Archive for the ‘Homily’ Category

Homily – November 10, 2019

Sunday, November 10th, 2019

Every Sunday in every Christian church people recite the Apostles Creed, our common statement of faith. The final words of our creed are ‘I believe in the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.’ We’ll all die but we believe in life, everlasting life. Nov. begins with the feasts of All Saints and All Souls.

Today’s readings are all about life beyond death. The brave young Maccabean said to his executioners,’ you accursed wretch, you dismiss us from this present life, but the King of the universe will raise us up to an everlasting renewal of life, because we have died for his laws.’

Jesus dismisses the trick question of the Sadducees about woman who married seven times and their wonder as to whose wife she would be at the resurrection, an event they did not believe in, by declaring, ‘God is the God not the dead but of the living, for to him all are alive.’

Every time communion we receive Communion we have Christ’s pledge, ‘those who eat my flesh and drink my blood live in me and I live in them and I will raise them up on the last day’

Endless life with God will not be ours if we neglect, worse still ignore the great commandment, ‘love one another as I’ve loved you, forgive one another as I’ve forgiven you be, be there for others as I’ve been there for you.

If we buy into death dealing mindsets and actions such as indifference to the needs and pains of other people, indifference to the men and woman and children who will be sleeping in shelters or on the streets of our prosperous city this winter, indifference to the racism and sexism and bigotry that is in the very air we breathe, indifference to the exploited workers who produce the food we eat and the clothes we wear we’ll be in trouble. As the saying goes what goes around comes around.

Individually we may not be able to change any of these tragic situations but being mindful of them challenges us to be grateful for the blessing with which we are blessed in our own lives.

In Jesus God gives us eternal life: he gives it to everyone, and everyone can, thanks to him, hope to live a life even more real than this one. The life that God has in store for us is not simply a better version of this one: it goes beyond our imagination, because God continually surprises us with His love and mercy. The eye has not seen, nor as the ear heard nor has it entered into our minds the things God has prepared for those who love him. We will all endure death but we believe in life, endless life with God and those we loved.

Homily – November 3, 2019

Sunday, November 3rd, 2019

Today’s gospel gives us another example of Jesus reaching out to a person who was seen to be on the borders of respectable society. Tax collectors were at the bottom of the totem pole of occupations. Jesus calls Zacchaeus down from tree telling him, ’I must stay at your house today.’ Zacchaeus opens his home to Jesus and as happened many times in the gospel people complain,’ he eats and drinks with sinners.’

Welcoming Jesus into his home and enjoying Jesus’ company sharing a meal with him turned Zacchaeus’ life around. He was graced to see the ways he’d wronged and hurt people. He faced the fact that he cheated and exploited people

Salvation came into Zacchaeus’ house and it turned his life around. He promised to right the wrongs, try to heal the hurts he brought on others. He’d give half his possessions to the poor and pay back fourfold whatever he defrauded others. He could end up broke himself. We’re told Zacchaeus was short in stature but by God’s grace he grew tall.

Looking into our own relationships is there anyone in our family or among our friends to whom we should make amends, set things right?

Is there anyone with whom we’d wish to make amends and say those words that stick in our throats; I’m sorry, I was wrong, I was thoughtless?

Could it be an estranged spouse or an estranged son or daughter we’re convinced wronged us and we’ve judged harshly? Could it be a neighbour we’ve harmed by our gossip and defrauded them of their reputation?

Are we willing to make amends to people we’ll never know but people, because of our wasteful lifestyles or worse still because of our indifference, live without adequate food or water? Would we ever think of making amends to our Mother Earth by acknowledging that because of our wonton consumerism we’ve exploited Earth’s limited resources, poisoned it’s seas and rivers and the very air we breathe?

In his visit to the home of Zacchaeus Christ wanted to bring out the best in Zacchaeus. In our hearing of this gospel can Christ bring out the best that is within us?

Homily – October 27, 2019

Sunday, October 27th, 2019

The prayer of the humble pierces the clouds and it will not rest until it reaches its goal. Today’s gospel speaks for itself and warns about thinking we are better than other people.

The fact is the Pharisee and the tax collector was telling the truth about themselves. The Pharisee fasted twice a week whereas the Law required fasting only one day of the year. He was a generous supporter of the Temple. He should have stopped there.

The tax collector told the truth about himself. Tax collectors had friends in low places. They made their money by over -charging people. He was a cheat, an exploiter, a sinner. The prayers of this honest sinner pierced the heavens.

