Category Archives: Homilies

O. T. XV (C) Sunday homily (July 10, 2022)

OT XV [C] Sunday (July 10) (Eight-minute homily in one page)L/22

Introduction: The central theme of today’s Scripture readings is that we gain eternal life through loving God living in our neighbors by becoming good neighbors.

Scripture lessons: The first reading, taken from Deuteronomy, reminds us that God not only gives us His Commandments in Holy Scriptures, but that they are also written in our hearts so that we may obey them and inherit eternal life with God. In the second reading, St. Paul reminds the Colossians, and us, that just as Christ Jesus is the “visible image of the invisible God,” so our neighbors are the visible image of Christ living in our midst. In today’s Gospel, a scribe asks Jesus a very basic religious question: “What should I do to inherit eternal life?” In answer to the question, Jesus directs the scribe’s attention to the Sacred Scriptures. The Scriptural answer is, “love God and express it by loving your neighbor.” However, to the scribe the word “neighbor” means another scribe or Pharisee – never a Samaritan or a Gentile. Hence, the scribe insists on clarification of the word “neighbor.” So, Jesus tells him the parable of the Good Samaritan. The parable clearly indicates that a “neighbor” is anyone who needs help. Thus, the correct approach is not to ask, “Who is my neighbor?” but rather to ask, “Am I a good neighbor to others?” Jesus, the Heavenly Good Samaritan, gives us a final commandment during the Last Supper, “Love one another as I have loved you,” because the invisible God dwells in every human being.

Life messages: 1) Let us remember that the road from Jerusalem to Jericho passes right through our home, parish, school and workplace. We may find our spouse, children or parents lying “wounded” by bitter words or scathing criticism or by other more blatant forms of verbal, emotional or physical abuse. Hence, Jesus invites us to show our love to others, in our own home, in school, in the workplace, and in the neighborhood, as the Good Samaritan did. 2) Let us check to see if we are good neighbors. We become good neighbors when we are people of generosity, kindness, and mercy toward all who are suffering. Our sincere smile, a cheery greeting, an encouraging word of appreciation, a heartfelt “thank you” can all work wonders for a suffering soul. 3) Let us allow the “Good Samaritans” to touch our lives. Let us be willing to touch, or be touched by, persons we have once despised. For some of us, it may be persons of another color or race; for others, it may mean persons of a different political persuasion. Let us pray that the Spirit of the Living God may melt us, mold us and use us, so that there will no longer be even one person who is untouchable or outside the boundaries of compassion. 4) Let us accept the invitation to be loving and merciful to our enemies. This means people we hate, as well as those who hate us. It is an invitation for people of all times to love their enemies–to love those they have previously hated.

OT XV [C] (July 10) Dt 30:10-14; Col 1:15-20; Lk 10:25-37

Homily starter anecdotes #1: Good Samaritans: Louise Pasteur became a Good Samaritan to rabies victims bitten by mad dogs or mad wolfs, by spending months to develop an ant-rabies vaccine, despite his fear of dogs. Dr. William Magee Jr, the plastic surgeon from New folk, Va founded Operation Smile volunteer program to become Good Samaritan, along with other volunteer surgeons, to thousands of poor children with cleft lips in Third World countries. Dr. Albert Einstein became Good Samaritan to a fourth-grade student neighbor by teaching her basic mathematics. Lenny Skutnik, an ordinary federal worker became a Good Samaritan to a sinking woman thrown out of the plane when Air Florida Flight 90 crash landed into the Potomac River in Washington, by jumping down from the 14th street bridge to ice cold water. President Ronald Regan congratulated him in his State of the Union address. St. Maximillian Kolbe the Franciscan priest in the Auschwitz Nazi concentration camp became a Good Samaritan to a fellow prisoner by offering his life. The Good Samaritan par excellence and our ultimate neighbor, beyond all comparison, who healed and delivered us from our sins out of his loving mercy and compassion for us is our Lord Jesus. After he healed us, he entrusted us to his inn, which is his Church, for further spiritual caring and nourishment. Today’s gospel challenges us to ask the question whether we are Good Samaritans or good neighbors to everyone in need in our family, workplace, parish and community.

# 2: Einstein’s little neighbor: When Einstein fled Nazi Germany, he came to America and bought a two-storied house within walking distance of Princeton University. There he entertained some of the most distinguished people of his day and discussed with them far-ranging issues from physics to human rights. But Einstein had another frequent visitor. She was not, in the world’s eyes, an important person like his other guests. Emmy, a ten-year old neighbor, had heard that a very kind man who knew all about mathematics had moved into her neighborhood. Since she was having trouble with her fourth-grade mathematics, she decided to visit the man down the block to see if he would help with her problems. Einstein was very willing and explained everything to her so that she could understand it. He also told her she was welcome to come anytime she needed help. A few weeks later, one of the neighbors told Emmy’s mother that Emmy was seen entering the house of the world-famous physicist. Horrified, she told her daughter that Einstein was a very important man, whose time was very valuable, and shouldn’t be bothered with the problems of a little schoolgirl. She then rushed over to Einstein’s house, and when Einstein answered the door, she started trying to blurt out an apology for her daughter’s intrusion — for being such a bother. But Einstein cut her off. He said, “She has not been bothering me! When a child finds such joy in learning, then it is my joy to help her learn! Please don’t stop Emmy from coming to me with her school problems. She is welcome in this house anytime.” -And that’s how it is with God! He is our neighbor, and He wants us to come to His house anytime! (Fr. John Pichappilly in The Table of the Word; quoted by Fr. Botelho)

# 3: Operation Smile: I was reading sometime back about Dr. William Magee Jr., a plastic surgeon in Norfolk, Va. In 1981, Dr. Magee traveled to the Philippines to operate on children with cleft lips and other facial deformities. Unfortunately, there were so many children with this deformity, a deformity that can render it impossible for them to speak or eat, that hundreds had to be turned away. This caused Dr. Magee and his wife to found an organization called Operation Smile. Operation Smile sends volunteer doctors to perform reconstructive facial surgery for children worldwide. “It wasn’t a strategic plan,” said Magee. “It was just a matter of emotion and passion to make sure children didn’t have to live this way.” The group, which has already treated 50,000 children worldwide, also trains doctors in other nations to perform the procedure. Magee hopes to use satellite technology in the future, so he can teach a greater number of medical professionals the necessary techniques. (The Associated Press.) Dr. Magee didn’t have to do that. He could have justified himself. “What’s in it for me? There are so many children in my own city whose parents or whose insurance company could pay for this surgery. I’m a busy doctor here. I don’t have to go halfway around the world and minister to indigent children. Not my problem.” I doubt if Dr. Magee even wondered if this act of service would get him into Heaven. He simply saw a need and filled it. He became a Good Samaritan, encouraging fellow surgeons to become Good Samaritans.

# 4: “You owe this debt to any stranger who comes to you in need:” V.P. Menon was a significant political figure in India during its struggle for independence from Britain after World War II. Menon had a splendid reputation for personal charity. His daughter explained the background of this trait after he died. When Menon arrived in Delhi to seek a job in government, all his possessions, including his money and I.D., were stolen at the railroad station. He would have to return home on foot, defeated. In desperation he turned to an elderly Sikh, explained his troubles, and asked for a temporary loan of fifteen rupees to tide him over until he could get a job. The Sikh gave him the money. When Menon asked for his address so that he could repay the man, the Sikh said that Menon owed the debt not to him but to any stranger who came to him in need, as long as he lived. The help came from a stranger and was to be repaid to a stranger. Menon never forgot that debt. His daughter said that the day before Menon died, a beggar came to the family home in Bangalore asking for help to buy new sandals, for his feet were covered with sores. Menon asked his daughter to take fifteen rupees out of his wallet to give to the man. It was Menon’s last conscious act. Menon ministered to strangers because a stranger had ministered to him. [Robert A. Fulgham, All I Really Need to Know I learned in Kindergarten (New York:
Villard Books, 1988).] Why have Christians, historically, been so charitable, so caring? It is because once, when we were lying beside the road, broken and bleeding, nail-scarred hands reached down to us and ministered to us in our need. While we were unworthy, Christ the Divine Good Samaritan died for us.

Introduction: A scribe asked Jesus a very basic religious question: “What should I do to inherit eternal life?” In answer to the question, Jesus directed the Scribe’s attention to the Sacred Scriptures. The Scriptural answer is “love God and express it by loving your neighbor.” However, to the scribe, the word “neighbor” meant another scribe or Pharisee – never a Samaritan or a Gentile. Hence, the scribe insisted on a clarification of the word “neighbor.” So Jesus told him the parable of the Good Samaritan. The parable clearly indicates that a “neighbor” is anyone who needs help. Thus, the correct approach is not to ask the question “Who is my neighbor?” but rather to ask, “Am I a good neighbor to others?” The first reading, taken from the Book of Deuteronomy, reminds us that God not only gives us His Commandments in Holy Scriptures, but that they are also written in our hearts so that we may obey them and inherit eternal life with God. The refrain for today’s Responsorial Psalm (Ps 69) condenses the lessons of the three readings in a single memorable promise, “Turn to the Lord in your need, and you will live.” In the second reading, St. Paul reminds the Colossians, and us, that just as Christ Jesus is the “visible image of the invisible God,” so our neighbors are the visible image of Christ living in our midst. Jesus, the Heavenly Good Samaritan, gave us a final commandment during the Last Supper, “Love one another as I have loved you,” because the invisible God dwells in every human being.

The first reading: Deuteronomy 30:10-14 explained: Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan in the course of a discussion about the Law which occurred in the context of Jesus’ fateful journey toward Jerusalem and his coming death. Jesus dared to ask people to go beyond the Law of Moses, and that is one of the things that got him in so much trouble. To prepare us for that lesson, the Church selects from the Hebrew Scriptures a description of the Law that captures its greatness. Today’s passage, taken from the book of Deuteronomy, reminds us that God is not beyond human reach. Pagan religions of Moses’ time taught that God was accessible only through the mediation of specially selected persons who made that contact by acquiring secret knowledge and by performing bizarre rituals or by using hallucinogenic drugs. But God reveals to Moses that His Law is not across the sea or up in the sky — or locked in a tabernacle! God has written his life-giving and salvific law in the human heart (v. 14; see also Jeremiah 31:33; Ezekiel 36:26-27). This Law is “not in heaven… nor is it beyond the seas,” outside our reach. No, “it is very near to you, it is in your mouth and in your heart for your observance.” Hence, Moses urges the people of Israel to hear the voice of God from the Law and to keep His Commandments. He tells us that God is very near to us – in the neighbors we shall encounter each day this week. When we act as neighbor to them, we act as neighbor to God Himself.

The second reading: Colossians: 1:15-20 explained: The Christians of Colossae were misled by some false teachers, Gnostics, who saw Jesus as only a man, though just under the angels in rank. They taught that Jesus became Lord and Christ only at his Resurrection. Hence, Paul quotes this early Christian hymn to assure the Colossian Christians of: (1) the primacy of Christ over and above all angels and cosmic powers; (2) the value and necessity of the cross; and (3) the cosmic effects of salvation. This hymn also affirms Christ’s power and position over the four ranks of angels (v. 16: thrones, dominations, principalities and powers) which, according to Hellenistic Judaism, guarded the seven levels of Heaven. It asserts that Jesus is the full revelation of God, and that it is through the person and mission of Jesus that God has reconciled all things in Heaven and on earth to Himself, making peace between us and Him. It is this Jesus who lives in us and in our neighbors. Hence we love Jesus when we love our neighbors, seeing Jesus in them.

Gospel exegesis: In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus presents three philosophies of life concerning our relationship with our neighbor:

1) The philosophy of the thieves who robbed the Jewish traveler – Lust: “What is yours is mine; I will take it by force.” This has been the philosophy of Marxism and other revolutionary movements and of modern terrorist groups. In accepting this philosophy of life, the thieves, like their modern counterparts, terrorized others and exploited them, ignoring human rights and having selfish gain as their chief motive. In Jesus’ day, the steep, winding, country road from Jerusalem to Jericho was the safe haven for such bandit groups. No wonder, the Jewish traveler was robbed, stripped, beaten and left for dead on the Jericho Road! Some Bible scholars estimate there were at least 12,000 “thieves” in that Judean wilderness surrounding Jerusalem. These thugs roamed the countryside like packs of wild dogs, attacking innocent victims. In our world, many more thieves operate than we might realize. These are the privileged few, the “robber barons” of the modern world. They are the “Enron” executives of every company who just can’t be satisfied with being wealthy; they have to have all the marbles. The robber who takes money that does not belong to him is a thief. The rapist who takes sexual pleasure from someone not his spouse is a thief. The adulterer who steals another’s spouse is a thief. Corporate executives and CEOs who bilk innocent stockholders of billions of dollars are thieves. God has given us things to use, and God has given us people to love. But when we begin to love things and use people, we become thieves. If our attitude is: “I just make sure I get mine. I don’t care about anyone else,” we are probably thieves.

2) The philosophy of life of the Jewish priest and the Levite – Legalism: “What is mine is mine; I won’t part with it.” The priests were powerful upper-class authorities governing the Temple cult. The Levites were the priests’ associates, who provided music, incense, sacred bread, Temple curtains and adornments. Their duties also included “kosher meatpacking” and banking. In the parable, the representatives of these classes did not pay any attention to the wounded man because of their utter selfishness. Misplaced zeal for their religious duty gave them a couple of lame excuses: a)” If the man is dead and we touch him we will be unclean for seven days (Numbers 19:11), and disqualified from Temple service.” Thus, they saw the wounded man on the road, not as a person needing help, but a possible source of ritual impurity. b) “This may be a trap set for us, by hiding bandits.” [This excuse has some validity, as bandits sometimes did use a
“wounded” member to decoy a prospective victim into stopping, thus setting
himself up for robbery.] The parable’s priest and Levite, however, represent people who are always demanding their rights, but never talking about their responsibilities. These two men exercised their legal right to pass this man by, and forgot God in the process. These people don’t say, “I do what I want to do,” but, “I will only do what I have to do-I won’t stick my neck out for anybody.” When one only does what one must do in life, one is not a good neighbor.

3) The philosophy of the Samaritan — Love: “What is mine is yours as well. I shall share it with you.” The Samaritan was generous enough to seethewounded Jew as a neighbor. He ignored the long history of enmity between his people and the Jews.

[The
Samaritans were a bastard race by Judean standards. They presumably originated
from the Israelites who remained behind in their homeland when the Assyrians,
following their conquest in 722 BC, deported the leading families of the
region. In the years that followed, the Israelites who remained intermarried
with the foreign settlers brought in by the Assyrians.  The new hybrid ethnic generation —
“Jewish Assyrians”—continued to regard the Torah as their law but
erected their own temple on Mount Gerizim, just
outside Shechem (modern Nablus),
at a time when there was no Temple in Jerusalem.
The hostility between Jews and Samaritans was worsened by
a deep-rooted rivalry concerning their sanctuaries (Mt. Gerizim, Mt. Zion),
messianic expectations, and by disputes regarding the interpretation of their
sacred texts.
John Hyracanus, a Maccabaean
Jewish ruler, destroyed this Shechem temple during his reign (134-104 BC), and
thus created lasting enmity between the Judeans and the Samaritans.
No wonder, every morning in his daily
prayer a Pharisee would go to the Temple and, out loud, thank God he had not
been born a woman, a Gentile, or a Samaritan. Yet, Jesus makes the Samaritan
the hero of the story.
]

The Good Samaritan was taking a real risk, since the robbers who had assaulted the traveler might still be nearby. Nevertheless, he gave first aid to the wounded Jew, took him to a nearby inn and made arrangements for his food and accommodation by giving the innkeeper two denarii. Two denarii was a lot of money—enough, in fact, to pay for more than three weeks’ board and lodging. The Samaritan also assured the innkeeper of further payment for any additional medical requirements of the wounded man. What made this Samaritan so special was not the color of his skin, but the compassion in his heart. No law could make the priest or the Levite stop, but love could make the Samaritan stop. Who would we have been that day — the thief, the priest, the Levite, or the Good Samaritan?” If a person has a need that we can and should meet, that person is our neighbor. Every time we see a person in need, we immediately become a neighbor; we become a minister with a ministry. Columnist Ann Landers once wrote, “Be kind to people. The world needs kindness so much. You never know what sort of battles other people are fighting. Often just a soft word or a warm compliment can be immensely supportive. You can do a great deal of good by just being considerate, by extending a little friendship, going out of your way to do just one nice thing, or saying one good word.” Mark Twain once wrote, “Kindness is a language that the deaf can hear and the blind can read.”

Life messages: 1) We need to remember that the road from Jerusalem to Jericho passes right through our home, parish, school and workplace. The Jericho Road is any place where people are being robbed of their dignity, their material goods or their value as human beings. It is any place where there is suffering and oppression. As a matter of fact, the Jericho Road may be our own home, the place where we are taking care of a mother or father, husband or wife, or even our own children. We may find our spouse, children or parents lying “wounded” by bitter words, scathing criticism or other, more blatant forms of verbal, emotional or physical abuse. Hence, Jesus invites us to have hearts of love. What God wants more than anything is for us to show our love to others, in our own home and school, in the workplace, and in the neighborhood, as the Good Samaritan did. Jesus is inviting us to have hearts of mercy for those who are being left hurt or mistreated on any of the “Jericho Roads” of life.

2) Are we good neighbors? A good neighbor does not say, “I do what I want to do,” or even, “I do what I have to do,” but, “I do what I ought to do.” The lawyer’s question— “Who is my neighbor?”—reveals that he was really self-centered. The parable makes us realize that every human person is our neighbor. How have we been good neighbors this week? To whom did we behave in a neighborly way? The parable is a condemnation of our non-involvement as well as an invitation for us to be merciful and kind to those in need, including those in our family, school, neighborhood, and parish. We are invited to be people of generosity, kindness, and mercy toward all who are suffering. A sincere smile, a cheery greeting, an encouraging word of appreciation, a heartfelt “thank you” can work wonders for a suffering soul. Within every society, there is fear of those who are “different,” who differ from us in religion, skin-color, dress or language. The parable invites us to make them neighbors. Why? Because “one’s neighbor is the living image of God the Father, redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ, and placed under the permanent action of the Holy Spirit. One’s neighbor must therefore be loved, even if he or she is an enemy, with the same love with which the Lord loves him or her.” (Pope St. John Paul II, Sollicitudo ReiSocialis, 1987).

3) We need to allow the “Good Samaritans” touch our lives. Do you recall the consternation and shock in so many areas years ago when PLO leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin shook hands for the whole world to see? People from both Arafat’s and Rabin’s cultures were shocked by it and condemned that handshake! Let us be willing to touch and be touched by persons we have once despised. For some of us, these may be persons of another color or race; for others, these may be persons of a different political persuasion. For still others these may be former enemies who have hurt them, abused them or offended them. Let us pray that the Spirit of the living God may melt us, mold us and use us so that there will no longer be even one person who is untouchable or outside the boundaries of our compassion.

4) We are commanded to be loving and merciful to our enemies. “Enemies” include both people we hate, and those who hate us. The Jews and the Samaritans during the time of Jesus hated each other. When Jesus told the story of a Samaritan helping a Jew, everyone was probably shocked. A Samaritan outcast helping a Jew? Impossible! “Good Samaritan” would have sounded like a bad joke—a contradiction in terms. The parable was an invitation for Jews to love Samaritans and Samaritans to love Jews. It is an invitation for people of all times to love their enemies — to love those they have previously hated.

JOKES OF THE WEEK

1) “Good Samaritan” to neighbor’s cat: Little Tim was in the garden filling a hole when his neighbor peered over the fence. Interested in what the youngster was doing, he politely asked, “What are you up to there, Tim?” “My goldfish died,” replied Tim tearfully, without looking up, “and I’ve just buried him.” The neighbor said, “That’s an awfully big hole for a goldfish, isn’t it, Tim?” Tim patted down the last heap of earth, and then replied, “That’s because he’s still inside your stupid cat.”

2) “The Good Samaritan-eye.” A man went to see his bank manager to ask for a loan. After he had taken particulars, the bank manager said: “By rights I should refuse your request, but I will give you a sporting chance. Now, one of my eyes is made of glass. If you can tell me which one glass is not, I will grant you the loan.” The customer looked at the manager intently for a few moments and then said: “It’s your right eye.” “That’s correct, said the bank manager.” “How did you guess?” “Well,” replied the customer. It’s your Good Samaritan eye; I mean the kind and sympathetic one.”

3) Danger of becoming a Good Samaritan: Shalom Aleichem tells a delightful story about an old Jewish man standing on a crowded bus. The young man standing next to him asked, “What time is it?” The old man refused to reply. The young man moved on. The old man’s friend, sensing something was wrong, asked, “Why were you so discourteous to the young man asking for the time?” The old man answered, “If I have given him the time of day, next he would want to know where I am going. Then we might talk about our interests. If we did that, he might invite himself to my house for dinner. If he did, he would meet my lovely daughter. If he met her, they would both fall in love. I don’t want my daughter marrying someone who can’t afford a watch.”

USEFUL WEBSITES OF THE WEE

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

2) Video Sunday-Scripture study by Fr. Geoffrey Plant:

https://www.youtube.com/user/GeoffreyPlant2066

3) 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/

4)Catholic References: Catholic Almanac: http://www.osv.com/catholicalmanac/

5)Catholic Source: http://www.catholicsource.net/

6) Catholic Content for Church Bulletins: http://www.help4editors.com/

Good Samaritan videos

1) https://youtu.be/53Pqw20xK10

2) https://youtu.be/SR2apkX9zwk

3) https://youtu.be/pRuSFVRi-PY

25-Additional Anecdotes:

1) Good Samaritan to a drowning woman: If, in recent years, you have watched the President of the United States deliver the State of the Union Address, you know that at some point in his speech he will point to the balcony and introduce an ordinary citizen as a real hero in this country. You may not know but that custom began when President Ronald Reagan introduced a man named Lenny Skutnik. To this day reporters will ask presidential aides the question: “Who are the Skutniks this year?'” Lenny Skutnik was a federal worker walking down the street minding his own business, until the day that Air Florida Flight 90 crashed into the Potomac River. The flight had just taken off from Washington bound for Florida. It had developed ice on its wings, which brought the plane down as it tried to clear Washington’s 14th Street bridge. In the next moment several passengers were thrown into the icy river. A helicopter soon came by dropping down ropes, but it could only save one person at a time. There was one lady in the water who was struggling to grab the ladder. But she was so cold and so frozen she could not lift her arms out of the water, and it looked like she was going to drown. Everyone else on that bridge was shouting encouragement to her. Lenny Skutnik broke through the police barricade, jumped into the river, risking his own life, and pulled to shore the lady who otherwise would have surely drowned. The President of the United States called him a hero. Do you know what the Lord Jesus would have called him?  A good neighbor.(https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

2)  Louis Pasteur sought a cure. Garfield closed his curtains:  Many of us are afraid of dogs. It is a common fear. The eminent scientist Louis Pasteur was far more frightened of dogs than most people. Even a distant bark would terrify him. In his mind he could still see a mad wolf which had raged through his boyhood village bringing agony and death to many of his neighbors. “I have always been haunted by the cries of those victims,” he said, time and again. Yet in 1882, past the age of 60, Pasteur gave up all his other studies in an intense search for a cure for rabies. For three long years, in spite of his deep-seated fears, he risked his life living with mad dogs. At last he came through with a vaccine to cure the victims of rabies. On a July night in 1885 he tried the first injection on a little boy whose life seemed doomed. The boy lived. The remembered agony of his neighbors spurred Louis Pasteur to find a cure for this dread disease. [Alex Osborn, L.H.D., Your Creative Power (New York: N.Y.: Dell Publishing Co., Inc., 1948).] Let us move now from the sublime to the ridiculous. Some of you are fans of America’s best-known fat cat, Garfield. In one Garfield cartoon, Garfield, seated in a comfortable chair, sees his friend Odie at the window peering in eagerly. Garfield says to himself, “Poor Odie. Locked outside in the cold. I just can’t bear to see him like this. I gotta do something.” At this point Garfield gets up from his chair and closes the curtains! Two responses to need: Louis Pasteur sought a cure; Garfield closed his curtains.(https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

3) Jesus the Good Samaritan; When the Communists came to power in China, not a few Christians were arrested and tried for their faith. One was given the opportunity to reveal why he chose Christianity instead of the religion of his ancestors. I was in a deep pit, he said, sinking in the mire, and helpless to deliver myself. Looking up I saw a shadow at the top, and soon a venerable face looked over the brink and said, “My son, I am Confucius, the father of your country. If you had obeyed my teachings, you would never have been here.” And then he passed on with a significant movement of his finger and a cheerless farewell, adding, “If you ever get out of this, remember to obey my teachings.” But alas! That did not save me. Then Buddha came along, and, looking over the edge of the pit he cried, My son, just count it all as nothing. Enter into rest. Fold your arms and retire within yourself, and you will find NIRWANA, the peace to which we all are tending.” I cried, “Father Buddha, if you will only help me to get out, I will be glad to do so. I could follow your instructions easily if I were where you are, but how can I rest in this awful place?” But Buddha passed on and left me to my despair.

Then another face appeared. It was the face of a man beaming with kindness and bearing marks of sorrow. He did not linger a moment, but leaped down to my side, threw his arms around me, lifted me out of the mire, brought me to the solid ground above, then he did not even bid me farewell, but took off my filthy garments, put new robes upon me, and bade me follow him, saying, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” That is why I became a Christian. As followers of Christ, we can very easily see ourselves in that injured man because we were once dead, badly beaten up by our sins. But we have been spotted by – ‘The Good Samaritan par excellence and our ultimate neighbor, beyond all comparison,’ who healed and delivered us from our sins out of his loving mercy and compassion for us. After he healed us, he entrusted us to his inn, which is his Church, for further spiritual caring and nourishment. And, our Samaritan who saved us is none other than Jesus himself, who said that he will be back someday in the future to take us with him to his Kingdom. This is what St. Paul tells the Colossians in today’s Second Reading, which is actually a Christological hymn: “God wanted all things to be reconciled through him and for him, everything in heaven and on earth, when he made peace by his death on the cross.” (Quoted by Fr. Larka) (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

  4) ‘Bitte, beten Schwestern.‘ Since we have the Gospel of the Good Samaritan you might think the saint would be Maximillian Kolbe – the Franciscan priest who offered his life in place of a condemned prisoner. He gave a powerful example of self-sacrifice and we will have the opportunity to pray at the starvation bunker where he suffered a slow, painful death. Instead of Maximilian Kolbe, however, I would like to focus on another saint who died in Auschwitz – Edith Stein. Brought up in pious Jewish household, as a teenager she abandoned her faith becoming an atheist. An outstanding philosophy student, one evening she came across the Autobiography of St. Theresa of Avila. She spent all night absorbed in the book. When she reached the conclusion, she closed the book and said, “This is the truth.” By converting to Catholicism in 1922 she rediscovered her Jewish faith and identity. In Holy Week of 1933, after Hitler had taken control of Germany, she told Christ that she knew “it was His Cross that was now being placed on the Jewish people.” The Nazis took away her right to teach and she faced a choice: to flee to America or follow her desire to become a Carmelite sister. Now you might think becoming a cloistered nun is a form of escape. Edith Stein did not see it that way. She wrote her prioress, “Dear Reverend Mother, please permit me to offer myself to the Heart of Jesus as a sacrifice of atonement for true peace, that if possible the reign of Antichrist might be broken without another world war…” Edith Stein, now professed as Sister Teresa Benedicta a Cruce, Sister Teresa Blessed by the Cross, knew something we don’t: the greatest good we can do for a suffering person is to offer ourselves in prayer before Jesus. Sister Teresa gave herself to the rhythm of daily prayer and manual labor – tasks like sewing where she was hopeless. The other sisters made gentle fun, but they soon realized God had blessed their convent with a gifted teacher and mystic. You know what comes next. When the Dutch bishops protested Hitler’s mistreatment of Jews, the Nazis retaliated by arresting some 243 Catholic Jews in Holland. The SS officers told Sister Teresa she had five minutes to gather her belongings. She did it quickly, then with her Carmelite sisters knelt before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. One of the sister’s recounts, “she turned toward us with a red face, but calmly and controlled, saying with a sad voice, ‘Bitte, beten Schwestern.’ (‘Please pray, sisters.’)” The guards also arrested her sister, Rosa – a lay Carmelite. At the moment of departure Teresa was calm; Rosa was white as a sheet. They heard Sister Teresa say, “Rosa, komm, wir gehen fur unser Volk.” Rosa, come, we are going for our people. * Sister Teresa was the Good Samaritan in a double sense: first by offering herself in daily praying and then by offering her life in the Auschwitz gas chamber. In doing so she lived the double commandment of love: God first and then love of neighbor for love of God. (Fr. Phil Bloom) (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

5) “I’ll be happy to honk your horn for you!” Have you heard the story about the elderly woman who lived in a small town in East Texas who had car trouble on the way to the supermarket one morning? Her car stalled at a stop sign. She tried everything to get her car started again, but no luck. Suddenly, a man in a pick-up truck came up behind her and, with obvious agitation, he started honking his horn at her impatiently. She doubled her efforts to get her car going. She pumped the gas, turned the ignition, but still no luck. The man in the pick-up truck continued to honk his horn constantly and loudly. I love what the elderly woman did. Very calmly she got out of her car, walked back to the pick-up and motioned for the man to lower his window and then politely she said: “I’ll make a deal with you. If you will start my car for me, I’ll be happy to honk your horn for you!” Now, that is what you call “Rising to the occasion!” — and that is precisely what Jesus does here in Luke 10. The lawyer was “testing” Jesus, honking his horn loudly. He was trying to trap Jesus and trip Him up with a loaded question, but Jesus (as He so often did), rose to the occasion and passed the test with flying colors. In so doing, He reminded the people back then (and us today), of what the main thing is in the Christian Faith.(https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

6) Bishop Sheen’s conversion to a Good Samaritan to lepers: Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, in his autobiography Treasure in Clay, recounts a visit he made to a leper colony in Buluba, Africa. He intended to give a silver crucifix to each of the 500 lepers residing in Buluba. The first person who came forward, however, was a man so disfigured by the ravages of leprosy that Sheen was repulsed by the sight. The man’s left arm was eaten off at the elbow by the disease; so he extended his right hand. This hand, too, was unspeakably corrupted by this awful disease. Unable to bear the leper’s presence, Sheen held the crucifix above the man’s palm and dropped it, where it was immediately swallowed up in the decaying flesh. Instantly, Sheen was aware of his unrighteous act. He had taken the crucifix “God’s sign of identification with humanity” and refused to associate himself with one of God’s children. Overcome with remorse, Sheen dug his fingers into the man’s leprosy and removed the crucifix. This time, he gently placed the crucifix in the man’s hand. Sheen respectfully handed a crucifix to each of the remaining 499 lepers and, in the exchange, learned to love them with the love of the Good Samaritan. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

7) “When he wakes up, he’ll feel sick, lonely and ashamed.” A well-known leader of the community was found dead drunk, and in public. Allan Emery tells in his book, Turtle on a Fencepost, how his wealthy father sent a chauffeured limousine to pick the man up and bring him to their elegant house. Allan noticed with concern that his mother had prepared the big guest room. There were fresh flowers on the dresser. And, to Allan’s horror, he saw that his mother had made up the handsome four-poster bed with real linen hemstitched sheets and monogrammed linen pillowcases. Allan protested to his mother that she knew nothing about drunks, “that they got sick and the man would throw up all over the bed, sheets, and antique bedspread.” Looking at her perturbed son, his mother said seriously, “When he wakes up, he’ll feel sick, lonely and ashamed. It is important for him to see immediately that he is our honored guest and that we gave him our best.” She knew this man in his disgrace would need all the encouragement he could get. [Ruth Bell Graham, Legacy of a Pack Rat (Nashville, Tennessee: Oliver-Nelson Books, 1989).] He was a leader in his community, but he was a very needy person. And so are we all.(https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

8) A Good Samaritan on highways: Thirty years ago, Tom Weller’s car broke down as he was driving through Southern California. A stranger stopped to help Weller and would accept no payment in return for his kindness. Instead, the stranger asked Weller to return the favor by stopping to help some other stranger somewhere. Tom Weller took those words to heart. For the last thirty years, he has helped thousands of stranded people along Southern California’s highways. He never asks for payment; instead, Tom Weller leaves behind a small business card asking each person to help someone else in need. It has become his mission in life to pass on the kindness that was once done for him. [Charles Kuralt with Peter Freundlich. American Moments (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1998), pp. 74-75.] (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

9) Good Samaritan to robbery victim: In the book Profiles in Character, Congresswoman Barbara Cubin from Wyoming tells how her character was shaped by the moral influence of her parents. Barbara’s parents divorced when she was young. A few years later, Barbara’s mother remarried. Her new stepfather worked hard to support the family. One particular story demonstrates his great character. Barbara’s birth father, on a visit to Wyoming, was beaten and robbed. At the hospital, a paramedic found his former wife’s phone number on Barbara’s birth father and called the house. Barbara’s stepfather went immediately to the hospital and paid his wife’s ex-husband’s hospital bill. Then he took him to a local motel. The stepfather paid the proprietor of the motel for the father’s room and meals until he had recovered enough to go home. [Representative Barbara Cubin. Profiles in Character (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1996), pp. 68-69.] (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

10) The philosophy of the priest and Levite: In the spring of 1998, there was a story in the news about a fifteen-year-old boy who bled to death just 35 feet outside the emergency room doors of a Chicago hospital. It seems that the teenager was an innocent bystander who was hit by a bullet when gang members started shooting at each other. After he was shot, friends of his managed to carry him to just outside the hospital, where they left him. But apparently the bleeding youth was left there unattended for 25 minutes because it was against hospital policy for doctors or nurses to go outside the building to treat anyone. Instead, they had to wait for an ambulance to arrive to transport him inside. By the time they finally got him into the hospital, the boy was dead. They were more interested in not getting into trouble violating hospital policy than they were in saving a young man’s life! “What is mine is mine” was the philosophy of the priest and the Levite. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

11) Lady Good Samaritan: Dan Rather recalls an eventful elevator ride in a large Florida hotel: After having flown in late during the night, I am now up early to go downstairs and make a speech before several thousand people. I am not in a good mood. In the elevator I feel all eyes on me. “Didn’t any of these people’s mothers teach them that it’s rude to stare?” I am thinking. Soon the elevator reaches the lobby. As it empties, a woman gently takes hold of my sleeve. “Mr. Rather,” she says quietly, “I don’t mean to intrude.” “Then why are you?” I say to myself. She looks around, making sure no one else is listening. “I don’t want this to be embarrassing. But your fly is unzipped and a piece of your shirttail is sticking out through it,” she says. Then she smiles and strides away.(https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

12) “He did not answer the cry for help.” There is a respectable lawyer in Albert Camus’   novel, The Fall. He is walking in the streets of Amsterdam one night and hears a cry. A woman has fallen into the canal and is crying for help. Then the thoughts come rushing through his mind. Of course, he must help, but…a respected lawyer getting involved in this way? What would the implications be? ….what about the personal danger? After all, who knows what has been going on? By the time he has thought it through, it is too late. She has drowned. He moves on, making all kinds of excuses to justify his failure to act. Camus writes, “He did not answer the cry for help. That is the man he was.” [David Shelly, “A Master of Saves,” Presbyterian Survey (July/August 1986).] We would have done better, we tell ourselves, and yet all around us are people in need. Not just physical needs — emotional needs can be more devastating than physical needs. The most serious disease in America today, according to many experts, is loneliness. Many of us could hear cries for help right in our own neighborhood, if we would listen — or in our own families. Why do we not listen? “Do this and live,” said Jesus.(https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

13) “We just did not want to get involved.” Back in 1964, a young woman in her late 20s was attacked on her way home by a man who stabbed her repeatedly and took over a half an hour to murder her. She screamed repeatedly for help and at least 38 people looked down from their apartment windows and watched the crime take place. Not one even bothered to telephone the police. When they were asked later why they had done nothing, they gave the famous response, “We just did not want to get involved.” One of the greatest problems we have in our Church, and every Church, is we have Churches that are full of priests and Levites. A Gallup survey discovered that only 10% of American Church members are active in any kind of personal ministry, and 50% of all Church members have no interest in serving in any ministry. In other words, 50% of the Church is saying loudly and clearly, “We just don’t want to get involved”- [“The attitude of the Priest and the Levite in the Good Samaritan story” Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Church, pp. 365-366.] (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

14) Good Samaritan Law: Some of you remember the Seinfeld show. In its final episode, which aired at the end of the 1998 TV season, the main characters (Jerry, George, Elaine, and Kramer), receive a one-year sentence for failing to help someone who was being robbed. What happens is this: Their plane encounters problems, and they are stuck in Lakeland, Massachusetts. Killing time wandering around on the sidewalks in this quaint New England town, they become innocent bystanders and witnesses of a carjacking. Being New Yorkers and the kind of people, they are, they make fun of the guy who is being robbed. Kramer, who has a camcorder in his hands, films the incident as a curiosity. They never lift a hand, never shout out; they are 10 yards away, and couldn’t care less. They just stand there and casually watch! The robber speeds off with the car and the police arrive late on the scene. With the excitement over, and the poor victim standing dazed in the street, Jerry turns to his friends and suggest they go get something to eat. As they walk off the officer stops them and says, “All right, hold it right there.” Jerry: “What?” Officer: “You’re under arrest.” Jerry: “Under arrest, What for?” Officer: “Article 223 dash 7 of the Lakeland county penal code.” Elaine: “What, we didn’t do anything.” Officer: “That’s exactly right. The law requires you to help or assist anyone in danger as long at its reasonable to do so.” George: “I never heard of that.” Officer: “It’s new, it’s called the Good Samaritan Law, Let’s go.” The series ends with them serving their time.(https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

15) “The Member of This Church I Would Most Like to See in Hell.”: Several years ago, a pastor announced (via the sign board in front of his Church) that, come Sunday, he was going to preach on “The Member of This Church I Would Most Like to See in Hell.” What excitement he caused! What a crowd he drew! The church was filled with people who hadn’t been there in ages…. kids who usually walked home after Sunday school….the C and E crowd…. and a bunch of curious Presbyterians who wandered over from next door. Everybody was there. Well, when he finally called a name….he really did call a name…. it was the name of everybody’s favorite Sunday school teacher. Then he went on to say that the reason he most wanted to see her in Hell was because he was sure that, in two or three weeks, given her saintly nature, Hell would be converted and emptied. He didn’t say whether her primary means of accomplishing this would be passing out tracts or by handing out cups of cold water. But he left no doubt that her love of God and neighbor would not allow her to rest comfortably in her place while the rest of us fared miserably in ours.(https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

16) “I Didn’t Speak Up.” Do you remember that poignant and wonderful piece written by Martin Niemoeller? Niemoeller was a German Lutheran pastor who was arrested by the Gestapo and sent to a concentration camp in Dachau in 1938. Amazingly, he survived the prison camp experience and was set free by the Allied Troops in 1945. Out of that horrible experience, Niemoeller wrote these haunting words: “I Didn’t Speak Up….In Germany, the Nazis… came… for the Jews and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me… and by that time there was no one left to speak for me.” (Quoted in Dear Abby, Houston Post, January 31, 1990). The point is clear….We can’t bail out or run away. We can’t detach ourselves and stand to the side. We can’t ignore the troubles of the world. We can’t just wait around expecting someone else to roll up his sleeves and correct the situation for us. If we are to live in the Spirit of Christ, we have to face the problems and deal with them redemptively. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

17) Lesson from Ann Jullian: Actress Ann Jullian’s struggle with cancer and her resulting double mastectomy have been much publicized. She allowed her story to be told to encourage and support others who are enduring a similar struggle. Ann’s husband, Andy, extends the same sympathy to the public. His sentiment is best expressed in a comment he made after viewing President Reagan on television. The newscast showed the former President lugging a potted plant to his wife Nancy, a patient at Bethesda Naval Hospital, who had also had a mastectomy. Observing Ronald Reagan’s concern for his beloved spouse, Andy concurred, “I felt sorry for him. He is simply a guy, just like you and me. He may be the President of the United States, but at that moment he was a husband worried about his wife.” Suffering is equitable, for no one is spared. Understanding the pain of our own afflictions makes us more willing to help our hurting neighbor. That help may come as a kind word, a visit, or a comforting embrace. Mother Teresa once put it like this, “The biggest disease today is not leprosy or cancer. It’s the feeling of being uncared for or unwanted, of being deserted and alone. The greatest evil is the lack of love and charity, and an indifference toward one’s neighbor who may be the victim of poverty or disease or exploited and at the end of his life, left at a roadside.” (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

18) “Here comes my friend Douglass.” Frederick Douglass approached the front door of the White House, seeking admission into Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Ball. Just as Douglass was about to knock on the door, two policemen seized him, barring the black man’s entrance. Douglass, a large, powerful man, brushed the officers aside and stepped into the foyer. Once inside, two more officers grabbed the uninvited guest, all the while uttering racial slurs. As Douglass was being dragged from the hall, he cried to a nearby patron, “Just say to Mr. Lincoln that Fred Douglass is at the door!” Confusion ensued. Then suddenly the officers received orders to usher Douglass into the East Room. In that beautiful room, the great abolitionist stood in the presence of the esteemed President. The place quieted as Lincoln approached his newly arrived guest, hand outstretched in greeting, and speaking in a voice loud enough so none could mistake his intent, the President announced, “Here comes my friend Douglass.” The President had called Frederick Douglass friend. Who dared demean Douglass if he was a friend of the President? Jesus Christ, the Lord of the universe, has called us his brothers and his sisters. God has called us His own children, but not only us — also the person who lies stripped and beaten by the side of the road. He or she is our friend, our neighbor. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

19) The good neighbor: An American family was driving cross-country in Alaska in their motor-home when the axle of their vehicle broke and could not be easily fixed. They were in the middle of nowhere. So the father left his family in the motor-home and began to walk in search of help. To his good luck, he came upon an isolated farmhouse. He knocked and a very friendly farmer responded. When he learned of the man’s distress, the farmer just patted him on the shoulder and said he could help. Without wasting a minute, he got into his tractor, drove out and towed the motorhome to his yard. And then, in a very short while, he used his welder and fixed the problem. The American family was extremely relieved and grateful. Taking out his wallet, the father of the family offered to pay, but the farmer would have none of it. “It was my pleasure.” was all he said. “As you can see, I live in isolation and often do not see anybody for weeks and even months. You have given me the pleasure of your company for the last two hours. That is more than adequate compensation.” The American family was greatly impressed to encounter such noble and selfless generosity. It certainly enhanced their belief in the essential goodness of human beings. (James Valladares in Your Words O Lord, Are Spirit and They Are Life; quoted by Fr. Botelho). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

20) “Welcome my son!” According to an ancient legend, a king who had no son to succeed him posted a notice inviting young men to come along and apply for adoption into his family. The two qualifications were love of God and love of neighbor. A poor peasant boy was tempted to apply but felt unable to do so because of the rags he wore. He worked hard, earned some money, bought some new clothes, and headed off to try his luck at being adopted into the king’s family. He was half-way there, however, when he came across a poor beggar on the road, who was shivering with the cold. The young lad felt sorry for him, and he exchanged clothes with him. There was hardly much point in going any further towards the king’s palace at this stage, now that he was back in rags again. However, the young man felt that, having come this far, he might as well finish the journey. He arrived at the palace, and, despite the jeers and sneers of the courtiers, he was finally admitted into the presence of the king. Imagine his amazement to see that the king was the old beggar-man he had met on the road, and he was actually wearing the good clothes the young man had given him! The king got down from his throne, embraced the young man, and said “Welcome, my son!” (Jack McArdle in And That’s the Gospel Truth; quoted by Fr. Botelho). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

21) Good Samaritans in San Francisco airport: Asiana Flight 214 crash landed at San Francisco airport on July 6, 2013 and caught fire. Half of the 12-person cabin crew suffered injuries.  But 305 out of 307 passengers were saved by the prompt action of Good Samaritans in the persons of the remaining six crew members and the passengers. Two teenagers died on the spot, a third in the hospital, and 70 passengers suffered injuries. Six uninjured crew members oversaw the emergency evacuation of nearly 300 passengers — using knives to slash seatbelts, calling pilots who slung axes to free two colleagues trapped by malfunctioning slides, fighting flames and bringing out frightened children. Lee Yoon-Hye (40) center cabin manager of Asiana Flight 214 had 20 years of experience with Asiana. She and another flight attendant, Ji Youn Kim, lugged injured passengers on their backs off the burning hulk of the Boeing 777. Lee was the last person to leave the burning plane. Passenger Eugene Anthony Rah said: “This tiny woman was carrying people piggyback, running everywhere, with tears running down her face. She was crying, but she was still so calm and helping people.” “I was only thinking about rescuing the next passenger,” Lee said later.  She told the news agency that one of her colleagues carried a frightened elementary school-aged boy on her back off the plane and down the emergency exit slide. Veteran San Francisco police Officer Jim Cunningham charged up the escape chute without a respirator to search for survivors. Benjamin Levy the Silicon Valley venture capitalist, who sat in seat 30K, told the Times that he helped open one of the emergency-exits and helped as many as three-dozen fellow passengers off the plane. It was he who helped Rha, her daughter and dozens of others escape from the back of the plane. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

22) James Gilhooley (Homilies.net) Michael Parenti, in Democracy For the Few, advises us of the other half of the picture. “Approximately 1.6 percent of the (US) population own 80 percent of all capital stock, 100 percent of all state and municipal bonds, and 88% percent of all corporate bonds.” At the same time in the United States, millions are being deprived as I speak. One out of four of our children live in poverty. Can you imagine the rage we would feel if 25% of us were unemployed?  Tonight 100,000 homeless kids will have to find a place to sleep. Thirty million of our fellow citizens are illiterate. About thirty-five million have no health insurance. Another sixty million are underinsured. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. advised wisely that our society does need restructuring. And each of us should be pushing the burden up the hill and make sure it gets down the other side. Again, our Bishop speaks, “Direct assistance is good. Tackling the causes is better.” (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

23) The Best Treatment for Loneliness: Dr. Karl Menninger, the famous American psychiatrist, once gave a lecture on mental health and was answering questions from the audience. One man asked, “What would you advise a person to do if that person felt a nervous breakdown coming on?” Everyone there expected him to answer, “Consult a psychiatrist.” To their astonishment he replied: “Leave your house, go across the railroad tracks, find someone who is in need, and do something to help that person.” (Quoted by Fr. Tony Kayala). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/). 

24) Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood: Aware that the person of the neighbor and the experience of the neighborhood are to be valued and preserved, Fred Rogers and Public Television created a program for children; for 30 years, Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood has offered to a vast young audience an opportunity for being a neighbor and for belonging to a neighborhood where people are cherished and valued, regardless of, and even because of their differences and disabilities. Through his characters, both real and fictional, Rogers continues to teach life lessons about honesty, respect, growing up, individuality, etc. With each program, he renews the invitation, “Won’t you please be my neighbor?” In today’s gospel, Jesus also teaches a life lesson through the characters of the Good Samaritan; once again he renews the invitation to discipleship and challenges believers to consider the question, “Who is my neighbor?” Many, today, complain that the neighborhood is an endangered species and that neighborliness is a dying art. Some blame the very technology that has made the world a global village for further distancing people from one another. After all, how can faceless and nameless “cyberneighbors” surfing the chat rooms of the internet possibly compare with a face to face conversation on the front stoop or porch. Of course, cyberspace keeps the interaction unencumbered, detached, sterile and convenient, but are these the qualities of a neighbor? (Sanchez Files). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

25) “I am paying for the next six cars.” An editorial published in a December 1991 issue of Glamour magazine (and quoted by Mark Link in Action 2000, Tabor Pub., Allen, TX: 1993) related the story of a woman driving a red car on a toll road. Pulling up to the tollbooth, she handed the attendant seven tickets. “I am paying for the next six cars,” she said. As each of the cars stopped, the driver was told that the lady in the red car had already paid and “Have a nice day!” The woman in the red car attributed her generosity to something she had read by Anne Herbert: “Practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty.” Herbert suggested that “random kindness” is capable of creating a tidal wave just as “random violence” can. In affirmation of Herbert’s statement, the editor of Glamour extended this challenge: “Like all revolutions, guerilla goodness begins slowly, with a single act. Let it be yours.” In today’s gospel, Jesus is extending a similar challenge to believers, with one notable exception. The followers of Jesus are not called to random acts of kindness but purposeful loving service. (Sanchez Files). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

26) He treated him with compassion: Christ’s parable of the compassionate “foreigner” from Samaria is so famous that the term “Good Samaritan” has become proverbial. Joseph Lo Pa-hong of Shanghai was a real-life good Samaritan in the decades before World War II. Unlike the typical Chinese, Joseph was a Catholic, one of a family that had embraced the faith 300 years ago. Unlike the typical Chinese Catholic, he was also a man of means, highly respected in the commercial world of China, and even of Europe, where he had been decorated by the Belgian, French and Italian governments. But however successful he was in business affairs, Lo Pa-hong’s principal concern in life was the spread of the gospel and its ideals of charity.

One day in 1912 when this apostolic man was riding in his rickshaw through the city streets, a beggar approached him for alms. Lo saw the man was deathly sick, so he took him into his carriage to transport him to a hospital. But the hospital would not accept him, and the coolie pulling the rickshaw refused to transport him further because it would “harm his business”. So Joseph eventually hoisted the pauper on his own shoulders and brought him to his own home where he nursed him as well as he could. Other poor people heard of this and asked him to take them in, too. Lo Pa-hong soon opened a special house for the poor. It was the beginning of a series of charitable institutions – 16 in all – that he called St. Joseph’s Hospice. At peak the Hospice had a population of 2000 sick (including ill prison inmates), orphans, abandoned children, etc. Under Joseph’s daily supervision, the Hospice performed all the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. The founder supported it by begging, mostly from his non-Christian business friends.

War, that enemy of Charity, struck China in the 1930’s. The Japanese invaders besieged Shanghai. Lo Pa-hong lost much of his wealth in the siege. During the violence that followed, he lost his very life. On July 30, 1937 he set out from the Hospice to get some rice for his poor. Two assassins in the streets, mistaking his purpose, fired at him point-blank. The victim was taken to the hospital, received the last rites and died a few hours later. Given the opportunity before he died, this saintly Chinese Samaritan would doubtless have forgiven his murderers with all his heart. After all, they had made him a martyr to charity. -Father Robert F. McNamara). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/). L/22

 “Scriptural Homilies” Cycle C (No. 42) 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

July 4-9 weekday homilies

July 4-9: July 4 Monday: Mt 9:18-26: 18 While he was thus speaking to them, behold, a ruler came in and knelt before him, saying, “My daughter has just died; but come and lay your hand on her, and she will live.” 19 And Jesus rose and followed him, with his disciples. 20 And behold, a woman who had suffered from a hemorrhage for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment; 21 for she said to herself, “If I only touch his garment, I shall be made well.” 22 Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well. 23 And when Jesus came to the ruler’s house, and saw the flute players, and the crowd making a tumult, 24 he said, “Depart; for the girl is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. 25 But when the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took her by the hand, and the girl arose. 26 And the report of this went through all that district. Additional reflections: Click on https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections.

The context: Today’s Gospel is a beautiful presentation of two miracles, a healing and a revival-and-restoration-of-life. These miracles were worked by Jesus as reward for the trusting Faith of a synagogue ruler and of a woman with a hemorrhage. Though the ruler trusted Jesus out of desperation and the woman’s Faith may have been a bit superstitious, even their defective faith was amply rewarded.

The ruler and the woman: The ruler of the synagogue supported Jewish orthodoxy, and he could have despised Jesus who befriended sinners. But he bravely approached Jesus as a last resort when all the doctors had failed, and his daughter was dying. Since the Jews believed that one was not actually dead until three days had passed, when word came that the child had died, the ruler showed courage and Faith in staying with Jesus, ignoring the ridicule of fellow-Jews. In the same way, the woman with the bleeding disease was ritually unclean, and she was not supposed to appear in public. She had the courage and Faith to ignore a social and religious taboo in order to approach and touch the garment of Jesus from behind. Both the ruler’s daughter and the sick woman were brought back to life and to the community.

Life messages: 1) Jesus accepts us as we are. Hence, we need not wait until we have the correct motive and strong Faith to bring our problems before Jesus. Let us bring our bodily and spiritual wounds to Jesus asking for the Lord’s healing touch.

2) We do our share in Christ’s healing mission by visiting the sick, by praying for their healing, by boosting their morale through our loving presence, words of encouragement, and inspiration. (Fr. Tony) (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/22

July 4: U. S. Independence Day: Synopsis of Independence Day Homily-2022

1) This is a day to thank God for the political and religious freedom we enjoy and to pray for God’s special blessings on the rulers and the people of our country.

2) It is a day to remember with gratitude the founding fathers of our democratic republic, especially,Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence, and James Madison, the architect of the Constitution, who believed that all power, including political power, came from God and was given to the people who entrusted this power to their elected leaders.

3) It is a day toremember and pray for all our brave soldiers who made the supreme sacrifice of their lives to keep this country a safe and a free country, and for those who are now engaged in the fight against

terrorism in other countries.

4) It is day to remember the basic principle underlined in the constitution, that“all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

5) It is day to remind ourselves thatwe have a duty to protect these God-given rights by voting into power leaders who believe in God and who have character, integrity, experience, and strong belief in inalienable human rights.

6) It is day tofight forthe fundamental rightto life denied to pre-born children to grow and develop in their mothers’ wombs and to the sick and the elderly to die gracefully without fearing euthanasia.

7) It is day to pray for and work forliberation for all those who are still slaves in our free country – slaves to evil habits and addictions to nicotine, alcohol, drugs, pornography, promiscuity and sexual aberrations.

8) It is a day to take a pledge to become recommitted to doing something about our own growth in Christ, and to living as Americans who contribute something to our religion, Church, country, and the lives of others.

9) It is a day to remember where we came from, what we stand for, and the sacrifices that thousands of our countrymen have made on our behalf.

10) It is a day to raise our voice of protest against liberal, agnostic, and atheistic political leaders, media bosses, and activist, liberal judges who deny religious moral education to our young citizens.

11) It is a day to offer our country and all its citizens on the altar of God, asking His special providential care, protection and blessings.

Intercessory prayers

1) For the people of the United States, that we may be united in building a society in which everyone can have the opportunity to live with dignity and hope, we pray to the Lord. . . .

2) For the Church, that we may be a witness to Christ’s love by practicing charity and promoting justice and peace throughout the world, we pray to the Lord.

3) For Catholics throughout our nation, that the values of our faith may guide us as we exercise our responsibility as voters, we pray to the Lord. . . .

4) For the members of this community, that we may find ways to help build a world of greater respect for human life and human dignity, we pray to the Lord. . . .

5) For those who serve in elected office, that they may lead with courage and wisdom, reflecting the Church’s teaching that the moral test of our society is how the weak, the poor, and the vulnerable are faring, we pray to the Lord. . . .

6) For all citizens of the United States, that our participation in the upcoming election may lead to a world of greater respect for life and commitment to justice and peace, we pray to the Lord. . . .

7) For those who are suffering from poverty and injustice, that our decisions this election year may lead to policies and programs that help them live in dignity, we pray to the Lord. . . .

July 5 Tuesday: St. Anthony Zaccaria, Priest (https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-anthony-zaccaria) ; St. Elizabeth of Portugal (U.S.A) https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-elizabeth-of-portugal. .” Mt 9: 32-38: 32 As they were going away, behold, a dumb demoniac was brought to him.33 And when the demon had been cast out, the dumb man spoke; and the crowds marveled, saying, “Never was anything like this seen in Israel.” 34 But the Pharisees said, “He casts out demons by the prince of demons.” 35 And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every infirmity. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”Additional reflections: Click on https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections.

The context: Today’s Gospel describes the healing of a mute man by an exorcism Jesus performed during one preaching and healing journey. It also mentions the false accusation by Pharisees about Jesus’ exorcism and expresses Jesus’ sympathy for the leaderless people.

Jesus had a double mission, of preaching the Good News of God’s love and salvation and of liberating people from the power of sin, illnesses and evil spirits. The first part of today’s Gospel describes the misinterpretation of Jesus’ liberating mission by the Pharisees when Jesus healed a mute man by exorcism. In the second part, Jesus expresses true compassion for the shepherdless sheep of Israel because their shepherds were more interested in the external observance of the Law and its sacrifices than in giving people God’s words and promoting the practice of love, mercy and justice. That is why Jesus reminds the listeners to pray for genuine shepherds to feed them and lead them.

Life messages: We need to share Christ’s preaching and liberating mission. Let us remember the words of St. Teresa of Avila: “Now Jesus has no other mouths, eyes, ears, hands and feet than ours.” Jesus places a preaching and healing mission in our care and helps us to continue it. The most effective way of preaching Christ is by leading a transparent Christian life, radiating Jesus’ love, mercy and forgiveness. But we cannot liberate others as long as we are in chains. Hence, let us first receive Jesus’ liberation of us from the chains which bind us. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/22

July 6 Wednesday (St. Maria Goretti, Virgin, Martyr): https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-maria-goretti: Mt 10:1-7: 1 And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every infirmity. 2 The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus; 4 Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. 5 These twelve Jesus sent out, charging them, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, 6 but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 And preach as you go, saying, `The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Additional reflections: Click on https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections.

The context: Today’s Gospel passage gives a short account of the call and mission of the apostles The first missionary was sent to this world when God the Father dispatched His only-begotten Son, Incarnate as Jesus of Nazareth into Flesh and time with the “Good News” that God is a loving, merciful, and forgiving Father Who wants to save everyone through His Son Jesus. Today’s Gospel describes how this first missionary selects and empowers twelve future missionaries as apostles, sending them to the Jewish towns and villages as heralds, announcing the Good News that God was keeping His promises.

Special features: Jesus selected very ordinary people, most of them hard-working fishermen with no social status, learning, or political influence, because the Master was sure that they would be very effective instruments in God’s hands. It was a strange mixture of people. Matthew was a hated tax collector for a foreign power, while Simon the Cananaean was a Zealot — a fanatical nationalist determined to destroy Roman rule by any means. The others were mostly professional fishermen with a lot of good will, patience and stamina. It was only their admiration and love for Jesus that united them. Jesus selected them after a night of prayer and gave them a share in Divine powers of healing and exorcism with the mission of announcing the coming of preaching the “kingdom of God by “the One Who is to come”

Life messages: 1) As Christians, we have the same mission that Jesus entrusted to the apostles. 2) We fulfill this mission by proclaiming the word of God, primarily by our living out of Jesus’ teachings, and by promoting and helping world-wide missionary activities of the Church with prayer, moral support, and financial aid. (Fr. Tony) (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/22

July 7 Thursday: Mt 10:7-15: 7 And preach as you go, saying, `The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying, give without pay. 9 Take no gold, nor silver, nor copper in your belts, 10 no bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor a staff; for the laborer deserves his food. 11 And whatever town or village you enter, find out who is worthy in it, and stay with him until you depart. 12 As you enter the house, salute it. 13 And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. 14 And if any one will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town. 15 Truly, I say to you, it shall be more tolerable on the Day of Judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town. Additional reflections: Click on https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections

The context: Today’s Gospel describes the commissioning of the twelve apostles for the apostolic work of preparing the towns and villages for Jesus’ coming visit to them. Sent out in pairs to preach the coming of the Kingdom of God, repentance, the forgiveness of sins, and liberation, they were to follow Jesus’ detailed action-plan and bear witness to Jesus by their simple lifestyle.

Jesus’ instructions and travel tips. By his instructions, it is clear that Jesus meant his disciples to take no supplies for the road. They were simply to trust that God, the Provider, would open the hearts of believers to take care of their needs. Jesus’ instructions also suggest that the apostles should not be like the acquisitive priests of the day, interested only in gaining riches. They should be walking examples of God’s love and providence. The Jews supported their rabbis, and they judged doing so a privilege as well as an obligation, seeing hospitality as an important religious tradition. The apostles are told they should choose temporary accommodation in a reputable household, should bless the residents with God’s peace, and should be satisfied with the food and accommodation they received, not search for better. They are to preach “’the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand,’ heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, and cast out demons.”

Life messages: 1) We, too, have a witnessing mission:Each Christian is called not only to be a disciple, but also to be an apostle. As apostles, we have to evangelize the world by sharing with others, not just words, or ideas, or doctrines, but our experience of God and His Son, Jesus. It is through our transparent Christian lives that we must show the love, mercy, and concern of Jesus to the people around us. 2) We also have a liberating mission: There are many demons which can control the lives of people around us, making them helpless slaves —the demon of nicotine, the demon of alcohol, the demon of gambling, the demon of pornography, the demon of promiscuous sex, the demon of materialism, and the demon of consumerism. We need the help of Jesus to liberate ourselves and others from these things. (Fr. Tony) (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/22

July 8 Friday: Mt 10:16-23: 16Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves.17 Beware of men; for they will deliver you up to councils, and flog you in their synagogues, 18 and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear testimony before them and the Gentiles. 19 When they deliver you up, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour; 20 for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. 21 Brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; 22 and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to another. Amen, I say to you, you will not finish the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes. Additional reflections: Click on https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections.

The context: Matthew’s Judeo-Christian community had experienced much persecution. Jesus’ prophetic words, “You will be dragged before governors and kings” and “brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child, and children will rise and have them put to death,” were beginning to be fulfilled. The Apostle James had been martyred by King Herod, and the lives of other apostles were also in danger. Hence, by repeating Jesus’ warning to the apostles, Matthew encouraged his Judeo-Christians to rely on Jesus’ promise of the protective power of a providing God as they persevered in Faith and its practice.

Persecutions, past and present: Jesus gave his frank warning to the apostles that their lives and their future followers’ lives were not going to be beds of roses. Jesus foretold three types of persecution awaiting Christians: by the Roman government, by the local Jewish synagogues, and by their Jewish or pagan family members. The main accusations against the first-century Christians were that they were cannibals, atheists, and incendiaries, that they practiced immorality during worship services, that they caused their families to split, and that they considered slaves as equals –in an empire with 60 million slaves!

Life messages: 1) Although we have freedom to practice the religion of our choice, the extreme interpretation of the “separation of Church and state” policy eliminates the religious instruction and moral training of children in public schools, allowing youngsters who are not given this training at home to grow up as pagans. 2) The secular media, run by atheists and agnostics, ridicule all religious beliefs and practices, inflicting a type of “white martyrdom” on believers and “brain-washing the unwary and children. Hence, the duty of parents to see that their children receive religious and moral instruction from their parishes and families becomes more important daily. (Fr. Tony) (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/22

July 9 Saturday: (St. Augustine Zhao Rong, Priest and Companions Martyrs); https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-augustine-zhao-rong-and-companions Mt 10: 24-33: 24 “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master; 25 it is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household. 26 “So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, utter in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim upon the housetops. 28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father’s will. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. 32 So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven; 33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven Additional reflections: Click on https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections.

The context: Today’s Gospel passage comes from the end of Jesus’ instruction to the apostles, sending, them forth to carry on the mission of preaching and healing, and instructing them to live simple lives, expecting opposition and rejection. Predicting future opposition and persecution, Jesus encourages the apostles to stand firm., three times urging them, and us, “Do not fear!” “Do not be afraid!” Thus, we know that we, too, will be successful despite the opposition we encounter.

Have no fear. Jesus gives three reasons why the apostles, and we, should not be frightened. The first reason is that their mission will succeed, and opponents will not be able to prevent Jesus’ followers from succeeding in their mission because God will expose their evil plans and deeds: “Nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered.” The Lord “will bring to light the hidden things of darkness” (1 Cor 4:5) and will vindicate the faithful. That God will not permit evil to win is the promise of v. 26. The second reason not to be afraid is the limited power of our opponents. They can kill the body, which dies all too soon anyway, but have no power over the soul. The third reason we should not be afraid is the providential care and protection of their Heavenly Father who cares for all His creatures. We are more important to God than sparrows “sold at two for a penny.” The God Who cares for a trivial bird like the sparrow also cares about our smallest problems – even counting the hairs on our heads. While this is an encouraging assurance, we may find it difficult to believe in the midst of persecution.

Life message: Be not afraid: We can suffer from many fears: (A) Fear of Loss: a) Loss of life by illness or accident; b) Loss of dear ones – spouse, children, parents; c) Loss of belongings and property or savings; d) Loss of job; e) Loss of good name and reputation by slanderers (B) Baseless fears due to mental illness. C) Global fears about terrorist attack, nuclear holocaust, plagues, like Corvic-19, war etc. When we are afraid let us remind ourselves that God cares – we are each a dear child of His and He cares for each of us. “Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (Fr. Tony) (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/22

O. T. XIV (C) Sunday homily (July 3, 2022)

OT XIV [C] Sunday (July 3) (Eight-minute homily in one page)  L/22

Introduction: Today’s Scriptures are about announcing the Good News. They remind us that announcing the Good News of the Kingdom by words, deeds, and life is not the task of only a few. Rather, it is a task for all baptized Christians.

Scripture lessons: In the first reading, Isaiah announces the good news to the returned Babylonian exiles that the ruined and desolate Jerusalem will take care of them “as a mother comforts her baby son.” Isiah assures the returned Jews that they will live in the certainty of Yahweh’s promises of love, protection, prosperity, and salvation. In today’s second reading, Paul removes the confusion created by the Judaizers in the minds of the new Gentile Christians of Galatia. He clearly conveys the good news that it is Jesus’ death on the cross which brings one’s salvation and not Jewish heritage or practice of Torah laws. Paul reminds us that the mission of each member of the Church is to bear witness to the saving power of the cross of Christ through a life of sacrificial, self-giving service.

In today’ Gospel, Luke describes the fulfillment of the prophetic promise made by Isaiah in Jesus’ commissioning of 72 disciples to preach the Gospel or the good news of God’s love and salvation in towns and villages in preparation for his own visit. Jesus gives the paired disciples “travel tips” for their missionary journey. They must be walking witnesses of God’s providence, relying on the hospitality of others, living very simple lives, preaching the Good News and healing the sick. Today’s Gospel reminds us that we, the 1.5 billion Christians in the world today, have the mission of the 72, to preach the Gospel of Christ to the rest of world’s 4.5 billion non-Christians.

Life Messages: 1) We need to continue the proclamation of the Gospel: Just as Jesus, in today’s Gospel, gave instructions to the seventy-two missionaries, he also gives each one of us a mission to carry out. As faithful Christians, we should attract others to the Faith by leading exemplary lives, just as a rose silently attracts people by its beauty and fragrance. This is our job and our responsibility. We must not miss the current opportunities to be apostles through our words and deeds in everyday life.

2) We need to avoid giving the counter-witness of practicing the “supermarket Catholicism” of our politicians who publicly proclaim their “Catholicism” and yet support abortion, gay marriage, human cloning, and experimentation with human embryos. Nor should we be “armchair Catholics,” “cafeteria Catholics” or “Sunday Catholics” who bear counter-witness to Christ through our lives.

3) Let us start proclaiming the Gospel in our families by leading exemplary Christian lives, in which spouses love and respect each other, raise their children in the spirit of obedience and service, discipline them with forgiving love and teach them through persistent example to pray, love, and help others by sharing their blessings.

OT XIV [C] (July 3): Is 66:10-14c; Gal 6:14-18; Lk 10:1-12, 17-20

Homily starter anecdotes # 1: Jesus needs leaders: One leader in the Old Testament who possessed both expressive and instrumental leadership abilities was Josiah (2 Kings 22-23). King Josiah was a great leader. When he came to the throne of Judah at age eight, the nation was essentially pagan. Heathen altars stood on the high hills, and the people offered incense to false gods. The Lord God was forgotten. The Law was lost. The Temple was closed, and the Passover was only a distant memory. When King Josiah died 31 years later, the nation had been completely changed! The pagan altars were only piles of rubble. The Covenant with God had been renewed. The Law once again was read and revered. The Temple doors were opened, and the priests fulfilled their duties faithfully. The Passover was celebrated, and the Lord God, Yahweh, was worshiped. Josiah was a leader who knew how to lead God’s people, Israel. — Today’s Gospel outlines Jesus’ action plan for future leaders in his Church, including parents. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

# 2: One-man army for Christ: The story of St. Philip Neri, who earned the title “Apostle of Rome” in the 16th century, is an example of the missionary zeal demanded by today’s Gospel. Philip came down to Rome in the early 1500s as an immigrant from Florence and a layman. When he arrived, he was horrified by the physical and moral devastation of the city. Rome had been sacked in 1527 by the Germans who had left much of the city in ruins. The Gospel wasn’t being preached, and many priests and cardinals were living in open defiance of Christ’s moral teachings. Philip prayed to God to learn what he might do. He read the letters that St. Francis Xavier had sent back to Europe from
India, where he had been converting tens of thousands. Philip thought that God was calling him to follow the great Basque missionary to India, to give his life in proclaiming the Gospel. When he went to his spiritual director and told him what he thought God was asking of him, the wise old priest affirmed his desire to serve and bear witness to Christ. However, he told Philip to focus his attention on re-evangelizing those around him, declaring, “Rome is to be your India!” This was quite a task for one man. But Philip, relying on God’s help, started — first as a layman, then as a priest — to convert Rome, one person at a time. He would cheerfully go to street corners and say, “Friends, when are we going to start to do good?” He developed various entertaining social and religious activities to give the people, especially the young people, better alternatives for their hearts and time than those offered by the debauched culture around them. His impact was enormous, and when he died in 1595, much of Rome had been reconverted. –The same God who spoke to Philip almost five hundred years ago challenges each one of us this morning through the Scriptures, “Your home and your family, your workplace and your parish are your mission field!” (https://frtonyshomilies.com/.)

Introduction: Today’s Scriptures are about announcing the Good News. They remind us that announcing the Good News of the Kingdom by words, deeds, and life is not the task of only a few. Rather, it is a task for all baptized Christians.
Scripture lessons summarized: In the first reading, Isaiah announces the good news to the returned Babylonian exiles that the ruined and desolate Jerusalem will take care of them “as a mother comforts her baby son.” Isiah assures the returned Jews that they will live in the certainty of Yahweh’s promises of love, protection, prosperity, and salvation. In today’s Responsorial Psalm (Ps 66), the Psalmist urges, “sing praise to the glory of God all the earth,” because of the wonders He has done. In today’s second reading , Paul removes the confusion created by the Judaizers in the minds of the new Gentile Christians of Galatia. He clearly conveys the good news that  it is Jesus’ death on the cross which brings one’s salvation and not Jewish heritage  or practice of Torah laws. Paul reminds us that the mission of each member of the Church is to bear witness to the saving power of the cross of Christ through a life of loving, sacrificial, self-giving service. In today’ Gospel, Luke describes the fulfillment of the prophetic promise made by Isaiah, in Jesus’ commissioning of 72 disciples to preach the Gospel, or the Good News of God’s love and salvation, in towns and villages in preparation for his own visit. Jesus gives the paired disciples “travel tips” for their missionary journey. They must be walking witnesses of God’s providence by relying on the hospitality of others, living very simple lives, preaching the Good News and healing the sick.  Today’s Gospel reminds us that the 1.5 billion Christians in the world today have the mission of the 72, to proclaim the Gospel of Christ to the other 4.5 billion non-Christians.

First reading: Isaiah 66:10-14 explained: The prophet Isaiah is encouraging the Jews, who are returning to Israel from Babylonian exile, to see their beloved city of God, Jerusalem, alive under its ruins.  In poetic and symbolic language, he describes the prosperity and peace which the New Jerusalem will give them. Both the Holy City of Jerusalem and God are presented under the image of a mother. The returned exiles will have the experience of a child being fondled by its loving mother. They will be like suckling infants enjoying the comfort and nurture of a mother because the city will give them the experience of Yahweh’s love and care, the Temple of Jerusalem will represent and house God’s presence in their midst, and “the Lord’s power shall be known to his servants.” The prophet calls on his fellow-Jews to rejoice and be glad because Jerusalem will be greater, more peaceful, and more prosperous than she ever was before. In today’ Gospel, Luke describes the fulfillment of the prophetic promise made by Isaiah in Jesus’ commissioning of 72 disciples to preach the Gospel in towns and villages in preparation for his visit.

The Second Reading, Galatians 6:14-18 explained. Today we hear the concluding words of Paul’s letter to the Galatians. Shortly after Paul left Galatia, some ultra-conservative Judeo-Christians (“Judaizers”) arrived there from Jerusalem. They taught that, since the historical Jesus was Jewish, circumcised, and observant of the Torah, his disciples had to be circumcised as Jews and had to observe the Torah. Responding, Paul wrote a letter to those in Galatia who were disturbed and confused by these new teachings. Paul was angry with the Galatians for their stupidly in accepting the false arguments of the Judaizers.  In the letter, Paul argues forcefully that God requires no such thing, and that keeping such a false obligation is nothing to boast about.  Astonishingly, Paul boasts about what would otherwise be shameful, the execution of Jesus on the cross. “Crucified to the world” is another strong image, meaning that Paul’s relationship with the world is no longer governed by the old Mosaic Law or anything else from the past, but by his relationship with Christ crucified.

Gospel exegesis: Travel tips for the seventy-two walking witnesses on their first mission trip: While all the synoptic Gospels mention a mission of the Twelve, only Luke adds a second mission of the 72.  Moses selected the seventy-two elders to guide and govern his people. (The number of 70/72 disciples sent to prepare the way for Christ and His Kingdom are possibly linked to the 70 kingdoms/nations listed as the descendants of Noah in Genesis Chapter 10. Agape Bible Study.).Here, Luke shows us Jesus doing something similar, sending out in pairs, seventy-two other disciples to towns and villages to announce his visit.  In this way, Jesus connects his Messianic mission with the whole of Israel’s history in which 72 had become a symbolic number. In the Book of Genesis, seventy descendants of Jacob moved with him from Israel to Egypt to begin a new life.  In the Book of Exodus, seventy elders go up the Mountain of God along with Moses to learn about the new Covenant with YHWH. The Jews also believed that there were seventy-two nations in the whole world, and they had seventy-two members in the Sanhedrin, the supreme council of the Jews. Each of us, by the very fact that we have heard the Lord’s call, is likewise sent on a mission. Hence, announcing the Good News of the kingdom is not something optional for a Christian. The disciples received instructions as to how they were to carry out their mission. For example, they were to “carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals.” There is also an ominous warning that they are sent as “lambs among wolves.” Their guidelines were simple: go where they were received (verses 5-6); remain in one place (verse 7) and eat what was set before them (verse 8). This would help them avoid the appearance of being mercenary.  The basic idea behind Jesus’ instruction is that his disciples were sent as walking witnesses, and, hence, they were not to
depend on anything or anybody except on the Holy Spirit of God and on Divine providence.

1) “Ask the Lord of the harvest to send workers to the harvest.” The mission of the seventy-two disciples was not a human project, and, hence, they needed strength from God to do the work.   In proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom, we, too, participate in God’s work. It is the Lord Who is working in and through us. He gives us the power to announce His presence with our lives. Therefore, constant contact with the Lord of the harvest is necessary.   This means that we must be men and women of prayer — not only for an hour a week at Mass but on a daily basis.

2) “Do not carry a walking staff or traveling bag; wear no sandals.” In Jesus’ day, travelers carried a stick as a defense against snakes and wild animals, and used sandals as an aid in traveling along dusty roads and rocky byways.  Likewise, a change of clothing as well as food and drink were thought necessary—but Jesus forbade all these. His command was that the disciples should give up even these
necessities so as to be both a living act of Faith in God and “walking signs” to those who saw them.  The disciples were only armed with their Faith and the name of Jesus. They needed nothing more. Their detachment from material goods would enable them to uphold the absolute priority of preaching the Good News. They did not need a staff or provisions because God would take care of them through the people to whom they were to preach. The spirit of detachment would also help them to trust more deeply in Divine Providence and would oblige them to rely humbly on the hospitality of those who were receptive to the Gospel. Their life-style should help proclaim their message: “The reign of God is at hand.” In other words, “God is among you as Jesus of Nazareth, working with power.”

3) “Greet no one along the way.” (See also 2 Kings 4:29). This instruction implies that the mission was so urgent that nothing should divert the disciples from it.  Likewise, the disciples were told to travel in pairs (perhaps for mutual support), suggesting that the work of evangelization should be a collective one.

4) Acceptance and rejection: One of the reasons we prefer to delegate our Lord’s evangelistic work to priests, religious,  and missionaries is that we fear rejection. When by our words and lifestyles we tell others about Jesus, we sometimes find ourselves labeled as “religious fanatics,” “Bible-thumpers,” or perhaps, simply as “old-fashioned.” Many times, we take the rejection personally.  Jesus prepared the Apostles, and us for this kind of rejection, saying,  “Into whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this household.” If a peaceful person lives there, your peace will rest on him,’ but if not, it will return to you.’”   This means, “Don’t take it personally.  You have done your part, so don’t worry about the outcome.” He goes on, telling them, “Rejoice because your names are written in Heaven” in the Book of Life! “ It is not up to us to force anyone to accept Jesus. Our mission is to prepare the way. If a person’s heart is open, the Lord will enter in.

5) Preach that the Kingdom of God is at hand. The Kingdom of God comes into being wherever God reigns, and wherever His will is done. The Kingdom of God is present in the people through whom God acts. “Hence the early Church equated Christ with the Kingdom of God because God reigns in Christ, God’s will is done in Christ, and God acts through Christ” (Lumen Gentium, #5). Thus, to proclaim the Kingdom of God is the same as to proclaim Christ. In fact, the Church from its beginning, by proclaiming the Good News of Christ, was being faithful to his mandate to proclaim the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God has come upon us if God reigns in our hearts, if we do God’s will, and if God acts through us.


Life Messages: 1) We need to continue Christ’s  mission by proclaiming the Good News: Just as Jesus in today’s Gospel gives instructions to the seventy-two missionaries, he also gives each one of us a mission to carry out. There were just a handful of followers in Jesus’ day to preach the Good News, but today there are over one billion Roman Catholics and about a half billion other Christians (in 30,000 denominations!) who accept Jesus as “Lord” and “Savior.” So there are 1.5 billion missionaries in a world of six billion people.  A recent survey asked the question, “Why do adults join the Catholic Church in spite of the scandals publicized in the media?”  Seventy-five percent of the new adult converts to the Catholic Church reported that they were attracted by a personal invitation from a Catholic who had a lively relationship with Christ and his Church.  As faithful Catholics, we will attract others to the Catholic Church—just as a rose attracts people by its beauty and fragrance. It’s our job.  It’s our responsibility. We must not miss the current opportunities to be apostles in everyday life by our words and deeds.

2) We need to foster a vibrant, supportive, welcoming parish life.  Our parish is our immediate spiritual family in this extended worldwide fold. We are not meant to live as isolated individuals within the parish any more than we are meant to live in isolation within our families. We are meant to be a community. That is why it is so important for us to foster a vibrant, supportive, welcoming parish life. This is why we emphasize hospitality as one of the pillars of stewardship. It is not enough just to point others to Christ; we must invite them to join us in community with Him; we must offer a place and mission for them in the Church and within our parish family. (Stewarship Reflections by Catholic Stewardship Consultants).

3)  We need to avoid giving counter-witness:  The Church is founded on the rock of Peter, a humble, uneducated fisherman who died for the Lord he loved. Compare his Faith and heroic witnessing with the “supermarket Catholicism” of our politicians who publicly proclaim their “Catholicism,” yet support abortion, gay marriage, human cloning, and experimentation with human embryos. We should not be “Catholics for a Free Choice” who oppose anything proposed by the Church, including the most basic right to life. Nor should we be armchair Catholics, spiritual weekend-warriors, “cafeteria Catholics,” or “barely-make-it-to-Mass” members of the Church, who bear counter-witness to Christ. Instead of giving counter-witness, let us become heralds of the Kingdom in our own homes by treating each other with profound respect. When spouses respect each other and, thus, teach their children to do the same, our neighbors will experience the Kingdom in our families, because the Kingdom of God is God’s rule in our hearts, enabling us to do His will.

4) The modern world needs the heroic witnessing of martyrs. The early writers of the Church never called the first Christians “martyrs,” in the modern sense of the word, but rather gave that name to those who died “giving witness” (martyrein) to Christ. The most important element wasn’t their deaths; it was their fidelity to their Faith until the last moment of their lives. Martyrs are not people to be relegated to the distant past. Recent history abounds with examples of martyrdom: civil war in Spain, religious persecution in Poland, Mexico, Vietnam, Russia, China, and Africa. The names of Edith Stein (Germany), Maximilian
Kolbe (Poland), Miguel Pro (Mexico), and Pedro Poveda (Spain) are only the beginning of a long list of innocent victims, witnesses for their Faith. Even today, religious freedom is still denied in various countries and, in fact, several Muslim nations forbid the celebration of the Sacraments. In our day, there are also “moral martyrs” who, although they are never physically killed, die an ignominious death, persecuted in the press, defamed in the media and falsely accused of faults they never committed. As successors of the seventy-two disciples, we are called upon to do Christ’s work with the courage of these martyrs’ convictions.


JOKES OF THE WEEK (on the preaching mission).# 1 The definition of a good sermon: It should have a good beginning and a good ending, and they should be as close together as possible. (George Burns).  A rule of thumb for preachers: If after ten minutes you haven’t struck oil, stop boring! A pastor was greeting folks at the door after the service. A woman said, “Father, that was a very good sermon.” The pastor says, “Oh, I have to give the credit to the Holy Spirit.” “Then it wasn’t THAT good!” she says. A priest, whose sermons were very long and boring, announced in the Church on a Sunday that he had been transferred to another Church and that it was Jesus’ wish that he leave that week. The congregation in the Church got up and sang: “What a Friend we have in Jesus!”

