He played in the NBA for fourteen seasons and became known as the player who proved that a “little man” could play in the NBA. Just look at some of the honors he won: He was named to the All-NBA team five times. He was named to the NBA All-Star team six times. He was elected to the NBA Hall of Fame. Not too bad for a man most people thought was too short to play in the NBA. — The Bible tells us about another short man who became great, even though he was not very tall. His name was Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus was not only short, he was hated by almost everyone because he was a tax collector. As a tax collector, he often cheated people and collected more taxes than they owed. When he heard that Jesus was passing by, he climbed a tree to see Jesus. Jesus saw him, called him by name, invited himself to Zacchaeus’ house —  and Zacchaeus was changed forever. When Jesus enters our lives, our shortcomings, our handicaps do not matter at all. (John Pichappilly in The Table of the Word; quoted by Fr. Botelho). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

16) Forgiven people: In the movie The Mission, one of the leading characters is converted from being a slave-trader of the Brazilian Indians to being a Jesuit priest. But he insists on doing penance, dragging a heavy bundle through the jungle back to the Indians he used to enslave. Once back, in a dramatic, cliff-side scene, where the bundle threatened to make him fall, the Indians cut away the bundle. The people he had formerly enslaved forgave him and set him free. –- We have to power to do the same for each other. As Martin Luther pointed out centuries ago, we are a priesthood of believers who are to be priests for one another, forgiving one another as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven us. We have the power to forgive as God’s sons and daughters. (John R. in Hear His Voice; quoted by Fr. Botelho). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

17) Courage to change decisions: Muhammad-bin-Tughlaq who succeeded Ghazi was one of the most interesting, and colorful Rulers of India. He ruled Delhi from 1325 to 1351. Mohammad Bin Tughlaq shifted his capital from Delhi to Daulatabad, located in the Deccan region of India. He did this to administer the provinces located in the south. Since things did not work out as he had planned, the capital was shifted back to Delhi after two years. Though Tughlaq was the unchallengeable monarch of his empire, when he realized the mistake in his decision, he had the good sense and courage to change it. — In today’s Gospel we meet a powerful and wealthy man who declares his willingness and courage to change his ways and amend his life. (Fr. Bobby Jose). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

18) The Son of Man came to seek and save what was lost. Evelyn Waugh captures this dynamic in his novel Brideshead Revisited. Lord Marchmain is an elderly British aristocrat who returns to England to die. He’s a fallen-away Catholic. His daughter Julia, also a former Catholic, decides to invite a priest to visit her father. However, Lord Marchmain refuses to speak with him. Several days later, with death looming over Lord Marchmain, Julia again summons the priest. The narrator describes what happens next. Lord Marchmain is too weak to talk. The priest approaches to give him the anointing of the sick, and when he anoints his forehead, Lord Marchmain slowly lifts his hand to his forehead. For one sickening moment it seems that he’s going to brush away the oil, but instead he slowly makes the Sign of the Cross and dies shortly afterwards. — The Son of Man came to seek and save what was lost. (E- Priest). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/). 

19) Saint Ignatius Loyola gets Radical: When St Ignatius Loyola studied in Paris in the 1530’s, a priest he knew wasn’t exactly a paragon of virtue. He had broken his vows, and was living with a woman. He was giving terrible example to others. St Ignatius wasn’t content to ignore this man’s moral misery. He prayed for him. He sacrificed for him. And he did something else. He went to his house one night, knelt next to his bed, and asked him to hear his confession. When the priest witnessed Ignatius’s faith, something changed. He returned to the priesthood and began to dedicate himself to serving God’s people. — Through Ignatius Loyola, Christ came to seek and to save what was lost. (E- Priest).  (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

20) Welcome aboard. Please keep writing in: A few years ago, an American priest who lives and works in Rome started doing regular television commentary for Fox News. People seemed to like hearing his point of view, so Fox eventually asked him to start a blog on their Web site. The priest in question, Fr. Jonathan Morris, agreed to do the blog, but he knew that it would give disgruntled people a chance to vent their anger at him. So, he made a promise to Christ that he would never respond to an angry email with anger. He would only respond with kindness. Since then, the angry emails have flooded in. It hasn’t been easy to absorb so many email punches without punching back, but with the help of God’s grace, he has kept his promise. And because of it, angry e-mailers have often been completely taken off guard, and he has even seen people completely change their negative view of the Catholic Church, just because they were treated with Christian mercy, with kindness and respect, the way Jesus treated Zacchaeus. Here is a real example of the kind of exchange he deals with daily: EMAIL FROM NANCY: God bless Jack Kevorkian, he is an enlightened bright light in this world of suffering. You, on the other hand, are [the devil] incarnate with your dreary rotting dogma. But more power to you ‘Father’ (ha) FR JONATHAN’S RESPONSE: Nancy, I think a lot of people on this blog were concerned about rigid and nonsensical dogma when they first started reading. Welcome aboard. Please keep writing in and explaining the reasons behind your disagreement. It will add a lot to our discussion.” That’s the response of a Christian who is living out his mission “to seek and to save.” (E- Priest). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

21) There were some eyebrows raised when John XXIII was elected pope. He was in his seventies and there was no great hope that he was going to shake the Church. One of the first things he did, however, made people sit up and notice. He went in person to visit prisoners in one of Rome’s prisons. He met them as equals and chatted informally with each. He even disclosed that he himself had a relative in jail! The work and short pontificate of this man was going to open many doors and set many prisoners free.
(Jack McArdle in And That’s the Gospel Truth; quoted by Fr. Botelho). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

22) Money can buy a beautiful grave but not eternal life:  There is a poem which talks about money written by Karl-Heinz Doll. I think this is application to Zacchaeus, — and to us especially. The poem runs this way:

“Money can buy beds  but not sleep

Money can buy food but not appetite

Money can buy a house but not a home

Money can buy medicine but not health

Money can buy pleasure but not joy

Money can buy books but not wisdom

Money can buy style but not beauty

Money can buy contracts but not trustworthiness

Money can buy weapons but not peace

Money can buy bodyguards but not peace of heart

Money can buy a beautiful grave but not eternal life.”

Another author said: “Money is an article which may be used as universal passport to everywhere, except Heaven, and as a universal provider of everything, except happiness.”– Just like some of us, Zacchaeus was thinking that to have more money would give him security and even happiness. Yes, we can love the money, but the money can not love us in return. Money has no feeling. It has a callous nature. When Jesus touches Zacchaeus, the tax-collector makes a choice that he has to change his way of life. (Fr. Benitez). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

23) Is Zacchaeus trying to “buy” his way in to the Kingdom of God? (Lk 19:1-10): I’ve often thought that this whole section of Luke’s gospel (say, 18:9 – 19:10) could be called “The Pride of the Rich,” or some such title. In that segment we hear the following stories: a self-righteous Pharisee tells God how much better he is than the tax collector; Jesus teaches about the need for childlike simplicity; a very rich official refuses to part with his possessions; Jesus uses the “camel through the eye of the needle” comparison about the difficulties the wealthy face; and finally, a rich sinner gets it right and repents (Zacchaeus).The Gospel today (Lk 19:1-10) is not just entertainment about a short fat bald man climbing a tree and later trying to “buy” his salvation. Rather, it is about the radical changes that everyone must make when Jesus issues an invitation. Zacchaeus was also a very rich man and a hated tax collector, a collaborator with the occupying Roman empire. And yet, this is the man that Jesus said he was going to dine with. Even more surprising, it was Jesus who initiated the contact. We know that such an action would have been unthinkable for a Pharisee, and indeed they all “grumbled.” Jesus called Zacchaeus a “descendant of Abraham” (19:9), which both restored the dignity of true community identity for this tax collector, and which indicated that all were sinners, not just Zacchaeus. So that there is no mistake, Jesus concludes “the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost” (19:10). — In Luke’s gospel, Jesus is constantly breaking down barriers which prevent the exchange of love and compassion. All he asks of us is that we allow him to come into our homes and hearts, and spend some time with him. Are we, like Zacchaeus, open enough to want to “see” Jesus, and to “do” something to facilitate that encounter? Fr. Robert F. McNamara. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/). (L/22)

 “Scriptural Homilies” Cycle C (No. 59) by Fr. Tony: akadavil@gmail.com

Visit my website by clicking on https://frtonyshomilies.com/ for missed or previous Cycle C homilies, 141 Year of FaithAdult Faith Formation Lessons” (useful for RCIA classes too) & 197 “Question of the Week.” Contact me only at akadavil@gmail.com. Visit https://www.catholicsermons.com/homilies/sunday_homilies  of Fr. Nick’s collection of homilies or Resources in the CBCI website:  https://www.cbci.in.  (Special thanks to Vatican Radio website http://www.vaticannews.va/en/church.html -which completed uploading my Cycle A, B and C homilies in May 2020)  Fr. Anthony Kadavil, Chaplain, Sacred Heart Residence of the Little Sisters of the Poor, 1655 McGill Ave, Mobile, AL 36604

Oct 24-29 weekday homilies

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

Oct 17-22 weekday homilies

Click on http://frtonyshomilies.com for missed homilies

Oct 17 Monday: (St. Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop, Martyr) For a short biography, click here:https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-ignatius-of-antioch ) Jn 12: 24-26: 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there shall my servant be also; if any one serves me, the Father will honor him.

The context: Jesus tells us a short parable followed by two amazing paradoxes. The parable is that of a grain of wheat sown into the muddy field, growing up and yielding a good crop. The parable followed by the paradoxes teaches us three lessons for Christian life. The first lesson is that life comes only through death. Only when the grain of wheat dies in the muddy soil of the field does it become a seedling. In the same way, the Church would grow up and flourish in the death of its martyrs: “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.” When we die to our personal ambitions and desires, we are born as useful instruments in the hands of God. The second lesson is that only by spending life we can retain it. The world owes a lot to saintly people like St. Don Bosco, St. Vincent De Paul, St. Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa), St. Jeanne Jugan, and St. Damien of Molokai, among others, who spent their energy in service of the poor and the down-trodden and gave themselves to God. The third lesson is that greatness comes through selfless and committed service. This explains why the world still honors and cherishes the memory of great souls mentioned above.

Life message: Let us surrender our lives to God in the service of others with agápe love in all humility, seeing the face of Jesus in each of them. (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 18 Tuesday: (St. Luke, Evangelist): For a short biography, click here:(https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-luke) Lk 10: 1-9: 1 After this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to come. 2 And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. 3 Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. 4 Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and salute no one on the road. 5 Whatever house you enter, first say, `Peace be to this house!’ 6 And if a son of peace is there, your peace shall rest upon him; but if not, it shall return to you. 7 And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages; do not go from house to house. 8 Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you; 9 heal the sick in it and say to them, `The kingdom of God has come near to you.’

Resume: St. Luke was a Syrian by race, born in Antioch as a Gentile. He became a Christian and follower of St. Paul. He had a Greek background and education. He knew Greek, spoke Aramaic in Antioch and became a scholar in Hebrew. He was a physician by profession (Col 4:14), and was considered an artist, probably from his graphic descriptions of the nativity scenes with shepherds and magi, from the parable of the lost sheep and from a sixth century copy of the portrait of Mary (kept at Maria Maggiore church in Rome), the original of which was believed to have been drawn by Luke.

A prolific writer: Luke could read and understand the Greek Septuagint version of the Old Testament and the Hebrew originals. He is the only non-Jewish Evangelist. He wrote the third Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles, between 70 and 85 AD. They were originally one book, and, when taken together, are longer than the fourteen epistles of St. Paul. Luke is represented in art by an ox or calf, for he saw Jesus as a sacrifice for all mankind and began his Gospel describing Zechariah and the Temple worship. It is believed that Luke wrote the Gospel when he was 74 and died at Boeotia when he was 84 years old. Luke presents Jesus as giving importance and recognition to women and Gentiles. Contacts: Luke had close contacts with Mary and all the Apostles, and he would have been able to interview all of them to collect details for his Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles. He was a constant companion and doctor of St. Paul during Paul’s Jerusalem and Malta mission trips and during Paul’s imprisonment at Caesarea and Rome. Probably he was with Paul till Paul’s martyrdom.

Life messages: 1) We are to be apostles of prayer: Luke presents Jesus as a man of prayer spending much of his time in listening to God his Father to learn His will and in talking to Him in solitude. 2) We are to be merciful and compassionate, becoming the voice of the voiceless: Luke describes Jesus, siding with the poor and marginalized in the society (option for the poor) and trying to give a special status to women and Gentiles. (Fr. Tony) 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

Oct 19 Wednesday: (Saints John de Brebeuf and Isaac Jogues, Priests and companions,(U. S. A.) Martyrs) For a short biography, click here:(https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saints-isaac-jogues-jean-de-brebeuf-and-companions) Lk 12: 39-48: 39 But know this, that if the householder had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have left his house to be broken into. 40 You also must be ready; for the Son of man is coming at an unexpected hour.” 41 Peter said, “Lord, are you telling this parable for us or for all?” 42 And the Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and wise steward, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time? 43 Blessed is that servant whom his master when he comes will find so doing. 44 Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. 45 But if that servant says to himself, `My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants, and to eat and drink and get drunk, 46 the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will punish him, and put him with the unfaithful. 47 And that servant who knew his master’s will, but did not make ready or act according to his will, shall receive a severe beating…..48

The context: Today’s passage from Luke’s Gospel is the second of three eschatological discourses in the Gospel. After Jesus’ exhortation to vigilance, Peter asks a question (v. 41). Responding to Peter, Jesus tells the second “Master – Servant” parable and the parable of the treasure and the thief. These stories emphasize the necessity for Faith and vigilant preparedness in the lives of Christ’s followers. Jesus wants his disciples to be ready to do God’s will at every moment, rendering humble and sacrificial service to others.