The Pharisee was a sinner as well but he preferred to boast about the good he did instead of admitting his faults. He was the centre of his prayer not God. He saw himself as a self- made saint. He blew it when he thanked God he was not other people, thieves, rogues, adulterers and tax collectors; the riftraths of society.

The tax collector knew he was a bad lot, he didn’t fudge his faults. His simple prayer was, ’Lord be merciful to a sinner. He threw himself on the mercy of God and was embraced by God.

The Apostle Paul knew he was a sinner, a persecutor of the church until Christ entered his life. He said of himself, by God grace I am what I am and his grace in me has not been in vain.

We all are blessed in one way or another with different gifts and talents. Being humble does not mean putting ourselves down, belittling the gifts we’re given. Our gifts and talents are gifts from God, gifts given to be shared with other people and be willing to rejoice with them and the gifts with which they’ve been blessed. Prayer that puts other people down I s not prayer at all. Our blessed mother was truly humble when she said, ‘He who is mighty has done great things for me and holy is his name.’

We can continue to celebrate our Mass thanking God we are like the rest of those around us, mistake making beings who live with our daily struggle; the good that we would we do not and the evil that we would not do, that we do. We all need God’s guidance , help and forgiveness. Admitting that we can leave here ‘justified’ which means we are in a right relationship with God and one another.

Homily – October 20, 2019

Sunday, October 20th, 2019

As the Israelites crossed the Jordon they really were invading other people’s land; today we’d call it a land grab’. So it’s not surprising that the local people resisted them. Amalek, their local leader fought to protect their land. Our first reading tells of this battle between Joshua and Amalek and the role Moses played in the battle.

We’re told that as long as Moses, who was watching the battle, held up his staff the battle favored the Israelites. Eventually Moses grew tired and arms slipped and then things went in favor of Amalek.

Moses’ friends Aaron and Hur sat him down and held up his arms the rest of the day and Joshua won the battle.

What can this short reading say to us, what can it ask of us? Simply put, are we there for those who need our support, our understanding  or our strength?

Think for a second; are there family members or friends who could use our presence, our understanding and support in their times of struggle? It could be a student, stressed out by overdue assignments or exams or a friend with a hard earned college of university degree who can’t find the job in his or her field. Do you know of a friend desperate to find a work and needs some encouragement?  Is there a family member of friend who has just gone through a divorce and would appreciate you just being there? Or do you know someone struggling with a debilitating disease of any description? Do you know of anyone struggling with an addiction? Do you have a neighbour who is homebound and would love a visit?  Do you know of a grieving parent, a grieving spouse or a grieving son or daughter who is at a loss to accept the death of the one they loved

Any of these people are like the weary Moses who needs his or her Aaron and Hur to steady and support them as they face their struggles, their hurts or their disappointments. Our  words or advice may not be needed but our presence is.

There was a song out years ago that sang this challenging question; ‘where you when I needed you?’  A question;  could a family member of a friend sing these words to anyone of us?

Homily – October 13, 2019

Sunday, October 13th, 2019

It is no coincidence that our scripture readings for today tell of people who were grateful for the gifts with which God blessed and changed their lives. Tomorrow we celebrate our Thanksgiving Day when we gather as families to give thanks.

It might be a good idea if before we began our Thanksgiving meal we might take turns mentioning gifts for which we are thankful. You may feel uncomfortable about doing that, but give it a try. We can say ‘thanks’ for the gift of ourselves, the gift of the members of our family, the gift of our grandparents, certainly for the food we eat and those who prepared it. Then we have the gift of our health, our ability to see and speak and hear. We are blessed with the gift of our mobility. Not to mention the gift of our employment and the gift of our talents. We are blessed with the gift of living in this great land of Canada. Let’s face it, so often we take these gifts for granted and like the nine lepers we never think of saying ‘thanks’.

As I’ve mentioned at different times it would be great if would develop and maintain an attitude of gratitude.

We thank God for the gift of faith that brings us here this morning. Our celebration of our Mass this morning is known as our Eucharist and Eucharist is Greek word for thanksgiving. Here we give God our father/mother thanks for God’s gift to us in the passion, death and resurrection of God’s son Jesus. Here we give thanks to Jesus who gave his life for each of us by his painful and shameful death by crucifixion. St. Paul reminds us that one might give his life for a good person but that what proves that God loves us is that we were still sinners Christ died for us.

We give thanks for the gift of the bread of life we receive at this Eucharist. We give thanks for this parish family of St. Gabriel’s.

One of the saints is supposed to have said.’ If the only prayer we said was ‘thank you’ that would be enough.

God grant us all a safe and grateful and happy thanksgiving.