# 2: Boring preacher:  A man was walking a pit bull down the road. The dog got away, ran up to a preacher and bit him on the knee. Then the dog went across
the street and bit a beautiful young woman. The owner was brought before a judge who asked, “Why did your dog bite the preacher?” The man answered, “I don’t know! He’s never done anything like that before.” Then the judge asked, “Well why did he bite the young woman?” The owner replied, “Oh that’s easy to answer! Probably he wanted to get the taste of that boring preacher out of his mouth!”

# 3: Place of amusement:  A pastor who was well known for the jokes he told during his sermons asked Park Benjamin, a famous humorist, why he never came to hear him preach. Benjamin replied, “Why, Sir, the fact is, I have conscientious scruples against going to places of amusement on
Sunday.”

# 4: Abraham Lincoln put it rather strongly but effectively, when he said: “I do not care for cut-and-dried sermons. When I hear a man preach, I like to see him act as if he were fighting a bumblebee.

Useful Websites of the Week

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

 

2) Video Sunday-Scripture study by Fr. Geoffrey Plant:

https://www.youtube.com/user/GeoffreyPlant2066

3) 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/

4)  The seventy disciples: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seventy_disciples

2) http://www.sermonsfromseattle.com/series_c_commissioning_of_the_seventy_GA.htm

5)Daily Catholic: http://www.dailycatholic.org/issue/04Jan/index.htm

6) EWTN Library: http://www.ewtn.com/ewtn/library/search.asp

Videos on the commissioning of disciples 

  • https://youtu.be/zPrNre3ENqs
  • https://youtu.be/e-3TEnEzXHk
  • 25 Additional anecdotes:

  • # 1: Doctors needed in Africa: Albert Schweitzer, the missionary doctor and Nobel Laureate, was born in 1875 in the region of Alsace, an area claimed vigorously both by France and Germany.  Schweitzer was always attracted to scholarship and to his father’s ministry in the Church as pastor.   He earned degrees in Theology and Philosophy while at the same time serving as a curate for a small congregation. And he kept that small ministry even when he was teaching at a prestigious university and writing a foundational work of theology, Quest of the Historical Jesus, in 1905. Schweitzer also achieved renown as an authority on the music of J.S. Bach.  An organist of international repute, he produced a great edition of Bach’s works and wrote a six-hundred-page study of the composer. One day he chanced upon a notice in a magazine describing the need for doctors in Africa. And so he decided to leave behind all his accomplishments and answer the call. His friends and colleagues thought he was mad.  But his mind was made up.  He earned a medical degree with a specialty in tropical diseases and presented himself to the Paris Missionary Society, which sent him with his wife to the area of Africa now called Gabon.  Within months he had designed and built an African-village-style hospital. He tried by his work as a missionary doctor to relate Christianity to the sacredness of life in all its forms. He followed strictly the guidelines for the preaching and healing mission Jesus gave to the seventy-two disciples, as described in today’s Gospel, and he became one of the great Christian missionaries of the twentieth century (https://frtonyshomilies.com/). 2) 007 – James Bond and Jesus’ disciples. James Bond, according to MI5, is simply unacceptable as a spy. At least that is what MI5 said. In March 2003, MI5–Great Britain’s domestic intelligence agency–reported that characters like James Bond are too tall to serve as spies in Her Majesty’s Service because good spies should blend in with those around them.  Since the average man is 6′ tall or less, then the upper acceptable height limit for Great Britain’s male spies is 5′ 11″ and for female spies, the upper limit is 5′ 8″. All the actors who have played James Bond in the movies have been 6′ or taller. By MI5’s current standards, none of them would have been qualified to serve as real domestic spies. A secret agent can’t exactly keep his secret status if he stands out too much [CNN.com – James Bond “too tall” to be a spy – Mar 6, 2004, International Edition London, England (Reuters).] — I don’t think that Jesus chose his disciples on the basis of their height, do you? As he sent them out into the world, he certainly didn’t seem concerned that they would stand out too much. In fact, he warned them that they would stand out as walking witnesses of Jesus’ Good News – and that their mission could be dangerous (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

    3) “He did.” When Disney World opened in 1971, Walt Disney was not present to witness the grand opening of his greatest dream come true – he had died five years earlier. During the spectacular opening ceremonies, the host of the festivities introduced Walt’s widow, Lillian Disney, who would say a few words on stage for the occasion. “Mrs. Disney,” the host beamed with reverence, “I wish Walt could have seen this.” Lillian stood up, walked over to the podium, adjusted the microphone, and said, “He did.” And then she sat down. That simple statement said it all. [Pat Croce, Lead or Get Off the Pot! (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2004), p. 9.] — Today’s Gospel tells us how Jesus planned the future of his church by selecting and training his disciples. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

    4) “I am Spartacus.” Spartacus was a slave who led an uprising against the Roman government … but the slaves were all captured by the Romans. The Roman general told them if they revealed Spartacus to him, he would spare their lives. At that moment, Spartacus stands and says, “I am Spartacus.” Unexpectedly, the slave next to him stands and says, “I am Spartacus.” And the next and the next until the entire group is standing.This inspiring scene illustrates the role of a leader in the Church to create levels of engagement such that when we, as leaders, stand on an issue, our people will stand with us. [Ken Blanchard and Mark Miller, The Secret (San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc., 2004), p. 53.] Today’s Gospel outlines the action plan for future leaders in the Church. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

    5) Serving leaders: Serving leaders make a powerful difference in society and in the Church. Like leaven, light, and salt, great serving leaders are examples like Josiah, and also like Nelson Mandela, who after 28 years in jail came out and was not angry. In fact, he invited his jailers to his inauguration. Jimmy Carter is perhaps the greatest ex-president, winning the Nobel Peace Prize, championing Habitat for Humanity, and various peace initiatives. There’s Martin Luther King Jr. and, of course, our Lord Jesus of Nazareth who served with a servant heart all the way to the cross. — Today’s Gospel describes what servant leadership means. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

    6) Captain James T. Kirk, Commander of the starship Enterprise. Kirk was not the smartest guy on the ship … so why did he get to climb on board the Enterprise and run it? The answer: There is this skill set called leadership. Kirk was the distilled essence of the dynamic manager, a guy who knew how to delegate, had the passion to inspire, and looked good in what he wore to work. He never professed to have skills greater than his subordinates … he established the vision, the tone. He was in charge of morale. [Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture (New York: Hyperion, 2008), pp. 43-44.] — The Church needs morale-boosting servant leaders as outlined in today’s Gospel (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

    7) “Americans are willing to lie at the drop of a hat.” That is the conclusion of a recently published book entitled The Day America Told the Truth. The book is based on a survey which supports the fact that an alarming number of the citizens of our country have chosen the way of falsity–rather than the virtue of truth. Of those polled, ninety-one percent said they routinely lie. Assured of anonymity, the cross-section of Americans responding to some eighteen hundred questions, made the following admissions: 86% said that they lie regularly to parents; 75% lie to friends; 73% lie to siblings; 69% lie to spouses. One of the authors says that “lying is a part of Americans’ lives.” —  Does anything strike at the heart of virtue and morality more than the erosion of truth? To the folks who founded our country, it was inconceivable that the daring experiment of freedom would prosper without the blessing and the guidance of God, or that it would continue without the moral commitment of the people tempered by God’s judgment. Because of those beliefs, they drafted laws, and set in place the structures of a government which would encourage people to seek and uphold the truth, to choose what is right and to do it, and to live out what God required through the high moral demands of Scripture and the ethical teachings of Jesus. Thomas Jefferson, who, by his belief and commitment, helped shape the foundations of America perhaps more than any other person, revealed how intensely he believed in this moral accountability before God when he said, “I tremble for my country when I remember that God is just!” Today’s Gospel tells us how Christians should bear witness to Christ by the truth by their lives of integrity and holiness. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

          8) Where are the Church leaders? Barbara Tuchman, the acclaimed historian and Pulitzer Prize winner died in 1988. Just before her death, one of her essays appeared in the New York Times Sunday Magazine. Here is portion: “Decline of a nation or a society” (she wrote), “is a provocative historical problem. In Rome, it is associated with external pressure coupled with internal weakness. In the ancient Greek cities of Asia Minor (like Ephesus), it can be traced to the silting of harbors through environmental neglect, closing them to access by sea. In the Aztec Empire of Mexico, it was the invasion of ruthless Europeans. … In the United States, who knows? Will it be moral collapse from within? One certainly experiences a deteriorating ethic at every level of society, and with it, incompetence from the people who no longer function at their utmost, who grow lax and accept the mediocre. Violence is also symptomatic of a nation’s decline, and today’s deepening climate of bloody violence is not reassuring. More disturbing, however, is what is missing in American attitudes and public opinion: Where is the outrage? Why aren’t people angry about violence, injustice and immorality? Why aren’t we angry over misconduct and incompetence in Government by public officials of the highest rank? Where is the outrage over racism, over fraud in business, over deceit and betrayal of trust, over the trivialization of morality, where it is ‘moral’ if it works or makes us feel good? Anger when anger is due is necessary for self-respect and for the respect of this nation by other nations.…—  What has become of national self-respect, not to mention common decency? Why do we keep turning back to Sodom and Gomorrah?” (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

    9) Kim the missionary: A true story told by Father Ray.  A couple of months ago, a man from our parish, Kim by name, came up to me and said, “Fr. Ray, please say an extra prayer for me. I’m giving a talk this afternoon to some high school teenagers at a public school, which my nephew attends.   This year his class has been having ‘motivational speakers’ talk about how they have overcome the obstacles and difficulties they’ve faced in their lives. My nephew asked me to come and share my story.” Fr. Ray said to him, “That’s a public school, you know. Do you plan to tell them everything?” He asked that question because he knew Kim’s story. Kim’s step-son had been murdered, his step-daughter had died of cancer a week after she graduated from high school and his wife had been killed in a car accident. Prior to these tragedies Kim had lived the life of a pagan and hadn’t even been baptized.   In the midst of the terrible sadness caused by these tragic events, however, he had opened his heart to God and embraced the Catholic faith. So Father Ray knew that if Kim were going to tell them everything—including the part about the Church and Sacraments—the officials at the school might not like it. So Fr. Ray repeated the question, “Do you plan to tell them everything?” Without hesitation, Kim answered, “Absolutely!”  Fr. Ray then told him, “Then I’ll definitely pray for you – and if you get arrested for mentioning God, Jesus and the Catholic Church in a public school, I promise to come and visit you in prison!” Kim gave the talk. And what happened? The young people loved it! They thought it was so great that they voted him “the best speaker of the year,” and asked him to return in the fall to tell his story to the whole school! —  This current incident illustrates the deep hunger for God still present in this materialistic world, and it shows that young people like to hear authentic, sincere, witnessing to Jesus Christ. In today’s Gospel text (Luke 10), we are told that Jesus sent out seventy-two disciples into the towns he was planning to visit, to prepare people for his arrival. The disciples were to do this by proclaiming the Good News of God’s love and salvation and by healing the sick.  This is what Kim did for those high school students! He healed the sick of heart by his words of witness, and he helped prepare some of them to receive Jesus Christ more fully into their lives! (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

    10) Travel guides: Savvy travelers about to embark on a trip often prepare themselves by consulting the appropriate experts. A wealth of helpful information can be found in the form of travel guides, which are readily available at any local library or bookstore. Therein travelers, amateur tourists, and veteran globe-trotters alike, can become familiar with what there is to see and to do in their chosen destination. Maps of the region aid in planning travel routes. Charts of average temperatures and rainfalls, addresses and telephone numbers of tour operators, timetables for buses and trains, calendars of special events, tables of the monetary exchange rate and listings of local museums, galleries, post offices, markets, banks, etc., all prove helpful to those who wish their travels to be uneventful and worry-free. Many guide books also include a region by region description of the most important and interesting sites to visit as well as a brief survey of the history of the area and a profile of the personality of the local residents. Budget-minded or financially-strapped travelers usually appreciate the travel guides’ recommendations as to the price ranges of various restaurants, hotels and motels. Some guides contain descriptions and recommendations as to the local cuisine and certain gourmet specialties. Many also provide a brief dictionary of important words and useful phrases to facilitate the travelers’ efforts at communication. A few of the more detailed travel books even offer tips concerning certain mores and cultural sensitivities of which the average tourist may be unaware. More often than not, those who avail themselves of such information enjoy more pleasant and memorable travel experiences. — In today’s Gospel, Luke has featured Jesus detailing a list of travel tips and information of a very different sort; while this advice may not compare to that which is included in a Fodor’s or a Michelin or any other such guide, it is nevertheless valuable and necessary for every would-be disciple. (Patricia Datchuck Sánchez) (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

    11) “Ma’am, before you do that again:” There is a funny story about two young Mormon missionaries who were going door to door. They knocked on the door of one woman who was not at all happy to see them. The woman told them in no uncertain terms that she did not want to hear their message and slammed the door in their faces. To her surprise, however, the door did not close and, in fact, almost magically bounced back open. She tried again, really putting her back into it and slammed the door again with the same amazing result–the door bounced back open. Convinced that one of the young religious zealots was sticking their foot in the door, she reared back to give it a third slam. She felt this would really teach them a lesson. — But before she could act, one of them stopped her and politely said, “Ma’am, before you do that again, you really should move your spare shoe blocking the door.” (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

    12) Need of door-to-door preaching: There was an interesting story in Readers Digest sometime back by Elise Miller Davis titled, “When Someone Is Drowning, It’s No Time To Teach Him How to Swim.” Ms. Davis tells of sitting near a swimming pool one day and hearing a commotion. A head was bobbing in and out of the deepest water. Ms. Davis saw a man rush to the edge of the pool and heard him yell, “Hold your breath! Hold your breath!” Then a young lady joined him, screaming, “Turn on your back and float!” Their voices caught the attention of the lifeguard. Like a flash, he ran the length of the pool, jumped in, and pulled the man in trouble to safety. Later, the lifeguard said to Ms. Davis, “Why in the name of Heaven didn’t somebody holler that one word—’Help’? When someone’s drowning, it’s no time to teach him how to swim.” — Do you understand that there are people in our community who are barely staying afloat? Families are disintegrating, young people are becoming chemically addicted, middle-aged people are facing life-crises that would blow your minds. Just because the strategy of going out two-by-two door-to-door is outmoded doesn’t mean the need has disappeared. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

     13) Practical leadership: Ray Sexton, a psychiatrist, tells about a troubled man who went to see a psychiatrist. After customary introductions, the psychiatrist asked him to tell him his problem. Embarrassedly, the patient reported that he had difficulty when he arrived in his home. He would walk into his bedroom thinking that something was under his bed. Consequently, he would crawl under his bed, look thoroughly and seeing nothing, he would then be hit with the idea that something was on top of his bed. Quickly, he would look to the top of his bed closely and see nothing. Again, the idea would hit him that something was under his bed. He would then drop down under his bed looking thoroughly and see nothing. He would feel that something was on top of his bed again. This would go on over and over. Top, underneath, top, underneath, top, underneath. The gentleman told the psychiatrist that this was driving him crazy. He needed some relief in order to carry on his other business. The psychiatrist reassured him that he had a correctable problem but that it would require weekly visits to dig out the deeper-rooted conflicts. The cost would be $100 per visit, per week over a period of about two years. Somewhat dazed, the patient left the office without making his appointments. He was not seen or heard from by the psychiatrist for about six months. The psychiatrist accidentally ran into him at a neighborhood restaurant. The psychiatrist asked him, “Joe I haven’t heard from you! Whatever happened?” The patient said, “Well when you told me how long it would take and the expense, I was devastated. I immediately went to the bar to drink away my despair but the bartender cured me in one session for ten dollars. I haven’t had a problem since.” The psychiatrist asked him, “What in the world did the bartender do?” Joe happily responded, “The bartender told me to go home and saw the legs off of my bed.” — Leadership in the Church means the ability to solve the people’s problems in the Gospel way. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

    14) The story “Picture of Peace” by Catherine Marshall.  There once was a king  who offered a prize to the artist who would paint the best picture on peace. Many artists tried. The king looked at all the pictures. But there were only two he really liked, and he had to choose between them.    One picture was of a calm lake. The lake was a perfect mirror for peaceful towering mountains all around it. Overhead was a blue sky with fluffy white clouds. All who saw this picture thought that it was a perfect picture of peace.  The other picture too had mountains. But these were rugged and bare. Above was an angry sky, from which rain fell and in which lightning played. Down the side of the mountain tumbled a foaming waterfall. This did not look peaceful at all. But when the king looked closely, he saw behind the waterfall a tiny bush growing in a crack in the rock. In the bush a mother bird had built her nest. There, in the midst of the
    rush of angry water, sat the mother bird on her nest – in perfect peace. Which picture do you think won the prize? — The king chose the second picture. Do you know why?  “Because” explained the king, “peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be in calm in your heart. This is the real meaning of
    peace.” This Sunday’s Gospel reading (Lk 10:1-12, 17-20), tells us about the mission of the seventy-two disciples who are called to be peace-bearers and peace givers. (Stories for the Heart, compiled by Alice Gray). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

    15) Leader in Christ’s Church should sharpen his axe by prayer:   A young man approached the foreman of a logging crew and asked for a job. “That depends,” replied the foreman. “Let’s see you fell this tree.” The young man stepped forward, and skillfully felled a great tree. Impressed, the foreman exclaimed, “You can start Monday.” Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday rolled by – and Thursday afternoon the foreman approached the young man and said, “You can pick up your paycheck on the way out today.” Startled, the young man replied, “I thought you paid on Friday.” “Normally we do,” said the foreman. “But we’re letting you go today because you’ve fallen behind. Our daily felling charts show that you’ve dropped from first place on Monday to last place today.” “But I’m a hard worker,” the young man objected. “I arrive first, leave last, and even have worked through my coffee breaks!” — The foreman, sensing the young man’s integrity, thought for a minute and then asked, ‘”Have you been sharpening your axe?” The young man replied, “No, sir. I’ve been working too hard to take time for that! [Wayne Rice, More Hot Illustrations for Youth Talks (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing, 1995), p. 155.] (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

    16) “Here comes my friend Douglass.” Frederick Douglass approached the front door of the White House, seeking admission into Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Ball. Just as Douglass was about to knock on the door, two policemen seized him, barring the black man’s entrance. Douglass, a large, powerful man, brushed the officers aside and stepped into the foyer. Once inside, two more officers grabbed the uninvited guest, all the while uttering racial slurs. As Douglass was being dragged from the hall, he cried to a nearby patron, “Just say to Mr. Lincoln that Fred Douglass is at the door!” Confusion ensued. Then suddenly the officers received orders to usher Douglass into the East Room. In that beautiful room, the great abolitionist stood in the presence of the esteemed President. The place quieted as Lincoln approached his newly arrived guest, hand outstretched in greeting, and speaking in a voice loud enough so none could mistake his intent, the President announced, “Here comes my friend Douglass.” — The President had called Frederick Douglass friend. Who dared demean Douglass if he was a friend of the President? Jesus Christ, the Lord of the universe, has called us his brothers and his sisters. God has called us His own children, but not only us — also the person who lies stripped and beaten by the side of the road. He or she is our friend, our neighbor. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

    17) St. Teresa of Avila wrote:

    Christ has no body but yours,
    No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
    Yours are the eyes with which he looks
    Compassion on this world,
    Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
    Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
    Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
    Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
    Christ has no body now but yours,
    No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
    Yours are the eyes with which he looks with compassion on this world.
    Christ has no body now on earth but yours. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

    18) Starving in a food store: Maria Janczuk was born in Poland and during World War II suffered privation, torture, and hunger in a Nazi concentration camp. After the war, she lived in Leeds, England. On January 22, 1971 she was found dead of starvation in her house. She weighed only 41 pounds, and it was evident that she had been wasting her health. But her cupboards were full of eggs, butter, cheese and milk, which she hoarded. The policeman who investigated said, “It was like a food store.” — The horrors of life and hunger in the concentration camp had probably created a fear in her mind which probably remained with her through the rest of her life. She died of starvation, even though her kitchen shelves were stocked. There is an abundance of blessings, promises, assurances of peace, joy, strength, love, hope, salvation, eternal life and all that one needs in this life, in the Word of God. Do we believe and let God work through us and for us? (Daniel Sunderaj in Manna for the            (Soul; quoted by Fr. Botelho). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

    19) The living Gospel: There is a story of a chaplain who was serving on the battlefield. He came across a young man who was lying in a shell hole, seriously wounded. “Would you like me to read something from this book, the Bible?” he asked. “I’m so thirsty, I’d rather have a drink of water.” The soldier said. Hurrying away, the chaplain soon brought the water. Then the wounded man said, “Could you put something under my head?” The chaplain took off his overcoat, rolled it up and gently placed it under the man’s head for a pillow. “Now,” said the suffering man, “if I just had something over me -I’m cold.” The chaplain immediately removed his jacket and put it over the wounded man to keep him warm. Then the soldier looked the chaplain straight in the eye and said, “If there is anything in that book that makes a man do for another all that you have done for me, then please read it, because I’d love to hear it.” — If my actions do not speak of Gospel values, be sure my words never will. What affects most people is often caught rather than taught. Indeed, we are the only book on Jesus Christ that others may ever read! (James Valladares in Your Words O Lord, Are Spirit and They Are            Life; quoted by Fr. Botelho). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

    20) The Holy Name of Jesus: St. Gregory of Tours relates that when he was a boy his father fell gravely ill and lay dying. Gregory prayed fervently for his recovery. When Gregory was asleep at night, his Guardian Angel appeared to him and told him to write the Name of Jesus on a card and place it under the sick man’s pillow. In the morning Gregory acquainted his mother with the Angel’s message, which she advised him to obey. He did so, and placed the card under his father’s head, when, to the delight of the whole family, the patient grew rapidly better. — In today’s Gospel, we heard the seventy-two other disciples, when they returned from their mission of preaching, joyfully exclaimed to Jesus, “Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through your name.” The disciples experienced power in the name of Jesus. We, too, can experience the same. (John Rose in John’s Sunday Homilies; quoted by Fr. Botelho). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

    21) Let your greeting be Peace!: Jesus sent the seventy-two disciples to proclaim peace. They were called to be peace-makers and peace-givers. Heroic peace-makers, like Francis of Assisi, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, were inspired and sustained by their belief in the power of goodness to triumph over all the machinations of evil. Francis utterly disregarded all dangers as he crossed the lines between the Crusaders and the army of the Sultan. He believed that the way to justice was not through the use of superior power but through the proclamation of goodness and brotherhood. Later in his life, when Assisi was rent asunder by the dispute between the mayor and the bishop, Francis did not dally with the rights and wrongs of the case but from his sick-bed he sent his brothers to sing of the blessedness of those who overcome wrongdoing by granting pardon. Gandhi drew strength and vision from the Sermon on the Mount and especially from the Beatitudes. He maintained this Gospel Faith unshaken even when evil continued to rear its violent head. Anybody who attempts to take seriously the path of Gospel goodness can expect to be tested by the backlash of evil. Martin Luther King likewise was constantly faced with every ugliness of discrimination, exploitation, and bitter memory that his opponents could come up with. Towards the end of his life he seemed to be walking more in his visionary land of peace than in the ugly society around him. — Peace can be built only on the foundation of justice. (Sylvester O’Flynn in The Good News of Luke’s Gospel; quoted by Fr. Botelho). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

    22) We are instruments of His peace: The world-famous Paganini was scheduled to begin his violin recital, one evening, when he found that his Stradivarius violin had been stolen from its case and had been replaced with an old, ordinary violin. The audience was already seated and there was no time to go elsewhere and bring in another violin worthy of the maestro. Undaunted, Paganini took the old instrument, tuned it to concert pitch and began to perform as it nothing untoward has happened. When he finished the recital, the audience gave him a standing ovation. Paganini then announced, “Friends, today I’ve performed on an old, ordinary violin; and, I’ve proved to you that the music is not in the instrument but in the maestro!” — In today’s Gospel, the maestro of mission, Jesus, sends out seventy-two disciples on mission as instruments of his peace. (Francis Gonsalves in Sunday Seeds for Daily Deeds; quoted by Fr. Botelho). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

     

    23) Shalom!!! Elie Wiesel tells a very disturbing story in one of his books. Once after delivering a lecture in New York he met a man who looked vaguely familiar. He began to wonder who he was and where they had met before. Then he remembered. He had known him in Auschwitz. Suddenly an incident involving this man came back to him. As soon as children arrived by train at Auschwitz, together with the elderly and the sick, they were immediately selected for the gas chamber. On one occasion a group of children were left to wait by themselves for the next day. This man asked the guards if he could stay with the children during their last night on earth. Surprisingly his request was granted. How did they spend that last night? He started off by telling the children stories in an effort to cheer them up. However, instead of cheering them up, he succeeded only in making them cry. So what did they do? They cried together until daybreak. Then he accompanied the little ones to the gas chamber. — Afterwards he returned to the prison to report for work.
    (Flor McCarthy quoted by Fr. Botelho. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

     24) Superstars: What is it that makes an athlete a superstar? Perhaps what makes a superstar shine more brightly than others is his or her confidence and capacity to perform consistently with excellence, especially in pressure situations. One thinks, for example, of the great quarterbacks in pro football, of men like Joe Montana, who with two minutes left in a game can lead his team downfield to snatch a victory out of the clutches of defeat. When the going gets tough you want superstars like Wade Boggs in the batter’s box, or Larry Bird with the basketball in the final seconds of overtime. When the pressure is the greatest, you can almost sense that a superstar like Jack Nicklaus will sink that long putt on the 18th green, or that Wayne Gretzky will put the puck in the net in the last minute of play. — Now what is true of superstars in sports is also true of saints in the Christian life. They have the capacity to come through when the pressure is the greatest. Today’s readings show why. In the first reading from Isaiah, the Chosen People are in exile and yet the prophet tells them to exult: “Rejoice, Jerusalem, be glad for her, all you who mourned her … Now towards her I send flowing peace, to his servants Yahweh will reveal his hand…” (Albert Cylwicki in His World Resounds; quoted by Fr. Botelho ). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).

     25) The Lord appointed a further seventy-two. Some of the best foreign-born missionaries to the U.S.A. in the last century were inspired to come here by published narratives of missionaries already in the field. Especially influential were the magazines of three great missionary organizations: the Society for the Propagation of the Faith (France), the Ludwig Mission Society (Bavaria) and the Leopoldine Society (Austria-Hungary). Father Frederick Baraga, Slovenian apostle to the Chippewa Indians, was fired with zeal for the U.S. missions by what he read in the Leopoldine magazine. So was the Bohemian, St. John Neumann. So, too, was the Croation, Father Joseph Kundek who pioneered the church in Indiana. When Kundek read the reports of American Missionaries, he declared “I can do the same as these missionaries!” And he did. It was not at all the prospects of an easy life that attracted these apostolic men. It was the challenge of a hard life. One appeal for missionaries addressed to French candidates even said: “We offer you: no salary, no holidays, no pension, but much hard work, frequent sickness, an unknown grave.” Yet, it was precisely this challenge by something bigger than themselves that attracted our top missionaries. — Today, vocations to the priesthood have dropped off alarmingly. Why? Maybe we haven’t been praying enough to the “Lord of the Harvest”. Maybe also we have tried to “sell” the priestly vocation too much as a “crown”, too little as a “cross”. Young people will still respond to challenges. As John Paul II said to the youth of Costa Rica, “I know you want noble ideals, even if the cost is large, and you do not want to lead grey lives.”   (Father Robert F. McNamara). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/). L/22

     “Scriptural Homilies” Cycle C (No. 41) by Fr. Tony: akadavil@gmail.com

    Visit my website by clicking on http://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

June 27 to July 2 weekday homilies

June 27- July 2: June 27 Monday (St. Cyril of Alexandria, Bishop, Doctor of the Church): https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-cyril-of-alexandria; Mt 8:18-22: 18 Now when Jesus saw great crowds around him, he gave orders to go over to the other side. 19 And a scribe came up and said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” 20 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head.” 21 Another of the disciples said to him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” 22 But Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead.” Additional reflections: Click on https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections.

The context: Today’s Gospel passage explains the cost of Christian discipleship and the total commitment, wholehearted constancy, and sacrificial ministry that the Christian mission requires.

It was quite unexpected for a learned scribe to volunteer to become Jesus’ disciple. But Jesus offered him no false promises, telling him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has not whereon to lay his head.” Jesus was simply being honest about the demands and the cost of a commitment the scribe might make too lightly and an arduous journey he might be undertaking too easily. Being a Christian is not an easy or comfortable affair. It calls for a lot of self-control and self-denial, putting God before everything else. Jesus’ response to another would-be disciple who asked for more time before becoming a disciple sounds harsh: “Let the dead bury their dead.” But this man’s father was not dead or sick. The man had simply asked to stay with his father until the father’s death. Jesus knew that later he would find another reason to delay answering the call.

Life messages: 1) We need to honor our commitments: Today, more than ever, people make marriage commitments too easily and then break them. The problem today is that the couples do not have the courage to make the commitment of marriage. We all know there is a tremendous shortage of priests and religious. Our young people are unwilling to make commitments to God by committing themselves to life-long celibacy, obedience to a Bishop or religious superior or to the vowed life of a religious community.

2) We need to pray for strength to honor our commitments. We are here this morning because, in one way or another, we have said to Jesus, “I will follow You.” Sometimes we have been faithful to Jesus, and other times we have not. Hence, we need to pray for strength to honor our commitments, we need to ask for forgiveness when we fail, and we need to renew our determination to walk with Jesus by being loyal to our spouse and family, earning our living honestly, and living not only peacefully, but lovingly, with our neighbors. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/22

June 28 Tuesday: (St. Irenaeus, Bishop, Martyr): https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-irenaeusMatthew 8: 23-27: 23 And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. 24 And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. 25 And they went and woke him, saying, “Save, Lord; we are perishing.” 26 And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O men of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. 27 And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”Additional reflections: Click on https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections.

The context: Matthew’s emphasis on Jesus’ wondrous works helps him to reveal Jesus’ true Messianic identity. The role of God in calming the storms of life is the central theme of today’s Gospel. By describing the miracle, Matthew also assures his first-century believers that nothing can harm the Church as long as the risen Lord is with them. The incident reminds us today to keep Jesus in our life’s boat and to seek his help in the storms of life.

The storm: The Sea of Galilee is a lake thirteen miles long from north to south and eight miles broad from east to west at its widest. It is notorious for its sudden storms. When a cold wind blows from the west, the valleys, gullies and hills act like gigantic funnels compressing the storms and letting them rush down to the lake to create violent waves. Unable to control their fears, the disciples wake Jesus up, accusing him of disregarding their safety. Jesus’ response is immediate. At once he rises and rebukes the winds and the sea, and instantly there is total calm. Only then does Jesus gently chide his terrified and now astonished disciples for the smallness of their Faith.

Life message: We need to welcome Jesus into the boat of our life to calm the storms we face. All of us are making a journey across the sea of time to the shore of eternity, and it is natural that we all will experience different types of violent storms occasionally in our lives: physical storms, emotional storms, and spiritual storms. We face storms of sorrow, doubts, anxiety, worries, temptations, and passion. Only Jesus can give us real peace in the storm of sorrow or console us for the loss of our dear ones. When the storms of doubt seek to uproot the very foundations of the Faith, Jesus is there to still that storm, revealing to us his Divinity and the authority behind the words of Holy Scripture. He gives us peace in the storms of anxiety and worries about ourselves, about the unknown future, and about those we love. Jesus also calms the storms of passion in people who have hot hearts and blazing tempers. (Fr. Tony) (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/22

June 29 Wednesday (St. Peter & St. Paul, Apostles):https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saints-peter-and-paulMt 16: 13-19: 13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do men say that the Son of man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven Additional reflections: Click on https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections.

Peter and Paul are the principal pillars of the Church. Today we celebrate the feast of their martyrdom. Peter was son of Jona and brother of Andrew. He was a professional fisherman from Bethsaida, a fishing town on the Lake of Galilee or Gennesaret. He might have been a follower of John the Baptist. It was his brother, Andrew, who introduced him to Jesus, and Jesus who changed his name from Simon to Cephas or Peter. Jesus made Peter the leader of the apostles. At Caesarea Philippi, Jesus promised to make Peter the head of the Church, and the risen Jesus confirmed Peter’s precedence. It was the Holy Spirit through Whose Presence and Power, Peter’s speech on the day of the Pentecost, inaugurated the active life of the Church. Peter made missionary journeys to Lydda, Joppa and Caesarea He also offered the decisive argument settling the question of Gentile converts and the Jewish Law at the first Council in Jerusalem. He wrote two epistles to the whole Church, and he was martyred in Rome by crucifixion under the emperor Nero.

Paul,the “Apostle to the Gentiles” and the greatest apostolic missionary, was a Roman citizen by birth, as he had been born in the Roman colony of Tarsus. His original name was Saul. As a Pharisee, he was sent to Jerusalem by his parents to study the Mosaic Law under the great rabbi Gamaliel. As a student, he learned the trade of tent-making. He was present at the stoning of Stephen and “consented to” this deed (Acts 8:1). But he was miraculously converted on his way to Damascus to arrest the Christians. He made several missionary journeys, converted hundreds of Jews and Gentiles and established Church communities. Paul wrote 14 epistles. He was arrested and kept in prison for two years in Caesarea and lived under house arrest for two more years in Rome. Finally, he was martyred by beheading at Tre Fontane in Rome.

Life Messages: 1) Just as Peter and the other apostles did, we must open our eyes, ears, and hearts wide to see, hear and experience the Risen Lord coming into our life in various disguises, circumstances, and events, reminding us of our mission to proclaim the Good News in deed and in word. 2) We need to love, obey, and pray for Pope Francis and the bishops and priests who are the successors of Peter and the Apostles as they continue the work of the Risen Lord with and for us. 3) Each one of us has a unique mission in the church, as a believer, parent etc., and we are challenged to do it. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/22

June 30 Thursday (The First Martyrs of the Holy Roman Church): https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/first-martyrs-of-the-church-of-romeMt 9:1-8: 1 And getting into a boat he crossed over and came to his own city. 2 And behold, they brought to him a paralytic, lying on his bed; and when Jesus saw their faith he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” 3 And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” 4 But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? 5 For which is easier, to say, `Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, `Rise and walk’? 6 But that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins” — he then said to the paralytic — “Rise, take up your bed and go home.” 7 And he rose and went home. 8 When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men. Additional reflections: Click on https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections.

The context: Beyond exercising Divine authority over temptation, over the lives of men, over nature, over demons, and over sickness, Jesus, as we see in today’s Gospel demonstrates a new form of authority – the Divine authority to forgive sins. Jesus miraculously restores a paralyzed man to health as a sign of having this Divine authority. The healing episode presents Jesus as God Incarnate was sent to save us, restore us, and make us new. So, we have to look beyond the boundaries of our limited religious experience to appreciate the healing and forgiving operation of our God in newer and newer ways.

Many kinds of sickness, like the paralysis of the man in the story, were seen by the Jews as punishment for the personal sins of the sufferer or of the sufferer’s parents. It was also a common belief that no sickness could be cured until sin was forgiven. For that reason, Jesus had first to convince the paralyzed man that his sins had been forgiven. Once Jesus had granted the paralytic the forgiveness of God, the man knew that God was no longer his enemy, and he was ready to receive the cure which followed. It was the manner of the cure which scandalized the Scribes. By forgiving sin Himself, Jesus had, they thought, blasphemed, insulted God, because forgiving sin is the exclusive prerogative of God. This healing demonstrates two facts: that we can never be right physically until we are right spiritually, and that health in body and peace with God go hand in hand.

Life messages: 1) We need God’s forgiveness to live wholesome lives. The heart of the Christian Faith is the “forgiveness of sins.” In the Creed we say, “I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins.” While we have the power to forgive others, we need to be forgiven ourselves by the One who has the authority to forgive. In Jesus, we see this authority, the same authority He gave to his Church. Today’s Gospel gives us an invitation to open ourselves to God’s forgiveness in the Sacrament of Reconciliation and to hear from the priest’s mouth the words of Jesus to the paralytic being spoken to us: “Your sins are forgiven.”

2) The Gospel also instructs us to forgive others their sins against us and to ask God’s forgiveness for our daily sins every day of our lives. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/22

July 1 Friday (St. Junipero Serra, Priest (U. S. A. )https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-junipero-serra Mt 9:9-13: 9 As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax office; and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him. 10 And as he sat at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Jesus and his disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 Go and learn what this means, `I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” Additional reflections: Click on https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections.

The context: Today’s Gospel episode of Matthew’s call to be Jesus’ apostle reminds us of God’s love and mercy for sinners and challenges us to practice this same love and mercy in our relations with others.

The call and the response: Jesus went to the tax-collector’s post to invite Matthew to become his disciple. Since tax-collectors worked for a foreign power and extorted more tax money from the people than they owed, the Jewish people hated and despised them as traitors. They were also considered public sinners and ostracized by the Pharisees. But Jesus could see in Matthew a person who needed Divine love and grace. That is why, while everyone hated Matthew, Jesus was ready to offer him undeserved love, mercy, and forgiveness. Hence, Matthew abandoned his lucrative job, because, for him, Christ’s invitation promised salvation, fellowship, guidance, and protection. Scandalous partying with sinners. It was altogether natural for Matthew to rejoice in his new calling by celebrating with his friends. Jesus’ dining with outcasts in the house of a “traitor” scandalized the Pharisees, for whom ritual purity and table fellowship were important religious practices. Hence, they asked the disciples, “Why does your Master eat with tax collectors and sinners?” Answering that question and stressing Jesus’ ministry as healer, the Master said, “Those who are well do not need a physician; the sick do.” Then Jesus challenged the Pharisees, quoting Hosea, “Go and learn the meaning of the words, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’” Finally, Jesus clarified, “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” [After the Ascension, Saint Matthew remained for over ten years in Judea,
writing his Gospel there in about the year 44. Then he went to preach the Faith
in Egypt and especially in Ethiopia, where he remained for twenty-three years.
The relics of Saint Matthew were for many years in the city of Naddaver in
Ethiopia, where Matthew suffered his martyrdom, but were transferred to Salerno
in the year 954].

Life messages: 1) Jesus calls you and me for a purpose: Jesus has called us through our Baptism, forgiven our sins and welcomed us as members of the Kingdom. In fact, Jesus calls us daily through the Word and through the Church to be disciples and to turn away from all the things that distract us and draw us away from God. 2) Just as Matthew did, we, too, are expected to preach Christ through our lives by reaching out to the unwanted and the marginalized in society with Christ’s love, mercy and compassion. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/22

July 2 Saturday: Matthew 9:14-17: 14 Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” 15 And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. 16 And no one puts a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old garment, for the patch tears away from the garment, and a worse tear is made. 17 Neither is new wine put into old wineskins; if it is, the skins burst, and the wine is spilled, and the skins are destroyed; but new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.”Additional reflections: Click on https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections.

The context: Today’s Gospel passage gives Jesus’ reply to the question asked by a few disciples of John the Baptist about fasting and feasting. Prayer, fasting and almsgiving were three cardinal works of Jewish religious life. Hence, John’s disciples wanted to know why they and the Pharisees fasted while Jesus’ disciples were seen feasting with him and never fasting.

Jesus’ reply: Jesus responded to their sincere question using three metaphors: the metaphor of the “children of the bridal chamber,” the metaphor of patching torn cloth and the metaphor of wineskins. First, Jesus compared his disciples with the children of the bridal chamber, the selected friends of the bride and groom who feasted in the company of bride and groom during a week of honeymoon. Nobody expected them to fast. Jesus explained that his disciples would fast when he, the bridegroom, was taken away from them. In the same way, we are to welcome both the joys of Christian life and the crosses it offers us. Using comparisons of the danger of using new, unshrunken cloth to make a patch for an old garment and the danger of using old wineskins to store freshly fermented wine, Jesus told the questioners that they must have more elastic and open minds and larger hearts to understand and follow his new ideas which were in many cases different from the traditional Jewish teachings.

Life message: 1) We need to be adjustable Christians with open and elastic minds and hearts: The Holy Spirit, working actively in the Church and guiding the teaching authority in the Church, enables the Church to have new visions, new ideas, new adaptations and new ways of worship in the place of old ones. So, we should have the generosity and good will to follow the teachings of the Church. At the same time, we need the Old Testament revelations, the New Testament teachings and the Sacred Tradition of the Church as main sources of our Christian Faith. (Fr. Tony) (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/22

O. T. 13th (C) Sunday homily

OT XIII [C] Sunday (June 26) Homily (one-page summary) L/22

Introduction: Today’s readings are about God’s call and man’s commitment in answer to that call. They ask one for total commitment made in total freedom with the spirit of patient love, — that is, to say an unconditional “Yes” to Jesus and to the Christian life, as a true disciple of Christ.

Scripture lessons: The first reading describes how Elisha committed himself whole-heartedly to answer God’s call to be a prophet, in spite of his initial hesitation, when God called him through the prophet Elijah. The Responsorial Psalm, (Psalm 16), offers us the refrain, “You are my inheritance, O Lord.” This Psalm has traditionally been used to exemplify commitment to the ordained ministry or to religious profession. But it more accurately reflects the commitment made by all Christians in their Baptism. The second reading, taken from Paul’s letter to the Galatians, reinforces the commitment message of the first reading and the Responsorial Psalm. Paul warns that true freedom is not meant to be a license for self-indulgence, but to be a way to show God, ourselves, and other human beings our commitment to God and to His service.

The first part of today’s Gospel records Jesus’ teaching on Christian tolerance, given after he had observed an angry response of two of his apostles., James and John, who were angry at the Samaritans who had refused to receive Jesus as a prophet and allow him to travel through their village because Jesus was travelling to Jerusalem. They asked Jesus if he wanted them to bring down fire from Heaven to destroy them!

In the second part of today’s Gospel, Luke introduces three potential disciples who offered lame reasons that made Jesus’ call to ministry “impossible” for them to accept, after Jesus had told them plainly what the commitment required, and the cost involved. They were found unfit and unprepared to follow Jesus as his disciples. We too, are asked to follow Jesus, totally and immediately, without any reservations, both by giving priority to him and to his cause and by surrendering our lives to God in humble and dedicated service to others.

Life messages: As Christians, we should have the courage of our convictions and so honor our commitments: a) The marriage commitment. The spouses are expected to honor their marriage commitment, that is, to remain in mutual love and respect till their death and to raise their children to be zealous Christians. b) The priestly and religious commitment: Priests, Deacons and religious should honor the commitment they have made to obey their lawful superiors, to keep their vows, and to spend their lives serving God’s people faithfully. c) The Christian commitment: As Christians, all of us should honor our Baptismal commitmen, and to bear witness to him through ideal and transparent Christian lives.

OT XIII [C] (June 26): I Kgs 19:16b, 19-21; Gal 5:1, 13-18; Lk 9:51-62

Homily starter anecdotes: # 1: The Cost of Discipleship: Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German Lutheran theologian, wrote a series of reflections on the Sermon on the Mount entitled, The Cost of Discipleship, in which he maintained that discipleship requires that we make a fundamental decision to follow Jesus and to accept the consequences of that decision. His own religious convictions led him to stand up to the tyranny of Nazi Germany and to participate in a plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler. The plot was uncovered, Bonhoeffer was apprehended, and the ultimate “cost” of discipleship was exacted of him: he was hanged by the Nazis on April 9, 1945. While discipleship might force some people to decide between life and death, few of us will be asked to pay that ultimate price. But today’s Gospel challenges us to live in a certain way, imitating the prophetic vocation of Jesus (Dianne Bergant, Sanchez Files) (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

# 2: The price of World-class Status: Some years ago, in an issue of Sports Illustrated, there was an article on Bela Karolyi, a Romanian coach. He was once the coach of the national Romanian team that produced the World Olympic champion gymnast Nadia Comaneci (https://youtu.be/Yi_5xbd5xdE). In 1981 Bela Karolyi defected to the United States with a suitcase, leaving everything else behind including his Mercedes. A few years later he was training more than 300 young people at his Sundance Athletic Club in Houston, Texas. To attain world class status in gymnastics the way Nadia did, an athlete must become a disciple of a master like Bela Karolyi. First, she must sacrifice her own comfort and follow a strenuous training program. Second, she must re-order her priorities, attach supreme importance to gymnastics and subordinate everything else to it. Third, she must make a single-minded commitment to persevere in spite of difficulties and disappointments. The same three elements of discipleship are required of followers in today’s Gospel: letting go of everything, re-ordering priorities and being single-minded. (Albert Cylwicki in His Word Resounds; quoted by Fr. Botelho). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

# 3: Commitment of Mormon missionaries: Many of us have seen Mormon missionaries riding their bicycles, wearing dark pants, white shirts and ties. Let me tell you more about their lifestyle. They do not see their families during the two years of their mission service. They are allowed to call home only on Christmas and Mother’s Day. Their day begins at 6:30 AM with an hour of Bible study and prayer. Then they work until 9:30 PM. They have about an hour to do laundry and study Scripture before lights out. This is their schedule six days per week. No TV or movies or dates for two years. We have seen young men with multi-million dollars pro-basketball contracts put all that on hold until they fulfill their mission obligation. Although I have some serious and fundamental theological differences with the Mormons, I can’t deny the commitment of their young missionaries. Perhaps that commitment is a key reason why their numbers are growing so rapidly in the United States. Today’s readings are about God’s call and the commitment expected from us to answer that call. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

# 4: On Christian tolerance: The best commentary on the first part of today’s Gospel is a story about Abraham Lincoln, who was the finest and most spiritual of all the American presidents. During the Civil War, Lincoln was often criticized for not being severe enough on the soldiers of the South. On one occasion after a battle, a general from the North asked him, “Why didn’t you destroy the enemy when you had the chance? President Lincoln answered with words adapted from the today’s Gospel passage: “Do I not destroy my enemy by making him my friend?” That is exactly what Jesus tells us in today’s Gospel: destroy our enemies by making them our friends. No doubt the feelings of anger and resentment run deep in many hearts today, and we wouldn’t mind if people who hurt us deeply were punished or suffered from bad luck. Jesus, however, says: “That is not my Spirit—let Me heal your heart.” (https://frtonyshomilies.com/

Introduction: Today’s readings are about God’s call and man’s answering that call with commitment. The first reading describes how Elisha committed himself whole-heartedly, answering God’s call to be a prophet, in spite of his initial hesitation when God called him through the prophet Elijah. The Responsorial Psalm (Psalm 16), offers us the refrain, “You are my inheritance, O Lord.” The Psalm has traditionally been used to exemplify commitment to the ordained ministry or to religious profession. But it more accurately reflects the commitment made by all Christians in their Baptism. The second reading, from Paul’s Letter to the Galatians, reinforces the commitment message of the first reading and the Responsorial Psalm. In today’s Gospel, Luke introduces some potential disciples who offer a variety of reasons as to why Jesus’ call to ministry is “impossible” for them to accept. By analyzing their excuses and Jesus’ responses to them, each of us is challenged to examine to what extent the alibis we offer to escape responsible ministry in the Church have any merit. We, too, are asked to follow Jesus totally and immediately, without any reservation, by giving up everything we have and surrendering our lives to God in the service of others.

The first reading: I Kings 19:16b, 19-21, explained:  Elijah was able to preach to kings and overcome the false prophets until Queen, Jezebel became angry with him (1 Kings 18-19.) Then he fled the kingdom and returned to the Lord to resign his commission. But God did not accept his resignation. Instead, He told Elijah to anoint Elisha as his successor and co-worker. In the early history of salvation, the “mission” of being a Prophet was passed on from one prophet to another. Sometimes the prophet had a token or symbol of his ministry. In the case of Elijah, this was a cloak, which he threw over Elisha. [When he was being taken up in the fiery chariot, Elijah would pass that cloak on to Elisha.]  Elisha’s response was, “Please, let my kiss my father and mother goodbye, and I will follow you.” Elijah replied, in effect, “Why are you giving me excuses? I’m not the One calling you!”  Elisha accepted the rebuke, and to show his repentance and total commitment to God’s call, he slaughtered the twelve yoke of oxen he had been using for his plowing, cooked their flesh (using the yoke and harness as fuel), and gave the meat as a meal for those who depended upon him. Elisha then became Elijah’s successor, leaving everything behind him and committeing himself to his prophetic role. In the Church, the ministry of prophecy is not reserved to a few but is a commission for all those who are reborn into Christ. When at Baptism the priest anoints those to be baptized, he announces: “I anoint you as priest, prophet, and king.” This is to remind us that our prophetic mission consists in our becoming God’s voice in our community and in our society.    We are to be the conscience of the community.  Where we see injustice in our community, in our society, in our families and especially in our own selves, we are compelled by our Baptism to change our own conduct, and if necessary, to raise our voice in God’s Name, so that God’s word may be made present at every moment.

The second reading: Gal 5:1, 13-18, explained:  In his letter to the Christians in Galatia, Paul reminds all ministers of the Good News that the criterion by which they are to measure themselves is the very Spirit of God. Paul also clarifies that true freedom consists in our being conformed to the likeness of Jesus Christ and in listening to the voice of God. Paul says: “Do not use your freedom, brothers and sisters, as an opportunity for the flesh; rather, use it to serve one another through love.”  We begin to be free when we begin the process of commitment.  Our freedom is realized only when we give ourselves away in love.  Instead of living a life of self-indulgence, one who follows Jesus accepts a ministry of service that is rooted in loving one’s neighbor as oneself. Christian freedom may be defined like this: “I am my commitment to God.  I will live my commitment, in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, until I die.”  Paul seems rather exasperated at having to remind his hearers of the obvious: living the new life of freedom in the Spirit means abandoning the old ways of sin. The “lust of the flesh” should be understood not only in a sexual sense, but as referring to all worldly impulses that are opposed to true love of neighbor.

Gospel exegesis: Rejection by the Samaritans: Today’s Gospel passage deals with the beginning of Jesus’ journey from the northern towns of Galilee to the southern city of Jerusalem through the land of Samaria.  Jesus encountered obstacles both from prospective disciples, who wanted to postpone their commitment until a more convenient time, and from the Samaritans. The Jews and Samaritans shared a common origin in the twelve tribes of Israel. But they hated each other and refused to intermingle or intermarry because of a long-standing historic conflict between the two nations dating back to the eighth century BC, after the Assyrian conquest of the Jews. Even under Assyrian rule, the Samaritans claimed to have maintained proper worship in their land with Mount Gerizim as the center of their religious life.  They argued that the Jews were the ones who had compromised their religious beliefs during their Babylonian exile. The Jews, on the other hand, with the Temple of Jerusalem as the center of their religious life, accused Samaritans of having lost their religious and racial identity through intermarriage with their pagan neighbors.  They even considered Samaritans as heretical and false worshipers of the God of Israel and detested them far more than they detested the pagans. To get to Jerusalem, Galileans had either to go through Samaria or to take a longer, more difficult route east of the Jordan River.  Jesus chose the shortcut through Samaria. But the Samaritans both refused to honor Jesus as a prophet and violated the sacred duties of hospitality. This infuriated the apostles, and two of them, James and John, asked Jesus if he wanted them to command fire to come down from Heaven and consume the Samaritans as Elijah had done in his day (II Kings 1:9-12).  Jesus rebuked them, however, because he was not a destroyer but a Savior with a message of mercy and love.

The call and excuses: The response of Jesus to the three would-be followers, described in the second part of today’s Gospel, (vv 57-62), exemplifies the wholehearted constancy and sacrificial ministry that the Christian mission requires. We are surprised at Jesus’ sharp response to the first man’s willing discipleship. Undoubtedly, Jesus saw more deeply into the man’s heart than we can. Jesus is simply honest about the demands and the cost of a commitment we might make too lightly and a journey we might undertake too easily. “Let the dead bury their dead”:  This response may sound too harsh. But this man’s father was not dead or sick. He simply wished to stay with his father until his death. Jesus knew that later he would find another reason to delay the call. Jesus did not want another would-be follower to go home and bid farewell to his dear ones. Hence, Jesus rebukes him saying that the plowman must look ahead rather than back. Looking back while plowing causes crooked lines in the field. We see classical cases of initial reluctance and lame excuses in accepting God’s call from Moses (Ex 3:1, 4: 10), Gideon (Jgs 6:15), Jeremiah (Jer 1:6), and Isaiah (Is 6: 5). Hence, we should be slow to condemn those who offer excuses in the service of the Lord; we need to offer them proper motivation, support, and encouragement.

Life messages: 1) We need to honor our marriage commitment. As in the case of Elisha and the apostles, our commitment becomes our life. But today, more than ever, people make commitments too easily and then break them.  This is the age of the lack of true commitment.  The problem today is not that people are living together without being married; the problem is that they do not have the courage to make the commitment of marriage. In recent years, the age of marriage has increased by more than three years in the West, that is, more than 10%. Modern people find many excuses for delaying marriage: “Well, let’s get good jobs and financial security first.”  Another familiar excuse is:  “I want to be free to come and go as I please!”  Another excuse for delaying marriage is: “Let’s live together first.  We’ll see if we’re compatible!”  But the fact is that the longer unmarried couples live together, the more they experience their incompatibility!

2) We need to pray to solve the crisis in priestly commitment. We all know there is a tremendous shortage of priests and religious men because our young people are unwilling to make commitments to God by committing themselves to life-long celibacy, to a diocese or to the vowed life of a religious community. The argument, “I don’t want to make that commitment because I don’t want to give everything away,” shows an incorrect notion of Christian freedom. We begin to be free only when we start the process called commitment, and our freedom is realized only when we give ourselves away in love. Unfortunately, like those three would-be followers, a lot of our youngsters are still confused and ill-prepared for any kind of mission for their lives. As a result, they become adept at evading Christ’s call to discipleship.

3) We are invited to a Christian life of patient love.  The first part of today’s Gospel gives us the greatest passage in the Bible concerning tolerance, which is really patient love, our “bearing with” one another. Quick anger over little incidents flares up all the time – between parents and children, in the workplaces between co-workers and in the neighborhood between neighbors. Very often the anger explodes over nothing. The Spirit of Jesus is opposed to such feelings. Although Elijah called down the fires of God from Heaven to wipe out the four hundred prophets of Baal, Jesus refused to have fire cast on the Samaritans who refused him entry. Hence, let us have this beautiful prayer in our hearts and on our lips: “Create in me a clean heart. O God and put a new and a right spirit within me.  Restore to me the joy of loving.”

4) We need to pray for strength to honor all our commitments. We are here this morning because, in one way or another, we have said to Jesus, “I will follow you.” But the truth of the matter is that most of us don’t want to follow Jesus because we want him to follow us. Hence, we are only partially faithful to him. But the Good News is that we are following him as best we can. We will leave this hour of Eucharistic worship and return to the world with all sorts of tough choices and difficult demands. Hence, we need to pray for strength, we need to ask for forgiveness when we fail, and we need to renew our determination to walk with Jesus by being loyal to our spouse and family, earning our living honestly, and living not only peacefully, but lovingly, with our neighbors.

For pictures, visit Google Images and type O. T. XIII-C Sunday or Call and commitment and press the Enter Button of the Key Board. 

JOKE OF THE WEEK: 

Committed to the spouse or to the Super Bowl? A young man was very excited because he just won a ticket to the Super Bowl. His excitement lessened as he realized his seat was in the back of the stadium. As he searched the rows ahead of him for a better seat, he saw an empty one right next to the field. He approached the man sitting next to the empty seat and asked if it was taken. The man replied, “No.” Amazed the young man asked, “How could someone pass up a seat like this?” The older gentleman responded, “That’s my wife’s seat. We’ve been to every Super Bowl together since the day we were married but she has passed away.” “Oh, how sad,” the man said. “I’m sorry to hear that, but couldn’t you find a friend or relative to come with you?”
“No,” the man said, “They’re all at the funeral.”

USEFUL WEBSITES OF THE WEEK

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

 2) Video Sunday-Scripture study by Fr. Geoffrey Plant:

https://www.youtube.com/user/GeoffreyPlant2066

3) 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/

4)Links to important Catholic websites: http://www.catholicmatters.com/links.htm

5)New official Catholic documents & news: http://scripturecatholic.com/

21 Additional anecdotes

1): The commitment of a star-maker:  Bill Haber, a famous movie producer, was one of the most powerful people in Hollywood.   For thirty years, his life consisted of making and breaking the careers of movie stars, and he did his job well. In 1995, when his two partners at Creative Artists Agency left him in order to run their own studios, Bill started a nonprofit organization called Save the Children, where he now supervises forty thousand employees in forty-one countries. He left behind the glitz and glamour of Hollywood for the day-in day-out realities of starving kids. Why would he make such a move? Simple, he says. “You only live once, and I felt God calling me to work with children.” He realized that wealth and power aren’t everything, and when confronted with the chance to make a lasting difference in people’s lives, he simply said, “I couldn’t afford to let the opportunity pass.”  Amazingly, Bill Haber says that nobody in Hollywood ever thought he was crazy for doing what he did. In fact, several have said to him, “I wish I could do that.” — The truth is that anyone at any time can do what Bill Haber did. In today’s Gospel Jesus gives us an invitation to abandon the building of our own individual kingdoms, and to join with him in building his eternal Kingdom, right here and right now, with total commitment. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

2: Commitment of martyrs: In the early days of the Church, countless people lost their lives as martyrs for Christ. Rather than weakening the Christian community, however, the stories of these suffering believers drew multitudes of people to the faith. One of these early martyrs was a young mother named Vibia Perpetua. Perpetua, a native of North Africa, was just twenty years old when she was imprisoned for giving her life to Christ. Fortunately, Perpetua was imprisoned with five other Christians. This small band of believers continued to worship God and uplift one another throughout this ordeal. They all remained strong in their faith, confident that they were doing God’s will. The day before they were executed, this tiny band of Christians gathered together and had an agápe meal, an honored tradition in the early Church. Then, each of the believers was thrown in the arena with a wild animal. Most of the believers were gored to death, but the crowd protested at the sight of Perpetua’s body covered in bloody wounds, so she was removed from the arena and beheaded by a soldier. Somehow, they thought this was more humane than death at the mercy of an animal. — We may think the story of Perpetua had a tragic, senseless ending, but it was examples of a steadfast faith like Perpetua’s that inspired generations of believers after her. [Edith Deen, Great Women of the Christian Faith (New York: Harper & Row, 1959), 37.] (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

3) The movie Amazing Grace on William Wilberforce: In 2006 a movie came out called Amazing Grace. It was the story of William Wilberforce, who is credited with being primarily responsible for the 23 February 1807 vote in England to abolish the slave trade. The vote was 283-16. But that vote doesn’t tell the story. Wilberforce spent 20 years pushing abolition. Few people in history were as stubborn as Wilberforce, and few people in history were as criticized as Wilberforce. In the 1790s he was slandered in the press, physically assaulted, subjected to numerous death threats and once challenged to a duel. During certain periods he had to travel with a bodyguard. His spirit was almost broken many times. He suffered a nervous breakdown. But in spite of all the dirt thrown at Wilberforce, he kept stomping and moving. He handled criticism, not by turning back and engaging his critics, but by kicking down the dirt and moving on toward his goal. He set his face toward the abolition of slavery, and he didn’t look back. Wilberforce feared God more than he feared his critics. It kept him committed to his goal of banishing slavery and liberating slaves in England. — In today’s Gospel Jesus wants such commitment from his disciples. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

4) “No reserves, no retreats, no regrets. Here is a story about commitment. In 1904, William Borden, heir to the Borden Dairy estate, graduated from a Chicago high school as a millionaire. His parents gave him a trip around the world. Traveling through Asia and the Middle East, Borden was given by God a burden for the world’s suffering people. Writing home, he said, “I’m going to give my life to prepare for the mission field.” When he made that decision, he wrote in the back of his Bible two words: “No reserves.” After graduating from Yale, he turned down numerous high-paying jobs and headed to the seminary. At that time, he entered two more words in his Bible: “No retreats.” After completing studies at Princeton Seminary, Borden sailed for China. On the way he stopped in Egypt for some additional training. While there he was stricken with cerebral meningitis and died within a month. Perhaps you are thinking what a waste! William Borden didn’t think so. Shortly before he died, he entered two more words in his Bible. Now the statement read: “No reserves, no retreats, no regrets.” — Success for a Christian is to be able to say at the end of the line, “I have fought the good fight; I have finished the course; and I have kept the Faith.”  (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

5) The cost of discipleship: Albert Einstein, the German-born mathematician, slowly watched his homeland give in to Adolf Hitler’s Fascist dictatorship. Einstein wondered if any were going to stand up and oppose Hitler. He said, and I quote, “When Hitlerism came to Germany, I expected the Universities to oppose it. Instead they embraced it. I hoped for the press to denounce it, but instead they propagated its teachings. One by one the leaders and institutions which should have opposed the Nazi philosophy bowed meekly to its authority. Only one institution met it with vigorous opposition and that was the Christian Church.” Einstein confessed, “That which I once despised, I now love with a passion I cannot describe.” — The commitment of the Church in standing against evil made a profound impression upon Einstein. Those individuals in the 1930’s understood the cost associated with their actions, and they did not back down. The Church today is challenged by Jesus to do the same in today’s Gospel. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

6) A Methodist anecdote on ploughman not looking back:  John Wesley, the great founder of the Methodist church wrote in his diary: Sunday a.m. May 5 – Preached in St. Anne’s. Was asked not to come back anymore. Sunday p.m. May 5 – Preached in St. John’s. Deacons said get out and stay out. Sunday a.m. May 12 – Preached in St. Jude’s. Can’t go back there either. Sunday a.m. May 19 – Preached in St. Somebody Else’s. Deacons called a special meeting and said I couldn’t return. Sunday p.m. – Preached on street. Kicked off the street. Sunday a.m. – Preached in meadow. Chased out of the meadow as bull was turned loose during service. Sunday a.m. – Preached out at the edge of town. Kicked off highway. Sunday p.m. – June afternoon, preached in a pasture. Ten thousand people came out to hear me. (Rev. Leonard Sweet). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

7) Commitment to one’s swearing in the court:   “I know you’ve been sworn in, and I’ve read your complaint.” So, begins Judge Wapner as another case unfolds on the popular television series, People’s Court. The Judge’s repetition of the phrase before each case implies that the litigants have already placed their hands on the Bible and sworn to tell nothing “but the truth.” However, courtroom cases do not progress far until it becomes apparent that either the plaintiff or the defendant is lying. — Immediately, the whole matter of swearing-in comes into question. What good did it really do if one, or both parties involved knew from the beginning that they would not hesitate to bend the facts around to fit their own purposes? Beneath the long look, it appears that the swearing-in has become nothing more than a formality to be hurdled in order to get on with the business at hand. Committing oneself to tell the truth, committing a meeting to the fulfillment of God’s will, or committing one’s behavior to the glory of God; all of these are noble and highly commendable. However, if all we are committed to is the formality of making the commitment, we are, as someone expressed it, “a bluster, a bluff, an empty show.” (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

8) Excuse-filled society: One of the most respected authors in America made this observation: Our culture has declared war on guilt…Perhaps the most prevalent means of escaping blame is by classifying every human failing as some kind of disease. Drunkards and drug addicts can check into clinics for treatment of their “chemical dependencies.” Children who habitually defy authority can escape condemnation by being labeled “hyper-active” or having ADD (Attention Deficiency Disorder). Gluttons are no longer blame-worthy; they suffer from an “eating disorder.” Even the man who throws away his family’s livelihood to pay for prostitutes is supposed to be an object of compassionate understanding; he is “addicted to sex” (John MacArthur, The Vanishing Conscience, p. 23). — Today’s Gospel, while describing Jesus’ call to discipleship explains how he handles lame excuses. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

9) “An excuse is just the skin of a reason stuffed with a lie.” (Billy Sunday): The Toronto News published a listing of actual accident reports filed by those involved in accidents. 1) “Coming home I drove into the wrong house and collided with a tree I don’t have.” 2) “A pedestrian hit me and went under my car.” 3) “The guy was all over the road. I had to swerve a number of times before I hit him.” 4) “In my attempt to kill a fly, I drove into a telephone pole.” 5) “I told the police I was not injured, but on removing my hat I found that I had a fractured skull.” 6) “The pedestrian had no idea which direction to run, so I ran over him.” 7) “The indirect cause of the accident was a little guy in a small car with a big mouth” (Great Stories, April/June, 1994). — Today’s Gospel describes how Jesus’ call to follow him met with such excuses. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

10) Fix your priorities in life: They were 5,000 feet in the air in a two-seater Cessna when suddenly the pilot slumped over. It happened not so long-ago near Mount Hope, Indiana, to an 81-year-old passenger who was flying to Indianapolis for lunch. When his 52-year-old friend and pilot unexpectedly died, the elder passenger realized he knew nothing about flying and a lot less about landing! In the next twenty minutes you can bet he gave his total attention to the voices on the radio and the instructions given to him. Another pilot nearby coached him and gave him a “crash course” (pardon the pun) in flying a two-seat Cessna and most importantly in landing. He circled the airport three times and came in, bounced a few times, and landed in a soggy field. Incredibly, there was no damage except a bent propeller. — If this happened to you or to me today, our number one priority would be determined very, very quickly! The main thing and the only thing would be to land that Cessna and not crash! Stephen Covey in his book, First Things First, a New York Times best seller for several years, says the issue for life is just that – first things first. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

11) Cost of discipleship for Paul: Paul sounds like Jesus. He knew following Jesus meant danger on all sides: “Five times I have received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I have been beaten with rods; once I was stoned. Three times I have been shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been adrift at sea; on frequent journeys; in danger from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brethren; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. And apart from other things, there is the daily pressure upon me of my anxiety for all the Churches” (2 Corinthians 11:24-28). (Father Tony Kayala) (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

12) It’s about living joyfully and freely in the present. September 1944–a U.S. bomber plane flying over the Pacific is hit by enemy fire. The three airmen on board must make a hasty parachute jump to safety. Only one of the three survives the terrifying ordeal. This lone survivor, George H. Bush, would later distinguish himself in business and in politics, and would go on to become our country’s 41st President. He is also the father, of course, of another President, George W. Bush. Yet 53 years after that terrible bail-out over the Pacific, former President George H. Bush decided that he needed to tackle that parachute jump again. According to a story in Life magazine, he wasn’t looking for glory or publicity; he simply wanted to face the awful memories and emotions associated with this wartime incident. So, at the age of 72, George H. Bush hired a plane to fly him out over the Arizona desert, where he made a successful jump. Now, after all those years, he could put that part of his past to rest. — Sometimes you need to do something just about that radical to get rid of painful memories that are interfering with present happiness. Of course, that is what our Faith is about. It’s not about life in the past. It’s about living joyfully and freely in the present. “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God” [Life, (May 1997), p. 25.] (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

13) Commitment in marriage: One of the most popular songs in weddings today is Steven Curtis Chapman’s I Will Be Here.” The song is a simple declaration by Chapman that no matter what their marriage goes through, he will be there for his wife. Sadly, Chapman was inspired to write this song for his wife after he learned that his own parents were divorcing. As Chapman says, “Seeing the pain of my parents’ divorce caused Mary Beth and me to ask ourselves how we could prevent this in our marriage. We spent many hours together in prayer and through that process came to understand that to love and forgive unconditionally on a daily basis is the only way a marriage can last” [“Play It Again, Sam” by Joan Brasher, Aspire (June/July 1997), p. 34]. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

“Tomorrow mornin’
If you wake up
And the sun
Does not appear
I, I will be here
If in the dark
We lose sight of love
Hold my hand
And have no fear
‘Cause I, I will be here” (http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/stevencurtischapman/iwillbehere.html)

14) “The Lord guides me.” Catherine Swift in her biography of Eric Liddell describes the faith-commitment of England’s fastest runner of 1924 and the gold medalist of 400-meter final at the Paris Olympics. On April 6, 1923, in a small-town hall in Armadale, Scotland, Eric Liddell spoke for the first time of his faith in Christ and of the strength he felt within himself from the sure knowledge of God’s love and support. News of Liddell’s talk was reported in every newspaper in Scotland the next morning. When asked how he knew where the finish line was located, he replied in his deliberate Scottish brogue, “The Lord guides me.” As word of his Faith in Christ spread through England, many wondered if he would display the same zeal on the track. Liddell silenced all skeptics in the AAA Championships in London in July 1923, by winning the 220-yard dash and the 100-yard dash. His time in the 100 stood as England’s best for thirty-five years. But he stunned his British sports fans by refusing to participate in the Paris Olympic heats for the 100 meters as the officials fixed it on a Sunday. He considered Sunday to be sacred, a day set apart for the Lord, and he would honor his convictions at the expense of fame. He was replaced by his teammate.  But three days later, he finished third in the 200-meter sprint, taking an unexpected bronze medal and his substitute won the Olympic gold medal in the 100 meters. Eric volunteered to run the 400 meters and surprised the world by winning an Olympic gold medal for England. Liddell ran to victory, five meters ahead of the silver medalist. “The Flying Scotsman” had a gold medal and a world record, 47.6 seconds. Most of all, Eric Liddell had kept his commitment to his convictions of Faith. After a few years Eric surprised the world once again by becoming an ordained missionary in China where he served as a zealous missionary for 13 years. Shortly after his forty-third birthday in January 1945 he died of a brain tumor.– Eric Liddell ran, spoke, and lived with great faithfulness and solid commitment to Christ as demanded by Jesus in today’s Gospel.  The movie, Chariots of Fire, chronicles his Faith, influencing yet another generation for Jesus    Christ. (http://ww2.intouch.org/site/c.dhKHIXPKIuE/b.2704335/k.CF1A/Life_Center_Principles__Life_Examples__Eric_Liddell.htm) (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

15) The cost of discipleship: The Indian Epics narrate many amazing stories about the dedication of the disciples to their masters. The story of Ekalavya in Mahabharata is such an amazing one.  Ekalavya is introduced as a young prince. He lived near the ashram of Drona, where Pandavas princes and Kaurava princes used to take lessons in various arts. He had great desire to learn the art of archery from Dronacharya. But Drona would not accept him as his disciple. But the boy was not to be put off; his determination knew no bounds. Ekalavya went off into the forest where he fashioned a clay statue of Drona. Worshipping the statue as his preceptor, he began a disciplined program of self-study. As a result, Ekalavya became an archer of exceptional prowess. One day while Ekalavya was practicing, he heard a dog barking. Ekalavya fired seven arrows in rapid succession to fill the dog’s mouth without injuring it. The Princes were surprised. They asked him who his master was. He replied that His “Guru” was Dronacharya. When Drona heard of it he went to see his unknown disciple. He found Ekalavya diligently practicing archery. Seeing Drona, Ekalavya prostrated himself and clasped the teacher’s hands, awaiting his order. Drona asked Ekalavya for his Gurudakshina, the deed of gratitude a student owed his teacher upon the completion of his training. Ekalavya replied that there was nothing he would not give his teacher. Drona said, “Give me your right thumb.”  Without hesitation he cut off his right thumb and handed it to Drona. — Today’s readings speak to us about the cost of discipleship. (Fr. Bobby) (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

16) Lech Walesa’s single-minded commitment: As is well known, not to retaliate in the face of provocation demands great courage and strength. Such was the moral courage and superhuman strength demonstrated by Lech Walesa, leader of the Solidarity Movement in Poland. Solidarity was a non-violent movement formed among the shipyard workers of Gdansk in Poland during the Communist era. As Walesa put it, “The Solidarity Movement was successful because at every point it fought for whatever solution was the most humane, the most worthy, and for whatever was an alternative to brutality and hatred. When it needed to be, it was also a movement that was persistent, obstinate and unyielding. And that is why we eventually succeeded.” A similar sentiment was earlier eloquently expressed by the eminent Sir Winston Churchill, “In war: resolution. In defeat: defiance. In victory: magnanimity. In peace: goodwill.” To the suggestion of James and John that those opposing the Gospel be wiped out Jesus made it clear that their proposed violence was totally unacceptable. — Not to retaliate in the face of provocation demands greater courage and strength than responding. Nothing should make us deviate from our ultimate goal. (James Valladares in Your Words O Lord, Are Spirit and They Are Life). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

17) The Hound of Heaven: God has been unrelenting in his search for humankind from the beginning of our existence. Some people have been very aware of this and have committed God’s search for us to print. After his rescue and conversion, Francis Thompson wrote the poem “The Hound of Heaven,” which begins:

I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;

I fled Him, down the arches of the years;

I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways

Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears.

— The Hound of Heaven continues to invite each one of us to follow him. Whenever we say “yes,” the Hound will invite us anew to change our lives. Don’t be surprised when you hear God’s voice, for He makes invitations to ordinary people, like you and me, while we are doing ordinary things in our lives. (Rev. Mr. Lee Hunt). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

18) Right Choices: A guard in charge of a lighthouse along a dangerous coast was given enough oil for one month and told to keep the light burning every night. One day a woman asked for some oil so that her children could stay warm. Then a farmer came. His son needed oil for a lamp so he could study. Another needed some for an engine. The guard saw each as a worthy request and gave some oil to satisfy all. By the end of the month, the tank in the lighthouse was dry. That night the beacon was dark, and three ships crashed on the rocks. More than one hundred lives were lost. The lighthouse assistant explained what he had done and why. But the prosecutor replied, “You were given only one and very important task: to keep the light burning. Every other thing was secondary. Deviation from your responsibility has caused loss of many lives and much property. You have no excuse.” — Temptation is not necessarily a choice between good and evil. Perhaps more confusing and tempting is the conflict when one must choose between the good and the best. The lighthouse keeper in our story found himself in such a conflict situation. And that is what happened to the would-be disciples in today’s Gospel story. In such cases the good easily becomes the enemy of the best. One must say NO to a good thing in order to say YES to the one thing necessary. (Gilbert K. in Liturgy and Life; quoted by Fr. Botelho). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

19) Are You a Jesus Fan or Follower: A group of Christians was holding a Prayer Meeting in Russia, when such a thing was completely forbidden. Suddenly the door was broken down by the boot of a soldier, who came into the room, faced the group, with a machine gun in hand, and commanded, “If there’s any one of you who doesn’t really believe in Jesus, then get out now, while you have a chance.” There was a rush for the door. The soldier then closed the door and stood in front of the remainder of the group, with machine gun in hand. He looked around the room, as the people were beginning to think that their end had come. Then he smiled and said, “Actually, I believe in Jesus too, and you’re better off without those others!”
(Jack McArdle in And That’s the Gospel Truth; quoted by Fr. Botelho). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) 

20) Our Commitment to Him     In 1982 the same year the film Chariots of Fire won the Academy Award, an article appeared in the Reader’s Digest. It was about a Catholic advertising executive. In spite of her successful career, she felt emptiness in her life. One morning, during a breakfast meeting with her marketing consultant, she mentioned that emptiness. “Do you want to fill it?” her colleague asked. “Of course, I do,” she said. He looked at her and replied, “Then start each day with an hour of prayer.” She looked at him and said, “Don, you’ve got to be kidding. If I tried that I’d go off my rocker. “Her friend smiled and said, “That’s exactly what I said 20 years ago.” Then he said something else that really made her think. He said, “You’re trying to fit God into your life. Instead, you should be trying to fit your life around God.” The woman left the restaurant in turmoil. Begin each morning with prayer? Begin each morning with an hour of prayer? Absolutely out of the question! Yet, the next morning the woman found herself doing exactly that. And she’s been doing it ever since. The woman is the first to admit that it has not always been easy. There have been mornings when she was filled with great peace and joy. But there have been other mornings when she was filled with nothing but weariness. And it was on these weary mornings that she remembered something else that her marketing consultant said: “There will be times when your mind just won’t go into God’s sanctuary. That’s when you spend your hour in God’s waiting room. Still, you’re there, and God appreciates your struggle to stay there. What’s important is the commitment.” (Mark Link in Sunday Homilies; quoted by Fr. Botelho). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

21) Whoever keeps looking back is unfit. We all admire people who do their duty, come what may. Even pagan poets, like the Roman Horace praised the man who was “tenacious of purpose.” After all, countless others depend on us to be steadfast. They lean on us, and if we fall, they will fall. Our Lord reminds us in today’s Gospel that our very salvation depends on constancy: “Whoever puts his hand to the plow but keeps looking back is unfit for the reign of God.” (Lk. 9.62). Naturally everybody fears he may be unequal to duty. Today, however, people seem almost paralyzed about committing themselves. Some avoid the formalities of marriage so as to avoid its obligations. Some seek divorce because their marriage vows inhibit their “freedom.” Many priests and sisters have recently abdicated their vows. Have some of them “kept looking back”? The story of St. Noel Chabanel reminds us that God expects our commitment and intends to help us live up to it. Father Noel was a 17th century French Jesuit who volunteered to work as a missionary to the Huron Indians in the present province of Ontario, Canada. It was a wild and difficult mission for even the most adaptable of missionaries. For Noel, the assignment ran completely against his tastes. He could not master the difficult Huron language. He found the country barbarous, the lifestyle of the Indians repulsive, and their food revolting. Nevertheless, he made a solemn personal vow that, much as he hated his surroundings, he would remain there until his death. After all, he had come to seek souls, not pleasure. God answered his commitment with a marvelous reward. On December 8, 1649, one of the Indians, acting out of hatred for Christianity, slew Father Chabanel. On June 29, 1930, Pope Pius XI canonized him and seven others as the North American Jesuit Martyrs. St. Noel’s steadfast commitment was perfectly in keeping with the idea of constancy expressed by the founder of the Jesuits, St. Ignatius Loyola: “Lord, teach me to be generous: teach me to serve You, to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labor and not to seek reward, except that of knowing that I do Your will.” (Father Robert F. McNamara). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)  L/22

 “Scriptural Homilies” Cycle C (No 39) by Fr. Tony: akadavil@gmail.com

Visit my website by clicking on http://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

 

June 20-25 weekday homilies

June 20-25: June 20 Monday: Mt 7:1-5: Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. 3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, `Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. Additional reflections: Click on https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections.

The context: In today’s passage, taken from the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus condemns our careless, malicious, and rash judgments about others’ feelings, motives, behavior or actions.

Reasons why we should not judge others: 1) No one, except God, is good enough, and only He has the right and authority, to judge us, because only He sees the whole truth and only He can read the human heart. 2) We do not see all the facts or circumstances, nor the power of the temptation, behind a person’s evil deed. 3) We have no right to judge others because we have the same faults as the ones we are judging and often in a higher degree (remember Jesus’ funny example of a man with a wooden beam in his eye trying to remove the dust particle from another’s eye?) St. Philip Neri commented, watching the misbehavior of a drunkard: “There goes Philip but for the grace of God.” 4) We are often prejudiced in our judgment of others, and total fairness cannot be expected from us.

Life messages: 1) Let us leave the judgment to God and refrain from being critical and judgmental. 2) Let us remember the advice of saints: “When you point one finger of accusation at another, three of your fingers point at you. Let us heed the Jewish rabbi’s advice: “He who judges others favorably will be judged favorably by God.” (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/22

June 21 Tuesday: (St. Aloysius Gonzaga, Religious)https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-aloysius-gonzaga: Mt 7: 6, 12-14:Do not give dogs what is holy; and do not throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under foot and turn to attack you. 12 So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets. 13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.Additional reflections: Click on 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 the Sermon on the Mount, speaks about the proper use of holy things, the Golden Rule we have to obey, and the less-traveled narrow way we have to take in our Christian lives.

1) Jesus advises his listeners to use holy things in a holy manner. The Jews had a statement in their Scriptures (“Do not put a golden ring in the nose of a pig or on the ears of a dog” Prv 11:22), parallel to Jesus’ statement, “Do not give dogs what is holy; and do not throw your pearls before swine”(Mt 7:12) The Jews understood the injunction to mean the exclusiveness of their religion, which meant that they should not teach the Law to the Gentiles. The early Church interpreted Jesus’ statement in its earliest catechism,the Didache, to mean that only the baptized should approach the Eucharistic table. This view is reflected in the canons of the Oriental Churches, introducing a command in the text of the Mass before Eucharistic prayer, “Let the catechumens, hearers and unbelievers quit,” and a serious warning before Holy Communion, “Holy things are for holy people.” 2) The statement of the Golden Rule, “Whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them(Mt 7:12), is Jesus’ positive contribution to ancient and negative Jewish principles, meaning that real Christianity consists in doing good to others by loving service and works of mercy.

3) Enter by the narrow gate:Supplementing the instructions given by Moses (Dt 30:15-20), Joshua (Dt 24:15), and Jeremiah (21:8), Jesus challenges his followers to “enter by the narrow gate and take the hard way that leads to life.”

Life message: 1) Let us learn to reverence and respect holy things in a holy manner. 2) Let us do to others what we wish them to do to us. 3) Let us choose Jesus’ narrow way of sacrificial love and humble service. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/22

June 22 Wednesday: (St. Paulinus of Nola, Bishop,( https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-paulinus-of-nola) Saints, John Fisher, (https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-john-fisher) Bishop, Thomas More, (https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-thomas-more) Martyrs): Mt 7:15-20: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? 17 So, every sound tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears evil fruit. 18 A sound tree cannot bear evil fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will know them by their fruits. Additional reflections: Click on https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections.

The context: In today’s Gospel passage, taken from the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gives his Church a warning against false prophets and their false doctrines. Jesus compares them to wolves in sheep’s clothing and tells us we can recognize them by observing the lives they lead and the doctrines they teach.

