Visit http://frtonyshomilies.com for missed Sunday or weekday homilies.
Sept 28 Monday (St. Wenceslaus) (https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-wenceslaus/), Martyr, St. Lawrence Ruiz and Companions, Martyrs) https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-lorenzo-ruiz-and-companions/ : Lk 9:46-50: 46 And an argument arose among them as to which of them was the greatest. 47 But when Jesus perceived the thought of their hearts, he took a child and put him by his side, 48 and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me; for he who is least among you all is the one who is great.” 49 John answered, “Master, we saw a man casting out demons in your name, and we forbade him, because he does not follow with us.” 50 But Jesus said to him, “Do not forbid him; for he that is not against you is for you.” USCCB video reflections: http://www.usccb.org/bible/reflections/index.cfm
The context: Today’s Gospel describes Jesus’ criterion for greatness and his advice to be accepting of others who do good in ways different from ours. He exhorts the spiritual leaders as well as all believers in responsible positions in his Church to be like children, humble, trusting and innocent.
Child-like qualities: Children are basically innocent and honest. They are naturally humble, because they depend on their parents for everything. They trust and obey their parents, because they know their parents love them. Hence, Jesus advises his disciples to forget their selfish ambitions and to spend their lives serving others in all humility, with trusting Faith in a loving and providing God. Then they will be great in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Next, Jesus tells his disciples that there should not be any rivalry, jealousy or suspicion among them, as long as all hold the same belief. In today’s passage, the Apostles, upset by seeing someone who did not belong to their group using Jesus’ name to cast out demons, complain to Jesus. Since the present-day divisions in Christianity are substantive, rising from differences over the basic tenets of Faith, today’s Gospel passage does not apply to them. But there is no reason for any Christian denomination to be jealous of another denomination because of the greater good they do for people for the glory of God. True love seeks the highest good of our neighbor, while envy results from selfishness and pride, and it is contrary to true Christian love.
Life Messages: 1) We need to practice humility in thoughts, words and actions. “Learn from me for I am meek and humble of heart.”
2) We should not seek recognition and recompense for the service we do for Christ and the Church as parents, teachers, pastors etc. 3) Trusting Faith resulting from true humility is essential for all corporal and spiritual works of mercy. 4) Let us not try to prevent anyone from doing good to others because of envy or jealousy. Envy and jealousy are sinful because they lead us to sadness over what should make us rejoice. True love always seeks the highest good of the neighbor. (Fr. Tony) (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/20
Sept 29 Tuesday (The Archangels: Michael, Gabriel and Raphael) https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saints-michael-gabriel-and-raphael/ : Jn 1: 47-51: Jesus saw Nathaniel coming to him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!” 48 Nathaniel said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” 49 Nathaniel answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”50… 51 And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.” USCCB video reflections: http://www.usccb.org/bible/reflections/index.cfm
The Archangels: Michael, Gabriel, Raphael: The angels are spirits created by God before He created man. They are meant to be extensions of God’s love and provident care for us. Their role is to praise and worship God, act as God’s messengers, do God’s will and protect human beings. “He will give His angels charge over you to guard you in all your ways (Psalm 91:1). God sent His angels to destroy the evil cities, Sodom and Gomorrah, and to save Lot’s family. God gave Moses an angel to support and guide him: “My angel shall go before you” (Ex 32:34). It was an angel who helped Jesus in the desert and encouraged Jesus during his agony in Gethsemane. The Acts of the Apostles (1:14) describes how God sent an angel to liberate Peter from the prison. The Archangels form one of the nine orders of angels. The most prominent among them in Scripture are Michael the protector, Gabriel the messenger of God and Raphael, the healer and guide for humans.
Michael: Michael means “Who is like God?” from the challenge he flung at the rebel angels led by Lucifer. In Daniel, he is the great prince who defended Israel. In the Book of Revelation, he is the mighty prince who fought with Lucifer and who dragged the serpent into hell.
Gabriel: He is God’s messenger. It was Gabriel who announced to Elizabeth’s husband, the priest Zechariah, the happy news that his barren wife would conceive a son, John the Baptist. He announced the “good news” to Mary, that she was to bear the Son of God. He may have been the angel sent to Joseph in a dream to tell him that he was to take Mary into his home as his wife, “for it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a Son, and you are to name Him Jesus because He will save His people from their sins.” Gabriel also announced the birth of Jesus to the shepherds; he may have been the messenger instructing the Magi to return to their lands by another route rather than returning to King Herod, and also the messenger who appeared to Joseph in a dream to instruct him to return to Israel, as, “They who sought the life of the Child are dead.”
Raphael: He is man’s God-appointed guide and healer. He guided Tobiah’s journey, did Tobiah’s task of collecting his father’s money from Gabael of Rhages, arranged Tobiah’s marriage with Sarah, gave Tobiah the means to heal Tobit’s blindness, and protected Sarah from the devil.