The interpretation: In the parable, the chief characters are a master (representing the risen Jesus), and his servants (Jesus’ followers). Jesus’ words in this passage, understood in the narrower sense, refer to the Second Coming of Jesus. Taken in a broader sense, they refer to the time of our own death, when God will call us to meet Him and to give Him an account of our life on earth. In the first part of today’s Gospel, Jesus tells us what our real treasure should be and how we are to keep it safe. That treasure is our relationship with him (the state of sanctifying grace), which the Lord offers us in his promise of eternal life. But this treasure can be stolen by the devil or lost by our lack of vigilance in the midst of temptations. Jesus warns that we should be vigilant, like dutiful servants. What Jesus teaches us through this comparison is that our relationship with God the Father and Jesus His Son and the Holy Spirit must constantly be strengthened and deepened by our prayers, our Sacramental life, and the reading of Holy Scripture. It is God Who dailygives us the grace and strength to remain faithful, and He will reward our faithfulness.

Life message: 1) We need to remain vigilant and ready to face the Lord, mainly through prayer (listening and talking to Him). Daily prayer will help us to wait for the Lord in our daily lives 2) Prayer will also give us the Heavenly strength to serve Jesus whenever and in whatever form he appears. What we frequently rediscover as we serve, love and help other people is that God comes to us through them (Fr. Tony) (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

Oct 20 Thursday: (St. Paul of the Cross, Priest (U. S. A.) For a short biography, click here:((https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-paul-of-the-cross) : Luke 12: 49-53: 49“I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!50* There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished!Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth?v No, I tell you, but rather division.w52From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three; 53 a father will be divided against his son and a son against his father, a mother against her daughter and a daughter against her mother, a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”

In today’s gospel we have some apparently strange statements by Jesus: 1) I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing. In Jewish thought fire is almost always the symbol of judgment. So, then, Jesus regarded the coming of his kingdom as a time of judgment. Besides, Jesus asserts that his word burns things up, reduces things to cinders, and clears things out so that new things can grow. The Gospel is the Fire that gives both light and heat, warms the hearts of God’s people, and causes them to burn within them. By teaching the Gospel in the power of the Spirit Jesus cleanses the minds and hearts of those who believe in Him. “Baptism” and “fire” were used together when John declares that Jesus will baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire (3:16b). 2) .” There is a baptism with which I must be baptized.” The Greek verb baptizein (GSN0907) means to dip. In the passive it means to be submerged. Often it is used metaphorically. For instance, it is used of a ship sunk beneath the waves. That is the way in which Jesus uses it here, meaning that he must have a terrible experience through which he must pass; and his life is full of tension until he passes through it and emerge triumphantly from it. The cross is ever before his eyes as is his death to give a ransom for many. 3) Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth?v No, I tell you, but rather division. How can it be? Jesus is the prince of peace. The multitude of Heavenly hosts sang on the night of his birth, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (Lk 2:14). The Prophet Isaiah (Is 9:5) referred to the Messiah as the “Prince of Peace. But Jesus’ coming would inevitably mean division; in point of fact it did. That was one of the great reasons why the Romans hated Christianity–it tore families in two: those who accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior and others who hated Jesus and his teachings. The essence of Christianity is that loyalty to Christ has to take precedence over the dearest loyalties of this earth and it caused division in families.

Life messages: 1) We need to have the courage of our Christian convictions in what we believe based on the word of God in the Holy Bible as taught by the Church Jesus founded, and in what what we practice.(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

Oct 21 Friday: Luke 12: 54-59: 54 Jesus said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you say at once, west, you say at once, `A shower is coming’; and so it happens. 55 And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, `There will be scorching heat’; and it happens. 56 You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky; but why do you not know how to interpret the present time? 57 “And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right?58 As you go with your accuser before the magistrate, make an effort to settle with him on the way, lest he drag you to the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer, and the officer put you in prison. 59 I tell you, you will never get out till you have paid the very last copper.”

The context: Some of Jesus’ Jewish listeners, particularly among the leadership, lacked the necessary good will and upright intention to listen and believe. Hence, they just closed their eyes to the light of the Gospel preached by Jesus. They knew the signs of the Messiah’s coming as announced by the prophets. In fact, they had heard Jesus’ preaching and witnessed his miracles. But their pride and prejudice prevented them from arriving at the logical conclusion that Jesus was the Messiah. Hence, in today’s Gospel, using a vivid illustration from first century Palestinian weather forecasting, Jesus points out the urgency of getting right with God before it is too late.

Palestinian farmers and fishermen studied the sky, observing the color and shape of the clouds, the direction and strength of the wind, and so on, to forecast the weather. The wind from the west came from the Mediterranean Sea and so brought rain. The south wind blew in from the desert and so brought hot weather. The “signs of the times” are the earliest appearances of events. St. Thomas Aquinas teaches that God is in all things, “by essence, presence, and power” and that God providentially cares for every aspect of His creation. Therefore, we should expect to see signs of His presence and activity in nature, in history, and in human affairs. So, Jesus challenges his hearers to read the signs of the Messianic time in his preaching and healing ministry, and then to act accordingly. It is urgent that we get reconciled with God while His grace, love and mercy are available for complete transformation. Next, Jesus asks them to judge for themselves what is right, urging them to solve issues here and now by getting reconciled also with their fellow men every day, instead of incurring God’s punishment at the end of our lives.

Life messages: 1) It is time for us to read the clear signs of God’s call for repentance and renewal of life coming through Jesus and to respond by a change of heart and behavior. 2) In the same way, forgiveness and reconciliation should be a high priority for us. There should be no place in our lives for vindictive litigations in this litigation-crazy period, because each of us stands in constant need of God’s help, mercy and forgiveness. (Fr. (Fr. Tony) (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

Oct 22: Saturday: (St. John Paul, II, Pope) For a short biography, click here:(https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-john-paul-ii) Lk 13: 1-9: 1 There were some present at that very time who told him of the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered thus? 3 I tell you, No; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. 4 Or those eighteen upon whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who dwelt in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, No; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.” 6 And he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. 7 And he said to the vinedresser, `Lo, these three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down; why should it use up the ground?’ 8 And he answered him, `Let it alone, sir, this year also, till I dig about it and put on manure. 9 And if it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.'”

The context: Today’s Gospel passage explains how God, our merciful and compassionate Father, disciplines His children, giving them painful experiences in life so that they may repent of their sins, renew their lives and produce the fruits of love, mercy, forgiveness, and service. Citing two tragic events, Jesus exhorts the Jews of his time to repent and reform their lives. Repentance is turning from sin to God. With the parable of the barren fig tree, he also warns them that the merciful God will not put up with them indefinitely. Although God patiently waits for sinners to repent, giving them grace to do so, He will not wait forever. Time will run out; therefore, timely repentance is necessary.

The teaching: Jesus uses two local tragedies to teach us about our need for repentance and a renewal of life. On one occasion, Pilate killed many Galilean Jews who had protested when he appropriated money from the Temple treasury to build an aqueduct in Jerusalem in order to obtain a better water supply for the pilgrims. Jesus then connects his warning to another episode, namely, what appears to have been an accident, related to renovation work on the control tower of the water supply scheme at Siloam, in which eighteen people died. The Jews interpreted this tragedy as God’s punishment of the workers who were co-operating with Pilate in his sacrilegious aqueduct project. Jesus denies that the Galileans suffered because of their sins but calls his listeners to repent lest they suffer for theirs. In fact, he presents both these incidents as timely reminders of the need for all to repent. He says, “… unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”

Life Messages: 1) We need to live lives of repentance, because (a) we never know when we will meet a tragedy of our own; (b) repentance helps us in life and in death. Repentance helps us to live with peace of mind as forgiven people and helps us to face death without fear. 2) Scripture says repentance results in forgiveness, renewal, and redirection, whereas failure to repent results in a guilty conscience which destroys our peace of mind and thus punishes us with a miserable life. (Fr. Tony) (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

O. T. XXIX (Oct 16) Sunday homily

OT XXIX [C] (Oct 16) Eight-minute homily in one page (L-22)

(Oct 23rd, 2022 Sunday is World Mission Sunday)

Introduction: Today’s readings are mainly about prayer — perseverance in prayer, constancy in prayer and trust in God as we pray. They are also about the Trustworthiness and Justice of God, the type of Justice that reaches out to the poor and the weak, enabling them to fight against injustice.

Scripture lessons summarized: In the first reading, Moses, after sending Joshua to fight against Amalek, is presented as making tireless intercession with constancy for the victory of Israel’s army. Both Moses and the widow in today’s Gospel story teach us how we should pray with trusting Faith and perseverance. In the second reading, St. Paul instructs Timothy to persevere in his ministry, to proclaim the word of God with persistence in all circumstances, and to use it to “correct, reprove and appeal with patience.”

By introducing the parable of the unjust judge and the persistent widow in today’s Gospel, Jesus emphasizes the “necessity of praying always and not losing heart.” Constancy in prayer is Faith in action. Jesus presents the widow in today’s Gospel as a model of the trust and tenacity with which his disciples are to pray. The widow was asking for something which God would certainly want for her – justice.

Life messages: 1) We need to combine formal prayers with action prayer: It is ideal that we start our prayers by reading from the Bible, especially the Psalms and the Gospels. Formal, memorized and liturgical prayers are also essential for the Christian prayer life. Personal prayer is of great importance in our life of prayer. Talking to God in our own words — praising Him, thanking Him and presenting our needs before Him — transforms our whole life into prayer. We should perfect our prayers by bringing ourselves into God’s presence during our work several times during the day and by offering to God all that we are, all that we have, and all that we do. Along with formal and memorized prayers, this type of prayer life enables us to pray always and pray with constancy and trusting perseverance.

2) We should not expect to get whatever we pray for. This parable does not suggest that God writes a blank check, guaranteeing whatever we want, whenever we want, it in the form we ask for. But we conveniently forget the fact that, often, a loving father has to refuse the request of a child, because he knows that what the child asks would hurt rather than help him (e.g., a sharp knife). God is like that. He knows what to give, when to give and how to give it. Only God sees time whole, and, therefore, only God knows what is good for us in the long run. That is why Jesus said that we must never be discouraged in prayer. Instead, we have to leave the answer to God’s decision saying, “Thy will be done.” Sincere and persistent prayer makes us ready to accept His will.

OT XXIX [C] (Oct 16) Ex 17:8-13, II Tm 3:14–4:2, Lk 18:1-8

Homily starter anecdotes # 1: Gideon’s experiment with prayer: Many years ago a man named Dalton suggested that the prayer of petition should be put to the test. One-half of England, he said, should pray for rain and then compare the rainfall with the other half who did not pray for rain. He was not, in fact, the first believer with a flair for experimentation. In the Book of Judges, Gideon said to God, “If you really mean to deliver Israel by my hand, as you have declared, see now, I spread out a fleece. If there is dew only on the fleece and all the ground is left dry, then I shall know.” Gideon had the mind of a true experimenter. The following night he reversed his experiment to test God a second time. He prayed, “Do not be angry with me if I speak once again…. Let the fleece alone be dry and let there be dew on the ground all around it” (Jgs 6:36-40). Prayer isn’t just a way of getting what we want, but some people go to the opposite extreme of never asking God for anything (while having no problem with the prayer of praise, thanks, and so on). If it makes sense to thank God for something, it must make sense to ask God for it and to persevere in that prayer as Jesus proposes in today’s Gospel (Bible Diary 2004). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

# 2: “Never give in!” Years ago, there was a young man in Illinois with only six months of formal school education. His mother home-schooled him and taught him to have a dream and to keep trying to realize that dream, relying on the power of persistent prayer. First, he ran for an office in the legislature and was beaten. Next, he entered business but failed at that, too, and spent the next 17 years paying the debts of his worthless partner. He fell in love with a charming young lady and they became engaged, but she died. This loss led the young man to a short-term nervous breakdown. Next, he ran for Congress and was defeated. He then tried to obtain an appointment to the U.S. Land Office but didn’t succeed. With strong belief in the power of prayer, he ran for U. S. Vice-Presidency and lost. Two years later he was defeated again for the office of Senator. He ran for office once more and was elected the 16th President of the United States, thus realizing his dream by the power of persistent prayer. He was Abraham Lincoln. It took Winston Churchill three years to get through the eighth grade, because he couldn’t pass English – of all things! Ironically, he was asked many years later to give the commencement address at his alma mater, Harrow School. His now famous speech centered around three words: “Never give in!” (https://youtu.be/Ydi_KGXA9lk).