False and true prophets: The Old Testament speaks of false prophets and how they mislead God’s people. Jeremiah 23:9-40 is a classic example. The prophet condemns the false prophets of Baal. The Old Testament gives three signs of true prophets: a) they honor God and promote the worship of the one true God; b) they care for the poor; c) they fight for justice. Modern false prophets in the Church try to remove the cross from Christianity, dilute sin, and avoid teaching about God’s judgment while teaching that morality is relative, which God abhors: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who change darkness into light and light into darkness(Is 5:20). They try to separate the people of God from the Magisterium of the Church. But modern true prophets lead exemplary and righteous lives, obey God’s laws and the Church laws and demonstrate the virtues of Faith, Hope, Charity, Justice, Prudence, Fortitude, and Temperance. In addition, they produce the fruits of the Holy Spirit. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). The pre -Vatican II Baltimore Catechism expanded this passage from Galatians to Twelve Fruits: “Charity, Joy, Peace, Patience, Benignity [Kindness], Goodness, Long-suffering [Patience] Mildness [Gentleness], Modesty, Continency, Chastity [three effects of Self-Control].

Life message: 1) As Christians, we participate in the prophetic role of Christ. Hence, we have the duty of leading others to Christ by our exemplary Christian lives. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/22

June 23 Thursday: (The nativity o St. John the Baptist) https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/nativity-of-saint-john-the-baptist

  Luke 1:57-66: 57 Now the time came for Elizabeth to be delivered, and she gave birth to a son. 58 And her neighbors and kinsfolk heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. 59 And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they would have named him Zechariah after his father, 60 but his mother said, “Not so; he shall be called John.” 61 And they said to her, “None of your kindred is called by this name.” 62 And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he would have him called. 63 And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, “His name is John.” And they all marveled. 64 And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God. 65 And fear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea; 66 and all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, “What then will this child be?” For the hand of the Lord was with him. Additional reflections: Click on https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections.

The context:Today’s Gospel describes the birth and naming of St. John the Baptist, the last Old Testament prophet. He was given the mission of heralding the promised Messiah and of preparing the Chosen People to welcome that Messiah by preaching to them repentance and the renewal of life. John was born to the priest, Zechariah and his wife, Elizabeth in their old age. Today’s Gospel passage describes John’s birth, Circumcision, and Naming ceremony.

A miraculous birth and an event of double joy: His elderly parents rejoiced in John’s birth, as he was a gift from God in their old age. Since the child was a boy, all their neighbors rejoiced with them, and the village musicians celebrated the birth by playing their joyful music. The Naming followed the baby’s Circumcision, and Elizabeth insisted that the child should be named John (which means “the Lord is gracious”), the name given him by the Archangel Gabriel when he spoke to Zechariah. The mute Zechariah approved that name by writing, “His name is John.” At that action of obedient surrender to the Lord God, the priest’s speech was restored, and he loudly proclaimed the praises of God for blessing him with a son and Israel with her Deliverer, Whose herald his son would be.

Life messages: 1) We need to pray for our parents and be thankful to them for the gift of life, the training and discipline they have given us, and the love and affection they have lavished on us. Let us ask God’s pardon if we are, or were, ungrateful to them, do/did not take proper care of them in their illness or old age or ever inflicted pain on them.

2) We need to remember and pray for our godparents who sponsored us in Baptism, which made us children of God, brothers and sisters of Jesus, heirs of Heaven and members of the Church.

3) We should have the courage of our Christian convictions as John the Baptist did, and we should become heralds of Christ as the Baptist was, by our transparent Christian lives. (Fr. Tony) (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/22

June 24 Friday: (Most Sacred Heart of Jesus):

https://www.franciscanmedia.org/franciscan-spirit-blog/the-sacred-heart-of-jesus: Luke 15: 3-7:

Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is the second popular Catholic devotion among Catholics, the first being the Rosary. The infinite love and mercy of God is shown in many different metaphors and symbols like the Baby in the manger, the Good Shepherd, the Crucifix, the Sacred Heart, and the Divine Mercy Picture. The devotion to the Sacred Heart is based on the apparitions of Our Lord from 1673 to 1675 to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, a nun of the Visitation Convent at Paray-le-Monial in France. The Gospel passage, “They shall look on him whom they have pierced” (Jn 19:35-37) lies at the foundation of the whole tradition of devotion to the Divine Heart. The practices of the “Enthronement of the Sacred Heart of Jesus” in the home and the “Consecration and dedication of the family to the Sacred Heart” were begun by Fr. Mateo Crawley-Boevey of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary and were later approved by the popes. Official and social recognition of the rule of Jesus over the Christian family is the purpose of the consecration of the family to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The “Holy Hour,” the “Litany of the Sacred Heart,” “The Act of Consecration of the Family and the Human Race to the Sacred Heart,” the “First Friday Devotion” and the “Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus” are different forms of this devotion.

Life Messages: 1) An invitation for heart transplant. Our hearts become stony and insensitive through our daily exposure to acts of cruelty, terrorism, injustice and impurity. Hence God prescribes a change of heart through His prophet Ezekiel (Ez 11:19-20) to make our hearts soft, elastic, large and sensitive:” I will give them a new heart and put a new spirit within them; I will remove the stony heart from their bodies and replace it with a natural heart.” The Sacred Heart of Jesus should be the ideal heart for this medical procedure because Jesus said, “Learn of me I am meek and humble of heart.” Let us ask to have the heart of Jesus.

2) An invitation to love. The Sacred Heart of Jesus challenges us to love others as Jesus loved, selflessly, unconditionally and sacrificially, and to express this love in humble and loving service done to others.

c) An invitation to pray: First, let us continue to pray for the grace of healing for those who have been the victims of sexual abuse by the clergy as the Church expresses its sorrow and seeks forgiveness from these victims. Let us also pray that these victims may, in turn, accept the grace to forgive those who have harmed and betrayed them. Second, let us pray for the grace of courage for our bishops to be true shepherds in caring for their flocks; in restoring discipline in clerical and religious life and in ending the dissent that has undermined the Magisterium. Third, let us pray for the grace of perseverance, that clergy and laity alike will keep the Faith and not lose hope in difficult time of purification. (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.

June 25 Saturday (The Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary) (https://www.ewtn.com/catholicism/seasons-and-feast-days/immaculate-heart-of-mary-14358) Lk 2:41-51: 41 Each year his parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, and when he was twelve years old, they went up according to festival custom. After they had completed its days, as they were returning, the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Thinking that he was in the caravan, they journeyed for a day and looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances, but not finding him, they returned to Jerusalem to look for him. ……51Additional reflections: Click on https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections.

This feast commemorates the joys and sorrows of the Mother of God, her virtues and perfections, her love for God and her Divine Son and her compassionate love for mankind. … In 1969, Pope Paul VI moved the celebration of the Immaculate Heart of Mary to the Saturday, immediately after the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is a special form of devotion to the venerable person of Mary, similar to devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Mary’s Immaculate Heart represents her interior life and the beauty of her soul. Devotion to the Heart of Jesus is especially directed to the Divine Heart as overflowing with love for men. This devotion is an attempt to respond to Jesus’ love and to make reparation for the lack of love on the part of mankind. In the devotion to the Heart of Mary, on the other hand, what seems to attract us above all else is the love of Mary’s Immaculate Heart for Jesus and for God. The objective is to love God and Jesus better, by uniting ourselves to Mary for this purpose and by imitating her virtues. In this devotion, we think of the love, virtues, and sentiments of Mary’s interior life and try to put them into practice.

Scriptural basis of this devotion: It was mostly the love, humility, faith, and other virtues of the Heart of Mary that attracted early Christians to Mary, the mother of Jesus. They saw Mary’s heart in its true color at the foot of the Cross. Simeon’s prophecy furnished this devotion with its most popular representation: the heart pierced with a sword. St. Augustine remarks: “At the foot of the cross, Mary cooperated with Jesus in the work of our redemption through charity.” One Scriptural passage in support of this devotion is the twice repeated saying of St. Luke given in today’s Gospel that Mary kept all the sayings and doings of Jesus in her heart, that she might ponder over them and live by them. A few of the sayings of Mary recorded in the Gospel, particularly the Magnificat, disclose new features in Marian psychology. Elizabeth proclaims Mary blessed because she has believed the words of the angel. The Magnificat is also an expression of her humility. Answering the woman in the crowd who praised Jesus’ mother as blessed, Jesus commented “Blessed rather are they that hear the word of God and keep it.” It was Mary’s readiness to hear and do the will of God that endeared her to God and caused her to be selected as the Mother of Jesus.

Life message: Let us take Mary as our role model and practice her virtues of trusting Faith, serving humility and readiness to do God’s will in our daily lives, thus becoming immaculate children of an Immaculate Heavenly Mother. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/22

June 12:

The Miraculous Medal also known as the Medal of Our Lady of Grace, and the Medal of the Immaculate Conception is a devotional medal, the design for which was provided to Saint Catherine Labouré by the Blessed Mother in a vision during a series of apparitions in Daughters of Charity Convent on Rue du Bac, Paris, France, on 19 July 1830. What St. Catherine saw in her vision was both sides of an oval medal. The front of the Medal shows Mary standing on a serpent, (the evil one), coiled on the globe of the earth; Mary has rays of grace streaming from her hand. In the band framing medal on which the image is centered, appear the words, O MARY CONCEIVED WITHOUT SIN, PRAY FOR US WHO HAVE RECOURSE TO THEE; the date of the apparition, 1830, is centered on the band under the globe. On the reverse of the medal, the central image is a cross with its horizontal base woven through the top portion (where straight and diagonal legs join), of the capital letter M. Beneath the letter are pictured the Sacred Heart of Jesus crowned with thorns next to the Immaculate Heart of Mary pierced with a sword. The whole of the image is framed in the twelve stars of the Woman in Revelation, “clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and on her head a crown of 12 stars” (Rv 12:1), St. Catherine was commanded to have a medal struck, with copies being made and distributed to urge people to pray to the Mary the Virgin Mother of God and to change their lives. The Saint did so, with some difficulties, and the medal was passed out to hundred. Miraculous healings in answer to prayers by those wearing the medal and honoring Our Lady caused the Medal to be called “miraculous” and hundreds to demand and wear the medal, giving copies to their friends, families and strangers The devotion has spread world-wide; the devotion of wearing the Miraculous Medal honors the Hearts of Jesus and Mary). (apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary[2] )

Most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus (June 19)

The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ [C] (June 19) One page summary

Importance: 1) The last two precious gifts given to us by Jesus are the Holy Eucharist as our spiritual food on Holy Thursday and Jesus’ mother Mary as our spiritual mother on Good Friday 2) Corpus Christi reminds us of the abiding presence of our loving God as Emmanuel (God with us), which is celebrated yearly in order that we may give collective thanks to our Lord for his living with us in the Eucharist. 3) The feast also gives us an occasion to learn more about the importance and value of the “Real Presence” of Jesus in the Eucharist, so that we may appreciate the Sacrament better and maximum benefit from receiving Communion.

We believe in the “Real Presence” of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist because1) Jesus promised it after miraculously feeding the 5000. 2) Jesus instituted the Holy Eucharist during his Last Supper. 3) Jesus commanded his disciples to repeat it in his memory. 4) “Nothing is impossible for God” (Lk 1:37)

We explain the real presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist by: “transubstantiation” which means that the substance of the consecrated bread and wine is changed to the substance of the risen, living Jesus in His glorified Body and Blood by the action of the Holy Spirit, while the accidents (like color, shape, taste, etc. of the consecrated bread and wine), remain unchanged.

.Scripture lessons: This year’s readings for this feast emphasize the theme of the priesthood of Jesus. Today’s first reading describes how the priest-king Melchizedek offered a thanksgiving-sacrifice of bread and wine to God for the welfare of the patriarch Abraham and shows how the event prefigured the Eucharistic sacrifice of the Priest-King Jesus.  It is also as a sign of thanksgiving for Jesus’ victory won over sin and death.  In the second reading, St. Paul gives the earliest account of what Jesus said and did during the last meal he celebrated with his followers, interpreting it as a sacrifice.   Today’s Gospel describes Jesus’ miraculous feeding of five thousand people by multiplying five loaves of bread and two fish. Theologically, this feeding is a prefiguring of Jesus’ gift of the Eucharistic bread that would spiritually nourish those who believe in him.

A Sacrament and a sacrifice: Jesus instituted the Holy Eucharist both as a sacramental banquet and a sacrificial offering.As a Sacrament, a) the Eucharist is a visible sign that gives us God’s grace and God’s life and, b) as a communal Meal, The Eucharist unites us and nourishes our souls. As a sacrifice a) the Eucharistic celebration is a re-presentation or re-enactment of Jesus’ sacrifice on Calvary, completed in His Resurrection. b) As Church, we offer Jesus’ sacrifice to God the Father for the remission of our sins, using signs and symbols.

Life messages: 1) Let us appreciate the “Real Presence” of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, by receiving him with true repentance for our sins, due preparation, and deep reverence.

2) Let us be Christ-bearers and conveyers: By receiving Holy Communion, we become Christ-bearers as Mary was, with the duty of conveying Christ to others at home and in the workplace, through love, mercy, forgiveness, and humble and sacrificial service.

3) Let us offer our lives on the altar along with Jesus’ sacrifice, asking pardon for our sins, expressing gratitude for the blessings we have received, and presenting our needs petitions on the altar.

THE MOST HOLY BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST [C] (June 19)

(Gn 14:18-20, 1Cor 11:23-26, Lk 9: 11b-17)

Homily starter anecdotes # 1: They Had Enough: St. John Bosco (1815-1888), better known as “Don Bosco”, was not only a skilled administrator, missionary, and educator of boys. God also chose on occasion to work miracles through him. One feast day, all the boys in his Oratory school at Turin, Italy, were scheduled to receive Holy Communion from him at Mass. When Communion time came, however, he opened the ciborium containing the sacred hosts and found it almost empty. And 650 students were lined up to receive! (The sacristan of the Chapel almost fainted when he saw the surprised look on the Saint’s face as he took the cover off the ciborium. Father Sacristan had completely forgotten to put out another ciborium filled with altar breads to be consecrated during that Mass!). Don Bosco paused only a moment. Then he lifted his eyes to heaven, breathed a little prayer, grasped the ciborium and started to administer Communion to the kneeling boys. Marvel upon marvels, each time he removed a host, another appeared to replace it. Thus, there were enough to take care of 650 students, and probably some left besides. Naturally, this miraculous multiplication could not be kept quiet at the Oratory. His associates asked St. John about it, and he agreed that something remarkable had occurred. “God is good” he said, “and He saw to it that the boys were taken care of.” — Today we celebrate Corpus Christi – the Church’s special feast in honor of the Eucharistic Body and Blood of Christ. Appropriately, the Gospel chosen relates Jesus’ feeding the 5000 by multiplying the loaves and fishes. It was a miracle clearly foreshadowing the institution of the Eucharist. Our Lord has not often been called upon to multiply already consecrated hosts, as He did for Don Bosco, but it is almost a miracle in itself that at every Mass in the world since Holy Thursday Christ has multiplied Himself as Eucharistic food. Thus, the faithful, as today’s gospel says, “have all eaten until they had enough.” (Father Robert F. McNamara).

2) Communion on the moon: The Lord’s Supper ensures that we can remember Jesus from any place. Apollo 11 landed on the moon on Sunday, July 20, 1969. Most remember astronaut Neil Armstrong’s first words as he stepped onto the moon’s surface: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” But few know about the first meal eaten on the moon. Dennis Fisher reports that Buzz Aldrin, the NASA Astronaut had taken aboard the spacecraft a tiny pyx provided by his Catholic pastor. Aldrin sent a radio broadcast to Earth asking listeners to contemplate the events of the day and give thanks. Then, blacking out the broadcast for privacy, Aldrin read, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit.” Then, silently, he gave thanks for their successful journey to the moon and received Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, surrendering moon to Jesus. Next, he descended on the moon and walked on it with Neil Armstrong. (Dan Gulley: “Communion on the Moon”: Our Daily Bread: June/July/August 2007). –- Aldrin’s actions remind us that in the Lord’s Supper, God’s children can share the life of Jesus from any place on Earth, even from the moon. God is everywhere, and our worship should reflect this reality. In Psalm 139 we are told that wherever we go, God is intimately present with us. Buzz Aldrin celebrated that experience on the surface of the moon. Thousands of miles from earth, he took time to commune with the One who created, redeemed, and established fellowship with him. (Dennis Fisher) (http://www.smithvillechurch.org/html/body_remembering_jesus_on_the_moon.html) &(https://www.rbc.org/devotionals/our-daily-bread/2007/07/20/devotion.aspx) Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

[Email from dated June 9, 2012: Dear Fr. Tony,

I read your anecdote 'communion on the Moon' with some amusement. Buzz Aldrin was Roman Catholic. He was an altar server to an uncle of mine Fr. Dennis Barry in St. Martin's Church, La Mesa, California. My uncle said Mass in his hotel room with Buzz as the altar server the day before his trip to the Moon, and I have photographs of that Mass with Buzz holding the wine and water at the Offertory. My uncle gave Buzz the Body of Christ to take to the Moon with him and that was his first 'meal on the moon'. I later met Buzz Aldrin at my uncle's funeral in La Mesa in 1986. So, Buzz was not a Presbyterian. Thank you for your splendid service and keep up the good work. God Bless. Fr. Eddie Collins. The Presbytery, O'Rahilly Street, Clonakilty, Co Cork, eddiecollins)) Comment: Probably, Aldrin joined the Presbyterian Church after his divorce, and remarriage without annulment. Please check http://www.snopes.com/glurge/communion.asp. Fr. Tony

# 3: “I would like to say Mass.” Dominic Tang, the courageous Chinese archbishop, was imprisoned for twenty-one years for nothing more than his loyalty to Christ and Christ’s one, true Church. After five years of solitary confinement in a windowless, damp cell, the Archbishop was told by his jailers that he could leave it for a few hours to do whatever he wanted. Five years of solitary confinement and he had a couple of hours to do what he wanted! What would it be? A hot shower? A change of clothes? Certainly, a long walk outside? A chance to call or write to family? What would it be, the jailer asked him. “I would like to say Mass,” replied Archbishop Tang. [Msgr. Timothy Similarly, Vietnamese Jesuit, Joseph Nguyen-Cong Doan, who spent nine years in labor camps in Vietnam, relates how he was finally able to say Mass when a fellow priest-prisoner shared some of his own smuggled supplies. “That night, when the other prisoners were asleep, lying on the floor of my cell, I celebrated Mass with tears of joy. My altar was my blanket, my prison clothes my vestments. But I felt myself at the heart of humanity and of the whole of creation.” (Ibid., p. 224).

# 4: The greatest work of art in St. Peter’s Basilica: One of the seminarians who gives tours of St. Peter’s told me of an interesting incident. He was leading a group of Japanese tourists who knew absolutely nothing of our Faith. With particular care he explained the great masterpieces of art, sculpture and architecture. He finally concluded at the Blessed Sacrament Chapel trying his best to explain quickly what it was. As the group dispersed, an elderly man, who had been particularly attentive stayed behind, and said, “Pardon me. Would you explain again this ‘Blessed Sacrament?’” Our student did, after which the man exclaimed, “Ah, if this is so, what is in this chapel is a greater work of art than anything else in this basilica.”’  [Msgr. Timothy M Dolan in Priests of the Third Millennium, (2000), p. 226.] — Today’s feast of Corpus Christi is intended to make us value and appreciate the worth of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.  Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

Introduction: The feast and its objectives:    Today, we celebrate the solemn feast of Corpus Christi. It is three feasts in one: the feast of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, the feast of the Sacrament of the Eucharist, and the feast of the Real Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.  This doctrinal  feast has been established for three purposes:  1) to give God collective thanks for Christ’s abiding presence with us in the Eucharist and to honor Him there; 2) to instruct the people in the Mystery, Faith, and devotion surrounding the Eucharist, and 3) to teach us to appreciate and make use of the great gift of the Holy Eucharist, both as a Sacrament and as a sacrifice. In the three-year cycle of the Sunday liturgy, there is a different theme each year for this Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ.  In Cycle A the theme is the Eucharist as our food and drink; in Cycle B the emphasis is on the Eucharist as the sign of the covenant; and in Cycle C the focus is on the priesthood of Jesus and the Covenant Blood.

Although we celebrate the institution of the Holy Eucharist on Holy Thursday, the Church wants to emphasize its importance by a special feast, formerly called Corpus Christi.” It was Pope Urban IV who first extended the feast to the universal Church. This is one of the few feasts left in which we observe a procession and a sung “Sequence” before the  Gospel is read.  Today’s feast reminds us of the priority of the Word of God and the Eucharist in our lives.  We need this Bread which is his Body, this Wine which is his Blood to be able, as a community (Church),  and as individuals to grow in Faith, to increase and develop our  strength and courage so that we can live this Christ-life, and to become more fully true members of the Body of Christ.

Historical development: Today’s celebration of the Body and Blood of the Lord originated in the Diocese of Liege in 1246 as the feast of Corpus Christi.  In the reforms of Vatican II, Corpus Christi was joined with the feast of the Precious Blood (then celebrated July 1) to become the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of the Lord. We celebrate today Christ’s gift of the Eucharist, the source and summit of our life together as the Church.  The Council of Trent (1545 to 1563) declared that we must honor Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist publicly so that those who observe the Faith of Catholics in the Most Holy Eucharist may be attracted to our Eucharistic Lord and come to believe in the Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, present in this great Sacrament. “The Catholic Church teaches that in the Eucharist, the Body and Blood of the God-man are really, truly, substantially, and abidingly present together with his soul and divinity by reason of the Transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ.  This takes place in the unbloody sacrifice of the Mass” (Council of Trent, 1551; CCC # 1374, note 200)

Biblical foundation: Our belief in this Real Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist derives from the literal interpretation of the promise of Christ to give us his Body and Blood for our spiritual food and drink, as found in St. John’s Gospel, Chapter 6, and also in the four independent accounts of the fulfillment of this promise at the Last Supper (Mt 26; Mk 14; Lk 22; 1 Cor 11).  Eucharistic theologians explain the Real Presence by a process called transubstantiation: the entire substance of bread and wine is changed into the entire substance of the risen, living, glorified Body and Blood of Christ, retaining only the “accidents” (taste, color, shape) of bread and wine. Can there be a religion in which God is closer   to man than our Catholic Christianity?  Jesus does not believe that he is humiliating himself in coming to us and giving himself to us in his Flesh and Blood; rather, he is expressing his everlasting love for us.

Scripture lessons: Today’s Scripture readings contain three themes: the Eucharist as blessing or praise of God (action of Melchizedek in Gn 14:18-20), the Eucharist as memorial of what Jesus did at the Last Supper (1 Cor 11:23-26) and the Eucharist as food for the multitudes (Lk 9:11b-17). The never-ending supply of bread with which Jesus fed the multitude prefigured his own Body, the consecrated Bread that sustains us until he comes again.  The Eucharist is also a re-enactment of Christ’s sacrificial Self-giving.  The Jews offered animal sacrifices to God, believing that life was in the blood, and the animal blood was a substitute for human lifeblood. Following this Jewish tradition, Jesus offered his own lifeblood as a substitute for the lifeblood of all human beings and, so, sealed the New Covenant made between God and humankind (1 Cor 11:25), bringing new life to the world. The Corpus Christi readings remind us of Jesus’ offering of his Body and Blood which serves in the Church as a lasting memorial of His saving death for us. We renew Jesus’ Covenant by participating in the banquet of his Body and Blood, a banquet that, through his death, gives us life.

First reading: Genesis 14:18-20, explained: Abram was the earlier name of the patriarch Abraham, founder of the Chosen People who became our ancestors in the Faith. This story tells us how Melchizedek, the neighboring Canaanite king and “priest of God Most High,” welcomed Abram as he returned after defeating some local “kings” who had kidnapped his brother Lot, and recovering from them the property they had previously captured from the King of Sodom. Both Melchizedek himself and the character of his offering prefigure Jesus. In an act of thanksgiving, this mysterious King of Salem and “priest of God Most High,” blessed Abram, offered bread and wine to God and shared these with Abram. Abram affirms his Faith in the true God (“the Lord, God Most High, Creator of Heaven and earth”) to Whom he has sworn an oath (v 22). Jesus became known as “a priest according to the order of Melchizedek”(Psalm 110:4).  Jesus, priest and king, is the Eternal Priest and King of Kings who offered a sacrifice of Bread and Wine during his Last Supper. Jesus is infinitely greater than Melchizedek, in that He is the sacrifice and the offering (the Bread and Wine), as well as the one making the offering, the priest. Melchizedek offered a gift of gratitude to God. Jesus’ gift is also called the Eucharist, meaning thanksgiving. Like Melchizedek’s offering of gratitude to God, the Eucharist is our sacrifice of thanksgiving to God for all that He has accomplished in and through Jesus. Although the bread and wine mentioned in Genesis 14 are highly suggestive of the Eucharist for us, the sacrificial meal originally probably had no Eucharistic significance beyond reminding us of the hospitality which should be part of every celebration of the Lord’s Supper.

Second Reading, I Cor 11:23-26, explained: Today, on the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, we listen to Paul’s account of the Last Supper. This is one of the few places in his writings where Paul solemnly states that he is handing on a tradition possibly originating in the mid-30s. Paul supports the authenticity of his interpretation of the Last Supper of Jesus, describing it as a direct revelation received from the risen Jesus. Then he gives the earliest account of what Jesus said and did during the last meal he celebrated with his followers. The words Paul quotes are very similar to those ascribed to Jesus in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke.  This earliest written account of the institution of the Lord’s Supper in the New Testament emphasizes Jesus’ action of self-giving as expressed in the words over the bread and the cup and his double command to repeat his own action. Paul has to be very clear about his authority here, because he’s correcting the Corinthians severely. Misconduct at the Eucharist is one of several abuses for which the Apostle takes them to task. To proclaim the death of the Lord is to confess one’s Faith in the whole mystery of Christ and all that he means for us. The refusal of some of the Corinthian converts to imitate Jesus’ death by dying to their own vested interests had been creating chaos in Church gatherings. Paul believes that since Jesus gave us the Eucharist in the context of his dying for our sake, we should experience it only in the context of our dying to ourselves for his sake. Thus, all Christ’s disciples are challenged to promote community, to be united and to hold possessions in common.

Today’s Gospel (Lk 9:11-17):  Theologically, the miraculous feeding of the crowd of five thousand men could be understood as a type or prefiguring of Jesus’ gift of the Eucharistic Bread that would spiritually nourish those who believed in him. Christologically, the taking, breaking and giving of the loaves anticipated the “taking” of Jesus in the garden, the “breaking” of his body during his passion and Jesus’ “giving” of himself as a sacrifice for the sins of humankind. The description of the miracle also points out the disciples’ role in the miraculous feeding of the multitude. Only after they give him what little they have can Jesus bless, break and give it back to them to distribute to the hungry crowd.  Luke tells us that Jesus demands all his followers to “share what little they have” when they gather for the Lord’s Supper. No matter how insignificant or small our gift, it could be the very thing Jesus blesses to satisfy the hunger of those around us. To die by becoming one with each other and to die by sharing ourselves are at the heart of the Eucharist. If those elements are missing, our rubrics and actions are meaningless. In Greek the word koinonia is used by the Christian writers to describe both the Eucharistic communion and the communion of wealth.  For the first Christian communities the two things were the same (cfr. Acts 2:42-45).

Exegesis: Theological significance: Vatican II states that as a sacrifice “the Holy Eucharist is the center and culmination of Christian life” (Lumen Gentium, 11).  Why?  1) Because it enables us to participate in Christ’s sacrifice as a present reality and to benefit from its fruits in our own lives.  2) Because it helps us to worship the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in the most perfect way.  3) Because it strengthens our charity and unity in Jesus with each other in a joint offering of his Body and Blood to the Father.  4) Because it gives us a lasting memorial of Christ’s suffering, death, and Resurrection, reminding us of our obligation to make loving sacrifices for others.  The Eucharist is the Mystery of our Faith, the mystery of our Hope, the mystery of our Charity.  Why do we celebrate the Eucharist some 2,000 years later?  We do this because Jesus told us to do so: “Do this in memory of me.”   St. Augustine in the 5th century said it best when he said: “It is your Mystery, the Mystery of Your Life, that has been placed on the altar.”  This Holy Memorial is known by various names: 1) “The Eucharist” because Jesus offered himself to God the Father as an act of thanksgiving; 2) “The Lord’s Supper”–or “Breaking of the Bread”– because we celebrate it as a communal meal;  3) “Holy Communion” because, we become one with Christ by receiving him; and  4) “Holy Mass” (holy sending), because it gives us a mission: “Go in peace glorifying God by your life.”

Jesus replaces the Old Covenant with the New Covenant: Jesus instituted the Eucharist in deliberate allusion to, and fulfillment of, what happened on Mount Sinai.  He replaced Moses as the God-chosen mediator, establishing the New Covenant promised through the prophet Jeremiah (Jer 31:31-34), by using his own Blood rather than that of sacrificial animals.  By sacramentally consuming the Body and Blood of the God-man, we, the final-age people of God, are interiorly transformed through the most perfect possible union with God.  Jesus creates a faithful people intimately united with God by means of his sacramental Blood.

The Jewish Passover is transformed into the Eucharistic celebration: Jesus instituted the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist while eating the Passover meal, the feast on which the Jews gathered annually to commemorate their ancestors’ deliverance from Egyptian slavery.  This foundational event began the night God “passed over” the Israelites to punish their Egyptian oppressors who resisted His will.  Israel was “saved through blood” of sacrificial lambs sprinkled on doorways.  (There are some modern Bible scholars who doubt whether Jesus’ Last Supper was strictly a Passover meal because many items of the Passover meal are not mentioned).  In the second half of today’s Gospel, Jesus’ words and gestures are understood as mediating the fullness of salvation through Blood that would be his own.  That night he offered “the Blood of the (New) Covenant,” as Blood to be drunk rather than sprinkled.  Moreover, since it was his own, this Blood needed no further identification with God by splashing against an altar.  Finally, the Blood was “to be poured out for you and for many (a Semitism for ‘all’).”  Thus, the new and perfect Paschal Lamb accomplished for people of every nation what Mosaic sacrifices only imperfectly achieved for the Jews.  Giving of both “Body” and “Blood” establishes the context of Jesus’ sacrificial death, a New Covenant sealed with his Blood.

The Sacrament and the sacrifice: Jesus instituted the Holy Eucharist during the Last Supper as a Sacramental banquet and a sacrificial offering.  As a Sacrament, the Holy Eucharist is an outward sign in and through which we meet Jesus who shares his life of grace with us. “In the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist the Body and Blood, together with the soul and Divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained” (CCC#1374). In this Sacrament of the Eucharist, we do meet Jesus, the Risen Lord who comes to us under signs of Bread and Wine to nourish and strengthen us for our journey through life.  The Eucharistic Meal is a great mystery because during the Eucharistic celebration the substance of bread and wine are converted into the substance of the risen Jesus’ Body and Blood, while their appearances (or “accidents”) remain.  We believe in this transformation of bread and wine (called Transubstantiation), because Jesus unequivocally taught it and authorized his apostles to repeat it.  As a Sacrament, the Holy Eucharist imparts to us Jesus’ abiding presence in our souls.  In addition, we share in his Divine life, which is an assurance of eternal life and the basis for the conviction that we are children of God the Father.  God shares His life with Jesus and with all other people.  The Eucharist is the Sacrament of our union with Jesus.  In this Sacrament, Jesus gives us his own Body, broken for us on the cross and his precious Blood poured out for us, in order that our sins may be forgiven.  The Eucharistic celebration is also a sacrifice because it is the re-presentation or re-living in an unbloody manner of Christ’s Death on Good Friday and of his Resurrection on Easter Sunday.  By means of signs, symbols and prayers, we share in Christ’s passion, death and Resurrection made really present for us in an unbloody manner.  This re-presenting, this re-living of the One Sacrifice of Christ, which is the heart and point of every Mass, assures us of Jesus’ love for us and of his forgiveness of our sins.  Through this sacrifice, the risen Jesus becomes present on the altar, offering himself to the Father through the ministry of the priest.

Life Messages: 1) We need to receive this message of unity and sacrificial love: The Eucharist (the Body and Blood of Christ), teaches us the importance of community, the bond that results from this sacrifice. John Chrysostom says: “What is the Bread actually? The Body of Christ. What do communicants become? The Body of Christ. Just as the bread comes from many grains, which remain themselves and are not distinguished from one another because they are united, so we are united with Christ.”  Just as numerous grains of wheat are pounded together to make the host, and many grapes are crushed together to make the wine, so we become unified in this sacrifice.  Our Lord chose these elements in order to show us that we ought to seek union with one another, to allow the Holy Spirit to transform us into Our Lord Jesus Christ and to work with Him in the process.  Christ is the Head and we are the Body.  Together we are one.  That which unites us is our willingness to sacrifice our time and talents to God in our fellow members in Christ’s Mystical Body.  This is symbolized by our sharing in the same Bread and the same Cup.  Hence, Holy Communion should strengthen our sense of unity and love.

2) We need to prepare properly to receive Holy Communion: We have tarnished God’s image within us through acts of impurity, injustice, disobedience, and the like.  Hence, there is always need for repentance, and a need for the Sacramental confession of grave sins, before we receive Holy Communion.  We should remember the warning given by St. Paul: “Whoever, therefore, eats the Bread or drinks the Cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be answerable for the Body and Blood of the Lord. Examine yourselves, and only then eat of the Bread and drink of the Cup. For all who eat and drink without discerning the Body, eat and drink judgment against themselves.” (1 Cor. 11:27-9).  Hence, let us receive Holy Communion with fervent love and respect — not merely as a matter of routine.   St.  Paul is speaking also of the Mystical Body of Christ, i.e., the people of God gathered at the altar. Such a union, plainly, means that our outward piety towards the consecrated Bread and Wine cannot coexist with rudeness, unkindness, slander, cruelty, gossiping or any other breach of charity toward our brothers and sisters.

3) We need to become Christ-bearers and -conveyers: By receiving Holy Communion we become Christ-bearers as Mary was, with the duty of conveying Christ to others at home and in the workplace, as love, mercy, forgiveness ,and humble and sacrificial service.

As we celebrate this great feast of Faith, let us worship what St. Thomas Aquinas did not hesitate to call, “the greatest miracle that Christ ever worked on earth .”….. My Body …….. My Blood“. Before the greatness of this mystery, let us exclaim with St. Augustine, “O Sacrament of devotion! O Sign of unity! O Bond of charity!”   Let us also repeat St. Thomas Aquinas’ prayer of devotion in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament:  “O Sacrament most holy! O Sacrament Divine! All praise and all thanksgiving be every moment Thine!”

 JOKES OF THE WEEK: Do you think two cases of whiskey are enough?” There was to be a Baptismal party for the new baby of a soldier and his wife at their home on an Army base. Before the ceremony the chaplain took the new father aside. “Are you prepared for this solemn event?” he asked. “I guess so,” replied the soldier. “I’ve got two hams, pickles, bread, cake, cookies……” “No, no!” interrupted the chaplain. “I mean spiritually prepared!” “Well, I don’t know,” said the soldier thoughtfully. “Do you think two cases of whiskey are enough?” — Beyond all that we hunger for is the hunger for spiritual nourishment. Sometimes people aren’t even aware that this exists. But Jesus realized this hunger and instituted the Holy Eucharist to feed our starving souls.
(Harold Buetow in “God Still Speaks: Listen!”)

 USEFUL WEBSITES ON THE HOLY EUCHARIST

      1) http://www.usccb.org/dpp/realpresence.htm

2) http://www.therealpresence.org/eucharst/a.html,

3) http://www.catholic.com/library/Real_Presence.asp

4) USCCB – (Liturgy) – Resources for the Year of the Eucharist
http://www.usccb.org/liturgy/eucharistyear.shtml

5) Eucharistic miracle: https://www.youtube.com/embed/3gPAbD43fTI?

Blessed

6) The Real Presence: Eucharistic Miracles

http://www.therealpresence.org : Official Website of the CARLO ACUTIS Association and the Cause of Beatification of Blessed Carlo Acutis (15-year-old computer wizard)

30 -Additional anecdotes:

1) “All we really need in our convent is the Tabernacle.” The former archbishop of San Francisco, John Quinn, loved to tell the story of the arrival of Mother Teresa and her Missionaries of Charity to open their house in the city. Poor Archbishop Quinn had gone to great efforts to make sure that their convent was, while hardly opulent, quite comfortable. He recalls how Mother Teresa arrived and immediately ordered the carpets removed, the telephones, except for one, pulled out of the wall, the beds, except for the mattresses taken away, and on and on. Explained Mother Teresa to the baffled archbishop, “All we really need in our convent is the tabernacle” [Msgr. Timothy M. Dolan in Priests of the Third Millennium (2000), p. 218.]. Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

 2) The Eucharistic piety that converted St. Elizabeth Ann Seton: Two hundred years ago, a beautiful, young, Episcopalian woman accompanied her husband, a merchant, to Italy, leaving four of their five children at home with family members. They had sailed for Italy, hoping that the change in climate might help her husband, whose failing business had eventually affected his health adversely. Tragically, he died in Liverno. The grieving young widow was warmly received by an Italian family, business acquaintances of her deceased husband. She stayed with them for three months before she could arrange to return to America.  The young widow was very impressed by the Catholic faith of her host family, especially their devotion to the Holy Eucharist: their frequent attendance at Mass, the reverence with which they received Holy Communion, the awe they showed toward the Blessed Sacrament on feast days when the Eucharist was carried in procession. She found her broken heart healed by a hunger for this mysterious presence of the Lord, and, upon returning home, requested instruction in Catholic Faith. Soon after being received into the Church, she described her first reception of the Lord in the Eucharist as the happiest moment of her life. — It was in St. Peter’s Square on September 14, 1975, that Pope St. Paul VI canonized this woman, Elizabeth Ann Seton, as the first native-born saint of the Unites States. The Eucharist for her was a sign and cause of union with God and the Church. Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

3) “I will not permit Christ to return to Albania as long as I am in charge.” Mother Teresa was given a reception by the cruel Communist dictator Enver Hoxha who ruled Albania for 40 years from 1945 to 1985.  He imposed atheism as the official religion in 1967.  The possession of a Bible or cross often meant a ten-year prison term.  Welcoming Mother Teresa in 1985, he stated that he appreciated her world-wide works of charity, and then added, “But I will not permit Christ to return to Albania as long as I am in charge.”  In her reply after thanking the president for the reception Mother said, “Mr. President, you are wrong.  I have brought not only the love of Christ into my native land but also the real presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist right into your presidential palace.  I am allowed to carry Jesus in a pyx during my visit of  this Communist country where public worship is a crime.  I keep Jesus in the consecrated host in my pocket.  Jesus will surely return to this country very soon.”  Communist rule collapsed in Albania in 1992, and Christians and Muslims reopened their churches and mosques for worship.  The non-Communist president of Albania, Mr. Ramiz Alia, awarded Albanian citizenship to Mother Teresa during her visit to her liberated home country in 1992.  Mr. Alia also created a “Mother Teresa Prize” to be awarded to those who distinguished themselves in the field of humanitarian and charitable work. Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

4)  Blessed Imelda, the Patron saint of First communicants: Blessed Imelda Lambertini had a remarkable experience of this love. She lived in Bologna, Italy, in the 1300s. She had wanted to be a nun from the time she was a little girl, and she joined that Dominican convent at the age of nine, to better prepare herself for the day when she would take the habit. Her greatest desire was to receive Holy Communion, but in those days you had to be at least twelve-years-old to do so. Imelda begged for an exception to the rule, but the chaplain refused. She kept praying for special permission. Her prayers were miraculously answered on the Feast of the Ascension in 1333. After Mass, she stayed in her place in the chapel, where one of the nuns was putting away the sacred vessels. Suddenly, the nun heard a noise and turned towards Imelda. Hovering in mid air in front of Imelda as she knelt in prayer was a sacred host, the Blessed Eucharist, shining with a bright and forceful light. The frightened nun ran to find the chaplain. By the time the chaplain arrived, the rest of the nuns and other onlookers had crowded, awe-struck, into the chapel. When the priest saw the shining, hovering host, he put on his vestments, went over to the girl, took the miraculous host in his hands, and gave her Holy Communion. Some minutes later, after the crowd had dispersed, the mother superior came over to Imelda to call her for breakfast. She found the girl still kneeling, with a smile on her face. — But Imelda was dead. She had died of love, in ecstasy,  after receiving Christ in the Eucharist. He had longed to be with her even more than she had longed to be with him. Blessed Imelda’s body is incorrupt, and you can still see it today in the Church where she is interred, in Bologna. She is the patron saint of First Holy Communicants. (E-Priest). Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

5) “Jesus Christ gave a lasting memorial”: One of his Catholic disciples asked the controversial god-man Osho Rajneesh about the difference between Buddha the founder of Buddhism and Jesus Christ.  Rajneesh told a story to distinguish between Buddha and Christ. When Buddha was on his deathbed, his disciple Anand asked him for a memorial and Buddha gave him a Jasmine flower. But as the flower dried up, the memory of Buddha also dwindled. Jesus Christ, however, instituted a lasting memorial without anybody’s asking for it, by offering to God his Body and Blood under the appearances of bread and wine and commanding his disciples to share his Divinity by repeating the offering. So Jesus continues to live in his followers while Buddha lives only in history books.  — On this feast, as on Holy Thursday, we reflect on the importance of the institution of the Holy Eucharist and priesthood. [Osho Rajneesh claimed that he was another incarnation of God, that he had attained “enlightenment” at 29 when he was a professor of Hindu philosophy in Jabalpur University in India. He had thousands of followers for his controversial “liberation through sex theology,” based on Hindu, Buddhist and Christian theology]. Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

6) Precious gift: We are all familiar with the situation of the little boy who wants to give his father a birthday present but does not have any money to buy one. His father, realizing his son is too young to make any money, slips him five bucks so that he can do some shopping the next time they are in town. The big day comes, and the little boy proudly presents his father with a beautifully wrapped, birthday gift. He is so very happy and proud of himself. So is his father – proud and happy to have such a loving son. — God gave us his Son so that we could give him back as a gift and become once again his sons and daughters. Jesus Christ was placed in our hands so that we could have a gift for Him, the best of gifts. During each Eucharistic celebration, we give this precious gift back to God the Father. (Fr. Jack Dorsel). Today we celebrate the feast of the Eucharist.