Life messages: 1) Dependable angelic assistance is a salutary, encouraging assurance for us to remember in our fears. 2) The truth that an angel is always watching us is an incentive for us to do good and to avoid evil. 3) Angelic protection and assistance form a great provision for which we must be always thankful to God. (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/20
Sept 30 Wednesday (St. Jerome, Priest, Doctor of the Church) https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-jerome/ : Lk 9:57-62: 57 As they were going along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 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.” 59 To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” 60 But he said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61 Another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” 62 Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” USCCB video reflections: http://www.usccb.org/bible/reflections/index.cfm
The context: Today’s Gospel passage explains the cost of Christian discipleship and the wholehearted constancy, commitment, and sacrificial ministry that the Christian mission requires.
The requests and the challenge: “I will follow you wherever you go!” was the offer of a would-be follower. But Jesus made him no false promises. Instead, he told the man: “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has not whereon to lay His head.” Being a Christian is not an easy or comfortable affair: It calls for detachment, self-denial, self-control and putting God before everything else. No earthly gain is to be expected. Jesus’ answer to the second man whom Jesus himself had invited to follow him – to be allowed more time before becoming a disciple – sounds harsh: “Let the dead bury their dead.” But this man’s father was neither dead nor sick. What the man was asking for was permission to stay with his father until the father’s death. Jesus knew that later he would find another reason to delay answering the call; he was agreeing to follow Jesus on conditions. St. John Chrysostom comments, “it was not to have us neglect the honor due to our parents, but to make us realize that nothing is more important than the things of Heaven and that we ought to cleave to these and not to put them off even for a little while, though our engagements be ever so indispensable and pressing” (“Hom. on St. Matthew”, 27).]. To the third volunteer who wanted to “say farewell to those at my home” Jesus said, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the Kingdom of God.” Jesus wants exclusive service to his cause, giving family commitments only the second place. So, he did not allow the volunteer to say farewell to the family as Elijah allowed Elisha to do when he was called.
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 work. We all know there is a tremendous shortage of priests 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. 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 are faithful to him, but at other times we are 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, by earning our living honestly, and by living, not only peacefully, but lovingly, with our neighbors. (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/20
Oct 1 Thursday:
Oct 1 Thursday (St. Teresa of Child Jesus, Virgin, Doctor of the Church)
https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-theresa-of-the-child-jesus/ : Matthew 18: 1-4:
1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them, 3 and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Marie Therese Martin was born on Jan 2, 1873 as the youngest of nine children of a silk merchant, Louis Martin, and his wife Seleguirin. Therese lost her mother at 4 and four of her siblings in their early childhood. She was the ‘little flower” of her father. One of her older sisters joined the Visitation convent and three others became Carmelite nuns. Therese joined the Carmelite convent at Lisieux at 15 with special permission from Pope Leo XIII. She died of tuberculosis when she was 24 years and 9 months old on September 30, 1897. Pope Pius XI declared her a saint on May 17, 1925, just 28 years after her death. Pope John Paul II declared her a “Doctor of the Church” in 1997.
Sources of her life history: 1) Autobiography of a Little Flower (The Story of a Soul). 2) 300 letters 3) 8- One act Plays 4) 50 poems.
Secret of her Little Way and short cut to heaven: Do ordinary things in an extraordinary way, out of love for God, with 100% commitment and child-like trust, ever ready to undertake any type of sacrifice. Convert suffering into redemptive suffering and use it for the apostolate.
- Be child-like and innocent with trusting faith in a loving heavenly Father.
- Do everything with 100% dedication and commitment as being done for our caring and forgiving God, our Father.
- Be ready to undertake sacrifice for others. St. Therese offered all her sacrifices a) for the reparation of sins of others and for her own sins b) for missionaries c) for the conversion of sinners.
Message: Let us follow the short cut of Little Flower by becoming child-like in our relationship with God and by doing His will with 100% sincerity and love. “What matters in life is not great deeds,” St. Teresa wrote in her autobiography, “but great love.” ((Fr. Tony)
Oct 1 Thursday (St. Teresa of Child Jesus, Virgin, Doctor of the Church) https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-theresa-of-the-child-jesus/ :Gospel of the day; Lk 10:1-12: — 1 After this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to come. 2 And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. 3 Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. 4..9 USCCB video reflections: http://www.usccb.org/bible/reflections/index.cfm
The context: Today’s Gospel describes the sending forth of another group of paired disciples by Jesus to prepare towns and villages for his own arrival there. Sent out with power and authority from Jesus, they exercised their preaching and healing mission according to the action plan given by Jesus. Jesus sent out seventy disciples, just as God had Moses commission 70 elders to be prophets in Israel. (Nm 11:24-25). Their ministry anticipates the Church’s mission to the nations.
Jesus’ instructions and travel tips. Elisha gave similar instructions when he sent his servant on a pressing mission (2 Kgs 4:29). 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 his disciples should not be like the acquisitive priests of the day, who were interested only in gaining riches. They were to be walking examples of God’s love and providence. The Jews supported their rabbis and judged doing so a privilege as well as an obligation, for hospitality was an important religious tradition in Palestine. The Apostles and disciples were to choose temporary accommodation in a reputable household, they were to bless the residents with God’s peace, and they were to be satisfied with the food and accommodation they received, not search for better.
Life messages: 1) We have a witnessing mission: Each Christian is called, not only to be a disciple, but also to be an apostle. As apostles, we are sent out to evangelize the world by sharing with others, not just words, or ideas, or doctrines, but our experiences of God and His Son. We are to make Jesus “visible” through our transparent Christian lives, showing 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 demons of pornography and promiscuous sex, the demons of secularism, materialism and consumerism. We need the help of Jesus to be liberated from these demons ourselves and to help Him liberate others from these bondages.
3) We have a supporting mission: According to Catholic tradition and Canon Law (Canon 222 #1), Christians are obliged to contribute to the Church from their earnings to help to support the clergy, to provide for the necessities of liturgical worship and to equip the Church to minister to the needy (CCC #2043, 2122). (Fr. Tony) (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/20
Oct 2 Friday (The Holy Guardian Angels) https://www.franciscanmedia.org/feasaint-of-the-guardian-angels/ : Mt 18:1-5, 10: 1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them, 3 and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me; 10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you that in heaven their angels always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven 1 angels always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven. USCCB video reflections: http://www.usccb.org/bible/reflections/index.cfm
The Guardian Angel: Although the doctrine and traditional belief in the Guardian Angel is not a dogma of Faith, it is based on the Bible. Each person’s Guardian Angel is an expression of God’s enduring love and providential care extended to him or her every day. Today’s prayers in the Breviary and in the Roman Missal mention the three-fold function of the angels: a) they praise and worship God, b) they serve as His messengers, c) they watch over human beings.
Historical note: Devotion to the Guardian Angels began to develop in the monasteries. St. Benedict gave it an additional impetus and St. Bernard of Clairvaux (12th century reformer), spread the devotion in its present form. The feast of the Guardian Angels originated in the 1500s. It was placed on the official liturgical calendar of the Church by Pope Paul V in 1607. “By God’s Providence angels have been entrusted with the office of guarding the human race and of accompanying every human being so as to preserve him from any serious dangers […]. Our Heavenly Father has placed over each of us an angel under whose protection and vigilance we are” (“St. Pius V Catechism”, IV, 9, 4).
Biblical teaching: Today’s Gospel (Mt 16:10), clearly states that even children have their Guardian Angels: “See that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you that in Heaven their angels always behold the face of my Father Who is in Heaven.” Psalm 91:1 teaches: “For He has given His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.”
Life messages: 1) The conviction that we are protected by an angel is an encouragement against our baseless fears and unnecessary anxieties.
2) The thought that a messenger from God is constantly watching our thoughts, words and deeds is an inspiration for us to lead holy lives and to do good for others and avoid evil.
3) We need to be grateful to God every day, thanking Him for His loving care given us through His angel. (Fr. Tony) (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/20
Oct 3 Saturday: Lk 10:17-24: 17 The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” 18 And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.19 Behold, I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing shall hurt you. 20 Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you; but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” 21 In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes; yea, Father, for such was thy gracious will. 22 All things have been delivered to me by my Father; and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” 23 Then turning to the disciples he said privately, “Blessed are the eyes which see what you see! 24 For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.” USCCB video reflections: http://www.usccb.org/bible/reflections/index.cfm
The context: Today’s Gospel describes how the seventy disciples, sent by Jesus to prepare people in the towns and villages He was going to visit, returned joyfully to Jesus who rejoiced aloud at the success of their preaching and healing mission. This passage of the Gospel is usually called our Lord’s “hymn of joy.” Jesus rejoiced to see how humble people understood and accepted the word of God.
The teaching: Jesus declares that the right reason for rejoicing must be the hope of reaching Heaven by doing the will of God at all times, and that that is more important than working miracles. He also gives his disciples a warning against taking pride in the success of their mission. Jesus repeats his claim that he is God, equal in everything with his Father and that only he can reveal God his Father to others. Then he congratulates his disciples at their good fortune in living to see, hear and experience the Messiah in their midst, a privilege which generations before them would have rejoiced to receive.
Life messages: 1) We have received the same mission as that given to the seventy disciples, a mission to preach Jesus as Lord and Savior. We may have success as well as failure. But we, too, have reason to rejoice even when our attempts at evangelization are not visibly successful because we are assured of a great reward in Heaven. We rejoice also because we have the presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, we can hear him through the Gospels, and we can experience him through prayers and Sacraments. (Fr. Tony) (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/20