Richard Earl Smith Eucharist of Resurrection July 29, 2017

Richard Earl Smith Eucharist of Resurrection July 29, 2017                     

Isaiah 4: 4-14

 Psalm 21

First Corinthians 13:3-13

John 14:1-6

Family and friends of Richard Smith.

The Parish Family of Saint Patrick’s Parish would like to extend our sympathy to you at the this time of loss.

Our prayers and concern for you are not just for today or for a few weeks.

On the main altar, here in the Church,  we keep a “Book of  Life”.  We believe that physical death, for a Christian, is not the end of life but the beginning of a new life in Christ.

Richard’s name will be written in that Book of Life. When we gather here for prayer we will remember Richard and all of the others who have entered that special life in Christ.  Many of us hope we will share that special life with the risen Christ.

Richard lived a good and long life.

Richard was a proud graduate of OSU. Richard studied Electrical Engineering.  Richard also worked in the recording studio while he was at OSU.

Richard’s education served him and his country well when he joined the Navy and was an Electronics Technician on the USS Spinax, a submarine.

Richard worked as an Electrical Engineer for his entire working career.  

Richard loved the water. He built a ship in a bottle and never tired of fishing, talking about fishing and sharing jokes about fish, fishing and people who fished.

Richard enjoyed kidding his father in law about casting his line into tree branches instead of the water. Richard also enjoyed hunting and attending OSU sporting events.  His love of OSU sports he passed on to his son Dick.

Richard enjoyed a plaque about fishing that says:

“I ask a simple question,

The truth I only wish,

Are all fishermen liars?

Or only do liars fish?”

 

Richard had strong opinions about food.

He believed steak and potatoes were excellent.

Fruit and vegetables he left for others to enjoy.

We remember today those very positive and enjoyable aspects of Richard’s life and personality.

Richard’s love of Marilyn, the love of his life, and his family was very obvious to all who knew him.

Richard exemplified in an understated way the qualities of love that Paul speaks about in the Second Reading today.

“Love is patient, kind, not jealous or pompous or inflated.

Love is not rude, not self seeking, does not brood over injury.

Love rejoices in the truth, bears all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

The last several months of Richard’s life, Richard and his family have had their enduring faith, hope and love tested.  

But Richard and his family believe, as Paul concludes today in the Second Reading:

“So faith, hope and love remain;

            but the greatest of these is love.”


Today in the Gospel Jesús seeks to reassure his disciples, his friends and all who suffer loss.

Jesús knows that our “hearts are troubled” today as we let go of our husband, father, brother, friend Richard.  

Jesús offers a hopeful promise assuring us today. Jesús. goes to prepare a place for Richard and us.

Thomas finds this promise  hard to believe and asks,

“Master we do not know where you are going;

          how can we know the way?”

Jesús answers:

 “I am the way, the truth and the life.

           No one comes to the Father except through me.”

So today my sisters and brothers we let go of Richard as we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, and know the Lord only partially.

We let go of Richard so Richard can know fully the Lord who welcomes Richard into his strong, warm and eternal embrace.


 

                 

 

     

 

                    

 

         

 

                   

 

                 

 

                            Isaiah 4: 4-10

 

                                  Psalm 21

 

                           First Corinthians 13:3-13

 

                                    John 14:1-6

 

                    

 

Marilyn, Stephen, