Archive for the ‘Homily’ Category

Homily – September 8, 2019

Sunday, September 8th, 2019

In the near future we’ll be getting ready for an election and politicians of every stripe will be making promises of how they are going to make life better for all of us. Naturally they’ll try to outdo one another. No one will challenge us to tighten our belts and be prepared for leaner times. They’ll give lip service to the life and death reality of climate change. But as we all know, a politician and his promises are soon parted.

We read in today’s gospel that large crowds followed Jesus. They listened to what he had to say. Sometimes what he had to say was too much for them and we’re told that many of his disciples walked with him no more. Jesus let that be their decision but never watered down what he had to say. At the same time he didn’t want to let their enthusiasm carry them away when they saw exercise power over evil spirit, when he made a leper clean or a lame man dance, or a blind man see. He was there for everyone, rich or poor. Jesus hid himself from the men and women who wanted to take him by for and make him king. Jesus was not into popularity contests.

But Jesus let them know following him would not be a walk in the park. His words in today’s gospel are pretty harsh to our ears. His word ‘hate’ is out of sync with his other teachings about love and acceptance. Scripture scholars were telling us that the best translation of the word hate is prefer or choose.

Choosing Jesus is thus equivalent to letting one’s family go, letting popularity go, letting power or prestige go, letting the good life and the good times go and living a life of love and acceptance and service of others. Choosing to follow Jesus means we prefer him over wealth, power, popularity, pleasures.

In a way Jesus offers us an either or proposition. Of course family is important; of course financial stability is important, of course a career is important, of course friends are important. But if any of these compromise our relationship, our fidelity to Jesus, our Christ who died on the cross for us, they have to go.

It can be an issue we face many times in our lives in the choices we have to make. May we be strong enough, faithful enough to make the right choice by choosing Christ, who loved us and gave his life for us.

Homily – September 1, 2019

Sunday, September 1st, 2019

Time and again we’ve heard Christ’s teaching about the folly of men and women who believe they are above the rest of us and the wisdom of men and women who know their limitations and their need for God and others.

But I’d like to say a few words about our opening prayer for this Mass. In it we ask God to put into our hearts a love for God’s name and a deepening sense of reverence so that God may nurture in us what is good.

Sometimes are lives can be so superficial, so shallow. We get caught up in things that are so much fluff, so passing. We ask for a sense of reverence, a sense of awe so that we can appreciate the wonder of ourselves and of life itself. We can begin with ourselves and the wonder that before the world began God chose us in Christ to be his adopted sons and daughters, such was his will and pleasure. We are to appreciate our own worth and dignity and the worth and dignity of every person who comes into our lives. When we allow racism and bigotry to take root in ourselves we diminish our own dignity- these mentalities are unworthy of us.

May we be blessed in a reverence, a sense of awe for the Eucharist we are celebrating right now? Right here, right now we are renewing the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus. Right here right now we are touch by the wonder that Jesus loved and loves each one of us, thought enough of each one of us that he died his painful death of crucifixion for us.

Could we use a deeper sense and reference and awe for the nourishment we receive at this Mass; the body and blood of Jesus? Could use a great sense of awe when we remember the promise of Jesus; those who eat my flesh and drink my blood live in me and I live in them; we become what we receive, Jesus.

As the human family we desperately need a deeper reverence and sense of awe for the wonders of God’s good creation. A masterpiece that has been 13 billion years in the making and is still not finished. A masterpiece we’ve exploited for our own selfish needs, at the expense of other peoples who share this Earth with us. A masterpiece we’ve degraded by our failure to live within the limits of Earth’s resources. Can we lift our eyes from our ipads and see the beauty of other people and the bountiful beauty of God good creation, not just in a dazzling beauty of a sunrise or a sunset but also in the ordinary dandelion, a flower we’ve reduced to a pesty weed?

Lord, bless us with a sense of awe and wonder.

Homily – August 25, 2019

Saturday, August 24th, 2019

Luke tells us Jesus preached in all the villages he passed through as he made his way to Jerusalem, the city in which he would be tried and condemned to the shameful and painful death of crucifixion. He encouraged the people to listen to what he had to say about God’s kingdom. He offered them the chance to be close to God, be faithful to God.

I wonder about the person who asked the question, ’Lord will only a few be saved?’ He was probably a very pious person. He might have been like the man Jesus used in his parable of the two men who went to the temple to pray. One boasted about how much he prayed and fasted and supported the temple. The other stood far back and simply prayed, ’Lord be merciful to me a sinner. Jesus tells us he went home justified.

Have you ever been asked, ‘have you been saved?’ There are people who brazenly ask that question of other people. They are convinced that unless you accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior you are lost, lost for all eternity. They are sure they are among the saved. But Jesus tells such people; many will come the east and the west and take their place in the kingdom of God. Outsiders will be saved.

We’re all saved by reason of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus. The reality we celebrate at the Mass. We’ll realize our salvation when we live our lives faithful to the teaching and example of Christ. We’ll realize our salvation when we live the great commandment, love one another as I’ve loved you. We’ll realize our salvation when give thanks to God for the blessings of our lives. We’ll realize our salvation when we are open to the stranger, when we are there for brothers and sisters in need

There is a prayer before a crucifix that prays; For how many ages have you hung upon you cross and still I pass you by and regard you not… stretch your hands to comfort me, to lift me up and I have taken those hands which might have struck me into hell and nailed the back, rigid and helpless on the cross, -yet I have but succeeded in engraving my name on your palms forever.

The message of the prayer is we are offered the love of our crucified Christ but it is up to us to accept that love, open our lives to that love and live that love. Christ’s love is a gift but no gift can be given unilaterally. Successful gift-giving takes two: one to offer the gift, and one to receive it. If we refuse the gift God offers us, the gift cannot be successfully given.

Are we saved – yes we are – if we say yes to this awesome gift.

It is our choice as to whether or not we are left to stand outside and knock and hear those dreadful words, ‘I do not know where you come from, go away.

Homily – August 18, 2019

Sunday, August 18th, 2019

In the second reading of today’s Mass we have the words of support and encouragement that Paul wrote to the Jewish Christians living in Jerusalem. Paul wanted to exhort these good people to persevere in the face of persecution. At that time, certain believers were considering turning back to Judaism to escape being persecuted for accepting Christ as the Messiah. Jewish family members and neighbours saw them as traitors to the ancient faith. Paul reminded them of the great feats and struggles Jewish holy men and women had endured through the ages in their struggles to be faithful to God. Paul held these people up as examples of those who suffered even death for being faithful followers of the God of Israel.

His last example for them to follow is Jesus who endured such hostility against himself; a hatred and hostility that brought him to the cross. Paul encourages these wavering people to run with perseverance the race that was set before them looking to Jesus, the crucified the pioneer and perfecter of their faith.

In the gospel we hear Jesus foretelling of the struggles those who follow him would have to face; rejection by their own families, and made social outcasts by their religious leaders, made to feel like lepers, unclean, unfaithful.

Following Jesus was never meant to be a walk in the park.

Years ago G.K. Chesterton wrote these words; Christianity is the only religion which worships a scapegoat, worships the one who is hated, excluded, spat upon, blamed for everything, ridiculed, shamed, and made expendable. Christianity is the only religion that focuses on imitating the victim and which sees God in the one who is surrounded by the halo of hatred.

There are men and women in our society today who for their own purposes marginalize and scapegoat the sick, the poor, the handicapped, the unborn, the unattractive, the non-productive, and the aged. We as Catholic/Christians are scapegoated and ridiculed when we stand up for such people.

We’re called bleeding hearts when insist Canada welcome refugees, people fleeing from war and persecution. We’re called lefties when we support a living wage, affordable housing and other social causes. In doing all these things we are one with our crucified Christ who writhed in pain and shed his blood for all of us, this man who wears a halo of hatred.

In all our efforts to work for peace and justice and bring a bit of love to our troubled world we look to Jesus, the crucified, the pioneer and perfector of our faith. God give us the courage to be faithful followers of our scapegoated Christ.

Homily – August 4, 2019

Saturday, August 3rd, 2019

We know these words of Jesus to be true, ‘one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions’ but greed and our need to possess, collect and hoard things always seems to win out. The real danger of having many things, being financially secure robs us of our sense of our need, our dependency on our gracious God.

This self – satisfied farmer thought he had it made. His bountiful crop would be stored in bigger barns; his ample goods would see him through for many years. He was just going to sit back and enjoy his good fortune. He might even increase his wealth. He plans to be ready for future lean years when crops fail and the cost of grain rises. He plans to cash in during these hard times when needy neighbours come to him to borrow or buy grain. He plans to sell his grain at exorbitant prices putting his neighbours at his mercy. His future looks rosy.

We all heard the saying, ‘if you want to make God laugh tell God you plans.’ God had something else in mind for this man. That very night his soul would be demanded of him and the fortune he amassed would be left for his family to fight over, relatives who did not toil for it would be the ones to enjoy his wealth.

There is nothing wrong with financial security. There is nothing wrong with a secure stock portfolio or a solid pension plan.

St. Paul asks, ‘what have you that you have not received and if you have received it why do you carry on as if you had not received it?’ He also said, ‘our sufficiency is from God.’ The message of today’s scripture is simply this, our lives are ultimately futile and meaningless if viewed in and of themselves apart from God.

Life lived in love for God and others is the life well lived. Life lived in love for God and others is a life that will reap us an abundant harvest. God grant that each of us, in our own way, be blessed to live such a life, and we will if we always have an attitude of gratitude.