# 3:  The “persistent widow” in our midst:  His or her spouse may be the victim of  Parkinson’s disease, may suffer with a parent’s Alzheimer’s, a sister’s breast cancer, a child’s leukemia.  The illness of a loved one, a catastrophe striking their family, the suffering of someone dear to them transforms these spouses, moms and dads, sons and daughters, siblings and friends into dedicated advocates and determined guardians. They fight hospitals and insurance companies for the critical medical care needed by their loved one.  They take on the most obstinate bureaucracies for the assistance and services their loved one is entitled to but denied.  They work tirelessly to raise awareness, raise money, and, when necessary, raise Cain, so that their loved one may live as full a life as possible, so that a cure might be found, so that other families will not have to experience the pain and anguish they have known. These dedicated men and women are the Gospel widow in our midst.  They face down the “dishonest judges” of arrogance and avarice; they take on the “fearful judges” of insensitivity and unawareness; they go toe-to-toe with the “judges who fear neither God nor respect any human being,” save themselves. — Their love for the sick and suffering enables them to carry on “day and night;” their faith and conviction in the rightness of their cause empowers them to carry on despite the frustration and inaction they face.  The very compassion of God is their hope and assurance that their prayer will be heard. (Connections). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

Introduction: Today’s readings are mainly about prayer — perseverance in prayer, constancy in prayer and trust in God as we pray. They are also about the Trustworthiness and Justice of God, a Justice that reaches out to the poor and the weak, enabling them to fight against injustice.  In the first reading, Moses, after sending Joshua to fight against Amalek, is presented as making tireless intercession with constancy for the victory of Israel’s army. Both Moses and the widow in today’s Gospel story teach us how we should pray. In today’s Responsorial Psalm (Ps 121), the Psalmist reminds us that the Lord God,  the “Guardian of Israel, in caring for His people “neither slumbers nor sleeps.” He continues, “The Lord is your guardian; the Lord is your shade; He is beside you at your right hand … The Lord will guard you from all evil; He will guard your life. The Lord will guard your coming and your going, both now and forever.” Plainly our prayerful trust in Him should be as limitless as His Love for us.  In the second reading, St. Paul instructs Timothy to persevere in his ministry, to proclaim the word of God with persistence in all circumstances and to use it to “correct, reprove and appeal with patience.” By introducing the parable of the unjust judge and the persistent widow in today’s Gospel, Jesus emphasizes the “necessity of praying always and not losing heart.” Constancy in prayer is Faith in action. Jesus presents the widow in today’s Gospel as a model of the trust and tenacity with which his disciples are to pray. The widow was asking for something which God would certainly want for her – justice.

First reading: Exodus 18: 8-13 explained: Clearly, Moses, Aaron, and Hur learned the “necessity of praying always and not losing heart,” when Joshua was fighting the battle against the Amalekites. At that time, Israel’s resources were inadequate, and their morale was at a low ebb. The Amalekites were a group of people who stood between Israel and the land God had promised her. They had waged war on Israel, and Israel had no choice but to fight back.  Staff in hand, Moses stood on top of the mountain overlooking the battleground. He was praying fervently for Israel with raised, outstretched arms. As he grew weary, his two aides, Aaron and Hur, seated him on a rock and propped up his arms. “As long as Moses kept his hands raised up, Israel had the better of the fight, but when he let his hands rest, Amalek had the better of the fight.”  When we join the army with Jesus, who prayed for us with outstretched arms on the cross, we will surely win the battle with our own Amalekites:  the temptations and evil tendencies in our lives.

Second reading: II Timothy 3:14-4:2 explained:  Paul recommends to Timothy—and to all of us — perseverance in prayer, in studying the Scriptures,  in the practice of the Faith, and in preaching the word of God.  At the time Paul was writing, pressure groups were trying to force Timothy to water down the doctrines of Faith. Therefore, Paul advises Timothy to “preach the word, stay with the task, whether convenient or inconvenient, correcting, reproving, appealing, constantly teaching and never losing patience.”  That is, Timothy is to persevere in his ministry of shepherding his people, in spite of obstacles. Our own ministry is to worship the Lord, share the Gospel with others, and bear witness to Christ by growing in discipleship and serving our neighbors lovingly, as Jesus did. Paul also reminds Timothy that the Holy Scriptures are meant to help him in these duties:  “All Scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that one who belongs to God may be competent, equipped for every good work” (II Tim 3:16-17).

Gospel exegesis: The context: When Luke wrote this Gospel, the Parousia or Second Coming of Jesus had been delayed beyond what the early Church had expected.  In addition, 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. Hence, today’s Gospel lesson addresses the issues of Faith in difficult times. It reassures the disciples that God is listening to their persistent prayers and will grant them justice and vindicate their Faith in the end. The Gospel today seems to be a classic example of the link between perseverance and blessing. Luke sets the story in the context of a challenge Jesus makes to his disciples to pray always and not lose heart, that is, to persevere in prayer and receive God’s blessings.

The historical background:  This parable is based on the corrupt Roman legal practices prevalent in Palestine at the time of Jesus.  We hope that the judge in the parable was not a Jewish judge, because ordinary Jewish disputes were judged before the Jewish elders. In Dt 1:16-17, Moses charged the judges to render fair and honest decisions regardless of the wealth or social standing of the petitioner!   So we hope the judge in the parable was one of the paid magistrates appointed either by Herod or by the Romans, for they, like the judge in the parable, were notorious for being so avaricious, corrupt, and without fear of God or the public that people called them “Dayyaneh Gezeloth”, robber judges. Further, athough the Hebrew Scriptures demand protection for widows, orphans, and aliens (Dt 10:18-19, 24:17-21, Ex 22:22-24),  widows were not included in Hebrew laws on inheritance, and they became common symbols of the exploited and the oppressed. Prophets like Isaiah (1:23; 10:2), and Malachi (3:5), criticized the harsh treatment widows received, though throughout the Bible, widows are viewed as being under the special protection of God (Jer 49:11; Ps 68:5; Jas 1:27). The widow in Jesus’ parable  is the symbol of all who are poor, defenseless, without hope of ever obtaining justice, against a rich, crooked, influential opponent.

Persistence of the widow: But the widow in Jesus’ parable has one powerful weapon—a dogged persistence which allows the judge no peace.  Her persistence is also a very public event, and the entire community witnesses the widow’s repeated encounters with the judge. By publicly badgering the judge every day, the woman is trying to shame this shameless person. Finally, the unjust judge is forced to yield.  The theme of “persistent prayer” needs to be understood not as “hassling” God, but rather as a consequence of a strong Faith that believes God hears prayers and will indeed answer them in His own time. So the underlying theme is really our need to have Faith in all circumstances, good or adverse. One measure of the depth of our Faith is our constancy in prayer, because prayer is a battle of faith and the triumph of perseverance (CCC #2573). Hence, this parable is not only about the efficacy of persistent prayer, but also about the character of God, His Trustworthiness and Justice, a type of Justice that reaches out to the poor and the weak, enabling them to fight against injustice. God’s Justice goes far beyond human limits and can bring fullness of life to the poorest and the most vulnerable people in our world. Jesus ends the parable with a question, “But when the Son of Man comes [to judge the world], will he find Faith on earth?”

God is not being likened to, but contrasted with, an unjust judge. God is not comparable to the unjust, insensitive judge, needing to be bribed or forced by our persistent prayers to give us what we need. Jesus is contrasting God to this unjust judge.  Jesus is asking us to persevere in the prayer that opens our hearts and minds to God’s always available grace. Prayer does not seek to move God’s heart for what we want.  Prayer opens our own heart and spirit to what God wants for us.  God hears the cry of the people, and God answers that cry speedily, although that does not seem to fit with our actual experience of unanswered prayer. That is both because God operates in Eternity where, “one  day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day” (2 Pt 2:8), and because God answers us by His active presence in our lives. For God is intimately present in all the turmoil and terror of life, vindicating those who cry out in Faith. God is, in fact, with us, even before the cry for help leaves our mouth. God is present, experiencing our pain and distress, and Jesus is the illustration and guarantee of that Truth. In his ministry, Jesus shared this immediacy of God’s love for the deaf, blind, diseased, mentally ill, poor, weak, despised, alone, and crippled, as well as for the dead and those who mourned them.  His response to the cries of people was speedy. But Jesus himself seemed to be God-forsaken on the cross. God was in Jesus, bearing our sins and carrying our sorrows. The same God is with us, savouring the joy of our laughter and feeling the agony of pain and grief, as our Immanuel: God-with-us.

Faith is the condition of God’s vindication of us: Luke seems to be the first author of the Christian Scriptures who concludes that he and everyone in his community will die a natural death before Jesus returns in the Parousia or “second coming.” (Lk 18:1-8). That’s why, throughout his Gospel and in the Acts of the Apostles, Luke emphasizes persistence in Faith. In other words, God will take care of His obligations, and our job is to take care of our obligations. God will vindicate us, His persecuted community, provided we stay watchful and persevere in Faith and prayer as Jesus instructs us repeatedly. We have to trust God to bring about that which He has promised. In praying, we show our confidence that our God hears, and cares, and acts. When we pray for something as essential as “daily bread,” we are making a rather amazing statement of Faith in the Goodness of a loving and providing God. Jesus calls us, with the example of the widow and the unjust judge, to have Faith, to trust that God in his Goodness will bring about the Justice we all seek, the blessing we all require. But we should continue in prayer for these things until they happen, as an expression of our trusting Faith and grateful, loving dependence on God. Thus, 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) We need to combine formal prayers with action prayer: It is ideal that we start our prayers by reading from the Bible, especially the Psalms and the Gospels. Formal, memorized, and liturgical prayers are also essential for the Christian prayer life. Personal prayer is of great importance in our life of prayer. Talking to God in our own words — praising Him, thanking Him and presenting our needs before Him — transforms our whole life into prayer. We should perfect our prayers by bringing ourselves into God’s presence during our work several times during the day and by offering all that we are, all that we have, and all that we do to God. This will help us to bring all our successes and failures, joys and sorrows, highs and lows to God in prayer. Along with formal and memorized prayers, this type of prayer life enables us to pray always and pray with constancy and trusting perseverance.

2) We should not expect to get whatever we pray for. This parable does not suggest that God writes a blank check, guaranteeing whatever we want whenever we want it in the form we ask for.  But we conveniently forget the fact that, often, a loving father has to refuse the request of a child, because he knows that what the child asks would hurt rather than help him (e.g., a sharp knife). God is like that. He knows what to give, when to give, and how to give. Only God sees time whole, and, therefore, only God knows what is good for us in the long run. That is why Jesus says that we must never be discouraged in prayer. Instead we have to leave the answer to God’s decision saying, as he did in Gethsemane, “Thy will be done.”

3) To make our prayers effective, we do not have to nag God. Long, meaningless prayers — although a natural expression of our misery — should not be used as bargaining chips with God. The parable teaches that our prayers do not change God’s will. Instead, they bring our minds into line with His purposes.  Persistent prayer — continuing communion with God — reshapes our hearts to God’s original design. Such prayer does not change God; instead, it changes us. Sincere and persistent prayer makes us ready to accept His will. In Priests for the Third Millennium, Cardinal Timothy Dolan observes that prayer must become like eating and breathing. We have to eat daily, not stock up on food on Monday, and then take off the rest of the week. Do we take ten deep breaths and say, “Good, that’s over for a while, I won’t have to breathe for a couple of hours?”

JOKES OF THE WEEK

1)    Persistent prayer works: The middle-aged farm couple had no children. As a last resort they put their trust in persistent prayer. And it worked.  The wife became pregnant, and at the end of her term, she was delivered of triplets. “Persistent prayer really works, doesn’t it?” she asked her husband. Her husband replied, “Seems to– but I sure as heck didn’t pray for a bumper crop!”

2)   Refreshing sermon: The pastor gave an unusually long sermon on prayer that Sunday based on the parable of The Poor Widow and the Corrupt Judge. Later at the door, while the pastor was shaking hands with his parishioners, one man said: “Father, your sermon, was simply wonderful- -so invigorating, inspiring and refreshing.” The pastor, of course, broke out in a big smile only to hear with a shock the man’s next words: “I felt like a new man when I woke up!”