7) The Eucharistic miracle at the tomb of St. Christina, in Bolsena, Italy: Today we are reminded of a miracle that took place in 1263. A German priest, Peter of Prague, stopped at Bolsena while on a pilgrimage to Rome. He is described as being a pious priest, but one who found it difficult to believe in Transubstantiation. While celebrating Mass at the tomb of St. Christina, located in Bolsena, Italy, he had barely spoken the words of Consecration when blood started to seep from the consecrated Host and trickle over his hands onto the altar and the corporal. The priest was immediately confused. At first he attempted to hide the blood, but then he interrupted the Mass and asked to be taken to the neighboring city of Orvieto, the city where Pope Urban IV was then residing. The Pope listened to the priest’s story and gave him absolution for his lack of faith. He then sent emissaries for an immediate investigation. When all the facts were ascertained, he ordered the Bishop of the diocese to bring to Orvieto the Host and the linen cloth bearing the stains of blood. With archbishops, cardinals, and other Church dignitaries in attendance, the Pope met the procession and, amid great pomp, had the relics placed in the cathedral. The linen corporal bearing the spots of blood is still reverently enshrined and exhibited in the Cathedral of Orvieto, Italy. — Pope Urban IV was prompted by this miracle to commission St. Thomas Aquinas to compose the liturgical prayers in honor of the Eucharist. One year after the miracle, in August of 1264, Pope Urban IV introduced the saint’s compositions, and by means of a papal bull instituted the feast of Corpus Christi. (Fr. Eugene Lobo S.J. Rome). Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

8) Another Eucharistic miracle: A famous Eucharistic miracle is that of Lanciano, also in Italy, which took place in the year 700. A monk who feared he was losing his vocation was celebrating Mass, and during the consecration the host  turned into flesh and the wine turned into blood Despite the fact that the miracle took place almost 1300 years ago, you may still see the flesh in a monstrance which is exposed every day and the blood in a glass chalice. (The glass chalice is beneath the monstrance on the right.) I also had the privilege of seeing that Eucharistic miracle during my time in Italy. The blood has congealed and is now in five clots in the glass chalice. In 1971 and 1981 a hospital laboratory tested the flesh and blood and discovered that the flesh is myocardium, which is heart-muscle tissue, so we could say it is the heart of Jesus, the Sacred Heart, and the blood is of the blood group AB. In 1978 NASA scientists tested the blood on the Turin Shroud and interestingly also discovered that it is of the blood group AB. (The Sudarium, Face Cloth of Christ, in John 20:6 is also of the blood group AB.) Despite the fact that human flesh and blood should not have remained preserved for 1300 years, the hospital lab tests found no trace of any preservatives. One final interesting point about the five blood clots in the chalice is that when you weigh one of them, it is the same weight as all five together, two of them together weigh the same as all five. In fact no matter what way you combine the blood clots individually or in a group to weigh them, they always weigh the same. — (This shows that the full Jesus is present in a particle of the Eucharist no matter how small.) These are two Eucharistic miracles I have seen and which have been authenticated by the Church after investigation. (Fr. Tommy Lane). Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

9) Blood Brothers: Jesuit Ignacio Ellacuria of El Salvador, Franciscan Maximilian Kolbe of Poland, Sr. Rani Maria, an Australian missionary, and Graham Staines murdered in north India, appear very diverse in their lifestyles, yet little divided them in death. All these are martyrs who shed their blood that others might live. They represent modern ‘bodies of Christ.’ — Today, celebrating the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, we could reflect on the Reality of Jesus in the Sacrament of His Blood and Body and our Christian calling. — Some years ago, Jesuit philosophers of Satya Nilayam in South India, formed a group called ‘Blood Brothers’ comprised of students who were willing to donate blood regularly. Indeed, we are all truly ‘Blood brothers and sisters,’ saved by the supreme sacrifice of our elder Blood Brother, Jesus. Moreover, Martyrs like Ellacuria, Kolbe, Staines, and Rani Maria are but representatives of a long list of ‘Blood brothers and sisters’ whose life was truly Eucharistic. May the Corpus Christi called “Church” be ever willing to break itself and bleed in selfless service of society at large. (Francis Gonsalves in Sunday Seeds for Daily Deeds; quoted by Fr. Botelho).

10) The Blessing Cup: Leonardo da Vinci was 43 years old when the Duke of Milan asked him to paint the Last Supper. He worked on it slowly and with meticulous attention to detail. He spent much time making the cup that Jesus held as beautiful as possible. After three years he was ready to show it, and he called a friend to come and see it. He said, “Look at it and give me your opinion.” The friend said, “It is wonderful. The cup is so real I cannot take my eyes of it!” Immediately, Leonardo took a brush and drew it across the sparkling cup. He exclaimed as he did so: “Nothing shall detract from the figure of Christ!” — Christ must be the primary focus of a Christian’s life. (John Rose in John’s Sunday Homilies; quoted by Fr. Botelho). Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

11) “Are you guys Dominicans?”  Fr. Denis likes to tell a story about an American paratrooper in World War II who got entangled in a tree and couldn’t get down.  He was terribly afraid that he had come down behind enemy lines and would be killed.  Then two men dressed in civilian clothes came by so the GI quickly called out, “Can you tell me where I am?”  “Indeed we can,” said one – “You are up in a tree.”  There was a long pause, and then the paratrooper asked suspiciously, “Are you guys Dominicans?”  “Yes, but how could you tell?”  The GI replied, “I knew because what you say is perfectly true – but it doesn’t help me to get out of this tree!” — Likewise, to describe Catholic belief about the Holy Eucharist by saying that it is the Body and Blood of Christ is true, but not very helpful unless we are convinced of this truth, appreciate this great gift and experience it in our lives. Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

12)  St. Padre Pio’s prayer of thanksgiving after Mass.

“Stay with me, Lord, for it is necessary to have You present so that I do not forget You.  You know how easily I abandon You.

Stay with me, Lord, because I am weak and I need Your strength, that I may not fall so often.

Stay with me, Lord, for You are my life, and without You, I am without fervor.

Stay with me, Lord, for You are my light, and without You, I am in darkness.

Stay with me, Lord, to show me Your will.

Stay with me, Lord, so that I hear Your voice and follow You.

Stay with me, Lord, for I desire to love You very much, and always be in Your company.

Stay with me, Lord, if You wish me to be faithful to You.

Stay with me, Lord, for as poor as my soul is, I want it to be a place of consolation for  You, a nest of love.

Stay with me, Jesus, for it is getting late and the day is  coming to a close, and life passes; death, judgment, eternity approach.  I need your presence and your love to renew my strength. Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

13) The Mass is Heaven on earth! Scott Hahn was a Protestant minister, who had for twenty years studied the Book of Revelation. He admits that, in trying to study Revelation, he felt like a person standing before a locked door, searching for the right key on a keychain. There was no key that fitted, until he linked the Book of Revelation to the Mass. And that, in his opinion, is the right key. His experience thereafter was so inspiring that a year later, he asked to be received into full communion with the Catholic Church. This in a nutshell, is his thesis: The key to understanding the Book of Revelation is the Mass. Stated differently; the Mass is the only way a Christian can truly make sense of the Book of Revelation. Today, Dr. Scott Hahn, a happily married man and father of six children, is a Professor of Theology and Scripture in a University and the Director of the Institute of Applied Biblical Studies. –Scott Hahn is candid and realistic when he observes that, for most Catholics, the Sunday Mass is anything but Heavenly. In fact, he frankly adds, it’s often an uncomfortable hour, punctuated by babies screaming, bland hymns sung off-key, meandering and pointless homilies, and people dressed as if they were going to a party, picnic, or football game. Yet, this is his conviction: “When we go to Mass every Sunday, we go to Heaven. And this is true of every Mass we attend, regardless of the quality of the music or the fervour of the preacher. The Mass -and I mean every single Mass -is Heaven on earth.”
[James Valladares in Your Words are Spirit, and They Are Life; quoted by Fr. Botelho.] Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

14) Body of Christ? Sometime ago I was in Washington, D.C. in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. A dozen or so pilgrims came out of the grandiose basilica. They had participated in a Mass, they had received Holy Communion, forming with Him, his Body and Blood. I saw them, and I even saw a blind man who had received Communion with them. They came out of the Church together with him. He walked among them tapping the pavement in front of himself with his stick. He did not see them since he was blind but he must have been aware of them all talking excitedly, feeling a bit lost in a strange place. They did not see him, either, though they were not blind. He ended up in the midst of them. Someone stepped on his cane, bending it, while he was pushed on. They left him alone trying to straighten his cane. — They had all been to Holy Communion together in Jesus, who said of all of them: “This is my Body, this is my Blood!”  Yet, when it came to everyday life, that reality got lost, the Body did not seem to have been formed. They were not really in communion. They did not really form His Body, our Body. Did they? Do we? [Joseph G. Donders in Praying and Preaching the Sunday Gospel; quoted by Fr. Botelho.] Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

15) What are they hungry for? An American priest was invited to take part in a youth rally in Canada. About 700 young people were camping out in a large park for the weekend. Their program included workshops on such topics as dating, sexual morality, drugs, peer pressure, and meditation. The organizers felt that the least popular workshop would be the one on meditation. They were in for a big surprise. It was the best-attended workshop of the weekend. At one point in that workshop, the priest giving it sensed a profound presence of the Holy Spirit and invited the 200 participants to pray together. The response was amazing. Afterwards the priest said, “It was one of the most moving experiences in all my years of priestly ministry.” Then alluding to the image in today’s Gospel he said: “There’s a whole mountain-side full of young people out there who want to eat, but there’s no one to feed them. There’s a whole mountain-side full of young people out there who want to pray but there’s no one to teach them.” — The priest’s remark merely paraphrases what Jesus said in Matthew’s Gospel. (Quoted by Fr. Botelho) Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

 16) Source of Christian heroism: I’d like to begin this Corpus Christi homily with a quote from Mahatma Gandhi. He said, regarding Fr. Damien: “The political and journalistic world can boast of very few heroes who compare with Father Damien of Molokai. The Catholic Church, on the contrary, counts by the thousands those who after the example of Fr. Damien have devoted themselves to the victims of leprosy. It is worthwhile to look for the sources of such heroism.” — What is the source of the heroism of people like St. Damien of Molokai and his successor, St. Marianne Cope?  We get the answer this Sunday. In today’s readings, St. Paul tells how Jesus took bread and said, “This is my Body,” and with the chalice of wine, “This is the covenant in my Blood.” Then St. Paul concludes, “As often as you eat this Bread and drink this Cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.”
When we receive Communion – the Body and Blood of Jesus – we mystically enter his death and Resurrection. There we receive strength – strength to spend our lives in service as Jesus did and commands us to do.  Now, you and I are not St. Damien or St. Marianne, but the Eucharist calls us – like them – to give our lives for others. Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

17) “What kind of joke is this?” A priest I heard of, if he sees people leave early, stops them and reminds them that only one person left the Last Supper early! Well, I am not going to do that, but I am tempted to do what St. Philip Neri did: He saw someone leaving church right after Communion, and he sent servers with candles and bells to accompany the man. The guy stormed back into the Church and confronted the priest. “What kind of joke is this?” he demanded. St. Philip Neri said, “It’s no joke. The rules of the liturgy say the Blessed Sacrament should be treated with reverence. You left the Church immediately with no prayer of thanksgiving. You were carrying the Blessed Sacrament within you. So I asked the boys to accompany you to honor Him.” — After Communion you and I are tabernacles – the physical presence of Jesus continues in us for a brief time. That’s why we have the Communion hymn, a time of silence, the Communion Prayer — and even the announcements to build up the Body of Christ in practical ways.  I encourage you to use well the time after Communion to say thanks, to express your gratitude. (Fr. Phil Bloom) Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

18) “Body of Christ” A modern tourist in cities like Paris or Rome, and particularly the latter, cannot but be struck by the extraordinary number of Churches and their close proximity to each other. They all derive from the devotion to Corpus Christi which originated in the twelfth century and whose feast we celebrate today. It began in the city of Liege in northern France, under Bishop Robert Thourotte of Liege, persuaded by St. Juliana of Cornillion. Urban IV in 1264 extended the feast to the Universal Church. After Urban’s death, October 2, 1264, the feast was restricted to certain areas of France, Germany, Hungary, and northern Italy, but in 1317 Pope John XXII (served August 7, 1316 through December 4, 1334), reintroduced the Feast to the Universal Church (Instruction by Pope Benedict XVI at the General audience celebrated in St. Peter’s Square, November 17, 2010).

By the fifteenth century, Corpus Christi had become the principal feast of the Church almost everywhere. Every city, town and village held its Corpus Christi procession. In some places the Feast became the social event on the calendar. Months were spent preparing for it. Guilds competed with each other to provide the most colourful contribution. Cities like Paris had their timber-built houses arranged in narrow streets, where humans and animals lived closely together in squalor. In such a world, it was little wonder that the Corpus Christi devotion had such enormous appeal. What greater protection could they ask for than the Body of Christ, carried in procession through their streets to inoculate them against all such infections?

After well over a thousand years of Christianity, the Real Presence, Christ’s continuing presence in the consecrated Bread, came to dominate the devotional life of the people. New devotions were developed such as visits to, and Exposition and Benediction of, the Blessed Sacrament. The idea that no place was too good to house the body of Christ, led to the building of larger and more ornate churches. It became the age of the great Cathedrals, like Notre Dame and Chartres. Changes were introduced into the Mass itself to reflect this new devotion; in particular, the elevation was introduced after the consecration. For medieval Christians, there were real and down-to-earth reasons why the Body and Blood of Christ should be raised. Blindness was a common affliction then, and people believed that looking at the Body of Christ was the best protection against it. Bowing to popular pressure, the Church permitted it. The elevation of the chalice was an after-thought because the church feared that the people might believe in only one species. This background helps to explain the close proximity of Churches in cities like Paris and Rome. Elevations were much in demand and people rushed from one church to another just to watch the elevation. — Such Eucharistic devotions dominated religious practice right down to the Second Vatican Council. There the Church wisely decided that the Mass needed to be restored as the centre of Eucharistic devotion and, perhaps unwittingly, the other forms were down-graded. Within a generation, visits, Benedictions, expositions, 40-Hours Devotion, and Corpus Christi processions had virtually disappeared. The Bread remained; the circuses had gone. And we are the poorer for it. (Rev. Liam Swords) Biblical IE. Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

19) History of the feast: In 1246, Bishop Robert Thourotte of the Belgian diocese of Liège, at the suggestion of St. Juliana of Mont Cornillion (also in Belgium), convened a synod and instituted the celebration of the feast of Corpus Christi. From Liège, the celebration began to spread, and, on September 8, 1264, Pope Urban IV issued the papal bull Transiturus,  which established the Feast of Corpus Christi as a universal feast of the Church, to be celebrated on the Thursday following Trinity Sunday. At the request of Pope Urban IV, St. Thomas Aquinas composed the office (the official prayers of the Church) for the feast. This office is widely considered one of the most beautiful in the traditional Roman Breviary (the official prayer book of the Divine Office or Liturgy of the Hours), and it is the source of the famous Eucharistic hymns “Pange Lingua Gloriosi” and “Tantum Ergo Sacramentum.” For centuries after the celebration was extended to the universal Church, the feast was also celebrated with a Eucharistic procession, in which the Sacred Host was carried throughout the town, accompanied by hymns and litanies. The faithful would venerate the Body of Christ as the procession passed by. In recent years, this practice has almost disappeared, though some parishes still hold a brief procession around the outside of the parish church. While the Feast of Corpus Christi is one of the ten Holy Days of Obligation in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church, in some countries, including the United States, the feast has been transferred to the following Sunday. (Fr. Hoisington). Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

20) Pope Benedict XVIs preference for receiving Holy Communion on tongue: “I am not opposed in principle to Communion in the hand; I have both administered and received Communion in this way myself. The idea behind my current practice of having people kneel to receive Communion on the tongue was to send a signal and to underscore the Real Presence with an exclamation point. One important reason is that there is a great danger of superficiality precisely in the kinds of Mass events we hold at Saint Peter’s, both in the Basilica and in the Square. I have heard of people who, after receiving Communion, stick the Host in their wallet to take home as a kind of souvenir. In this context, where people think that everyone is just automatically supposed to receive Communion — everyone else is going up, so I will, too—I wanted to send a clear signal. — I wanted it to be clear: Something quite special is going on here! He is here, the One before whom we fall on our knees! Pay attention! This is not just some social ritual in which we can take part if we want to.” Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

21) Visiting the Tabernacle (with a quotation from St Peter Julian Eymard): This is why Catholics still practice the ancient tradition of making frequent visits to the Eucharist throughout the day.  Even in big cities today, when you go into a Catholic Church, you can almost always find someone kneeling before the altar where the Tabernacle is kept.  The Presence Lamp, often a thick candle enclosed in a tall, open-topped glass container with a red shield,  burns near the tabernacle in the sanctuary, as a constant reminder that Christ is truly present there, and his love is burning for us. This is also why Catholics still have the tradition of making the sign of the cross when they drive by a Catholic Church.  Even if we don’t have time to stop and make a visit to our Lord, to thank him for his blessings and tell him all our needs and sorrows, by making the sign of the cross we show our Faith in and appreciation for his constant, miraculous presence. —  St Peter Julian Eymard [AYE-mard], who lived in France in the 1800s, beautifully explained how Christ’s constant presence in the Eucharist shows, without a doubt, that Jesus’ love for us, even for the most hardened sinner, has no limits. Speaking of Jesus in the Eucharist, St Peter says:  “He loves, He hopes, He waits. If He came down on our altars on certain days only, some sinner, on being moved to repentance, might have to look for Him, and not finding Him, might have to wait.  Our Lord prefers to wait Himself for the sinner for years rather than keep him waiting one instant.” (E-Priest). Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

22) Saints’ favorite food: Throughout the history of the Church, God has made the power of the Eucharist clear in many ways. • For example, some of the saints have gone for long periods of their lives in which their only food was the Eucharist. • I know it sounds hard to believe. • If there were only one or two cases, it would be reasonable to be skeptical. • But it actually happens every couple generations, as if God wants to make sure we don’t forget what’s really going on in the Eucharist. In the 1300’s, St Catherine of Siena often went for months at a time living solely on the Holy Eucharist. In the 1400s, St Nicholas of Flue, Switzerland’s great native saint, spent the last 19 years of his life as a hermit. • He would give spiritual advice all day and pray all night. • For those 19 years, he was unable to eat any food. • The Holy Eucharist was his only nourishment. In April, 2004, Pope St. John Paul II beatified Blessed Alejandrina Maria da Costa, a Portuguese peasant girl. •Paralyzed at age 14, she spent her life offering her sufferings and prayers to God for the conversion of sinners. • She died in 1955, at age 51. • For the last 13 years of her life, Alejandrina ate and drank nothing except her daily Holy Communion. • Since she lived in the age of modern science, she was subjected to countless medical studies, none of which found a natural explanation. (E-Priest). Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

23) St Juliana Falconieri’s Miraculous Final Communion: All the saints realize how much we need this Divine nourishment. St Juliana Falconieri [fahl-cone-YAIR-ee] had a particularly passionate devotion to this truth of our Faith. • Juliana lived in Florence, Italy, in the early Renaissance. • When she was 14, her mother began arranging a marriage for her. • As soon as she found out, she objected, explaining that she wanted to consecrate her life to Christ. • At first her mother resisted, but Juliana’s vocation was undeniable, and eventually she took the habit as a Third Order Servite. • Later, she helped start a new Order of Servite nuns, dedicated to prayer and serving the sick. • Throughout the long, hard years of foundation, she received Holy Communion three times a week – much more often than was normal for those times. • But in her later years, chronic sickness made her unable to consume anything solid. • Even while on her deathbed, frequent fits of vomiting made it impossible for her to receive Communion. • But when she knew her last hour had come, she was inflamed with a desire to receive Holy Communion one last time. • So she asked the priest to lay a corporal (the white cloth put on top of the altar for the liturgy of the Eucharist) on her chest and place the consecrated host on top of it. • No sooner had the Eucharist been laid over her heart than it disappeared, being miraculously consumed directly into her body. • She died soon after, and as they were preparing the body for burial, they found the sign of the cross that had been on the host emblazoned on her skin. — • Ever since, the Servites have kept an image of a shining host on the left front side of their habits. The Eucharist is food from heaven, given to us by Christ to bring us to heaven. (E-Priest). Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

24) Two fundamental needs: Ethiopia suffered a terrible famine during the years 1984 to 1986. Cardinal Hume of Westminster tells us about an incident that happened when he visited Ethiopia in the middle of the famine. One of the places he visited was a settlement in the hills where the people were waiting for food which was likely to arrive. He was taken there by helicopter. As he got out of the helicopter a small boy, aged about ten, came up to him and took his hand. He was wearing nothing but a loincloth around his waist. The whole time that the cardinal was there the little child would not let go of his hand. As they went around he made two gestures: with one hand he pointed to his mouth, and with the other he took the cardinal’s hand and rubbed it on his cheek. — Later, the cardinal said, “Here was an orphan boy who was lost and starving. Yet by two simple gestures he indicated two fundamental needs or hungers. With one gesture he showed me his hunger for food, and with the other his hunger for love. I have never forgotten that incident, and to this day I wonder whether that child is alive.” [Flor McCarthy in New Sunday & Holy Day Liturgies; quoted by Fr. Botelho.] Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

25) How can God be present in a tiny host? Some time ago, a street-corner preacher who knew how to make religious truths come to life was faced by a hostile crowd. “How,” one of them demanded, “is it possible for bread and wine to become the Body and Blood of Christ?” The preacher looked calmly at the stout questioner for a moment and answered, “You have grown somewhat since you were a child and have more flesh and blood than you had then. Surely, if a human body can change food and drink into flesh and blood, God can do it too.” “But how,” countered the heckler, “is it possible for Christ to be present in his entirety in a small host?” The preacher glanced up at the sky and down at the street before them and answered, “This city scene and the sky above it is something immense, while your eye is very small. Yet your eye in itself contains the whole picture. When you consider this, it won’t seem impossible for Christ to be present in his entirety in a little piece of bread.” Once more the heckler attacked. “How, then, is it possible for the same Body of Christ to be present in all your churches at the same time?” The preacher’s answer: “In a large mirror you see your image reflected but once. When you break the mirror into a thousand pieces, you see the same image of yourself in each of the hundred fragments. If such things occur in everyday life, why should it be impossible for the body of Christ to be present in many places at once? –Just tell me, what isn’t possible for God? [Harold Buetow in God Still Speaks: Listen! quoted by Fr. Botelho.] Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

26) A Missionary Gets Muddy: The Eucharist is one of the great proofs of God’s trustworthiness – Christ faithfully present through the ups and downs of twenty centuries. A true story about a missionary illustrates this well.     Fr. Meehus was working in a small village in rural China during the Sino-Japanese war.     As Japanese soldiers neared the village, the priest led his congregation of orphans into hiding in the nearby hills.     Safe in a cave, he counted eighty children – everyone was there.     Then one of the boys spoke up, “Father, someone is missing.”     They counted again – still 80. But the boy insisted. The priest asked, “Who is it, who’s missing?”     The boy answered, ” We left Jesus in the Tabernacle.”     Father moaned – in his rushed escape, he had forgotten to bring the Blessed Sacrament.     He made a quick decision. He had the children smear him with mud, telling them that he was going to be a commando (which they thought was fun).     Then he went out, slipped through enemy lines, crept to the Church, and tip-toed up to the Tabernacle, praying in the silence of his heart:     “Jesus, I’m sorry I have to come for You this way; You might not recognize me with all this mud… I am in disguise now, but this is really and truly the one who has held You in his hands many mornings at Mass.”     And in his heart, the priest heard God answering him:     “Of course I recognize you… I am in disguise too. A lot of people don’t recognize Me either; but in spite of appearances, I am Jesus, your friend, and I hold you in My hands from morning until night.”  —   When the soldiers left, the priest and his congregation carried Jesus in a triumphant procession back to the Tabernacle. When trusting God is hard, a glance at the Eucharist – the sign of God’s faithfulness – can make all the difference.  [Adapted from Msgr. Arthur Tonne’s Stories for Sermons]. Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

27) Retelling the Story: On a hill near Cape Town, South Africa, just below the famed Table Mountain, a gun is fired every day at noon. The hill is known as Signal Hill. The firing of the gun once served a beautiful purpose. It signaled that a ship, on its way to or from India, had arrived in the harbour with a cargo of goods, and was in need of supplies of food and fresh water. A beautiful exchange resulted. There was receiving and giving. But that was a long time ago. The purpose no longer exists. Yet the gun is still fired dutifully every day. However, the firing is now little more than an empty ritual. Once it had a beautiful meaning. Now the meaning has gone out of it. Most of the local people ignore it. Visitors are told, ‘If you hear a loud bang at mid-day, don’t worry. It’s only the gun going off.’ However the ritual still has one thing going for it. Most people know the story behind it. If that story were to be lost, then the ritual would become poorer still. — The Eucharist celebrates a wonderful event – the gift which Jesus made of his life on our behalf. Every time we celebrate the Eucharist we tell that story again. But like anything that is repeated over and over again, there is a danger that it may become just a ritual. (Flor McCarthy in New Sunday & Holy Day Liturgies; quoted by Fr. Kayala). Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

28) God Always Comes…Once upon a time there was a Rabbi. Whenever he wanted God’s presence, he went to a special place in the woods, lit a fire, said some prayers, and did a dance. Then God would appear to him. When he died, his disciple did the same. If he wanted God’s presence, he went to the same spot in the woods, lit the fire, and said the same prayers, but nobody had taught him the dance. It still worked. God appeared. When he died, his disciple carried on the tradition. If he wanted God’s presence, he went to the same spot in the woods and lit the fire, but he didn’t know the prayers, nor the dance, but it still worked. God came. Then he died. He also had a disciple. Whenever he wanted God’s presence, he too went to the same place in the woods, but nobody had taught him how to light the fire or say the prayers or do the dance, but it still worked, God appeared. In the end, he died, but he too had a pupil. One day this pupil wanted God’s presence. So he searched for the place in the woods, but couldn’t find it. And he didn’t know how to light the fire or say the prayers or do the dance. All he knew was how to tell the story. But it worked. — He discovered that whenever he told the story of how the others had found God, God would appear. In essence, this story explains how the sacred ritual, liturgy, works. (Ronald Rolheiser in In Exile; quoted by (Fr. Kayala). Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

29) Jesus, Bread of Life: Brennan Manning, an American Franciscan priest, tells this story of his mother, a lady in her mid-seventies in Brooklyn. Mrs. Manning’s day centred on her daily Eucharist. Because she began her voluntary stint at a drug detoxification centre each morning at 7:30 AM., the only Mass she could reach was at 5:30 AM. Across the road from her lived a very successful lawyer, mid-thirties, married with two children. The man had no religion and was particularly critical of daily Church-goers. Driving home from a late party at 5 am one January morning, the roads glassy with ice, he said to his wife: “I bet that old hag won’t be out this morning”, referring to Mrs. Manning. But to his shock, there she was on hands and knees negotiating the hill up to the Church. He went home, tried to sleep, but could not. Around 9 am he rose, went to the local presbytery and asked to see a priest. “Padre,” he said, “I am not one of yours. I have no religion. But could you tell me what you have there that can make an old woman crawl up here on hands and knees on an icy morning?” Thus, began his conversion along with his wife and family. — Mrs. Manning was one of those people who never studied deep religious books, never knew the big theological words, but she knew what it is to meet Jesus in Holy Communion. Jesus Christ is the bread of life. What more could we want? (Sylvester O’Flynn in The Good News of Mark’s Year; quoted by Fr. Kayala). Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

30) The source of her strength: It was the time of the inauguration of their house for the poor in New Delhi, India. Mother Teresa and her sisters of the Missionaries of Charity were waiting at the door for Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to arrive. As soon as he came, Mother Teresa took him to the chapel and spent some time there before the Eucharist. Then she explained to Nehru about the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist and told him that Eucharist was the source of her strength. Nehru did not say anything. He could only marvel at what he heard and saw. Though he was not a believer, Nehru truly admired the services of Mother Teresa and her sisters for the poorest of the poor in India; he knew that they drew their strength for their work from the Eucharist. For Mother Teresa, Eucharist was always the source of her energy and strength. She always began her day attending Mass and receiving the Lord Jesus in the Eucharist. — Like Mother Teresa, we also believe that the Lord Jesus is present in the Eucharist. Like her, we also believe that Jesus gives us new life by sharing his body and blood through the Eucharist. Yes, the Lord is with us, and he is truly present in the Eucharist. As we celebrate the feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus, let us reaffirm our faith in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist and receive his body and blood with love every time we celebrate the Mass. (Fr. Jose P CMI)  L/22

Note: For pictures on Corpus Christi Sunday, please visit Google images. 

 “Scriptural Homilies” Cycle C (No 38) 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

  

June 13-18 weekday homilies

June 13-18: Kindly click onhttps://frtonyshomilies.com/ for missed Sunday and weekday homilies, RCIA & Faith formation classes: June 13 Monday: (St. Anthony of Padua, Priest, Doctor of the Church) https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-anthony-of-padua/ and https://www.atonementfriars.org/life-st-anthony-padua/): Mt 5:38-42: “You have heard that it was said, `An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also; 40 and if anyone would sue you and take your coat, let him have your cloak as well; 41 and if any one forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42 Give to him who begs from you, and do not refuse him who would borrow from you. Additional reflections (Click on these links: https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video;https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections

The context: During their captivity in Egypt, the Jews became familiar with the crude tribal law of retaliation called Lex Talionis (=Tit-for-Tat) given by the ancient lawmaker Hammurabi during the period 2285-2242 BC. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus rejects even the concession of milder retaliation allowed by Moses. In its place, Jesus gives a new law of love and grace — and no retaliation.

“An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”Moses instructed the Israelitesto follow tit-for-tat retaliation, rather than to wreak total destruction upon their enemies. That is, instead of mutilating or murdering all the members of the offender’s family or tribe, they should discover, then punish by an equal mutilation or harm, only the offender. Later, a milder version of this law was substituted. It demanded monetary compensation, as decided by a judge, in place of physical punishment. Moses also gave the Israelites several laws commanding merciful treatment for the enemy if he also was a Jew (e.g., Lv 19:18).

The true Christian reaction: For Jesus, retaliation, or even limited vengeance, has no place in the Christian life. Jesus illustrates the Christian approach by giving three examples:

Turn to him the other cheek:Striking someone on the right cheek (with the right hand), requires striking with the back of one’s hand, and, according to Jewish concepts, the blow inflicts more insult than pain. Jesus instructs his followers to forgive the insult gracefully and convert the offender. 2) “Let him have your cloak as well.” Jesus instructs his followers that they should show more responsibility and a greater sense of duty than to fight over possessions. 3) Go with him two miles. A Christian has the duty of responding, even to seemingly unjust demands by helping or serving gracefully not grudgingly. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/22

June 14 Tuesday: Mt 5:43-48: “You have heard that it was said, `You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you salute only your brethren, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect Additional reflections (Click on these links: https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video;https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections

The context: Today’s Gospel passage is perhaps the central and the most famous section of the Sermon on the Mount. It gives us the Christian ethic of personal relationship: love one’s enemies as well as one’s neighbors and show one’s love for one’s enemies by forgiving them and praying for them. Above all, it tells us that what makes Christians different is the grace with which we interact with others, treating them with loving kindness and mercy, especially when those others seemingly don’t deserve it. The Old Law never said to hate enemies, but that was the way some Jews understood it. Jesus commands that we are to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us in order to demonstrate that we are children of a merciful Heavenly Father. From the cross, Jesus, living what he preached, did as he commands us to do, and prayed for Mercy to God His Father for all of those who were responsible for the Crucifixion – which includes all fallen humankind, and so ourselves — saying, ‘Father forgive them; they know not what they do.’” (Lk 23:34). A Christian has no personal enemies. If we only love our friends, we are no different from pagans or atheists.

We need to love our neighbors and our enemies, too: The Greek word used for loving enemies is not storge (= affection or natural love towards family members), or philia (= friendship, love of close friends), or eros (= romance) (passionate love between a young man and woman), but agápe (= unconditional love) which is the invincible benevolence, or good will, for another’s highest good. Since agápe, or unconditional love, is not natural, practicing it is possible only with God’s help. Agápe love is a choice more than a feeling. We choose to love our enemies because Jesus loved them enough to die for them, and they, too, are the children of our God. We have in the Acts of the Apostles the example of St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr, who, like Jesus on the cross, prayed for those who were putting him to death.

Life Messages: We are to try to be perfect, to be like God: 1) We become perfect when we fulfill God’s purpose in creating us: with His help, to become God-like. 2) We become perfect when, with His ongoing help, we try to love as God loves, to forgive as God forgives and to show unconditional good will and universal benevolence as God does. Perfection means we are striving to live each and every moment doing God’s will, using or cooperating with the grace of God. Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/22

June 15 Wednesday: Mt 6:1-6, 16-18: “Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. 2 “Thus, when you give alms, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 3 But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. 5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. 16 “And when you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by men but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. Additional reflections (Click on these links: https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video;https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections

The context: In today’s passage from the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus takes three cardinal works of religious life in Judaism, namely, almsgiving, fasting, and prayer, and instructs the apostles, the crowd of disciples, and us on the principles underlying these acts of personal piety.

Life Messages: 1) Almsgiving becomes a noble and meritorious religious act when we give alms to others in order to bring glory to God. a) We are to help the poor as an expression of our sharing love, in thanksgiving for the blessings we have received from God. b) But Almsgiving becomes solely an act of self-glorification when we do it as the Pharisees did, to demonstrate our generosity in public and to get popular acclaim.

2) Fasting becomes a noble act pleasing to God when we do it: a) to experience what the real hunger of the poor is, b) to help the poor better by giving the price of what we do not eat to feed them, c) to discipline ourselves in eating and drinking and d) to appreciate better God’s blessings of good health, good appetite, and generous provisions. e) Fasting solely for show, as the Pharisees did, is wrong and sinful.

3) Prayer: Prayer is opening our connectionto Godby talking to Him and listening to Him, convinced of His all-pervading holy presence within us and all around us. a) By prayer we acknowledge our total dependence on God, draw from Him our daily spiritual strength, and recharge our spiritual batteries from God’s infinite power. b) Long, noisy, repetitious prayer performed in public solely for show as the Pharisees did is no prayer at all. It is hypocrisy. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/22

June 16 Thursday: Mt 6: 7-15:7 “And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their 10many words. 8 “So do not be like them; for 11your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. 9 “12Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10 ’13Your kingdom come. 14Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 ’15Give us this day our daily bread. 12 ‘And 16forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but 17deliver us from 18evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’] 14 “19For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 “But 20if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions. Additional reflections (Click on these links: https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video;https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections

The context: In today’s passage from the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus instructs the crowd that they should not pray like the Gentiles, repeating empty phrases. He means that true prayer is not so much a matter of the number of words as of the frequency and the love with which one turns towards God, raising one’s mind and heart to God. So, Jesus teaches them a model prayer. Jesus’ prayer, “Our Father,” consists of two parts. In the first part, we praise and worship God, addressing Him as our loving, caring, and providing Heavenly Father and promising Him that we will do His holy will in our lives, thus remaining in His kingdom. In the second part, we present our petitions before the Triune God. First,we ask God for our present needs, food clothing and shelter, (“give us this day our daily bread”), then for our past needs, especially for forgiveness of our sins (“forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”), and finally, for our future needs, protection against the tempter and his temptations (“and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil”). In this part, we also bring the Trinitarian God into our lives. We bring in: 1) God the Father, the Provider, by asking for daily bread; 2) God the Son, our Savior, by asking forgiveness for our sins; and 3) God the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, Who is our Guide, Advocate, Comforter, and Illuminator, by asking for protection and deliverance from evil. Special stress on the spirit of forgiveness:We are told to ask for forgiveness from others for our offenses against them, and to offer unconditional forgiveness to others for their offenses against us as a condition for receiving God’s forgiveness. Jesus clarifies, “If you forgive others their wrongs, your Father in Heaven will also forgive yours. If you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive you either” (Mt 6:14-15).

“For Thine is the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory, now and forever. Amen.”The manuscripts of the Gospel of Matthew do not contain this phrase, nor do any of the Catholic translations. Martin Luther added this doxology to the Our Father in his translation of Matthew’s Gospel, and the King James editions of the Biblekeep it. The doxology is actually taken from the Divine Liturgy or Catholic Mass. Known as the final doxology, it takes up the first three petitions to our Father. By the final “Amen,” which means, “So be it”, we ratify what is contained in the prayer that God has taught us. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/22

June 17 Friday: Mt 6:19-23: 19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is sound, your whole body will be full of light; 23 but if your eye is not sound, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!Additional reflections (Click on these links: https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video;https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections

The context: Today’s Gospel passage from the Sermon on the Mount instructs us to amass secure and lasting treasures in Heaven by a life of righteousness on earth, doing the will of God and sharing our blessings with the needy. Jesus uses two metaphors, one explaining the folly of keeping perishable treasures on earth and the other of loving the darkness caused by pride and prejudice.

The image of earthly & heavenly treasures: Man’s heart yearns for a treasure which will give him security and lasting happiness. But treasure in the form of riches very often gives him constant worry because riches can be lost, destroyed or stolen, or his life may be terminated abruptly. The only treasure which will last beyond this life is treasure stored in Heaven. Obtaining and keeping such a treasure is possible only by lovingly and sacrificially sharing God’s blessings with others and leading an upright life doing the will of God with His grace.

The image of a sound eye and clear vision: Jesus compares the human eye to a lamp which provides the body with light. St. Thomas Aquinas in his commentary on Mathew gives the following explanation: “The eye refers to motive. When a person wants to do something, he first forms an intention: thus, if your intention is sound – simple and clear—that is to say, if it is directed towards God, your whole body (that is, all your actions), will be sound, sincerely directed towards good.” Bad eyesight is also a Biblical metaphor for stupidity and spiritual blindness. Such blindness is caused by pride, prejudice, jealousy, hatred, etc., which would destroy our fair judgment.

Life message: 1)Let usspend our lives here on earth doing good for otherswithout being blinded by pride and prejudice. Thus, we will store up everlasting treasures in Heaven. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/22

June 18 Saturday:Mt 6. 24-34: the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. 25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O men of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, `What shall we eat?’ or `What shall we drink?’ or `What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well. 34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day. !Additional reflections (Click on these links: https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video;https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections The context: Today’s passage from the Sermon on the Mount instructs us to serve God alone as our Master and to avoid worries and anxiety by placing our trusting Faith in the providence and care of a loving God and by living one day at a time in God’s presence, doing His will and praying for and deriving strength from Him.

Impossibility of serving two opposed masters: Man’s ultimate goal and Master is God and not material possessions. We cannot serve both at the same time. Material possessions should not replace God and become gods. They are given to us to be used as means to reach our ultimate goal, especially by sharing them with the needy.

Jesus’ arguments against unnecessary worries: 1) Unnecessary worries and anxiety cause spiritual, physical, and mental damages. a) Worries and anxiety cause the spiritual disease of sin when, like pagans and atheists, we do not trust in the goodness and providential care of a loving heavenly Father. b) Worries and anxieties cause physical diseases like hypertension, heart problems, respiratory diseases, insomnia, and rheumatic diseases. c) They also cause mental diseases like depression, phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorders and many others. 2) In nature, other creatures (like birds), work hard for their daily food, but they do not worry about tomorrow’s food. 3) Worry is useless because we cannot increase even an inch of our height or a day of our lives by hours of worrying.