USEFUL WEBSITES OF THE WEEK (For homilies & Bible study groups)

1) Fr. Don’ collection of video homilies & blogs: https://sundayprep.org/featured-homilies/ (Copy it on the Address bar and press the Enter button)

 2) Fr. Geoffrey Plant’s beautiful & scholarly video classes on Sunday gospel, Bible & RCIA topics https://www.youtube.com/user/GeoffreyPlant20663)

3)Fr. Nick’s collection of Sunday homilies from 65 priests & weekday homilies: https://www.catholicsermons.com/homilies/sunday_homilies

4) Dr. Brant Pitre’s commentary on Cycle C Sunday Scripture for Bible Class: https://catholicproductions.com/blogs/mass-readings-explained-year-Biblical basis of Catholic doctrines: http://scripturecatholic.com/

5) Agape Catholic Bible Lessons: http://www.agapebiblestudy.com/

6) Saint of the day: https://www.franciscanmedia.org/sod-calendar/1)      http://www.catholicnewspapers.com/

7)     “Critical” assessment of Catholic news & views updated every other day:  http://www.newoxfordreview.org/

8)      Resources for the celebration of “Priesthood Sunday on October 30, 2016  http://www.priestsunday.org/

9) Pastor Ken Burge (Bible church) video homily https://youtu.be/QBBSqDn_qGU

24- Additional anecdotes

1) “So where was God all this time?” There is a story which illustrates how we often confuse God’s timing with our own. A rural newspaper had been running a series of articles on the value of Church attendance in its Sunday Religion column.  One day, the editor received a letter which read: “Print this if you dare.  I am trying an experiment.  I have a field of corn which I plowed on Sunday.  I planted it on Sunday. I did all the cultivating on Sunday. I gathered the harvest on Sunday and hauled it to my barn on Sunday.  I find that my harvest this October is just as great as any of my neighbors who went to Church on Sunday. So where was God all this time?”  The editor printed the letter, but added his reply at the bottom:  “Your mistake lies in thinking that God always settles his   accounts in October.”  — We who believe in the power of prayer often wrongly think that our persevering prayers will force God to act when and how we want Him to act, according to our timetable and according to our desire. (Rev. R. J. Fairchild). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

2) Perseverance of Olympians:  Most of us will never be Olympians no matter how hard we work. We haven’t inherited the right combination of endurance, potential, speed and muscle. But given equal talent, the better-trained athlete can generally outperform the one who did not give a serious effort, and is usually more confident at the starting block. The four years before an Olympics, Greg Louganis probably practiced each of his dives 3,000 times. Kim Zmeskal has probably done every flip in her gymnastics routine at least 20,000 times, and Janet Evans has completed more than 240,000 laps. Training works, but it isn’t easy or simple. Swimmers train an average of 10 miles a day, at speeds of 5 mph in the pool. That might not sound fast, but their heart rates average 160 the entire time. Try running up a flight of stairs, then check your heart rate. Then imagine having to do that for four hours! Marathon runners average 160 miles a week at 10 mph. — Two important training principles must be followed: Progressively increase the amount and intensity of the work. Train specifically. Persevere with prayer till you realize your dream. (John Troup, USA Today, July 29, 1992, 11E). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

3) Perseverance of Wilma Rudolf,  the Olympic gold medalist: Wilma didn’t get much of a head-start in life. Wilma Glodean Rudolph was born prematurely at 4.5 lbs., the 20th of 22 siblings; her father Ed was a railway porter and her mother Blanche a maid. Rudolph contracted infantile paralysis (caused by the polio virus) at age four. She recovered, but wore a brace on her left leg and foot (which had become twisted as a result of the polio), until she was nine. She was required to wear an orthopedic shoe for support of her foot for another two years. At age 12 Wilma tried out for a girls’ basketball team, but didn’t make it. Determined, she practiced with a girlfriend and two boys every day. The next year she made the team. When a college track coach saw her during a game, he talked her into letting him train her as a runner. By age 14 she had outrun the fastest sprinters in the U.S. In 1956 Wilma made the U.S. Olympic team, but showed poorly. That bitter disappointment motivated her to work harder for the 1960 Olympics in Rome–and there Wilma Rudolph won three gold medals, the most a woman had ever won. — The widow in today’s Gospel story might have been her source of inspiration. [Today in the Word, Moody Bible Institute, (Jan, 1992), p.10]. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

4) Widow-like persistence: An A&E survey of the top ten most influential people or leaders of the past 1000 years yielded the following list: 10) Galileo; 9) Copernicus; 8) Albert Einstein; 7) Karl Marx; 6) Christopher Columbus; 5) William Shakespeare; 4) Charles Darwin; 3) Martin Luther; 2) Isaac Newton; 1) Johann Gutenberg.  Without exception, each one of the remarkable persons named by the survey met with total resistance, complete rejection, and absolute failure whenever he attempted to impress his unique new visions upon the world in which he lived. Despite the fact that these individuals represent diverse insights and radical advancements in science, politics, literature, religion, and technology, they’re all tied together by a common trait. Each of these historically exalted individuals was widow-like in persistence, exhibiting unfailing endurance in the face of seemingly insurmountable opposition. — But the parable that Jesus gives in today’s Gospel is not just about persistence. It’s about persistence coupled with prayer. When you yoke persistence with prayer, you get revolution. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

5) Slow starters who persevered to accomplish their dreams: Many famous People Who Were Slow Starters: Winston Churchill seemed so dull as a youth that his father thought he might be incapable of earning a living in England. Charles Darwin did so poorly in school that his father once told him, “You will be a disgrace to yourself and all your family.” G.K. Chesterton, the English writer, could not read until he was eight. One of his teachers told him, “If we could open your head we should not find any brain but only a lump of white fat.” Thomas Edison‘s first teacher described him as “addled,” and his father almost convinced him he was a “dunce.” Albert Einstein’s parents feared their child was dull, and he performed so badly in all high school courses except mathematics that a teacher asked him to drop out. (Irving Wallace, Book of Lists, 1986, Wm. Morrow & Co., NY, NY). –Prayerful perseverance was the secret of their success. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

 6)  Mendel, you’re a wonderful tailor.” There is an old story about a tailor who visits his rabbi and says, “I have a problem with my prayers. If someone comes to me and says, ‘Mendel, you’re a wonderful tailor,’ that makes me feel good. I feel appreciated. I can go on feeling good for a whole week, even longer, on the strength of one compliment like that. But if people came to me every day, one after another, hour after hour, and kept saying to me ‘Mendel, you’re a wonderful tailor,’ over and over again, it would drive me crazy. This is what bothers me about prayer. Is God so insecure that He needs us praising him every day? Three times a day, morning, noon, and night? It seems to me it would drive Him crazy.” —- The rabbi smiled and said, “Mendel, you’re absolutely right. You have no idea how hard it is for God to listen to all of our praises, hour after hour, day after day. But God knows how important it is for us to utter that praise, so in His great love for us, He tolerates all of our prayers.” [Harold Kushner, Who Needs God? (New York: Summit Books, 1989), p.153.] — In telling the parable of the persistent widow, Jesus is teaching the disciples to pray with persistence. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

7) God always answers prayer. Now for us to get our prayers answered the way that we want them answered, the request must be right, the timing must be right, and we must be right. But that is not always the case: —“If the request is wrong, God answers, “No.” If the timing is wrong, God answers, “Slow.” If we are wrong, God answers, “Grow.” But if the request is right, the timing is right, and we are right, God says, “Go!” (Bill Hybels: Too Busy to Pray, p. 74). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

8)  But every time they’re knocked down, they stand up. Author Irving Stone has spent a lifetime studying greatness, writing novelized biographies of such men as Michelangelo, Vincent van Gogh, Sigmund Freud, and Charles Darwin. Stone was once asked if he had found a thread that runs through the lives of all these exceptional people. — He said, “I write about people who sometime in their life…have a vision or dream of something that should be accomplished…and they go to work. They are beaten over the head, knocked down, vilified and for years they get nowhere. But every time they’re knocked down, they stand up. You cannot destroy these people. And at the end of their lives they’ve accomplished some modest part of what they set out to do.”
(Crossroads, Issue No. 7, p. 18). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

)”American history shall march along that skyline,” announced Gutzon Borglum in 1924, gazing at the Black Hills of South Dakota. In 1927 Borglum began sculpting the images of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, and Theodore Roosevelt on the granite face of 6,000-foot Mount Rushmore. Most of the sculpting was done by experienced miners under Borglum’s direction. Working with jackhammers and dynamite, they removed some 400,000 tons of outer rock, cutting within three inches of the final surface. — When Borglum died in March 1941, his dream of the world’s biggest sculpture was near completion. His son Lincoln finished the work that October, some 14 years after it was begun. (Today in the Word, January 2, 1993). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

10)  Persistence paid off for American astronomer Clyde Tombaugh, who discovered the planet Pluto. After astronomers calculated a probable orbit for this “suspected” heavenly body, Tombaugh took up the search in March 1929. Time magazine recorded the investigation: “He examined scores of telescopic photographs each showing tens of thousands of star images in pairs under the dual microscope. It often took three days to scan a single pair. It was exhausting, eye-cracking work; in his own words, “brutal tediousness.” And it went on for months. Star by star, he examined 20 million images. —  Then on February 18, 1930, as he was blinking at a pair of photographs in the constellation Gemini, ‘I suddenly came upon the image of Pluto!” It was the most dramatic astronomic discovery in nearly 100 years. (Today in the Word, November 26, 1991). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

11) The movie Dances with Wolves: Some of the wealthiest people in our society fought for years in their early days just to avoid bankruptcy. During their struggle for solvency, they learned some lessons that prepared them for later prosperity. They are successful today because they didn’t quit. Some of the happiest adults are people who felt lonely and rejected as teenagers. Sometimes, people who hang in there and refuse to fold come out on top. A young man named Michael Blake suffered through poverty while writing screenplays that for years were never accepted. He admits, “I slept on a lot of floors,” as friends would let him stay at their homes. Then he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease, a cancer of the lymph system, which is currently in remission. But then he did something that would radically alter his life. He wrote a book that sold 30,000 copies. It was not a massive best seller, but Kevin Costner liked it and made the movie Dances with Wolves from it. Now the book has sold over 2 million copies, and Michael has won the Oscar for the movie adaptation. — He now enjoys speaking in schools and to homeless children. “I tell them that if you stay committed, your dreams can come true. I am living proof of it. I left home at seventeen and had nothing but rejection for twenty-five years. I wrote more than twenty screenplays, but I never gave up.” (Art Mortell, The Courage to Fail, McGraw-Hill, Inc., 1993; quoted by Fr. Botelho) People who trust in God and never give up often win. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

12) Frightening statistics and the need for restoration of family prayer: Families are falling apart in the Unites States, as is made clear from the following statistics: 1) There has been a 200% growth in single parent households since 1970 – from four million to eight million homes. 2) The number of married moms leaving home for work each morning rose 65% from 10.2 million in 1970, to 16.8 million in 1990. 3) Married couples with children now make up only 26% of US households, down from 40% in 1970. 4) 36% of children said their chores included making their own meals in 1993. Only 13% said the same in 1987. 5) An estimated 70% of juvenile offenders come from single parent families. 6) The average child has watched 8,000 televised murders and 100,000 acts of violence before finishing elementary school. 7) One in six youths, between the ages of 10 and 17, has seen or known someone who has been shot. 8) The estimated number of child-abuse victims increased 40% between 1985 and 1991. 9) In 1988, 26% of girls, age 15, reported being sexually active, as compared to only 5% in 1970. 10) Children under 18 are 244% more likely to be killed by guns than they were in 1986 [Newsweek (Jan 10, 1994).] It is not surprising that a study, completed at the University of Rhode Island described the American home as the most dangerous place to be outside of riots and a war. (Charles R. Swindoll, Strengthening Your Grip, 254). Next to those facts, put this observation: Newsweek magazine (Jan 10, 1994), discovered that a surprisingly large percentage of Americans believe deeply in the efficacy of prayer. According to a Gallup poll they commissioned, 78% of Americans prayed once a week, and 57% prayed at least once a day. 91% of women prayed at some time, and 85% of men. This included 94% of blacks and 87% of whites (Newsweek, 6, 1992). — Now, when we think about the problems we have in the families, we will be convinced that we need to get daily family prayer back in our homes. We need to use the power of prayer to bring families together, to put families together, and to keep families together. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

13) “Knock, and it shall be opened:” The book of Job is perhaps the best place in Scripture to study “knocking prayer.” There, the righteous Job is devastated. He loses his children, his friends, his property, and his health. Satan has horribly afflicted him. His wife urges him to curse God and die. But instead, Job begins a knocking prayer. “Oh, that today I might find Him that I might come to His judgment seat! I would set out my cause before Him, and fill my mouth with arguments; I would learn the words with which He would answer, and understand what He would reply to me.”  (Job 23:3-5). Thus, Job begins to knock in prayer. He blindly gropes for God. He patiently, and sometimes impatiently, yearns for deliverance. Again, and again, Job reaches for God in prayer. Though his body is wasting away, though all seems lost, though he cannot understand, Job has Faith in God. His heart is filled with hope and he says: “But as for me, I know that my Vindicator lives, and that He will at last stand forth upon the dust; And from my flesh I shall see God; my inmost being is consumed with longing. (Job 19:25-26). Thus, with Hope, Faith, and persistence Job continues to knock in prayer. Finally, God comes to him. — Though the Lord does not explain the affliction, He does heal Job. He restores his fortune and gives him ten more children. As Jesus promised, His door will be opened to those that knock. And Job triumphantly says to God, “I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be hindered. I have dealt with great things that I do not understand; things too wonderful for me, which I cannot know. I had heard of You by word of mouth, but now my eye has seen You. (Job 42: 5). (Music from Another Room, Rev. Stephen M. Crotts). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

14) Perseverance of Andrew Jackson: The story is told that President Andrew Jackson’s boyhood friends just couldn’t understand how he became a famous general and then the President of the United States. They knew of other men who had greater talent but who never succeeded. One of Jackson’s friends said, “Why, Jim Brown, who lived right down the pike from Jackson, was not only smarter but he could throw Andy three times out of four in a wrestling match. But look where Andy is now.” Another friend responded, “How did there happen to be a fourth time? Didn’t they usually say three times and out?” “Sure, they were supposed to, but not Andy. He would never admit he was beat — he would never stay ‘throwed.’ Jim Brown would get tired, and on the fourth try Andrew Jackson would throw him and be the winner.” — Picking up on that idea, someone has said, “The thing that counts is not how many times you are ‘throwed,’ but whether you are willing to stay ‘throwed’.” We may face setbacks, but we must take courage and go forward in Faith. Then through the Holy Spirit’s power, we can be the eventual victor over sin and the world. The battle is the Lord’s, so there is no excuse for us to stay “throwed”! (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

15) Perseverance of a swimmer: From the booklet, Bits and Pieces, comes an interesting story about Florence Chadwick, the first woman to swim the English Channel in both directions. When she was young, Florence Chadwick wanted desperately to be a great speed swimmer. At the age of six, she persuaded her parents to enter her in a 100,-yard race, She came in last, so she practiced every day for the New Year. Again, she entered and lost. When she was an 11-year old, Florence won attention and praise for completing the San Diego Bay endurance swim — 6 miles in all. But she still wanted to be a speed swimmer. At 14, she tried for the national backstroke championship but came in second to the great Eleanor Holm. At 18 she tried out for Olympic speed swimming and came in fourth — only three made the team. Frustrated, she gave it up, married, and moved on to other interests. As she matured, however, Florence began to wonder if she might not have done better if she had specialized in endurance swimming, something that came more naturally. So, with the help of her father, she began swimming distances again. Twelve years after she had failed to make the Olympic team, Florence Chadwick swam the English Channel, breaking Gertrude Ederle’s 24-year-old record. On the Fourth of July in 1951, she attempted to swim from Catalina Island to the California coast. The challenge was not so much the distance, but the bone-chilling waters of the Pacific. To complicate matters, a dense fog lay over the entire area, making it impossible for her to see land. After about 15 hours in the water, and within a half mile of her goal, Chadwick gave up. Later she told a reporter, “Look, I’m not excusing myself. But if I could have seen land, I might have made it.” Not long afterward she attempted the feat again. Once more a misty veil obscured the coastline and she couldn’t see the shore. — But this time she made it because she kept reminding herself that land was there. With that confidence she bravely swam on and achieved her goal. In fact, she broke the men’s record by 2 hours! It took a little time, but eventually she found out what she could do best and did it. (Crossroads, Issue No. 7, p. 19). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

16) Bette Nesmith’sMistakeOut.” Bette Nesmith had a good secretarial job in a Dallas bank when she ran across a problem that interested her. Wasn’t there a better way to correct the errors she made on her electric typewriter? Bette had some art experience and she knew that artists who worked in oils just painted over their errors. Maybe that would work for her too. So she concocted a fluid to paint over her typing errors. Before long, all the secretaries in her building were using what she then called “MistakeOut”. She attempted to sell the product idea to marketing agencies and various companies (including IBM), but they turned her down. However, secretaries continued to like her product, so Bette Nesmith’s kitchen became her first manufacturing facility and she started selling it on her own. —  When Bette Nesmith sold the enterprise, the tiny white bottles were earning $3.5 million annually on sales of $38 million. The buyer was Gillette Company and the sale price was $47.5 million. (Crossroads, Issue No. 7, pp. 3-4). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

17) Ross Perot’s perseverance: During the Vietnam War the Texas Computer millionaire, H. Ross Perot decided he would give a Christmas present to every American prisoner of war in Vietnam. According to David Frost, who tells the story, Perot had thousands of packages wrapped and prepared for shipping. He chartered a fleet of Boeing 707s to deliver them to Hanoi, but the war was at its height, and the Hanoi government said it would refuse to cooperate. No charity was possible, officials explained, while American bombers were devastating Vietnamese villages. The wealthy Perot offered to hire an American construction firm to help rebuild what Americans had knocked down. The government still wouldn’t cooperate. Christmas drew near, and the packages were unsent. — Refusing to give up, Perot finally took off in his chartered fleet and flew to Moscow, where his aides mailed the packages, one at a time, at the Moscow central post office. They were delivered — intact. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
18) Then I dug in and wrestled and won.” Zabysco was a Polish physician, who became a world champion wrestler. During World War I he was captured by Russian soldiers and sentenced to death. Thinking to have fun with him, the Russians offered to free him if he could defeat their wrestling champion. Zabysco said, “I prayed that God would give me strength and judgment. Then I dug in and wrestled and won.” [Alexander Lake, Your Prayers are Always Answered (Gilbert Press, 1956).] — Sometimes that is the answer to our prayers as well – to pray, to dig in and then to wrestle. And when we do wrestle in Faith, we grow. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

19) Prayer Power: Some years ago, Guideposts magazine printed a remarkable story. It was about a young high school teacher named Mary. She wanted so much to succeed as a teacher. But a student named Bill was turning her into a nervous wreck. One morning, before school began, Mary was sitting at her classroom desk writing something in shorthand. Suddenly Bill appeared at the door. “What are you writing?” he asked as he approached her desk, “I’m writing a prayer to God,” she said, “Can God read shorthand?” he joked. “He can do anything,” said Mary, “even answer this prayer.” Then she tucked the prayer inside her Bible and turned to write on the chalkboard. As she did, Bill slipped the prayer from her Bible into his typing book. Twenty year later Bill was going through a box of his belongings that his mother had stored in her attic. He came across his old typing book. Picking it up, he began to thumb through it. Lo and behold, he found the shorthand prayer. It was yellow and faded with age. Bill stared at the jottings on the paper and wondered what they said. He took the prayer and put it in his wallet. When he got to his office, he gave the prayer to his secretary to decipher. She read it and blushed. “It’s rather personal,” she said. “I’ll type it out and put it on your desk when I leave tonight.” That night Bill read the prayer. It said: “Dear God, don’t let me fail this job. I can’t handle my class with Bill upsetting it. Touch his heart. He’s someone who can become either very good or very evil.” The final sentence hit Bill like a hammer. Only hours before, he had been contemplating making a decision that would commit him to a life of evil. During the next week Bill took the prayer out several times to read it. — To make a long story short, that prayer caused Bill to change his mind about doing what he was contemplating. Weeks later Bill located his old teacher and told her how her prayer had changed his life. (Mark Link in Sunday Homilies). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

20) Prayer is the key Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the Indian nation and the chief architect of its freedom from colonial rule and independence, was a secret admirer of Jesus Christ. Gandhi used to read the Gospels and was particularly fascinated by the Sermon on the Mount. Mahatma Gandhi was first and foremost a man of prayer. He faithfully began each day at four in the morning with an hour’s prayer in the little sanctuary he had arranged in his modest home. His phenomenal success and unparalleled fame as a freedom fighter can be ascribed to his indomitable patience and tenacity and his unshakable Faith in God. In a word, Gandhi, like every devoutly religious person and successful person, worked as though all depended on him, but prayed as though all depended on God. —  Gandhi once said: “I am neither a man of letters nor of science, but I humbly claim to be a man of prayer. It is prayer that has saved my life. Without it I would have lost my reason long ago. If I did not lose my peace of soul in the midst of my many trials, it is because of the peace that came to me through prayer. One can live several days without food, but not without prayer. Prayer is the key to each morning and the lock to each evening. Let everyone try this experience and they will find that daily prayer will add something new to their lives, something which cannot be found elsewhere. (James Valladares in Your Words O Lord Are Spirit, and They Are Life; quoted by Fr. Botelho). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

21) Hang in there! Once there was a little boy who wanted more than anything to play in the school band. The boy went home one day and asked his parents if they would buy him an instrument and let him play in the band. They said, “We will think about it. After all, a musical instrument costs a lot of money and we are not sure you will stick with it.” A few days went by and the boy’s parents hadn’t said anything, so the boy decided to ask again. The boy’s parents didn’t say yes and they didn’t say no. They said, “We are still thinking about it.” On his way home the next day, the boy decided to stop by the local music store to check out the musical instruments. When he walked in the store, the first thing that caught his eye was a beautiful shiny trumpet. It wasn’t new, but it was in good condition. It was just what he wanted. That night at supper the boy said to his parents, “I went by the music store today after school and they really have a nice trumpet, it is exactly what I want, and it costs only $100!” The boy’s father turned to his wife and said, “We had better go and take a look at that trumpet or we are not going to hear the end of this.” The next day the boy went to the music store with his parents and they bought him that trumpet. The boy joined the band and he stuck with it. He played in the band all through high school and when he graduated from high school, he went on to university and studied music. After graduating from university, he became a music teacher. — I wonder how differently his life might have turned out if he had asked his parents for that musical instrument one time and never mentioned it again. Perhaps God, too, wants us to show that we are really serious about what we ask of Him. He may not always answer in the way we want, but we have to trust that God loves us and knows what is best for us. (John Pichappilly in The Table of the Word; quoted by Fr. Botelho). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

22) Film – Heartland: The movie Heartland dramatizes the story of rugged prairie life in the early 1900’s. A widow named Elinore Randall answers an ad to become a housekeeper for Clyde Stewart, a taciturn cattle homesteader in Burntfork, Wyoming. After a rocky beginning, their relationship smoothes out and they eventually get married, partly out of economic convenience and partly out of deep human needs. Together they heroically endure the hardships of a stubborn soil that yields little food, freezing winter winds that decimate their herd, and the death of their new born little boy. In the climax of the story, Clyde Stewart has given up on the cattle ranch and begins to pack their belongings. But Elinore won’t let him quit. She pleads and bargains with him not to abandon their dream. Her tenacity triumphs when a calf is born, a sign of a new beginning, new life and new hope. Clyde finally agrees to stay and give the ranch one more try. –Elinore’s persistence and faith are comparable to the widow’s in today’s parable. The widow kept coming to the judge for her rights and eventually wore him out. Jesus uses her as an example of praying always and not losing heart.
(Albert Cylwicki in His Word Resounds). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

23) Tenacity: A little-known man who exemplified that tenacity is John Harrison. Until the eighteenth century, sailors navigated by following parallels of latitude and roughly estimating distance travelled east or west. Ships routinely missed their destinations. In 1714, England’s Parliament offered a large reward to anyone who provided a “practicable and useful” means of determining longitude. Most astronomers believed the answers lay in the sky, but Harrison, a clock maker, imagined a mechanical solution – a clock that would keep precise time at sea. By knowing the exact times at the Greenwich meridian and at a ship’s position, one could find longitude by calculating the time difference. However, most scientists, including Isaac Newton, discounted Harrison’s idea. Harrison persisted. He worked for decades – decades! – of his brilliant life, in spite of skepticism and ridicule, developing a timepiece. –Even after completing his timepiece (an instrument we now call a chronometer), in 1759, he underwent a long series of unfair trials and demonstrations. Ultimately, he triumphed. (Harold Buetow in God Still Speaks! Listen; quoted by Fr. Botelho). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

24) Aaron and Hur Supported Moses’ Hands: In their long pilgrimage of return from Egypt to the Promised Land, the Israelites under Moses had to battle many peoples. One of their severest battles was with Amalek. As the conflict continued in the valley, Moses stood on the heights, his hands lifted in prayer. When his hands drooped through weariness, the Amalekites seemed to be winning. But when his hands were held high, the Israelites had the advantage. So Aaron and Hur stood beside him and held up his arms till dusk. The Israelites won. (Today’s first reading). The whole beautiful doctrine of the Communion of Saints teaches us that God will hear the prayers of one person even more readily when others support him by praying for the same intention, whether the faithful on earth, the souls in purgatory, or the saints and angels in heaven. This doctrine is also the basis of Catholic prayer services for healing in our own day. An earlier example of “campaign prayers” is the apostolate of Bishop Hohenlohe of Germany. Prince Alexander Hohenlohe, a devout German nobleman, became a priest in 1794, and later on an auxiliary bishop. On February 1, 1821, Father Hohenlohe was suddenly cured of an ailment through the prayers of a holy peasant. On June 21, his prayers, joined with those of the same peasant, cured a paralyzed princess. After that, with permission of the pope, the priest began to gather an international list of “co-prayers”. He would specify the time he was going to offer Mass for a certain intention, so at that time the hearts of many would be raised in prayer in several nations. A large number of cures followed. Several were in the United States. The most noted here was that of Mrs. Ann Mattingly of Washington, the sister of Thomas Carberry, a bank president and mayor of Washington. She had been bedridden with an incurable tumor for months. Washington priests asked Hohenlohe to put her on his list. Ann grew worse during the novena, but after receiving communion on March 10, 1824, she was completely cured from her bed. “Lord Jesus!” she cried, “what have I done to deserve so good a favor?”–  One person with deep Faith, Jesus tells us, can move mountains. But it is quite clear that when a whole crowd of people “lobby” for the same intention, God is still more willing to listen and answer. (Fr. Robert F. McNamara). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/). L/22

 “Scriptural Homilies” Cycle C (No. 56) by Fr. Tony: akadavil@gmail.com

Visit my website by clicking on https://frtonyshomilies.com/ for missed or previous Cycle C homilies, 141 Year of FaithAdult Faith Formation Lessons” (useful for RCIA classes too) & 197 “Question of the Week.” Contact me only at akadavil@gmail.com. Visit https://www.catholicsermons.com/homilies/sunday_homilies  of Fr. Nick’s collection of 65 homilies or Resources in the CBCI website:  https://www.cbci.in.  (Special thanks to Vatican Radio website http://www.vaticannews.va/en/church.html -which completed uploading my Cycle A, B and C homilies in May 2020)  Fr. Anthony Kadavil, Chaplain, Sacred Heart Residence of the Little Sisters of the Poor, 1655 McGill Ave, Mobile, AL 36604

Oct 10-15 weekday homilies

Oct 10-15: Click on http://frtonyshomilies.comfor missed homilies).October is Respect Life month. Oct 10 Monday: Lk 11:29-32:29 When the crowds were increasing, he began to say, “This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of Jonah. 30 For as Jonah became a sign to the men of Nineveh, so will the Son of man be to this generation. 31 The queen of the South will arise at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them; for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here. 32 The men of Nineveh will arise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.