Life Messages: How to avoid worry: 1) Trust in the providence of a loving God. 2) Acquire the art of living one day at a time without worrying over the dead past, the living present, or the unknown future. 3) Seek God’s kingdom by doing His will every day and live a righteous life obeying God’s law. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/22

Fr. Tony: Homily for Father’s Day (June 19th= Corpus Christi Sunday)

FATHER’S DAY (in U. S. A.) Message: June 19, 2022: one-page synopsis

Introduction: Happy Father’s Day to all who are fathers or grandfathers or stepfathers! Five weeks ago, we observed Mother’s Day and offered Mass for our moms. Today, on this Father’s Day, we are doing the same – offering our dads, living or dead, on the altar of God during this Holy Mass and invoking our Heavenly Father’s blessings on them.

The observance most similar to our Father’s Day was the ancient Roman Parentalia, an annual family reunion to remember and commemorate departed parents and kinsfolk. The originator and promoter of Father’s Day was Mrs. Sonora Dodd of Spokane, Washington. Her father, William Jackson Smart, had accomplished the amazing task of rearing his six children after their young mother’s death. Mrs. Dodd’s suggestions for observing the day included wearing a flower — a red rose to indicate a living father and a white rose for a dead father. In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge made the first Presidential proclamation in support of Father’s Day, and in 1972, President Richard Nixon declared the third Sunday in June a National Day of Observance in honor of fathers.

The Father’s role in society: According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the vital importance of the father’s role comes from the fact that, with his wife, he cooperates with God the Creator in bringing a new human life into the world. Children who are raised with fathers present in the family have much lower rates of delinquency, drug and alcohol use, teen pregnancy, and so on, than those with absent fathers. The father’s presence is also a significant positive factor in the children’s getting a college education, finding a satisfying job, and making a lasting marriage. A girl’s choice of partner and satisfaction in marriage is often directly related to the relationship she has had with her father.

A day to remember our Heavenly Father and our Rev. Fr. Pastors: Father’s Day is a day to remember, acknowledge and appreciate the “World’s Greatest Dad,” OUR HEAVENLY FATHER (Rom. 8:15, Gal. 4:6) Who isour spiritual Daddy, actively involved in all areas of our lives. It is He on Whom we lean in times of pain and hurt; it is He on Whom we call in times of need; it is He Who provides for us in all ways — practical, emotional, and spiritual. Many of us pray the “Our Father” day after day, without paying attention to, or experiencing, the love and providence of our Heavenly Father. Let us pray the Our Father during this Holy Mass, realizing the meaning of each clause and experiencing the love of our Heavenly Father for us. May all earthly fathers draw strength from their Heavenly Father! On this Father’s Day, please don’t forget to pray for us, your spiritual Fathers, – men who are called to be Fathers of an immensely large parish family through the Sacrament of Holy Orders.

FATHER’S DAY MESSAGE, (June 19, 2022)

Anecdote # 1: “Have you ever seen a saint praying?” St. Therese of Lisieux and St. Teresa of Avila have their own stories about the influence their fathers had on their lives as role models. The Little Flower used to ask an innocent question to her first grader classmates: “Have you ever seen a saint praying?” She would add: “If you haven’t, come to my house in the evening. You will see my dad on his knees in his room with outstretched arms, praying for us, his children, every day.” She states in one of her letters from the convent: “I have never seen or heard or experienced anything displeasing to Jesus in my family.” In the final year of her high school studies, St. Teresa of Avila was sent by her father (against her will), to a boarding house conducted by nuns. Her father took action at the moment he discovered bad books and yellow magazines hidden in her box. These had been supplied to Teresa by her spoiled friend and classmate, Beatrice. St. Teresa later wrote as the Mother Superior: “But for that daring and timely action of my father, I would have ended up in the streets, as a notorious woman.” Father’s Day challenges Christian Fathers to be role models to their children.

# 2: ‘I never hugged my dad’! In his book My Father, My Son, Dr Lee Salk describes a moving interview with Mark Chapman, the convicted murderer of Beatle John Lennon. At one point in the interview, Chapman says: “I don’t think I ever hugged my father. (David Curtis Chapman, was a staff sergeant in the U. S. Air Force). He never told me he loved me…I needed emotional love and support. I never got that.” Chapman’s description of how he would treat a son if he had one is especially tragic, because he will probably never get out of prison and have a family of his own. He says: “I would hug my son and kiss him…and just let him know…he could trust me and come to me…and (I would) tell him that I loved him.” Dr Salk ends his book with this advice to fathers and sons. It applies equally well to mothers and daughters. “Don’t be afraid of your emotions, of telling your father or your son that you love him and that you care. Don’t be afraid to hug and kiss him. Don’t wait until the death bed to realize what you’ve missed.” (Mark Link in Sunday Homilies)

# 3: “Paco, meet me at the Hotel Montana noon Tuesday. All is forgiven.” In Ernest Hemingway’s short story “Capital of the World,” a Spanish newspaper, El Liberal, carried a poignant story about a father and his son. It went like this. A teen-aged boy, Paco, and his very wealthy father had a falling out, and the young man ran away from home. The father was crushed. After a few days, he realized that the boy was serious, so the father set out to find him. He searched high and low for five months to no avail. Finally, in a last, desperate attempt to find his son, the father put an ad in a Madrid newspaper. The ad read, “Dear Paco, Meet me at the Hotel Montana noon Tuesday. All is forgiven. I love you. Signed, Your Father. On Tuesday, in the office of Hotel Montana, over 800 Pacos showed up, looking for love and forgiveness from their fathers. What a magnet that ad was! Over 800 Pacos!! We all hunger for pardon. We are all “Pacos” yearning to run and find a father who will declare, “All is forgiven.” Father’s Day reminds us that we need more loving, forgiving fathers.

#3 “I love you, Dad. Happy Birthday.” A friend tells about how when he was a small boy his father’s birthday rolled around, and he did not realize it until it was too late to get his father a birthday present. So, he went through all his resources and came up with 17 cents. He put the dime, the nickel, and the two pennies in an envelope and gave it to his father with a note: “I love you, Dad. Happy Birthday. Thanks for being the best dad in the whole world. Sorry I did not get you a gift. This is all I’ve got.” Years later, at his father’s death, when he was going through his father’s possessions, he discovered within a special compartment of his father’s wallet, the envelope, the note, the dime, the nickel, and the two pennies that his father had carried all those years. (Donald Shelby, “Love is Gratitude”). Why? Why of all the things the father and son had experienced together was this token kept as the most precious reminder of their relationship? Why? It was pure love, and pure gratitude. And that’s what we have in our second Scripture lesson today.

Introduction: Happy Father’s Day to all who have fathers or stepfathers, who had fathers or who are fathers! These holidays of our culture are not exactly high holy days of the Church, but they do give us reason to pause, to pray for and to reflect on our fathers whom we honor. Five weeks ago we offered Mass for our moms. Today, on this Father’s Day, we are doing the same – offering our dads, living or dead, on the altar of God during this Holy Mass and invoking our Heavenly Father’s blessings on them. Modern America appears to be unique in its honoring of fathers on a special day. Today we celebrate, congratulate and pray for the men who continue to reflect the Divine qualities of fatherhood as they lovingly establish, nourish and maintain their families. Fathers are a blessing, and we thank them for blessing us with lives of dedication, endurance and love.

Historical note: The observance most similar to our Father’s Day was the ancient Roman Parentalia, which lasted from the thirteenth of February to the twenty-second. This festival, however, was not for living fathers, but was rather a time of remembrance, commemorating departed parents and kinsfolk. The ceremonies were held, Ovid says, to “appease the souls of your fathers.” This annual observance became a family reunion. Members offered wine, milk, honey, oil and water at the flower-decorated graves. At the concluding ceremony, known as the Caristia, much celebrating went on as the living relatives feasted together, having been cleansed by the performance of their duties to the dead. Father’s Day for us, of course, is not intended for honoring the dead. We may pay a minor symbolic tribute by wearing a white rose in memory of deceased fathers, but far fewer of these are seen than white carnations on Mothers’ Day.

The origin of Father’s Day. The originator and promoter of Father’s Day was Mrs. John Bruce Dodd (Sonora Smart Dodd), of Spokane, Washington. The idea of a Father’s Day celebration came to her first while listening to a sermon on Mother’s Day in 1909. Her own father, William Jackson Smart, had accomplished the amazing task of rearing six children — Mrs. Dodd and her five brothers — after his young wife had died. The sacrifices her father made on their eastern Washington farm called to mind the unsung feats of fathers everywhere. Mrs. Dodd’s idea was approved by her church and publicized by the YMCA. In 1910, the mayor of Spokane issued a Father’s Day Proclamation and the governor, M.E. Hay, set the date for an observance throughout the state. Mrs. Dodd’s suggestions for observing the day included wearing a flower — a red rose to indicate a living father and a white rose for a dead father. By 1924, the custom had spread through the country, and Calvin Coolidge made the first Presidential proclamation in support of Father’s Day. Nearly 50 years later, (1972), President Richard Nixon made the holiday permanent, requesting that Congress pass a joint resolution to establish the third Sunday in June as a National Day of Observance in honor of fathers everywhere.

The Father’s role in the family and in the society. Some recent studies have demonstrated how important a father is to his child’s development. Children raised with fathers present have lower rates of delinquency, drug and alcohol use, teen pregnancy, and so on, than those with absent fathers. The father’s presence is also a significant positive factor in children’s getting a college education, finding a satisfying job, and making a lasting marriage. Psychotherapists today are saying that both parents are vitally important to the stable development of their children; the mother’s input is invaluable in the formative pre-adolescent years, but the father’s most important influence is at adolescence. Single mothers tell us that it is terribly difficult to teach their children about the meaning of God the Father Who seems so impersonal because their children have been abandoned by their natural fathers. Adolescent daughters long to hear from their fathers that they are beautiful and loved. In fact, a girl’s choice of partner and satisfaction in marriage is often directly related to the relationship she has had with her father. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the vital importance of the father’s role comes from the fact that, with his wife, he cooperates with God the Creator in bringing a new human life into the world. There is no power greater than that (#2367). (A few Biblical references to fathers: Genesis 2:24, Exodus 20:12, Ezekiel 19:19-20, Sirach 3:1-16, Matthew 19:16-22, John 1:14, 2 Cor. 6:16-18, Ephesians 6: 1-4, 1 Thess. 2:11 – 12).

The ideal and the reality: Many fathers today are role models like St. Thomas More and St. Louis Martin (father of the Little Flower), heroes of our Faith. Even in these days, fathers are expected to be the providers for, and the protectors of, the family. They are also supposed to be attuned emotionally and spiritually to their wives and children and to be able to balance careers with family life. Fathers struggle to overcome temptation and conflict. They make sacrifices day after day for their families. They try to give their youngsters the kind of model that surely they deserve above all else, a model of goodness, holiness, faith, trust in God and fidelity to the teachings of the Church. This is what Father’s Day should remind us of. This is a time for all fathers to reflect upon their duties as responsible and well-integrated men. True fatherhood demands commitment. Commitment demands maturity, sacrifice, and love. Fatherhood also demands responsibility. Every true father will take responsibility for all of his actions. Our nation has an urgent need for good fathers.

But while the idea of fatherhood is a good one, the reality we see on earth is sometimes quite different. Some fathers abandon their children, beat them, ridicule or ignore them, abuse them and damage them psychologically for life. Even good fathers have their limits. Unfortunately, we unduly sentimentalize fatherhood, the media often ridicule and make fun of it and we treat it with contempt. We are reminded time after time of the number of children growing up fatherless because their fathers have abandoned them or their fathers have been unfaithful.

A day to remember our Heavenly Father and our Rev. Fr. Pastor: A favorite gift for Father’s Day is the cap emblazoned with the words “World’s Greatest Dad.” You may see more of them than ever this year on the heads of proud fathers everywhere. There is one dad, however, who doesn’t always get a lot of honor on Father’s Day. That is the “World’s Greatest Dad,” OUR HEAVENLY FATHER (Rom. 8:15, Gal. 4:6). He is our spiritual Daddy, actively involved in all areas of our lives. It is He on Whom we lean in times of pain and hurt; it is He on Whom we call in times of need; it is He Who provides for us in all ways — practical, emotional, and spiritual. He wants us to think of Him as “Dad.” This being so, let us take this Father’s Day to honor Him, the REAL “World’s Greatest Dad.” Many of us pray the “Our Father” day after day, without paying attention to, or experiencing, the love and providence of our Heavenly Father. Let us pray the Our Father during this Holy Mass realizing the meaning of each clause and experiencing the love of our Heavenly Father for us. May all earthly fathers draw strength from their Heavenly Father! On this Father’s Day, please don’t forget to pray for us your spiritual Fathers – men who are called to be Fathers of an immensely large parish family through the Sacrament of Holy Orders.

JOKES OF THE DAY

1)What a Card!Father’s Day was near when I brought my three-year-old son, Tyler, to the card store. Inside, I showed him the cards for dads and told him to pick one. When I looked back, Tyler was picking up one card after another, opening them up and quickly shoving them back into slots, every which way. “Tyler, what are you doing?” I asked. “Haven’t you found a nice card for Daddy yet?” “No,” he replied. “I’m looking for one with money in it.” (Submitted to Readers Digest by Terri Cook).

2) Brag about parents: An Army brat was boasting about his father to a Navy brat.
“My dad is an engineer. He can do everything. Do you know the Alps?”
“Yes,” said the Navy brat.
“My dad built them.”
Then the naval kid spoke: “And do you know the Dead Sea?”
“Yes.”
“It’s my dad who’s killed it!”

3) New family driver: Martin had just received his brand new driver’s license. The family trooped out to the driveway, and climbed in the car, for he was going to take them for a ride for the first time. Dad immediately headed for the back seat, directly behind the newly-minted driver. “I’ll bet you’re back there to get a change of scenery after all those months of sitting in the front passenger seat teaching me how to drive,” says the beaming boy to his father. “Nope,” comes dad’s reply, “I’m gonna sit here and kick the back of your seat as you drive, just like you’ve been doing to me all these years.”

4) Transformation: One cynic, speaking from his own experience, noted that children go through four fascinating stages. First they call you DaDa. Then they call you Daddy. As they mature they call you Dad. Finally, they call you collect to borrow money.

5) A Father’s Day Card read: “Being a father can be expensive, time-consuming, frustrating, confusing and emotionally draining. Actually, it’s a lot like golf.”

6) Pap and pup: While flying from Denver to Kansas City, Kansas, my mother was sitting across the aisle from a woman and her eight-year-old son. Mom couldn’t help laughing as they neared their destination and she heard the mother say to the boy, “Now remember — run to Dad first, then the dog.”
(Submitted to Readers Digest by Karla J. Kasper)

WEBSITES OF THE WEEK

1) http://www.homiliesbyemail.com/Special/Fathers/fathersday.html

2) http://www.fathers.com/

3) http://www.usccb.org/sdwp/projects/socialteaching/ (Catholic Social teaching)

4) Website for Catholic kids: http://www.k4j.org/

5) Father’s Day song:

6) http://skitguys.com/videos/item/coffee-for-dad

7) Father’s Day video dancing with kids & moms: https://youtu.be/wlvUMEYlSI0

Intercessory prayers for Father’s Day Mass (By Kirk Loadman)

1- For those fathers who have striven to balance the demands of work, marriage, and children with an honest awareness of both joy and sacrifice. We pray to the Lord.

2- For those fathers who, lacking a good model for a father, have worked to become good fathers. We pray to the Lord.

3- For those fathers who by their own account were not always there for their children, but who continue to offer those children, now grown, their love and support. We pray to the Lord.

4- For those fathers who have been wounded by the neglect and hostility of their children. We pray to the Lord.

5- For those fathers who, despite divorce, have remained in their children’s lives. We pray to the Lord

6- For those fathers whose children are adopted, and whose love and support has offered healing. We pray to the Lord.

7- For those fathers who, as stepfathers, freely chose the obligation of fatherhood and earned their step-children’s love and respect. We pray to the Lord.

8- For those fathers who have lost a child to death and continue to hold the child in their hearts. We pray to the Lord.

9- For those men who have no children, but cherish the next generation as if they were their own. We pray to the Lord.

10- For those men who have “fathered” us in their role as mentors and guides. We pray to the Lord.

11- For those men who are about to become fathers: may they openly delight in their children! We pray to the Lord.

12- For those fathers who have died and gone for their eternal reward but live on in our memory and whose love continues to nurture us. We pray to the Lord.

Concluding prayer by the priest
God our Father,
in Your wisdom and love You made all things.
Bless these men,
that they may be strengthened as Christian fathers.
Let the example of their faith and love shine forth.
Grant that we, their sons and daughters,
may honor them always
with a spirit of profound respect.
Grant this through Christ our Lord.
Amen

13 Additional anecdotes

1) “And if you don’t pass the test you have to be the Daddy?” A mother was out walking with her 4–year-old daughter. The child picked up something off the ground and started to put it into her mouth. The mother took it away and said “Don’t do that!” “Why not?” asked the child. “Because it’s on the ground,” said her mother. “You don’t know where it’s been. It’s dirty, and it’s probably loaded with germs that could make you sick.” The child looked at her mother with total admiration and said, “Mommy, how do you know all this stuff? You’re so smart.” The mother said, “All Moms know this stuff. It’s on the Mom’s Test. You have to know it or they don’t let you be a Mom.” There was silence for a minute or so as the child thought this through. “Oh, I get it,” she said at last. “And if you don’t pass the test you have to be the Daddy?” (The Jokesmith). Welcome on this Father’s Day. As someone has said, “Father’s Day is like Mother’s Day, except the gift is cheaper.” And that’s true. But there are some fine Dads in our congregation, and we want to honor them. After all, it’s not easy being a Dad.

2) “Wait until you see sister!” A bald man and his wife one night decided to go out to dinner and hired a babysitter to take care of their kids. While they were gone, the babysitter got interested in TV and wasn’t watching the kids very carefully. The couple’s little boy got into his father’s electric shaver and shaved a big landing strip right down the middle of his head. When Dad, got home, he was furious. He said, “Son! I told you never to play with my shaver. Now you are going to get a spanking that you will never forget!” He was just about to give the spanking when the boy looked up at him and said, “Wait until you see sister!” The Mom and Dad were both horrified. They went into the next room and there was their little four-year-old daughter with the hair shaved off of her head. She looked like a skinned rabbit. By this time Dad was furious. He grabbed his son and said, “Now you’re really going to get it.” Just as Dad was about to begin administering discipline, his son looked up at him with tears in his eyes and said, “But Daddy! WE WERE JUST TRYING TO LOOK LIKE YOU!” [Parables, Etc. (Saratoga Press, P.O. Box 8, Platteville, CO, 80651; 970-785-2990), October 2001.] And that’s key to whole parenting thing, isn’t it? Many of our kids just want to look like us. (Added on Dec 18, 2012)

3) Once upon a time: A few of you remember the days of black-and-white television when television networks carried shows like Father Knows Best and Ozzie and Harriet. The norm for these programs was a family with a working husband and a wife who stayed at home, lovingly devoted to her husband and her children. At least that was the image the media portrayed. Most families even then were not as idyllic as the sitcoms portrayed them.

4) “If Daddy Will Hold Me”: A little girl had somehow received a bad cut in the soft flesh of her eyelid. The doctor knew that some stitches were needed, but he also knew that because of the location of the cut, he should not use an anesthetic. He talked with the little girl, and he told her what he must do… and asked her if she thought she could stand the touch of the needle without jumping. She thought for a moment, and then said simply, “I think I can if Daddy will hold me while you do it.” So the father took his little girl in his lap, steadied her head against his shoulder, and held her tightly in his arms. The surgeon then quickly did his work… and sewed up the cut in her eyelid… and the little girl did not flinch. She just held on tight to her Father.

That’s a parable for us in our spiritual lives and a graphic reminder that whatever we have to face, we can hold on tight to our Father… and He will see us through. There’s a word for that… it’s called TRUST or FAITH. It’s surely what Jesus had in mind when he said, “Unless you become like a little child, you cannot enter the kingdom of God.” (James W. Moore, When Our Children Teach Us)

5) ”I learned it from you, Daddy.” The Talmud tells us, ”A child tells in the street what its father says at home.” Much to the embarrassment of many parents, this adage is true. One father tells of taking his three-year-old son with him to see Grandma and Papa. While visiting, Grandma and her grandson baked cookies while dad and Papa watched a football game. Upon tasting a sample from the first batch, the three-year-old held the cookie out saying, ”Damn, this is good!” Grandma gasped. The father jumped from his chair and corrected his son saying, ”That’s not a nice word! Where did you learn that word?” The boy instantly replied, ”I learned it from you, Daddy. You say it every time Momma fixes supper.”

6) Notorious outlaws: Regardless of what you may have heard or read, Frank and Jesse James, two of the most famous outlaws of all time, were cold-blooded murderers. Their father, though, was a Baptist pastor and the founder of William Jewel College in Liberty, Kentucky. Their mother was raised in a Catholic convent. Both parents espoused values very different from those that their sons held. Yet, Robert James, their father, deserted his wife and sons while they were still very small so that he could search for gold in California. [Castel, Albert. “Men Behind the Masks: The James Brothers,” American History Illustrated (June 1982), pp. 1018.] Another of the men who terrorized the West was named John Wesley Hardin. Guess where he got his name? Hardin was the son of a Methodist circuit rider who also taught school and practiced law. Hardin’s father, a fervent Texan, raised his son to hate the North. When Hardin, at age 14, shot and killed a black man in honest self-defense, his father sent him away, not trusting the justice of the Northern Reconstruction government in Texas. Hardin subsequently killed Federal soldiers on a number of occasions, though the Civil War had ended years earlier. He also spent 17 years in prison for shooting a deputy. Perhaps John Wesley Hardin would have taken a different path if his father had not hated the government so much, and if his father had not shielded him from facing justice when he shot his first victim. [McGinty, Brian. “John Wesley Hardin,” American History Illustrated (June 1982) pp. 3236.] Regardless, it is clear that though the fathers of Frank and Jesse James and of John Wesley Hardin were men of the cloth, they were not great role models.

7) “My son is ‘under 12.'” Tell me, what will the child in this little scenario remember? The family goes to Mass every Sunday and on all the Holy Days of Obligation. They say the Rosary and talk about Christian values at dinnertime. Then, on Saturday night, when they go out to the movies, the father tells the cashier that his son is “under 12”, when, in fact, he’s already 13. Now, tell me, what will make the biggest impression on this young man? What he’s heard all week or what he sees on Saturday night?

8) Four Fathers From The Bible: Enoch, a father who walked with God as a great man of Faith.
Noah, who was concerned about saving his children; he taught them about righteousness. He also walked with God, leaving a great example to follow.
Abraham, who was given the title “Father of all of them that believe”. He trained them as mentioned in Genesis 18:19.
Joshua, who trusted God when others would not. Joshua didn’t care what other fathers were doing; he and his family were going to serve the Lord! (Fr. Antony Kayala).

9) “You promised that, Dad. ‘No matter what,’ you said, ‘I’ll always be there for you!'” There’s a fascinating story that comes from the 1989 earthquake which almost flattened Armenia. That earthquake killed over 30,000 people in less than four minutes. In the midst of all the confusion of the earthquake, a father rushed to his son’s school. When he arrived, he discovered the building was flat as a pancake.

Standing there looking at what was left of the school, the father remembered a promise he’d made to his son, “No matter what, I’ll always be there for you!” Tears began to fill his eyes. It looked like a hopeless situation, but he couldn’t take his mind off his promise.

He remembered that his son’s classroom was in the back right corner of the building He rushed over there and started digging through the rubble. As he was digging other grieving parents arrived, clutching their hearts, saying: “My son! My daughter!” They tried to pull him off of what was left of the school saying: “It’s too late!” “They’re dead!” “You can’t help!” “Go home!”

Even a police officer and a fire fighter told him he should go home. To everyone who tried to stop him he said, “Are you going to help me now?” They didn’t answer him but he continued digging for his son stone by stone. He needed to know for himself: “Is my son alive or is he dead?”

This man continued to dig for eight hours and then twelve and then twenty-four and then thirty-six. Finally, during the thirty-eighth hour, as he pulled back a boulder, he heard his son’s voice. He screamed his son’s name, “ARMAND!” and a voice answered him, “Dad? It’s me Dad!”

And then the boy added these priceless words, “I told the other kids not to worry. I told ’em that if you were alive, you’d save me and when you saved me, they’d be saved. You promised that, Dad. ‘No matter what,’ you said, ‘I’ll always be there for you!’ And here you are Dad. You kept your promise!” (Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen, Chicken Soup for the Soul; added in Jan, 2014).

10) “Just the cutest thing!” A woman wrote to a magazine to tell about an event that had occurred in her family when she was about eighteen months old. Her mother was out and her dad was in charge of her and her brother who was four years older. Someone had given her a little ‘tea set’ as a get-well gift and it was one of her favorite toys. Her Dad was in the living room one evening engrossed in the evening news and her brother was playing nearby in the living room when the little girl brought her Dad a little cup of make-believe ‘tea,’ which was just plain water. After several cups of this tea and lots of praise from Dad for making such a yummy concoction, the little girl’s Mom came home. Her Dad made Mom wait in the living room to watch this eighteen-month-old bring him a cup of tea, because it was “just the cutest thing!” Her Mom waited, and sure enough, here the girl came down the hall with a cup of tea for her Daddy. Mom watched Dad drink this special tea, then asked, “Did it ever occur to you that the only place that baby can reach to get water is the toilet?” (MONDAY FODDER, To subscribe http://family-safe-mail.com/magiclist/.)

11) “I wasn’t a good father.” Baseball superstar Mickey Mantle was interviewed shortly before his death. He had been a hero on the ball field, but not such a superstar outside baseball. After his playing days ended, he checked into the Betty Ford Clinic to deal with the consequences of a lifetime of alcohol abuse. Part of his struggle involved the loss of his son, Billy, who had died of a heart attack while suffering from Hodgkin’s disease, a genetic disease which had killed Mantle’s father and grandfather at an early age. In the interview, Mickey Mantle said, “One of the things I learned at the Betty Ford Clinic was why I was depressed. I wasn’t a good father. I always felt like I wasn’t there for my kids like my father was for me.” (Dr. Stanley C Sneeringer, http://www.faithlutheranchurch.org/99sermons/07‑11‑99.htm.)

12) Andy did not get a spanking; instead he got a hug: Brandon has two little kids: Andy, who is five years old, and Charlie, who is four. Brandon tries to be a good father to his little boys. Brandon goes and shaves himself and goes on to dress up. He comes out a few minutes later and what does he see? Little Andy has gotten hold of his father’s electric shaver and shaved a big expressway right down the middle of his head. Brandon is furious. He says, “Andy! Didn’t I tell you never to play with my shaver. Now you are going to get a spanking you will never forget!He was just about to administer the spanking when Andy looks up at him and says, “Wait till you see Charlie!” Brandon and his wife are simply horrified when they go into the washroom and see their little four-year-old boy with all of the hair gone, looking like a little skinned rabbit. By this time, Brandon is really furious. He grabs up Andy and says, “Now you are really going to get it.” Just as he lifts his hand and starts to bring it down, Andy looks up at him with tears in his eyes and said, “But Daddy! We were just trying to be like you!Well, Andy did not get a spanking; instead he got a hug. Isn’t that true? In so many ways we want to be like our fathers. It shows that they were and are heroes for us and that we are heroes for our children. (Fr. Mateuz) L-15

13) PresidentBill J. Clinton’s Father’s Day Proclamation in 1998: “Fathers play a unique and important role in the lives of their children. As mentor, protector, and provider, a father fundamentally influences the shape and direction of his child’s character by giving love, care, discipline, and guidance. As we observe Father’s Day, our nation honors fatherhood and urges fathers to commit themselves selflessly to the success and well-being of their children. And we reaffirm the importance of fathers in the lives of their children. Raising a child requires significant time, effort, and sacrifice; and it is one of the most hopeful and fulfilling experiences a man can ever know. A father can derive great joy from seeing his child grow from infancy to adulthood. As a child matures into independence and self-reliance, the value of a parent’s hard work, love, and commitment comes to fruition. Responsible fatherhood is important to a healthy and civil society. Numerous studies confirm that children whose fathers are present and involved in their lives are more likely to develop into prosperous and healthy adults. Children learn by example; and they need their father’s presence as examples of virtue in their daily lives. A child’s sense of security can be greatly enhanced by seeing his parents in a loving and faithful marriage.” (L/22)

“Scriptural Homilies” Cycle C(No. 39) 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

Father’s Day Bible Verses (Fr. Kayala)

Psalm 103:13 (NIV)
As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;

Proverbs 3:11-12(NIV)
My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.

Proverbs 23:22 (NIV)
Listen to your father, who gave you life,
and do not despise your mother when she is old.

Proverbs 23:24 (NIV)
The father of a righteous man has great joy;
he who has a wise son delights in him.

Ephesians 6:4 (NIV)
Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord

Colossians 3:21 (NIV)
Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.

Hebrews 12:7 (NIV)
Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?

Matthew 7:11(NIV)
If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

Joshua 24:15 (ESV)
And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

Deuteronomy 6:6-9 (ESV)
And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Psalms 127:3-5 (ESV)
Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.

Psalm 44:1 (NKJV)
“God, we have heard with our ears, our fathers have told us, what deeds you performed in their days, in the days of old:”

Proverbs 17:6 (NKJV)
“Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers.”

Proverbs 23:24 (NKJV)
“The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice; he who fathers a
wise son will be glad in him.”

1 Timothy 3:5 (KJV)
“For if a man know not how to rule his own house,
how shall he take care of the church of God?”

Proverbs 22:6 (ESV)
“Direct your children onto the right path,
and when they are older, they will not leave it.”

Proverbs 20:7 (KJV)
“The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him.”

Genesis 18:19(ESV)
For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice, so that the LORD may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.”

1 Timothy 3:12-13 (KJV)
Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.
For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.

Most Holy Trinity Sunday (June 12, 2022)

MOST HOLY TRINITY SUNDAY [C] (June 6) 1-page summary (L-22).

Introduction: The mystery of the most Holy Trinity is a basic doctrine of Faith in Christianity, understandable not with our heads but with our hearts. It teaches us that there are three distinct Persons in one God, sharing the same Divine Nature, co-equal and co-eternal. Our mind cannot grasp this doctrine which teaches that 1+1+1 = 1 and not 3. But we believe in this Mystery because Jesus, Who is God, taught it clearly, the Evangelists recorded it, the Fathers of the Church tried to explain it, and the Councils of Nicaea and Constantinople defined it as a dogma of Christian Faith. (Add a pertinent anecdote).

Importance in Christian life: 1) All prayers in the Church begin in the Name of the Holy Trinity and end glorifying the Trinity. 2) All Sacraments are administered (we are baptized, confirmed, anointed, our sins are forgiven, our marriage is blessed, and our Bishops, priests and deacons are ordained) in the name of the Holy Trinity. 3) When Church bells ring thrice daily, they remind us to give glory to the Holy Trinity for the Incarnation of Jesus and His Redemption of all of us. 4) We bless ourselves, and the priest blesses us, in the Name of the Holy Trinity.

Biblical basis: There are only vague and hidden references to the Trinity in the Old Testament. But the New Testament gives clear teachings on the Holy Trinity.

  1. At the Annunciation, God the Father sends His angel to Mary, God the Holy Spirit comes upon her, the Power of the Most High overshadows her, and God the Son becomes Incarnate in her womb.

2) At the baptism of Jesus, when the Son receives baptism from John the Baptist, the Father’s Voice is heard, and the Holy Spirit appears as a Dove and descends upon Jesus.

3) At the Ascension, Jesus gives the missionary command to his disciples to baptize those who believe, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

4) John’s account: In John’s Gospel, chapters 15–18, we have a detailed account of Jesus’ teaching of the role of each Person of the Holy Trinity: a) God the Father creates and provides for His creatures. b) God the Son redeems us and reconciles us with God. c) God the Holy Spirit sanctifies us, strengthens us, teaches us, and guides us to God.

Life messages: 1) Let us respect ourselves and others because everyone is the temple of the Holy Spirit where all Three Persons of the Holy Trinity abide.

2) Let us have the firm conviction that the Trinitarian God abides in us, that He is the Source of our hope, courage and strength, and that He is our final destination.

3) Let us practice the Trinitarian relationship of love and unity in the family relationships of father, mother, and children because by Baptism we become children of God and members of God’s Trinitarian family.

4) Let us practice the I–God–my neighbor vertical and horizontal Trinitarian relationships in this life by loving God.

HOLY TRINITY(June 6): Prv 8:22-31; Rom 5:1-5; Jn 16:12-15

Homily starter anecdotes# 1:Simplified explanations by Ss. Patrick, Cyril and Jean-Marie Vianney: Since the Holy Trinity is a mystery, all these examples are only the shadows of the shadows of the Truth. The shamrock, a kind of clover, is a leguminous herb that grows in marshy places. St. Patrick, the missionary patron saint of Ireland, used the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity. The story goes that one day his friends asked Patrick to explain the Mystery of the Trinity. He looked at the ground and saw shamrocks growing amid the grass at his feet. He picked one up one of its trifoliate leaves and asked if it were one leaf or three. Patrick’s friends couldn’t answer – the shamrock leaf looked like one but it clearly had three parts. Patrick explained to them: “The mystery of the Holy Trinity – one God in Three Persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit – is like this, but more complex and unintelligible.” St. Cyril, the teacher of the Slavs, tried to explain the Mystery of the Most Holy Trinity using sun as an example. He said, “God the Father is that blazing sun. God the Son is its light and God the Holy Spirit is its heat — but there is only one sun. So, there are three Persons in the Holy Trinity but God is One and indivisible.” St. Jean-Marie Vianney used to explain Holy Trinity using lighted candles and roses on the altar and water in the cruets. “The flame has color, warmth and shape. But these are expressions of one flame. Similarly, the rose has color, fragrance and shape. But these are expressions of one reality, namely, rose. Water, steam and ice are three distinct expressions of one reality. In the same way one God revealed Himself to us as Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.” Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQLfgaUoQCw&feature=player_detailpage (Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/))

# 2: The Mystery of man created by a mysterious Triune God: How complex and mind-boggling is our physical construction! Chemically, the body is unequalled for complexity. Each one of its 30 trillion cells is a mini chemical factory that performs about 10,000 chemical functions. With its 206 bones, 639 muscles, 4 million pain sensors in the skin, 750 million air sacs in the lungs, 16 million nerve cells and 30 trillion cells in total, the human body is remarkably designed for life. And the brain! The human brain with the nervous system is the most complex arrangement of matter anywhere in the universe. One scientist estimated that our brain, on the average, processes over 10,000 thoughts and concepts each day. Three billion DNA pairs in a fertilized egg (a child into whom God has already breathed an immortal, spiritual soul) control all human activities, 30,000 genes making 90,000 proteins in the body. Bill Bryson in his book, A Short History of Nearly Everything, says it is a miracle that we even exist. Trillions of atoms come together for approximately 650,000 hours (74 years calculated as the average span of human life), and then begin to silently disassemble and go off to other things. There never was something like us before and there never will be something like us again. But for 650,000 hours the miracle or mystery that is uniquely us, exists here on earth. — One could spend years just dealing with the marvelous intricacies and majesty of God’s creation. We are, as the Psalmist states “fearfully and wonderfully made.” No wonder we cannot understand the mystery of the Triune God Who created us! Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

# 3: The mystery of the magnitude of the universe: The universe has around 100–1000 billion galaxies. Our galaxy is called the Milky Way. The Milky Way contains 100–400 billion stars with their planets including the sun and its planets and our earth is one of its tiny planets. This means that our Sun is just one star among the hundreds of billions of stars in our Milky Way Galaxy. The diameter of the observable universe is about 93 billion light years, and a light-year is a unit of length equal to 6 trillion miles. The number and size of galaxies and stars and planets in the universe remain mind-baffling mysteries in spite of all our latest astronomical discoveries and studies, and we have been able to send astronomers only to our earth’s sole natural satellite, the moon. — If the universe is so mysterious, there is no wonder why the nature of the Triune God Who created it, remains a mystery and why we have to accept the mystery of the Triune God as revealed by God Himself in the Holy Scripture!
( https://youtu.be/hTuJby2_97E) (https://youtu.be/9Dsq-FrEJxo). Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

# 4: “But that is impossible, my dear child:” There is a very old and much-repeated story about St. Augustine, one of the intellectual giants of the Church. He was walking by the seashore one day, attempting to conceive of an intelligible explanation for the mystery of the Trinity. As he walked along, he saw a small boy on the beach, pouring seawater from a shell into a small hole in the sand. “What are you doing, my child?” asked Augustine. “I am emptying the sea into this hole,” the boy answered with an innocent smile. “But that is impossible, my dear child,” said Augustine. The boy stood up, looked straight into the eyes of Augustine and replied, “What you are trying to do – comprehend the immensity of God with your small head – is even more impossible.” Then he vanished. The child was an angel sent by God to teach Augustine a lesson. Later, Augustine wrote: “You see the Trinity, if you see love.” According to him, the Father is the lover, the Son is the loved one and the Holy Spirit is the personification of the very act of loving. This means that we can understand something of the Mystery of the Holy Trinity more readily with the believing heart than with our feeble mind. Evagrius of Pontus, a Greek monk of the 4th century who came from what is now Turkey in Asia and later lived out his vocation in Egypt, said: “God cannot be grasped by the mind. If God could be grasped, God would not be God.” Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

Introduction: Today’s feast invites us to live in the awareness of the presence of the Triune God within us: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The mystery of the Holy Trinity, a doctrine enunciated by the ecumenical councils of Nicaea and Constantinople, is one of the fundamental doctrines of Christianity and the greatest mystery of our Faith, namely, that there are Three Divine Persons, sharing the same Divine Nature in one God. “There is one God, who has three Persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Each Person is God, yet there is still only one God” (CCC #234, #253-256). We have the Father Who is the Creator, the Son Who is the Redeemer and the Holy Spirit Who is the Sanctifier and the Counselor. The doctrine of Three Persons in one God, co-equal and co-eternal in Divinity yet distinct in Person, is not explicitly spelt out in the Bible. Even the very word “Trinity” is not found in the Bible. But the doctrine of the Trinity underlies all major Christian feasts, including Christmas, the Epiphany, Good Friday, Easter, the Ascension and Pentecost. All the official prayers of the Church, including the Holy Mass and the Sacraments, begin with an address to the Holy Trinity: “In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” We are baptized, absolved of our sins, and anointed in the name of the Blessed Trinity. Throughout the world, when Church bells ring three times a day, Christians are being invited to pray to God the Father (the Provider); God the Son (the Savior); and God the Holy Spirit (the Sanctifier), giving glory to the Triune God for the Incarnation of the Son and our Redemption through His suffering and death, as we pray the Angelus, or in the Easter Season, the Regina Coeli. We bless ourselves with the Sign of the Cross, invoking the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and we conclude our prayers glorifying the Holy Trinity, saying “Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit….” Today’s readings convey the fundamental mystery that the Triune God reaches out to people with love, seeking the deepest communion with them.

Scripture lessons summarized: Today’s readings from Proverbs, Romans, and John are all about “pouring out.” God pours Self out in Word; God and Word pour out the Spirit to help us pour ourselves out; and the Spirit pours forth Faith and strength and character. Instead of spelling out the doctrine of Holy Trinity, today’s readings summarize the effects of the Trinity in our daily lives. The Book of Proverbs reflects on Wisdom, a quality which that book identifies with God. St. Paul, in his Letter to the Romans, teaches us that we have peace with God the Father through Jesus Christ, and that the love of God has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. In today’s Gospel, Jesus, the Son of God, mentions the role of the Holy Spirit, His close relationship with God the Father and what the Holy Spirit is going to do for us as we go about our daily tasks. God has revealed to us three separate functions that are carried out by the three Persons. He has told us that it is proper to attribute to God the Father the work of creation; to God the Son, the work of Redemption, of reconciliation and of healing, and to the Holy Spirit, the work of guidance in truth, in the work of teaching and in the work of sanctification. As the Father, God has brought forth the created universe and even our very selves. As God’s Son and our Brother, Jesus, He has made known a God Who hears our cries, Who cares, Who counts the hairs on our head and Who loves us so passionately that He became one of us, to suffer for our sins, to die that we may live. As Spirit, God remains with and within us as Paraclete: Guide, Advocate and Consoler.

Frank Sheed’s explanation of the Holy Trinity: The great apologist Frank Sheed used to give a very interesting explanation of the Most Holy Trinity. He started by thinking about our own human nature. Each one of us exists, but since we are spiritual, we also have an idea of ourselves. We can think about ourselves, reflect on ourselves, and know ourselves. This is why human beings are the only animals on earth who write diaries.