The context: Since there had been many false prophets and false messiahs in the past, and since their pride and prejudice did not permit them to see the Messiah in a carpenter-from-Nazareth-turned-wandering-preacher, the Jewish religious leaders demanded that Jesus should show some “Messianic” signs and miracles taken from their list. They would not accept that Jesus’ numerous miraculous healings were the Messianic signs foretold by the prophets.

Jesus’ negative response: Calling them an apostate generation who refused to believe in their own prophets and denied the hand of God in the miracles he worked, Jesus warned these religious leaders that they would be condemned on the Day of Judgment by the people of Nineveh and by the Queen of Sheba from the South. (Sheba (or Saba) was a southern kingdom centred on Yemen or Ethiopia (and possibly including both) (Yemen to Jerusalem 2084 miles)This is one of the instances in which Jesus held up Gentiles as models of Faith and goodness (other examples: the Canaanite woman in Matthew 15, the centurion in Luke 7, the Good Samaritan story in Luke 10; etc.). The pagan Ninevites heard the voice of the Lord God in the prophet Jonah, repented, and were spared. The Queen of Sheba recognized God’s Wisdom in King Solomon and traveled to Israel to receive more of it. Nevertheless, Jesus gave the religious leaders challenging him, “the sign of Jonah.” It was the undeniable Messianic sign of his own Resurrection from the tomb on the third day after his death, just as Jonah had spent three days in the belly of the giant fish before finally going to Nineveh to accomplish the mission God had originally given him.

Life messages: We need to recognize God-given signs in our lives: 1) Each Sacrament in the Church is an external sign representing God’s grace. 2) On the altar we re-present Christ’s sacrifice on the cross using liturgical signs and prayers. 3) Everyone living with us or working with us is a sign of God’s living presence in our midst, inviting us to love and honor him or her as God’s child and the living Temple of the Holy Spirit. 4) All world events and events in our lives are signs of God’s care and protection for us, His children. 5) The Holy Bible is a sign of God communicating His message to us every day. 5) So, let us learn from these God-given signs instead of looking for signs in weeping Madonnas, bleeding crucifixes and daily messages of visionaries. 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 11 Tuesday: (St. John XXIII, Pope): For a short biography, click here: https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-john-xxiii Lk 11:37-41: 37 While he was speaking, a Pharisee asked him to dine with him; so he went in and sat at table. 38 The Pharisee was astonished to see that he did not first wash before dinner. 39 And the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of extortion and wickedness. 40 You fools! Did not he who made the outside make the inside also? 41 But give for alms those things which are within; and behold, everything is clean for you.

The context: In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus accuses the Pharisees of hypocrisy. Jesus was invited by a Pharisee for a dinner at which Jesus violated the ceremonial law by purposely omitting the ritual washing of hands before the meals and between the courses. Pious Jews were expected on each occasion to wash their hands by pouring two ounces of water from finger tips to wrist and in the reverse order, and then to cleanse each palm by rubbing the fist of the other hand. Water was stored in big stone jars for this washing ceremony. Omitting the ceremony was considered a sin and that is why Jesus’ host was astonished.

Jesus teaches the essence of religion: Jesus tells his host that the essence of religion is offering to God a clean heart filled with love, mercy, compassion, and forgiveness. Mere external observance of rituals without a cleansing of the heart is hypocrisy, which God hates. Jesus uses the occasion to accuse the Pharisees of harboring evil thoughts like greed, pride, bitterness, envy, and arrogance in their hearts. Jesus concludes by suggesting that one method of expressing real love of God and neighbor originating from a compassionate heart and making one pure and clean is giving alms to the poor. Almsgiving in the proper sense means realizing the needs of others and letting them share in one’s own goods, especially by way of spiritual help, financial and emotional support, consolation, fraternity, and love. St. John of the Cross explains this passage, remarking that in the evening of our lives we will be judged on our love expressed by works of charity.

Life messages: 1) In order to have interior cleanliness, let us do some charitable acts which externally express our loving relationship with God and our eagerness to do His will. Since we are offering our hearts and lives on the altar, let us expel everything evil from our hearts by true repentance Love is what we have to give others – love with understanding, mercy, respect for their freedom, and deep concern for their spiritual and material welfare. Giving this gift requires that we have love in our thoughts, words and actions always. (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 12 Wednesday: Lk 11:42-46:42 “But woe to you Pharisees! for you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God; these you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. 43 Woe to you Pharisees! for you love the best seat in the synagogues and salutations in the market places. 44 Woe to you! for you are like graves which are not seen, and men walk over them without knowing it.” 45 One of the lawyers answered him, “Teacher, in saying this you reproach us also.” 46 And he said, “Woe to you lawyers also! for you load men with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers.”

The context: In today’s text, taken from Luke’s Gospel, Jesus expresses his moral indignation and sorrow at the hypocrisy of the scribes and the Pharisees who have put obstacles between the common people and God by overburdening them with unnecessary, impractical, and almost limitless interpretations of Mosaic laws. In today’s text, Jesus levels three accusations against these religious leaders, naming particular misbehaviors: 1) They have misinterpreted the spirit of the Law, making the Law a heavy burden for the God-fearing common people. Jesus gives the Law of tithing as an example. God intended tithing for His people as an expression of their gratitude to a providing God (Dt 14:22; Lv 27:30). The scribes instructed the people to pay tithes on insignificant things, such as kitchen-garden plants, with great mathematical accuracy, but they themselves neglected justice and love of God in their private lives. 2) The second accusation is that the scribes and the Pharisees are notorious for their status-seeking. They demand that the common people give them special honors because of their expertise in Mosaic Law and faithful religious observance. As a mark of respect, they are to be given front seats in the synagogue and public greeting in the streets. 3) Jesus compares the scribes and Pharisees to the white-washed tombs on the sides of the road leading to Jerusalem. In preparation for the three major Jewish feasts, Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles, the scribes and Pharisees used to have the tombs whitewashed, so that the pilgrims would not be ritually defiled by unknowingly walking over one. Jesus accuses the Pharisees of moral filth, of hiding injustice and immorality inside themselves and of covering the corruption with pretensions of piety and religious fervor. Thus, they contaminate others with their rotten and dangerous ideas of God’s demands.

Life messages: 1) The essence of religion is to love God, discovering Him in everyone. The basic principles of the Ten Commandments are respect and reverence based on love of God and neighbor. When we learn to reverence God, His holy Name and His holy Day and to respect our parents, elders and all others, their lives, their goods and their good names, we practice true religion without hypocrisy or selfish interests. True love is sacrificial, encouraging us to help lift the burdens of others. (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

Oct 13 Thursday: Luke 11:47-54 Woe to you! for you build the tombs of the prophets whom your fathers killed. 48 So you are witnesses and consent to the deeds of your fathers; for they killed them, and you build their tombs. 49 Therefore also the Wisdom of God said, `I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute,’ 50 that the blood of all the prophets, shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation, 51 from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, it shall be required of this generation. 52 Woe to you lawyers! for you have taken away the key of knowledge; you did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering.” 53 As he went away from there, the scribes and the Pharisees began to press him hard, and to provoke him to speak of many things, 54 lying in wait for him, to catch at something he might say.

The context: Today’s passage, taken from chapter 11 of Luke’s Gospel, gives two more accusations which Jesus made against the Pharisees. According to Matthew, Jesus made these accusations on the third day of what we call Holy Week in the Temple precincts of Jerusalem.

1) Jesus criticizes the blatant hypocrisy and false zeal of the scribes and the Pharisees in decorating the old monuments and building new monuments for the past prophets who had been persecuted and murdered by the forefathers of these same Scribes and the Pharisees, while they themselves did not obey the injunctions of these past prophets. Abel’s martyrdom is the first recorded in the Bible (Gn 4:8). [Navarre Bible Commentary: “Zechariah was a prophet who died by being stoned in the temple of Jerusalem around the year 800 B.C. because he accused the people of Israel of being unfaithful to God’s law (cf. 2 Chr 24:20-22). The murder of Abel (Gn 4:8) and that of Zechariah were, respectively, the first and last murders reported in these books which the Jews regarded as Sacred Scripture”.] Jesus remarks that the blood-guilt inherited by the ancestors of the scribes and the Pharisees throughout the Old Testament era will spill over when the priests (most of them scribes), and the Pharisees conspired to execute Jesus the Messiah.

2) Since the scribes (religious lawyers), were the official interpreters of the Scriptures, they held the “office of the keys.” Unfortunately, their interpretation of the Scriptures became so distorted and difficult to understand that others were “shut off” from the Scriptures.

Life message: We need to be men and women of integrity and character without any element of hypocrisy in our Christian life. We should not make a show of holiness and religious fervor when we are not internally holy. Holiness requires humility and giving God credit for any good He does through us. (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 14 Friday: (St. Callistus I, Pope, Martyr):For a short biography, click here: http://franciscanmedia.beracha.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-callistus-iLk 12:1-7:1 In the meantime, when so many thousands of the multitude had gathered together that they trod upon one another, he began to say to his disciples first, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 2 Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 3 Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed upon the housetops. 4 “I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. 5 But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear him! 6 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. 7 Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.

The context: Jesus continues his condemnation of the hypocrisy of the Scribes and the Pharisees, comparing it to leaven or yeast. The Jews considered yeast as something evil, corrupting the dough during the process of fermentation. That is why the Law given through Moses prescribes unleavened bread for offering to God. Jesus reminded the common people that the Pharisees were hypocrites who pretended to be holy, and that they would corrupt people as the yeast corrupts the dough. The teaching and example of the scribes and the Pharisees influenced the crowd in a disastrous way, especially when the teachers failed to practice what they preached. Jesus also warned these religious leaders that their sins would be brought to light at the Last Judgment (CCC #678).

Hearing in secret and announcing in public: According to the Navarre Bible Commentary, most Palestinian houses had a roof in the form of a terrace. There people would meet to chat and while away their time in the hottest part of the day. Jesus pointed out to his disciples that in these get-togethers, things said in private became matters of public discussion. In the same way, despite the Pharisees’ and scribes’ efforts to hide their vices and defects under the veil of piety, all they had hidden would become a matter of common knowledge. A reverential fear of God: Since nothing — not even the most insignificant thing — escapes God, no one should fear that any suffering or persecution he experiences in following Christ will remain unrewarded in eternity. But our fear of God should not be servile (based on fear of punishment). It should be a filial fear (the fear of a son or daughter who loves, and so does not want to displease, his or her father), a reverent awe nourished by our trust in Divine Providence.

Life messages: 1) In contrast to the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, the followers of Jesus must display transparency in their Christian lives by practicing what they profess. 2) They should also maintain a reverential fear of God, adjusting their actions in such a way that they may not displease a loving heavenly Father. (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 15 Saturday: (St. Teresa of Jesus,(of Avila) Virgin, Doctor of the Church): For a short biography, click here: https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-teresa-of-avila/

St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) (Summarized  from Franciscan Media)

Teresa’s life began with the culmination of the Protestant Reformation and ended shortly after the Council of Trent. It was an age of exploration as well as political, social and religious upheaval,  a time of turmoil and reform. She is admired through centuries in three levels: 1) as a  woman; 2) As  a contemplative; 3) as  an active reformer. 

1) As a woman,  Teresa was “her own woman.” She was beautiful, talented, outgoing, adaptable, affectionate, courageous, enthusiastic, and totally human. As a strong willed young woman she joined the Carmelites despite strong opposition from her father. She was a mystery of paradoxes: wise, yet practical; intelligent, yet much in tune with her experience; a mystic, yet an energetic reformer. A holy woman, a womanly woman.

2)  As a contemplative, Teresa was a woman “for God,” a woman of prayer, discipline and compassion. Her conversion was the result of ongoing purification and suffering. She was misunderstood, misjudged, opposed in her efforts at reform. Yet she struggled on, courageous and faithful; she struggled with her own mediocrity, her illness, her opposition. And in the midst of all this she clung to God in life and in prayer.

3)  As an active reformer, Teresa was a woman “for others.” Though a contemplative, she spent much of her time and energy seeking to reform herself and the Carmelites, to lead them back to the full observance of the primitive Rule. She founded over a half-dozen new monasteries. She traveled, wrote, fought—always to renew, to reform. In her self, in her prayer, in her life, in her efforts to reform, in all the people she touched, she was a woman for others, a woman who inspired and gave life.

A saint and Doctor of the Church. In 1970 the Church gave her that title she had long held in the popular mind: Doctor of the Church. She and St. Catherine of Siena were the first women so honored.

Life messages:
 1) Since we are living in a time of turmoil, reform and liberation we need to accept St. Teresa of Avila to become promoters of renewal and promoters of prayer. 2) Let us also accept the presence of of suffering in our lives and its value, praying with St. Teresa God’s grace “Lord, either to suffer or to die” realizing the truth with her, “Oh, my Lord! How true it is that whoever works for you is paid in troubles!

Today’s gospel: Lk 12:8-12:8 “And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of man also will acknowledge before the angels of God; 9 but he who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God. 10 And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of man will be forgiven; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. 11 And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious how or what you are to answer or what you are to say; 12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”

The context: The scribes and Pharisees attributed Jesus’ miracles of driving demons out of possessed people to the work of the devil rather than to God. Pride in their knowledge of the Hebrew Scriptures and prejudice against Jesus, the wandering preacher, prompted them to attribute Jesus’ exorcisms to the devil’s power and Jesus’ collaboration with the devil. The first part of today’s Gospel is Jesus’ reply to their false accusation.

Unpardonable sin: The Jews did not have any idea of a Triune God. For them the Spirit of God was God Himself. It was this Divine Spirit Who spoke through Moses and the prophets and Who enabled men and women to understand the Sacred Scriptures. So, Jesus told the unbelieving Jews that they were refusing to believe in the Spirit of God and in the Messianic prophecies given by Him when they attributed Jesus’ miracles to the devil. Hence, theirs was a sin of blasphemy against the Spirit of God. Since they remained unrepentant, thus refusing God’s mercy and forgiveness, their sin against the Holy Spirit of God was unforgivable. In the second part of today’s Gospel, Jesus introduced the Holy Spirit as a Teacher and an Attorney Who would help defend his disciples when they were brought to trial before the Jewish synagogues and Roman authorities because of their Faith in Jesus as God and Savior.

Life messages: 1) Let us have the generosity and good will not to close our eyes to God or to shut our ears to His voice, thus refusing the chances given us by our merciful God to repent of our sins and renew our lives. 2) Let us ask the Holy Spirit to strengthen us in our fight against temptations, and let us pray for the illumination 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

Respect life Sunday (Oct 2, 2022) homily

Respect Life Sunday (OCT 2, 2022) Homily 1-page summary(L/22)

Facts on attacks on human life: a) Abortion: The number of unborn children slaughtered in the wombs of their mothers in the last 25 years is 1200 million in the world and 37 million in the USA. (4400 per day in the US). Almost half of the women in the US over the age of 40 have undergone an abortion, with or without the consent of the baby’s father. b) Euthanasia: Hundreds of old or terminally-ill people are killed in advanced countries under the names “mercy-killing” or euthanasia. c) Suicides and Physician-Assisted Suicides: Suicide is the eighth leading cause of death for all US men. It took the lives of 30,622 people in USA. in 2001. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for 15-19-year-old youngsters (19 adolescents each day), and only 5% of suicides are attributed to mental illness. d) Homicides e) Embryo-destruction for scientific experiments.

Why should we respect life? 1) TheBible teaches that life is a gift of God and, hence, we have to respect it from womb to tomb. Abortion attempts to destroy a work of God. Based on the word of God, the Church teaches that an unborn child, from the moment of its conception in its mother’s womb, is precious because it carries an immortal soul. 2)It is God’s commandment that we shall not kill. (Ex 20:13: “You shall not kill”). The circumstances of the baby’s conception do not change the evil of abortion: it is still a baby who is killed. Every tiny human embryo can grow into a child, and modern medical technology can enable it to survive outside its mother’s womb after five and a half months. 3) International Law forbids the killing of innocent, defenseless people. Abortion is the killing of a defenseless child in its safest abode, the womb, by its own mother, mostly for selfish motives. 4)Abortion harms women physically, emotionally, psychologically, socially, and spiritually. 93% of the abortions in America are for convenience. The mother’s health is an issue only 3% of the time, and the baby’s health is an issue 3% of the time. Rape and incest are issues only 1% of the time. Ninety-three percent of all abortions in America are performed because of selfishness, just because someone doesn’t want a child! 5) Advocates of pro-choice follow a dangerous principle of far-reaching consequences in the society. If it is justifiable to kill unwanted children by abortion, then the old, the sick, the handicapped, the mentally ill, and the retarded can also be killed – and so can any member of a “socially/politically unacceptable” minority!

Life messages: 1) We need to respect and protect all forms of human life from conception to natural death; we need to work and pray vigorously to end the culture of death. 2) We need to speak and act against abortion in private and in the public forum. Protecting human life is no more a sectarian creed than the Declaration of Independence is a sectarian document. Because all rights depend on life, the right to life is the most fundamental issue of all; if that is eliminated, the rest will follow. 3) We need to work to have the government enact anti-abortion, anti-euthanasia, and anti-Physician-assisted suicide laws; these killings violate justice, and, therefore, the command of God to love one another. 4) We need to give real care, support, and assistance to mothers with unwanted pregnancies who are contemplating abortion. Helping a woman choose life affirms and empowers her. 5) We need to teach the Church’s doctrines on abortion. The Church cares about the women who have had abortions, forgives them, heals them, and brings them peace with God, with their lost children, and with themselves. The Church reminds us that abortion is a mortal sin but promises any woman who has had an abortion that if she truly repents of her sin, she will find welcome and forgiveness.

RESPECT FOR LIFE SUNDAY (Oct 2, 2022) (SANCTITY OF LIFE SUNDAY)

Homily Starter Anecdotes# 1:Thou shall not kill.” A Sunday school teacher was discussing the Ten Commandments with her five- and six-year-olds. After explaining the commandment “Honor thy father and thy mother,” she asked, “Is there a commandment that teaches us how to treat our brothers and sisters?” Without missing a beat, one little boy answered, “Thou shall not kill.” This is the main message for “Respect for Life Sunday.”

#2: Two dark days in American history and bright day: March 6, 1857, was a very dark day in American history. By a 7-2 vote, the United States Supreme Court declared that Afro-Americans were not legal persons. Rather, they were property. They could be used, sold, beaten, and even killed. Slavery was upheld. In 1868, fortunately, the 14th Amendment to the Constitution secured the rights of blacks to full personhood. Slavery was overturned, and the equality of all people before the law was upheld. Notice, the law did not GIVE blacks this equality. They always had it! God made them equal. What happened in the 14th Amendment was that the law recognized the rights the slaves had from God; human law was brought into line with God’s law. But another dark day came on January 22, 1973. By another 7-2 vote, the United States Supreme Court said that this 14th Amendment DOES NOT APPLY to children in the first nine months of life, that is, the nine months they live in their mother’s wombs. Therefore, during this time – that is, during ALL the nine months of pregnancy – the court said that a mother might end the life of her child by abortion. By this Roe vs. Wade decision, abortion was made legal in all 50 states. In a historic and far-reaching decision, the U.S. Supreme Court officially reversed Roe v. Wade in June, 2022, declaring that the constitutional right to abortion, upheld for nearly a half century, no longer exists. Writing for the court majority, Justice Samuel Alito said that the 1973 Roe ruling and repeated subsequent high court decisions reaffirming Roe “must be overruled” because they were “egregiously wrong,” the arguments “exceptionally weak” and so “damaging” that they amounted to “an abuse of judicial authority.”

Facts and figures: a) Abortion: The number of unborn children slaughtered in the wombs of their mothers in the last 25 years is 1200 million in the world and 37 million in the U.S.A. (4400 per day in the U.S.). Almost half of women in the US over the age of 40 have undergone an abortion, with or without the consent/insistence of the baby’s father. (The number of people killed on 9/11/2001 is not quite 3000. During the dictatorship of Hitler some 6 million Jews lost their lives in 12 years).

b) Euthanasia: Hundreds of old or terminally ill people are killed in advanced countries, under the names “mercy-killing” or euthanasia.

c) Suicides and Physician-Assisted Suicides: According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., the 3rd leading cause of death for people aged 10–14 and the 2nd leading cause of death for people aged 15–24. In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that nearly 45,000 lives were lost to suicide, and only 5% of suicides are attributed to mental illness.

d) Homicides: While the murder rate for 100,000 people is 6.2% in the world, it is 16.3% in the U.S.A., 3% in Europe and 2.9% in Asia.(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate)

e) Embryo-destruction for scientific experiments. (http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/stem-cell-research/human-embryo-research-is-illegal-immoral-and-unnecessary.cfm)

Why should we respect life?

1) The Bible teaches that life is a gift of God, and, hence, we have to respect it from womb to tomb. Abortion attempts to destroy a work of God. Based on the word of God, the Church teaches that an unborn child, from the moment of its conception in its mother’s womb, is precious because it carries an immortal soul. In reference to pregnant women, the term “with child” occurs twenty-six times in the Bible. The term “with fetus” never occurs. The Bible never uses anything less than human terms to describe the unborn (Ex 21:22-23). In Lk 1:36, 41, we are told that Elizabeth conceived a “son” and that the “babe” leaped in her womb. God does not say that a “fetus” leaped in her womb! Elizabeth greets Mary (in her early pregnancy) as ‘my Lord’s mother.” If God allows a child to be conceived, then God obviously has a plan for unborn children (Jer 1:5; Lk 1:13-17; Gn 4:25; Jgs 13:3-5), and so to abort an unborn child is to stop a plan of God: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you..” (Jer 1:5).You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb. I praise You, so wonderfully You made me; wonderful are Your works!” Ps 139:13-14.

2)It is God’s commandment that we shall not kill. (Ex 20:13: “You shall not kill”). The circumstances in which the baby was conceived do not change the evil of abortion: it is still a baby who is killed. Every tiny human embryo can only grow into a child, and modern medical technology can enable it to survive outside its mother’s womb after five-and-a-half months. At two weeks pregnancy, the baby can move alone. The baby’s heart starts beating from the 25th day and its brain starts functioning on the 40th day. Unfortunately, the Jews still consider that life begins after birth. No wonder, many Jews are for choice. Dt 27:25 says, “Cursed be he that takes reward to slay an innocent person. And all the people shall say, Amen,” andabortion involves the shedding of innocent blood. In abortion by suction, the unborn child is literally vacuumed from the mother’s womb during the early stages of pregnancy. In the currette-type abortion the child is cut from the mother’s womb with a spoon-like object. In the caesarean type abortion, the baby is surgically removed from the mother and allowed to suffocate, because the child’s lungs aren’t developed. In the Salt Brine technique, the unborn child is literally “pickled” to death by the injection of a strong salt solution. In partial-birth abortion the child is partially delivered, then stabbed in the skull to have his or her brains sucked out. RU-486 abortion pills inhibit pregnancy hormones and 1-7 weeks old child is evicted from the womb. Hence, all types of abortions are violations of the fifth commandment.

3) International Law forbids the killing of innocent, defenseless people. Abortion is the killing of a defenseless child in its safest abode by its own mother, mostly for selfish motives.

4) Abortion harms women physically, emotionally, psychologically, socially, and spiritually. 93% of the abortions in America are for convenience. The mother’s health is an issue only 3% of the time, and the baby’s health is an issue 3% of the time. Rape and incest are issues only 1% of the time. Ninety-three percent of all abortions in America are performed because of selfishness, just because someone doesn’t want a child!

5) Advocates of pro-choice follow a dangerous principle of far-reaching consequences in society. If it is justifiable to kill unwanted children by abortion, then the old, the sick, the handicapped, the mentally ill, the retarded and the “socially/politically unacceptable” can also be killed.

Life messages

1) We need to respect and protect all forms of human life from conception to natural death; we need to work and pray vigorously to end the culture of death.

2) We need to speak and act against abortion in private and public forums. Protecting human life is no more a sectarian creed than the Declaration of Independence is a sectarian document. Because all rights depend on life, the right to life is the most fundamental issue of all; if that is eliminated, the rest will follow.

3) We need to work to have the government enact anti-abortion, anti-euthanasia, and anti-Physician-assisted suicide laws; these killings violate justice, and therefore the command of God to love one another.