That’s similar to what happens in the relationship between God the Father and God the Son. God the Father is spiritual, able to know Himself. He has an Idea of Himself. But, since His knowledge is limitless, unlike ours, that Idea of Himself is perfect and perfectly complete. But to be perfect, the Idea, or the Word, has to share in God’s own existence; the Word actually has to be a Divine Person. And so, God the Father, from all eternity, knowing Himself, engenders the Son, the perfect Image of the Father. And then, of course, since both the Father and the Son are Infinitely Good and Beautiful, as soon as They know Each Other, They also love Each Other. Even we, when we think about ourselves, love ourselves. We want the best for ourselves. We are glad that we exist. But God’s Love, like his Knowledge, is limitless, Infinite, and so this Love, too, has to be Infinite and so intense and so full that it shares fully in the Divine existence; this Love is a Divine Person – the Holy Spirit.

This is the mystery we profess each week when we affirm our belief in the Son of God, who is “consubstantial [one in Being] with the Father, God from God, light from light true God from true God” and in the Holy Spirit, who “with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified.” (E- Priest) — (Holy Trinity: Our God is far beyond the grasp of our intellect. All we can say is: God, the Father, our Father, is Omnipresent and so I live in Him because the universe exists in Him. The Son, Jesus is Emmanuel – God with us — and so He is always with me; I live with Him. The Holy Spirit is the One Who inspires us all from within us, and so The Holy Spirit lives in my heart. There is only one God. We live in Him; He lives with us and He lives in us. Yahweh – “I am Who am” — He is all (Joe Vempeny) —The great 20th-century Catholic Theologian Father Karl Rahner, SJ, was supposedly asked once by a priest friend how he should explain the Holy Trinity when preaching. Father Rahner’s reply was simple: “Don’t!” The mystery we celebrate in today’s feast defies not only explanation but also comprehension (OSV)

Exegetical notes 1) The development of the Trinitarian doctrine in the Church. The oldest doctrinal formulation of the Church’s belief in the Trinity is found in the Apostles’ Creed which has served both as the basis of instruction for catechumens and as the Baptismal confession of Faith since the second century. Later, the Nicene Creed, originating at the Council of Nicaea (AD 325), stated the doctrine more explicitly. This creed was introduced into our Western liturgy by the regional council of Toledo in AD 589. God has revealed to us three separate functions that are attributed to the Three Persons. He has told us that it is proper to attribute to God the Father the work of Creation, to God the Son the work of Redemption, and to God the Holy Spirit the work of Sanctification. Our knowledge of God as Trinity is made possible by God, who has chosen to reveal Himself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. As Father, God has brought forth the created universe, including our own being. As the Father’s Only-begotten Incarnate Son, Jesus, God has made known One Who hears our cries, Who cares, Who counts the hairs on our head, and Who loves us so passionately that He became one of us in order to suffer for our sins, and even to die for us. As Spirit, God remains with us and within us.

2) The Triune God as seen in the Old Testament: Since Yahweh, the God of Israel, was careful to protect His Chosen People from the pagan practice of worshipping several gods, the Old Testament books give only indirect and passing references to the Trinity, and the Jewish rabbis never understood them as references to the Holy Trinity. Gn 1:26 presents God speaking to Himself: “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.” Gn 18:2 describes how Yahweh visited Abraham under the appearance of three men, an event that the Russian Orthodox Church celebrates as the “Trinitarian Experience of Abraham.” In Gn 11:7, before punishing the proud builders of the Tower of Babel, God says, “Come, let Us go down among them and confuse their language. “These passages imply, rather than state, the doctrine of the Trinity.


3) Clear doctrine of the Trinity in the New Testament.

a) The Annunciation (Lk 1: 26-38), describes how God the Father sends the Archangel Gabriel to Mary to announce to her that God the Holy Spirit, will “come upon” her, that “the power the Most High will overshadow” her, that the Son will be made flesh in her womb: “Therefore, the Child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.”

b) During the baptism of Jesus (Mt 3:16-17), the Holy Spirit is shown descending on Jesus in the form of a Dove, while the Voice of God the Father is heard from the clouds, saying, “You are My Beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased” (Lk 4:22).

c) John (Chapters 15 through 18) presents the detailed teaching of Jesus on the Persons of the Holy Trinity.

d) In the preaching mission given by the risen Lord to the disciples, Jesus commands them to baptize people “in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Confer also Mt 28:19; Jn 10:30).

Trinitarian heresies: it became necessary for the Church to define the mystery more fully, thus dispelling certain heresies like the belief in three gods (tritheism) or that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit referred not to real distinction within the Godhead but to different ways in which God relates to us (the heresies of Monarchianism, Sabellianism, Atripassianism and Modalism). The most grievous heresy that threatened the Church was Arianism, the view that only the Father is God while Jesus is a human creature, who, although superior to other humans in a relationship with the Father, was inferior to the Father. The Church called 4th century Councils of Nicaea (325) and Constantinople (381) to combat the Arian heresy and to produce creeds that defined the nature and relationship of the Trinity. We affirm our belief in the Trinity in the Creed of Nicaea-Constantinople which the congregation professes aloud just after the Gospel and Homily, in the liturgy of the Sunday Mass. The dogma of the Trinity, as defined by the Catholic Church, is composed of three crucial elements: 1) God is one substance or being and three Persons. 2) The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are three distinct Persons within the Godhead. With regard to the Trinity, the word “Person” is a technical term that designates the three distinct subsistent relations within the Trinity: the Father (paternity), the Son (filiation), and the Holy Spirit (passive spiration). These three relations are rooted in the two “processions” of the inner life of the Trinity: The Father eternally begets the Son and The Holy Spirit proceeds (spirates) from the Father and the Son. The conclusion is that the three Persons of the Trinity are, therefore, differentiated from one another by virtue of the different relations they have to one another. (See CCC 232, 234, 244, 237-38, 251, 261, 684, 732 and the www.agapebiblestudy.com document “Monotheism and the Mystery of the Triune God).

Life messages: 1)We need to respect ourselves and respect others. Our living belief in the presence of the Triune God within us should help us to esteem ourselves as God’s holy dwelling place, to behave well in His holy presence, and to lead purer and holier lives, practicing acts of justice and charity. This Triune Presence should also encourage us to respect and honor others as “Temples of the Holy Spirit.”

  1. We need to be aware of God as the Source of our strength and courage. Our awareness and conviction of the presence of God within us give us the strength to face the manifold problems of life with Christian courage. It was such a conviction that prompted the early Christian martyrs being taken to their execution to shout the heroic prayer of Faith from the Psalms: “The Lord of hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge ” (Ps 46:7,11).

3) We need to see the Trinity as the model for our Christian families: We are created in love to be a community of loving persons, just as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are One in Love. From the day of our Baptism, we have belonged to the One God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. How privileged we are to grow up in such a beautiful Family! Hence, let us turn to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in prayer every day. We belong to the Family of the Triune God. The love, unity, and joy in the relationship among the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit should be the supreme model of our relationships within our Christian families. Our families become truly Christian when we live in a relationship of love with God and with others.

4) We are called to become more like the Triune God through all our relationships. We are made in God’s image and likeness. Just as God is God only in a Trinitarian relationship, so we can be fully human only as one member of a relationship of three partners. The self needs to be in a horizontal relationship with all other people and in a vertical relationship with God. In that way our life becomes Trinitarian like that of God. Modern society follows the so-called “I-and-I” principle of unbridled individualism and the resulting consumerism. But the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity challenges us to adopt an “I-and-God-and-neighbor” principle: “I am a Christian insofar as I live in a relationship of love with God and other people.” Like God the Father, we are called upon to be productive and creative persons by contributing to the building up of the fabric of life and love in our family, our Church, our community, and our nation. Like God the Son, we are called to a life of sacrificial love and service so that we may help Him to reconcile, to be peacemakers, to put back together that which has been broken, and to restore what has been shattered. Like God the Holy Spirit, we are called, with His help, to uncover and teach Truth and to dispel ignorance not in anger but in love. (Trinitarian spirituality: “The doctrine of the Trinity affirms that it belongs to God’s very Nature to be committed to humanity and its history, that God’s Covenant with us is irrevocable, that God’s Face is immutably turned toward us in love, that God’s Presence to us is utterly reliable and constant…. Trinitarian spirituality is one of solidarity between and among persons. It is a way of living the Gospel attentive to the requirements of justice, understood as rightly ordered relationships between and among persons.” Dictionary of Spirituality)

St. Francis Xavier’s favorite prayer was: “Most Holy Trinity, Who live in me, I praise You, I worship You, I adore You, and I love You.” May the Son lead us to the Father through the Spirit, to live with the Triune God forever and ever. Amen.

JOKES OF THE WEEK:

1) Trinitarian Love, the essence of family life: One day, while he was walking with God in the Garden of Eden Adam said, “Excuse me God, can I ask you a few questions?” God replied, “Go on Adam, but be quick. I have a world to create.”
So, Adam says, “When you created Eve, why did you make her body so curved and tender unlike mine?” “I did that, Adam, so that you could love her.” “Oh, well then, why did you give her long, shiny, beautiful hair?” “I did that Adam so that you could love her.” “Oh, well then, why did you make her so stupid? Is that too because I should love her?” “Well, Adam, no. I did that so that she could love you.”

# 2: Wisdom from child’s mouth: A priest went into a second-grade classroom of the parish school and asked, “Who can tell me what the Blessed Trinity means?” A little girl lisped, “The Blethed Twinity meanth there are thwee perthonth in one God.” The priest, taken aback by the lisp, said, “Would you say that again? I don’t understand what you said.” The little girl answered, “Y’not thuppothed to underthtand; ‘t’th a mythtewy.”(Another version: At confirmation, the Archbishop asked the children for a definition of the Holy Trinity. A girl answered very softly – “The Holy Trinity is three persons in one God.” The Archbishop, who was rather old and almost deaf, replied, “I didn’t understand what you said.” And the young theologian standing in front of him replied: “Well, Your Excellency, you are not supposed to. The Trinity is a mystery. Nobody understands it.)”

# 4: Trinitarian pastor: One parishioner said, “The mystery of the Trinitarian God is a lot like our pastor. I don’t see him through the week, and I don’t understand him on Sunday.”

5) God Is Everywhere: A pastor was trying to explain to a little Sunday school child that God is calling people everywhere in the world to believe in him. “God is much bigger than we imagine him to be and God can use all of us in lots of different ways to do his work everywhere,” the pastor said. “God is everywhere!” “Everywhere?” asked the little boy. “Everywhere!” said the pastor. The boy went home and told his mother, “God is everywhere! The pastor said so.” “Yes, I know,” said the mother. “You mean He is even in the cupboard?” “Yes,” said the mother. “In the refrigerator — even when we close the door and the light goes out?” “Yes,” said the mother. “Even in the sugar bowl?” the lad asked as he took the lid off. “Yes,” said the mother, “even in the sugar bowl.” The boy slammed down the lid and said, “Now I’ve got Him.”

8) Lutheran satire about St. Patrick’s bad analogies (Funny You Tube joke): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQLfgaUoQCw&feature=player_detailpage

THE WEBSITES OF THE WEEK

1) Father’s advice to his son in law before giving his daughter in marriage; (Hilarious video illustrating the role of the Trinitarian God in marriage)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=eqEkPjUbmIA

2)Catholic doctrines in short videos; http://thatcatholicshow.sqpn.com/

3) Catholic pages Directory: http://www.catholic-pages.com/dir/default.asp

4) The Catholic Liturgical Calendar page: http://www.easterbrooks.com/personal/calendar/index.php

5) Fr. Don’s video homily collections:https://sundayprep.org/prep-videos/

6) Video Sunday-Scripture study by Fr. Geoffrey Plant: https://www.youtube.com/user/GeoffreyPlant2066 7)Virtual tour of Sistine chapel, Vatcan: http://www.vatican.va/various/cappelle/sistina_vr/index.html?utm_source=Twitter

8) Free program for men’s renewal in parishes: https://www.paradisusdei.org/index.php/programs/tmiy

(Video URL)= https://www.paradisusdei.org/index.php/programs/tmiy

29 Additional anecdotes: 1) Trinity prayer of Tolstoy’s hermits: Three Russian monks lived on a faraway Island. Nobody ever went there. However, one day their Bishop decided to make a pastoral visit to learn more about their religious life. But when he arrived, he discovered that they did not know even the Lord’s Prayer. So, he spent all his time and energy teaching them the Our Father and then left them, satisfied with his pastoral visit. But when his small ship had left the island and was back in the open sea, he suddenly noticed the three monks walking on the water – in fact they were running after the ship. When they approached it, they cried out, “Dear Bishop we have forgotten the Lord’s Prayer you taught us. The Bishop, overwhelmed by what he was seeing and hearing asked them, “But dear brothers, how then do you pray?” They answered, “We just say, there are three of us and there are three of you, have mercy on us.” The bishop, awestruck by their sanctity and simplicity said, “Go back to your island and be at peace.” [Adapted from Leo Tolstoy- The Three Hermits (Russian: Три Старца), a short story by Russian author Leo Tolstoy (Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy), was written in 1885 and first published in 1886 in the weekly periodical Niva (нива).] Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

2)The world’s biggest mysteries scientists still can’t solve: Ghost ships, alien contact, and technology, all built thousands of years before their time, still remain mysteries, unexplained by modern science. Ten such mysteries are the 1)Baghdad, or Parthian, Battery, date ca. 2000 years ago, capable of generating electric charge. 2) Terrifying SOS message about the death of all crew members from a from a Dutch freighter, the SS Ourang Medan. 3) The Dancing Plague of 1518 which made 400 women hysterically dance themselves to death. 3) Man, with no identity: A man who would soon adopt the name Benjaman Kyle woke up in 2004 outside of a Burger King in Georgia without any clothes, any ID, or any memories. 4) The WOW! Signal received by Jerry Ehman, a volunteer for SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence from within the Sagittarius constellation near a star called Tau Sagittarii, 120 light years away. 5) The Voynich Manuscript: The writing is composed of over 170,000 characters written in patterns that resemble natural language. The sections appear to describe different topics of herbal, astronomical, biological, cosmological, and pharmaceutical nature. 6) Oak Island Money Pit: Oak Island is the home of what is informally known as the “Money Pit,” of Nova Scotia in eastern Canada. It is an incredibly deep hole of incredibly elaborate construction discovered in 1795. 7) The Antikythera mechanism is an incredibly intricate analogue computer found in a shipwreck near Greece in the year 1900. The device was used to determine the positions of celestial bodies using a mind-bogglingly complex series of bronze gears. 8) “Sea Peoples” — a technologically inferior, unaffiliated group of seafaring warriors who raided the lands and are often credited with the collapse of once-great civilizations in the Aegean and eastern Mediterranean regions. 9) Turkey’s Göbekli Tepe is composed of more than 200 pillars, up to 20 feet in height and weighing up to 20 tonnes, arranged in roughly 20 circles, built more than 13,000 years ago, predating Stonehenge by more than 8,000 years. 10) The Confederate Treasury. The year was 1865, and the American Civil War was drawing to a close. As the Union army marched the final path to victory, the Confederate Secretary of the Treasury George Trenholm made one last effort to preserve the South’s assets by liquefying all gold and silver and burying them in untraceable places along with jewels. (http://www.news.com.au/technology/science/archaeology/the-worlds-biggest-mysteries-scientists-still-cant-solve/news-story/aac87ed0bc09d5cd4dfba0d49f613334)

3) Human mystery confronting divine mystery: The story is told that Franklin D. Roosevelt and one of his close friends, Bernard Baruch, talked late into the night one evening at the White House. At last, President Roosevelt suggested that they go out into the Rose Garden and look at the stars before going to bed. They went out and looked into the sky for several minutes, peering at a nebula with thousands of stars. Then the President said, “All right, I think we feel small enough now to go in and go to sleep.”  — The wonder of the power and wisdom of God puts things in perspective for us humans. Creation was not an accident, but the result of a Divine Plan; planets, stars, plants, birds, fish, and animals were all created by God. And the climax of God’s creation was humanity. (Fr. Kayala). Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

4)Aggressively selfish child: A report some years ago, allegedly by the Minnesota Crime Commission, painted a dark picture of human nature indeed, particularly with regard to small children. I quote: “Every baby starts life as a little savage. He is completely selfish and self-centered. He wants what he wants when he wants it – his bottle, his mother’s attention, his playmate’s toy, his uncle’s watch.  Deny him these once, and he seethes with rage and aggressiveness, which would be murderous were he not so helpless. He is, in fact dirty. He has no morals, no knowledge, no skills. This means that all children not just certain children are born delinquent.  If permitted to continue in the self- centered world of his infancy, given free rein to his impulsive actions to satisfy his wants, every child would grow up a criminal a thief, a killer, or a rapist.” [Cited in R. Scott Richards, Myths the World Taught Me (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1991), p.  39.] — It is to transform this self-centered human nature into a selfless, loving, God-centered one that the Second Person of the Holy Trinity took human form as described in today’s Gospel. Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

5) “You ask me a riddle?”  Richard, Cardinal Cushing (d. 11/2/1970; Archbishop of Boston, MA), told of an occasion when he was administering last rites to a man who had collapsed in a general store. Following his usual custom, he knelt by the man and asked, “Do you believe in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit?” The Cardinal said the man roused a little bit, opened an eye, looked at him and said, “Here I am, dying, and you ask me a riddle?” — Call them riddles. Call them Mysteries. There are things about life and Faith we do not understand, but I am not going to suggest that you resign your effort to understand. Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

6) “The undertaker!” There is an old story about a henpecked husband who went to a psychologist. He was tired of being dominated by his wife. The psychologist told him, “You do not have to accept your wife’s bullying. You need to go home right now and let her know that you’re your own boss.” The husband decided to take the doctor’s advice. He went home and slammed the door on the way in. He confronted his wife and said, “From now on you’ll do what I say. Get my supper, then go upstairs and lay out my clothes. After I eat, I’m going out with the boys while you stay home. By the way, do you know who is going to tie my tie for me?” “I sure do,” said his wife calmly, “the undertaker!” — Some marriages are filled with conflict. So are some offices. Unfortunately, some Churches are filled with conflict as well. The feast of the Holy Trinity challenges us to cultivate the Trinitarian relationship of love and unity in our families and offices, parishes, and classrooms. Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

7) Bad things always come in threes.” An old adage warns, “Bad things always come in threes.” Have you found this true in your own experience? That bad things (and good things), like to happen in community, in bunches? You say: we invent this connection by suddenly realizing that we got a flat tire on the same day that a computer glitch devoured our hard drive, shortly after our last contact lens just slid down the drain.  I say: there seems to be something significant about the power of three. – On this Sunday, “Trinity Sunday,” the Church celebrates the Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, affirming the Truth that good things also come in threes. We recognize God as Creator (the Father), God as Redeemer (the Son), and God as Sanctifier (the Holy Spirit). Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

8) “But the machine can’t ask me about my arthritis.” This true story is told of a woman named Mamie who made frequent trips to the branch post office. One day she confronted a long line of people who were waiting for service from the postal clerk. Mamie only needed stamps, so a helpful observer asked her, “Why don’t you just use the stamp machine? You can get all the stamps you need and you won’t have to wait in line.” Mamie said, “I know, but the machine can’t ask me about my arthritis.” — That’s part of the wisdom of Christ’s coming to our earth to live among us as described in John’s Gospel (Jn 3: 16-18).  He can relate to us in all of our daily needs. As we try to walk in Jesus’ steps, we might do well to pray the ancient Irish poem set to an Irish ballad tune, which says,

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;

I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;

Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,

Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all. (Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

9) A dumb debate on God: The following imagined debate for mute and deaf scholars is a warning to our pastors who think that they have explained Holy Trinity well to their flock on Trinity Sunday.  The Jews and the Catholics are having a debate about God and decide that they will each send one representative to prove that their side is right. The only rule is that words are not allowed. They decide on their representatives. The Vatican decides to send their best brain – Cardinal Ratzinger, the head of the Congregation on Faith and Morals – while the Jews pick one of their best rabbis to represent them. As a sign of respect, the Jews allow the debate to be held at the local cathedral. The time for the debate comes and the rabbi walks into the cathedral and up to the cardinal. The cardinal waves his hand towards the sky. The rabbi responds by slamming his fist into his palm. The cardinal holds up three fingers. The rabbi responds by holding up his middle finger. The cardinal then pulls out bread and wine. The rabbi then reaches into a bag and pulls out two fish. At this point the cardinal holds up his hands and walks away.

After the debate the cardinal heads back to the Vatican to talk it over with the pope and the other cardinals. “Man, those Jews have it all figured out. First, I said to him, ‘God is everywhere,’ and he responded, ‘God is right here.’ I was taken aback. So, I held up three fingers representing the Holy Trinity, and he responded, ‘We all worship the same one God.’ I didn’t know what to do so I showed him bread and wine representing the sacrifice of Jesus, and he responded with two fish, representing that Jesus provides.

The Rabbi headed back to the synagogue to tell the others his version what had happened. “Man, you wouldn’t believe those Catholics. The moment I walked in this guy with a weird hat gestures at me ‘No Jews Allowed.’ I said ‘I’m staying right here.’ Then he said, ‘You have three minutes.’ I said, ‘Get lost.’ Then he pulled out his lunch, so I showed him mine.” Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

10) Why Isn’t the Whole West Coast Included?  A woman wrote to Reader’s Digest,  about an experience that she had when she took a young girl from India to Church with her. It was the eleven-year-old girl’s first exposure to a Christian worship service. The young lady’s parents were traveling on business and had left her in the care of their American friends. The little Hindu girl decided on her own to go with the family to Church one Sunday. After the service was over, they went out to lunch. — The little girl had some questions. She wondered, “I don’t understand why isn’t the West Coast included, too?” Her Christian friends were puzzled and asked, “What do you mean?” She responded, “You know. I kept hearing the people say, ‘In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the whole East Coast.’” Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

11) God Is Everywhere: A pastor was trying to explain to a little Sunday school child that God is calling people everywhere in the world to believe in Him. “God is much bigger than we imagine Him to be, and God can use all of us in lots of different ways to do His work everywhere,” the pastor said. “God is everywhere!” “Everywhere?” asked the little boy. “Everywhere!” said the pastor. The boy went home and told his mother, “God is everywhere! The pastor said so.” “Yes, I know,” said the mother. “You mean He is even in the cupboard?” “Yes,” said the mother. “In the refrigerator — even when we close the door and the light goes out?” “Yes,” said the mother. “Even in the sugar bowl?” the lad asked as he took the lid off. “Yes,” said the mother, “even in the sugar bowl.” The boy slammed down the lid and said, “Now I’ve got Him.” Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

12) “What?” Jesus said, “Who do men say that I am?” And his disciples answered and said, “Some say you are John the Baptist returned from the dead; others say Elijah, or other of the old prophets.” And Jesus answered and said, “But who do you say that I am?”  Peter answered and said, “Thou art the Logos of the Father, the Son Whom the Father loved from eternity and Whom the Holy Spirit, the eternal Personification of the love between the Father and the Son, begot on the Virgin Mary.” And Jesus answering, said, “What?”  Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

13) “I’m surprised at you!” An English teacher of a 21-sophomore high school class put a small chalk dot on the blackboard. He then asked the class what it was. A few seconds passed and then someone said, “That is a chalk dot on the blackboard.” The rest of the class seemed relieved that the obvious had been stated, and no one else had anything to say. “I’m surprised at you,” the teacher told the class. “I did the same exercise yesterday with a group of kindergartners and they thought of 50 different things the chalk mark could be: an owl’s eye, a cigar butt, the top of a telephone pole, a star, a pebble, a squashed bug, a rotten egg, a bird’s eye, and so on.” — The older students had learned how to find a right answer but had lost the ability to look for more than one right answer. The Holy Spirit helps us, in His wonderful Wisdom, to see more than we might have seen by ourselves. The Spirit’s vision allows us wonderful options for expansion and new possibilities. It is the Spirit’s Wisdom that reveals the Word to us. It is the Wisdom of the Spirit that shows us our sin, which guides us, which instructs us, and which leads us in the way to Life  Everlasting. Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

 14) Trinitarian design for medieval cathedrals: When the architect and engineer Aldo Spirito was commissioned to design a cathedral for the Archdiocese of Abidjan, Ivory Coast, West Africa, he used a number of architectural elements, as was the tradition of the builders of the medieval cathedrals, to reinforce the truths of our Faith. Among those elements is the fact that the basic structure of his cathedral is triangular, so as to state dramatically the fundamental truth of Christian Faith: God has revealed Himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

15) The Sundial: A missionary from Africa, on his home-leave, came across a beautiful sundial. He thought to himself, “That sundial would be ideal for my villagers in Africa. I could use it to teach them to tell the time of the day.” The missionary bought the sundial, crated it and took it back to Africa. When the village chief saw it, he insisted that it be set up in the centre of the village. The villagers were thrilled with the sundial. They had never seen something so beautiful in their lives. They were even more thrilled when they learned how it worked. The missionary was delighted by everyone’s response to his sundial. He was totally unprepared for what happened a few days later. The people of the village got together and built a roof over the sundial to protect it from the rain and the sun! — Well, I think the sundial is a lot like the Holy Trinity, and we Christians are a lot like the African villagers. The most beautiful revelation of our Faith is the teaching about the Holy Trinity, namely, the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. But instead of putting the teaching to work in our daily lives, we have built a roof over it, just as the villagers did over their sundial. For many of us the Trinity seems of little practical value, when it comes to our daily lives. We treat it more like an ornament of our Faith. (Mark Link in Sunday Homilies; quoted by Fr. Botelho).  Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

16) Jesus’ brother, Isukiri, died in Jesus’ place on the cross and Jesus went to Japan : While visiting one of the members of one of the congregations I served some years ago I was offered a cup of coffee, and while I sat in the lounge room waiting, I noticed something unusual.  On a table there was what appeared to be a shrine.  Inside was a Buddha statue with candles and flowers and food and other symbols.  As we sipped coffee, I asked about the display on the table expecting to hear a story about an overseas trip and souvenirs. Instead, I heard a story about this person’s involvement in the cultic Japanese religion Mahikari and how she felt that what she was learning through this religion complimented and supported her Christian Faith.  She told me how it taught her about karma, reincarnation, ancestor worship, and making food offerings to the spirits of the departed, and so on.  She told me that Jesus’ brother, Isukiri, died in Jesus’ place on the cross, that Jesus went to Japan when he was 37 and he died there when he 106. The amazing thing about all this, is that this person saw no conflict between what she confessed on Sunday mornings when she said the Apostles’ Creed with us and what she did the rest of the week as she prayed before the shrine in her lounge room.  This reminds me of the young man who asked if he could go into the Church to pray.  Before the pastor could respond, he quickly added, “By the way, what kind of Church is this?  Not that it makes any difference.  I don’t follow any particular religion.  Whenever I pass a Church or a mosque, I go in say a prayer and plug into the Divine.  Any God will do!” —

“Plug into the Divine,” as if  it were  magic, a kind of pill that will keep us safe and sound!  Today’s feast reminds us that our God is a Triune God, one God in Three Persons. (Rev. Gerhardy). Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

17) Exploring the mystery of Holy Trinity: Explorers and the pioneer families did solve the mystery of what was out there beyond the coastal strip. In fact, people have been exploring the mysteries of our world on many fronts – medicine, technology, and what is out there in space. Where there is any kind of a mystery, people will try to solve it. But there are some Mysteries that will always be Mysteries. Today, Trinity Sunday, we come up against one of those Mysteries – God.  Who is God? Where is God? What is God? I can’t touch Him. I can’t say how big He is. I can’t see Him. The early Christians started talking about a Triune God. This wasn’t to make God more logical and understandable and acceptable to human ways of thinking. In fact, the idea of the Trinity intensified the Mystery and awesomeness of God. They observed that Jesus had a unique relationship with the Father and that the Holy Spirit had a unique relationship with the Father and the Son. Against all sorts of odds, against all human logic, and in the face of mounting opposition, the Church maintained that Jesus Christ is true God, equal with the Father, and that the Holy Spirit is God, equal with the Father and the Son. Who is God? He is our Heavenly Father Who made us, takes cares of us and calls us His dear children. Who is God? He is Jesus Christ Who gave His life on the cross to re-establish our relationship with God. He reveals the way to God and to eternal life. Who is God? God is the Holy Spirit in you giving us Faith in God and guiding us in our daily walk as a Christian. — Faith in the Triune God acknowledges the might and majesty of God but, at the same time, trusts in His care and intimate knowledge of our needs and of what is happening in our lives. “O LORD, our Lord, the majesty of Your Name fills the earth! Your glory is higher than the heavens”(Ps 8:1). Let us make this our prayer: “Lord God, in spite of our unbelief and lack of understanding of Who You are, show us Your new way of living. Amen.”  (Rev. Gerhardy). Fr. Tony  (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

18) Holy Trinity prayer (Fr. De Mello version of Tolstoy’s The Three Hermits):    When the Bishop’s ship stopped at a remote island for a day, he decided to use the time as profitably as possible. He strolled along the seashore and came across three fishermen mending their nets. In Pidgin English they explained to him that, centuries ago, they had been Christianized by missionaries. “We, Christians!” they said, proudly pointing to themselves. The bishop was impressed. Did they know the Lord’s Prayer? They had never heard of it. The bishop was shocked. How could these men claim to be Christians when they did not know something as elementary as the Lord’s Prayer? “What do you say, then, when you pray?” the bishop asked. “We lift eyes in heaven. We pray, ‘We are three, You are three, have mercy on us.’” The bishop was appalled at the primitive, downright heretical nature of their prayer. So he spent the whole day teaching them to say the Lord’s Prayer, and he succeeded although the fishermen were poor learners.

Months later the bishop’s ship happened to pass by those islands, and the bishop, as he paced the deck saying his evening prayers, recalled with pleasure the fact that on that distant island were three fishermen who were now able to pray correctly, thanks to his patient efforts. While he was lost in thought he happened to look up and noticed a spot of light in the east. The light kept approaching the ship and, as the bishop gazed in wonder, he saw three figures walking on the surface of the water towards the boat. The captain stopped the ship and all the sailors leaned over the rails to see this amazing sight. When they were within speaking distance, the bishop recognized his three friends, the fishermen. “Bishop!” they exclaimed, “we are so glad meet you! We heard your boat go past island and came hurry, hurry to meet you.” “What do you want?” asked the bishop filled with wonder seeing them walking on water as Jesus did. “Bishop,” they said, “we so sorry. We forgot that lovely prayer you taught us. We remember only this much: ‘Our Father in Heaven, holy be your name, your kingdom come’ . . .the rest  we forgot. Please teach us whole prayer again.” The bishop felt humbled. “Go back to your homes, my good men,” he said, “and each time you pray, say your Holy Trinity prayer, ‘We are three, You are three, have mercy on us!’” (Fr. Anthony de Mello S.J., The Song of the Bird, adapted from Tolstoy’s original story, The Three Hermits). Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

 19)  “Welcome!” There is a beautiful Russian icon of the Blessed Trinity painted by a monk named Rublev. The monk, Andrei Rublev (c. 1360 – 1430), was a medieval Russian who painted Orthodox icons and frescoes. His Trinity icon is considered the greatest of its kind, and one of the finest works of religious art ever created, depicting a wordless conversation among Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is based on an earlier icon known as the “Hospitality of Abraham” illustrating Genesis 18 which depicts the three angels who visited Abraham at the Oak of Mamre (see Gn 18:1-15) sitting around a table.  The painting is full of symbolism and is often interpreted as an icon of the Holy Trinity. A dish of food lies on the table. But the thing that immediately strikes you is the fact that at the front of the table there is a vacant place. The vacant place is meant to convey openness, hospitality and welcome towards the stranger and outsider. — That vacant place is meant for each one of us, and for all the human family. It signifies God’s invitation to us to share in the life of the Trinity. God doesn’t exclude us. He invites us to come in and sit at His table. He wants to share His life with us. (Flor McCarthy in New Sunday & Holy Day Liturgies; quoted by Fr. Botelho).  Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

 20) We don’t need to understand God to allow Him to take over our lives

Thomas Edison, the inventor, once remarked: “We don’t know what water is. We don’t know what light is. We don’t know what electricity is. We don’t know what heat is. We have a lot of hypotheses about these things, but that is all. But we don’t let our ignorance about these things deprive us of their use.” — The truth of that statement is real. Most of us do not know how an electric light works, how a telephone or a TV works, but this does not prevent us from using them. Let us try to apply the same common sense to our Faith in the doctrine of the Trinity. (John Pichappily in The Table of the Word; quoted by Fr. Botelho).  Fr.  Tony(https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

21) “Holy, Holy, Holy”: Today’s “signature” Hymn is familiar to all of us. It begins,

Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty!

Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;

Holy, Holy, holy, merciful and mighty,

God in Three Persons, blessed Trinity.

Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

22) Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity Becomes a House of God: No one understood this better that Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity. She grew up in France in the late eighteen hundreds, the daughter of a successful military officer who died of a heart attack while she was still only a girl.     She was an extremely strong-willed and temperamental child.     Her frequent fits of rage were almost uncontrollable, and she was known as the “little devil.”     This began to change after her first Communion, when she was eleven.    That afternoon she met for the first time the prioress of the nearby Carmelite convent.     The nun explained that the girl’s name, Elizabeth, meant “house of God,” and wrote her a note that said:     “Your blessed name hides a mystery, accomplished on this great day. Child. Your heart is the House of God on earth, of the God of love.”     From then on, recognizing that God had taken up residence in her soul, she waged a holy war against her violent temper.     She didn’t win overnight, but she did win, eventually, and she also discovered her vocation to become a Carmelite herself.    Her mother didn’t like the idea, however, and made her wait until she was twenty-one.     She won friends of all ages during those years of waiting, singing in the parish choirs, arranging parish day-care service for families that worked in the local tobacco factory, and also winning several prizes for her skill at the piano.     She died only five years after entering the convent, at the age of 26, after having suffered horribly for months from an extremely painful disease of the kidneys.    But her realization that the Blessed Trinity dwelt within her enabled her to suffer with patience and even with joy.     As she wrote to her mother:     “The bride belongs to the Bridegroom, and mine has taken me. [Jesus] wants me to be another humanity for him in which he can still suffer for the glory of his Father, to help the needs of his Church: this thought has done me so much good.” — Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity had discovered the intimate, loving presence of God that He so eagerly wants to reveal to all of us. (E-Priest). Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

 23) As there is fire and water in this brick” According to Tradition, when St. Spyridon of Trimithund was asked at the Council of Nicaea (A.D. 325) how three can simultaneously be one, he responded (with a little Divine help!) by taking up a brick and squeezing it. From the now-soft clay in his hands, a flame flared up, while simultaneously water flowed downward. “As there is fire and water, and clay in this brick,” said St. Spyridon, “in the same way there are three persons in the one Godhead.” (The great 20th-century Catholic theologian Father Karl Rahner, SJ, was supposedly asked once by a priest friend how he should explain the Holy Trinity when preaching. Father Rahner’s reply was simple: “Don’t!”) — The mystery we celebrate in today’s feast defies not only explanation but also comprehension. The preacher is left to reaffirm our core belief that God, remaining One, is somehow also Three in that Oneness – Triune.  The preacher is further challenged to help his congregants (and himself) understand why that truth might matter in their daily lives.) https://www.osv.com/OSVNewsweekly/DailyTake/Article/TabId/736/ArtMID/13645/ArticleID/22072/June-11-2017-The-Incomprehensible-Mystery-of-the-Trinity.aspx). Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

24) The universal testimony: A good illustration of the Trinity comes from world-renowned scientist Dr. Henry Morris. He notes that the entire universe is Trinitarian by design. The universe consists of three things: matter, space, and time. Take away any one of those three and the universe would cease to exist. But each one of those is itself a trinity. Matter = mass + energy + motion. Space = length + height + breadth. Time = past + present + future. Thus, the whole universe witnesses to the character of the God who made it (cf. Psalm 19:1). Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

25) Another simple explanation: St. John of Damascus, a great Eastern theologian of the eighth century, said we should think “of the Father as a root, the Son as a branch, and of the Spirit as a fruit, for the substance of these three is one.”  He also said, “Think of the Father as a Spring of Life, begetting the Son like a River and the Holy Ghost like a sea, for the spring, the river and the sea are all one nature.”(https://anastpaul.com)    Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

26) A Divine Mystery in our world of mysteries: The world, we live in, is not as simple as it might seem to be. It is full of unexplained mysteries that raise several questions that remain to be answered even today. There are many such mysterious phenomena, which find no satisfactory explanation in science. Many of the mysteries keep us wondering, asking questions, and striving to learn more about our world; others are simply amusing. They have perplexed individuals all throughout history. The Bermuda Triangle is believed to possess certain supernatural powers due to which aircraft and ships coming in its vicinity disappear. Moreover, researchers have never been able to find the exact cause of the disappearing of vessels and aircraft, neither have they been able to trace the lost objects. The Bermuda Triangle remains an unexplained mystery. Unidentified objects, abbreviated as UFOs, are disk-like objects seen in the night sky. Some of them glow and have lights. People claim to have seen them float in sky or fly across speedily. It is said that they could be spaceships or vehicles of the aliens traveling to Earth. Archaeologists have found about thirteen crystal skulls in parts of Mexico as well as Central and South America. They are 5000 to 36000-year-old human like skulls made out of milky crystal rock. Long years of research might be able to find answers to some of them while many will remain being unresolved for generations to come. —  If there are so many things that cannot be explained in this world, how can we expect to explain the mysteries relating to the Creator of this world! Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. It is a mystery that cannot be comprehended by the human beings. (Fr. Bobby Jose). Fr. Tony(https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

27) The “Dogmatic” Sarcophagus, also known as the “Trinity Sarcophagus” is an early Christian sarcophagus dating to 320–350,[2] now in the Vatican Museums (Vatican 104). [1] The three persons of the Trinity are portrayed as three bearded males, in the act of creating Eve while Adam lies nearby in a deep sleep. It was discovered in the 19th century during rebuilding works at the Basilica  di San Paolo fuori le Mura, (Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Wall), in RomeItaly. Together with the Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus, it one of the most important examples of Christian-Roman sculpture of the Constantinian era. It draws its name from its clear references to the dogmas of the Council of Nicaea (325), in particular to Christ being consubstantial with God the Father, as shown (for example) by the scene of a figure with the appearance of Jesus between Adam and Eve, though whether the figure is to be understood as Christ or God the Father is less clear – the dogmatic point works either way. (Sanchez Archives & Wikipedia). Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)

28)  Icon of the Trinity by Andrei Rublev:  In 1425 AD,  Andrew Rublev, a Russian monk, painted an icon of the Trinity in which three angelic figures are seated around a small table, engaged in intimate conversation. On the table is a chalice, in the background is a tree. The trio of figures and the tree are reminiscent of the visit which angelic messengers paid to Sarah and Abraham at the Oak of Mamre. As they enjoyed the generous welcome of Sarah and Abraham, the messengers announced the unexpected birth of Isaac (Gn 18) whom Abraham would later be willing to sacrifice if God willed it (Gn 22). From his knowledge of iconography, Henri Nouwen has suggested that Rublev intended this angelic appearance to prefigure the Divine visitation by which God sends the unexpected gift of His Son, who sacrifices himself for sin and gives new life through the Spirit. Rublev wished that his icon would offer his fellow monks a way to keep their hearts centered on God, Father, Son and Spirit, despite the chaotic world of political unrest in which they lived. (Sanchez Archives). Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/)   L/21

29) The Most Holy Trinity: During his third voyage to the Americas, Christopher Columbus (1451-1506) landed on an island in the South Caribbean Sea on July 31, 1498. He called this island Trinidad to honor the Most Holy Trinity. Later, when Spanish explorer Alonso De Leon (1639-1691) established a Spanish mission in Texas, he gave the name ‘Trinity’ to the 550-mile-long river that flows through Texas from north to south. Like Columbus and De Leon, we continue to honor the Most Holy Trinity by giving the name ‘Trinity’ to some churches and educational institutions. Also, once a year, we celebrate the feast of the Most Holy Trinity to remember and honor the three persons in one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. There is the story of a wealthy Jewish man who was also a militant atheist. He had a son he sent to ‘Trinity School’ to get a good education. After attending the school for a few days, the son said to his father casually, “Dad, now I know what Trinity means.” “What does it mean?” the father asked him with a suspicious look on his face. “It means there are three persons in God,” the boy replied, “the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” Alarmed at the prospect of his son becoming a believer, he said, “Son, I am going to tell you something now, and I want you to remember it always. Forget the Trinity. There is only one God, and we don’t even believe in him.”  — This militant atheist was not an atheist. However, he had a tough time understanding the mystery of the Holy Trinity. That is why he was so vehement in his denial of the reality of the Holy Trinity. We cannot blame him for his lack of understanding of the Holy Trinity because we don’t really understand this mystery either. Yes, we don’t really understand this mystery. However, we genuinely believe in it because it has been revealed to us through the Holy Scriptures. Moreover, in our personal lives, we continue to experience the love of our heavenly Father, the saving grace of the Son, and the strengthening power of the Holy Spirit. Our faith, as well as our personal experience, assure us that God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (Fr. Jose P CMI). L/22

 “Scriptural Homilies Cycle C (No. 37) 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