4) We need to give real care, support, and assistance to mothers with unwanted pregnancies, contemplating abortion. Helping a woman choose life affirms and empowers her.

5) We need to teach the Church’s doctrines on abortion. The Church cares about the women who have had abortions, forgives them when they repent, heals them, and brings them peace with God, with their lost children, and with themselves. The Church promises any woman who has had an abortion that if she truly repents of her sin, and confesses it in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, she will find welcome and forgiveness. Sacramental confession is necessary, because abortion (the murder of the child conceived), is a mortal sin, and it brings an automatic excommunication upon those who procure it, perform it, or cooperate in it.

Additional anecdotes: 1) Pro-abortion media: British lawmakers are reviewing the country’s pro-abortion laws. The review came about after publication of pictures of babies as young as twelve weeks stretching and kicking in the womb. Carl Sandburg wrote, “A baby is God’s opinion that the world should go on.” Yet, almost one-third of respondents to The New York Times poll favor legal abortion. Is the pro-life position so weak that many cannot accept it? The answer is negative, but most of the national media favor abortion, and many readers accept journalists’ opinions as infallible. The Los Angeles Times published a study on national newspapers by a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. Here are some conclusions. Most major newspapers support abortion on their editorial pages – the Los Angeles Times among them. 80 to 90% of US journalists favor abortion rights. If one is for unborn human life, one is called an extremist. It is not “politically correct,” according to most newspapers, to be pro-life. There is more defense for owls, whales, and seals. Mark Twain says correctly, “We revere all forms of life except human.” Incidentally, do not be intimidated by the fact 80 to 90% of US journalists are for abortion; 80 to 90% of German journalists were for Hitler! The overwhelming majority of Germans took their cue from journalists and supported Hitler. One consequence was the murder of eleven million civilians, primarily Jews, in infamous concentration camps. Only one-third of the colonists supported the American Revolution in the 18th century. Abolitionists in the 19th century never numbered more than 100,000. The vast majority of our citizens could not imagine a country without the British king or slavery. A few could and changed the USA forever. (Fr. Gilhooley).

Papal statements: 1) The Church opposes abortion but embraces with mercy those who have made this mistake. Let’s all take encouragement from these words of Pope St. John Paul II: “I would now like to say a special word to women who have had an abortion. The Church is aware of the many factors which may have influenced your decision, and she does not doubt that in many cases it was a painful and even shattering decision. The wound in your heart may not yet have healed. Certainly, what happened was, and remains, terribly wrong. But do not give in to discouragement, and do not lose hope. Try, rather, to understand what happened and face it honestly. If you have not already done so, give yourselves over with humility and trust to repentance. The Father of mercies is ready to give you His forgiveness and His peace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. To the same Father and to His mercy you can with sure hope entrust your child.” (Evangelium Vitae, #99).

2)”It is impossible to further the common good without acknowledging and defending the right to life, upon which all the other inalienable rights of individuals are founded and from which they develop.” (Evangelium Vitae).

3) Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law: “You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish.74 God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of themselves. Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes.”75 (CCC # 2271,Note: 74Didache; 75 Vatican II ,Gaudium et Spes, 51, 3)

4) “Through the mystery of the Incarnation, the Son of God confirmed the dignity of the body and soul that constitute the human being” (Pope Benedict XVI, Dignitas Personae, 7).

“Human history shows, however, how man has abused and can continue to abuse the power and capabilities that God has entrusted to him, giving rise to various forms of unjust discrimination and oppression of the weakest and most defenseless; the daily attacks on human life; the existence of large regions of poverty where people are dying from hunger and disease and the many [wars and] conflicts that still divide peoples and cultures. These, sadly, are only some of the most obvious signs of how man can make bad use of his abilities and [lose] the awareness of his lofty and specific vocation to collaborate in the creative work of God” (Pope Benedict XVI, Dignitas Personae, 36).

“We must, then, dear friends, be continuously vigilant to protect the dignity of human life at every turn – in our homes, our schools, our places of work and recreation, and our halls of justice and legislation. Our times call for nothing less than our determined commitment to ‘the energetic promotion of a new culture of life’” (Dignitas personae, 36). (Cardinal Justin Regali, “Respect Life Mass: Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, October 4, 2009).

In every voice raised in defense of life, “there shines a great ‘yes’ to the recognition of the dignity and inalienable value of every single and unique human being called into existence” (Pope Benedict XVI, Dignitas Personae, 37).

5) Pope St. John Paul II: “Together, may we offer this world of ours new signs of hope and work to ensure that justice and solidarity will increase and that a new culture of human life will be affirmed for the building of an authentic civilization of truth and love” (Evangelium Vitae, 6). Pope St. John Paul II is an example of the Church’s conversion in its pro-life stance: “To choose life involves rejecting every form of violence, the violence of poverty and hunger, the violence of armed conflict, the violence of criminal trafficking in drugs and arms, the violence of mindless damage to the natural environment.”

6) Pope Francis on abortion: Pope Francis on Sunday couldn’t have been firmer in calling it a “very grave sin” and a “horrendous crime.” “I was thinking on the attitude of sending the kids back before they’re born, this horrendous crime, they send them back because it’s better like that, because it’s more comfortable, it’s a great responsibility- a very grave sin,” The comments came in an interview with the Italian Catholic media outlets TV2000 and Blu Radio, released on Sunday after the closing of the Jubilee Year of Mercy (8 December 2015-20 November 2016).

Catechism of the Catholic Church:

#2270. Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person – among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life. ‘Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, and before you were born, I consecrated you.’ – Jer 1:5. ‘My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the earth.’- Ps 139:15.”

#2271. “Since the first century, the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law: You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish. [Didache 2, 2: SCh 248, 148; cf. Ep. Barnabae
19, 5: PG 2, 777; Ad Diognetum 5, 6: PG 2, 1173; Tertullian, Apol. 9: PL
1, 319-320.] God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of themselves. Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes. [GS 51 # 3.]”

#2272. “Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life. ‘ A person who procures a completed abortion incurs excommunication latae sententiae‘ [CIC, can. 1398] — ‘by the very commission of the offense,’ [CIC,
can. 1314
.] and subject to the conditions provided by Canon Law. [Cf. CIC, cann. 1323-1324.] The Church does not thereby intend to restrict the scope of mercy. Rather, she makes clear the gravity of the crime committed, the irreparable harm done to the innocent who is put to death, as well as to the parents and the whole of society.”

#2274. “Since it must be treated from conception as a person, the embryo must be defended in its integrity, cared for, and healed, as far as possible, like any other human being. Prenatal diagnosis is morally licit, ‘if it respects the life and integrity of the embryo and the human fetus and is directed toward its safeguarding or healing as an individual…. It is gravely opposed to the moral law when this is done with the thought of possibly inducing an abortion, depending upon the results: a diagnosis must not be the equivalent of a death sentence.’ [CDF, Donum vitae I, 2.]”

#2322. “From its conception, the child has the right to life. Direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, is a ‘criminal’ practice (GS 27 # 3), gravely contrary to the moral law. The Church imposes the canonical penalty of excommunication for this crime against human life.”

Biblical teaching that the unborn child is a human child (Fr. Jose Panthaplamthottyil CMI)

Since October is Respect Life Month, I am giving below some of the Bible verses which remind us that an unborn child is a human being. In Psalm 139 the psalmist writes, “For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful; I know that full well(13). Job has the same perspective. He says, “Your hands shaped me and made me… Remember that You molded me like clay…You gave me life and showed me kindness, and in Your providence watched over my spirit” (Job 10:8-12). In the Book of 2 Maccabees this is how a mother talks about life in the womb: “I do not know how you appeared in my womb; it was not I who endowed you with breath and life, I had not the shaping of your every part. It was the Creator of the world Who made everyone and ordained the origin of all things” (2 Maccabees 7:22). Jeremiah was called by God to become his prophet while he was still in the womb of his mother. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5). The Prophet Isaiah writes, “Before I was born the Lord called me; from my mother’s womb He has spoken my name” (Isaiah 49:1). Paul the apostle had the conviction his call came while he was still in the womb of his mother. He writes, “God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by His grace…” (Galatians 1:15). Remember what happened when Mary went to visit Elizabeth and greeted her. In the Gospel of St. Luke we read, “When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the Fruit of your womb. But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (1:41-43). The word of God does not say a ‘fetus’ leaped in her womb; instead it says “a baby!” In the case of Mary, she was only in the early weeks of her pregnancy! However, Elizabeth acknowledged Mary “as the mother of my Lord!”

Prayer to End Abortion: Lord God, I thank you today for the gift of my life, and for the lives of all my brothers and sisters. I know there is nothing that destroys more life than abortion, Yet, I rejoice that You have conquered death by the Resurrection of Your Son. I am ready to do my part in ending abortion. Today I commit myself never to be silent, never to be passive, never to be forgetful of the unborn. I commit myself to be active in the pro-life movement, and never to stop defending life until all my brothers and sisters are protected, and our nation once again becomes a nation with liberty and justice, not just for some, but for all. Through Christ our Lord. Amen! L/21

INTERCESSORY PRAYERS FOR RESPECT LIFE SUNDAY 2022

1 – For all newborn babies: that they may teach us the consummate beauty and value of every human life; we pray to the Lord:

2 – For newly married couples: that their love for each other may nourish their Faith and strengthen their commitment to do God’s will; we pray to the Lord:

3 – That all government leaders may recognize and promote the inalienable right to life of every person from conception to natural death; we pray to the Lord:

4 – For those who await death in prisons, in hospitals, and at home: that we may remember them in prayer, beg God’s mercy for their sins, and love them as Christ loves us; we pray to the Lord:

5 – For those who, like Simeon and Anna, have grown old: that we may treasure their lives and rejoice in their presence; we pray to the Lord:

6 – That like the Good Samaritan, we may seek to serve the weakest and most forgotten, and preserve the lives of those threatened by violence or selfishness; we pray to the Lord:

7 – For every woman who has had an abortion: that she may be given the grace to embrace the mercy of God and know healing, strength, and holiness; we pray to the Lord:

8 – For those who work for the healing of mothers and their children: that God may strengthen their resolve and make their hands gentle, yet strong; we pray to the Lord:

9 – For all who work for the Gospel of Life and especially for those who teach: for patient endurance and joy; we pray to the Lord:

Respect life Sunday resources: visit these very useful resources:

1.http://www.mobilearchdiocese.org/templates/readtjrarticles.cfm?Article=RodiArticle14.htm,

2. http://www.mobilearchdiocese.org/templates/readtjrarticles.cfm?Article=RodiArticle16.htm

3.http://www.mobilearchdiocese.org/templates/readtjrarticles.cfm?Article=RodiArticle19.htm,

4) http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/2009/0902fea4.asp- Pro abortion fallacies

5) http://www.americancatholic.org/Newsletters/CU/ac0902.asp (In support of life)

6) http://www.americancatholic.org/Newsletters/CU/ac0995.asp (Gospel of life)

7)http://www.americancatholic.org/Newsletters/CU/ac0798.asp(Ethics of life)

8) http://www.americancatholic.org/Newsletters/CU/ac0898.asp (Church teaching on abortion)

9) http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/2000/0009fea4.asp (This is my body argument)

10 ) Extensive resources : http://emmerich1.com/ABORTION.htm

11) Abortion library: http://www.catholicsforchoice.org/topics/abortion/keypubs.asp

RESPECT LIFE SUNDAY by USCCB (resources)

http://www.usccb.org/about/pro-life-activities/respect-life-program/

Additional resources

1) http://www.usccb.org/about/pro-life-activities/

2) http://www.fargodiocese.org/bishop/Homilies/Presentation11-15-07.pdf

3)http://homiliesfromaustralia.blogspot.com/2010/09/respect-life-sunday-in-ordinary-time.html

4) www.priestsforlife.org/preaching/elements.html

5)http://www.priestsforlife.org/preaching/newpreachingonabortion.htm

6) www.priestsforlife.org/preaching/homilylovethemboth.htm

Visit http://www.usccb.org/prolife/programs/rlp/2017/ for the following:

· 2017-2017 Respect Life Program Flyer :

· The Promise of Pro-Life Youth (En Español) – Bulletin Insert

· Make Room for People (En Español)Bulletin Insert

· Divine Mercy and the Death Penalty (En Español)

· Caring for Each Other, Even Unto Death (En Español)

· Hope for Married Couples Who Want to Have a Child

· Losing a Child to Suicide: Trusting in God’s Mercy

· Sex Trafficking: The New Slavery

· Program Models, Clip Art & Photos

“Scriptural Homilies” Cycle C (No. 53b) by Fr. Tony:akadavil@gmail.com

Visit my website by clicking on akadavil. Visit https://www.catholicsermons.com/homilies/sunday_homilies under CBCI or Fr. Tony for my website version. (Special thanks to Vatican Radio website- http://www.vaticannews.va/en/church.html -which completed uploading my Cycle A, B and C homilies in May 2020) Fr. Anthony Kadavil, Chaplain, Sacred Heart Residence of the Little Sisters of the Poor, 1655 McGill Ave, Mobile, AL 36604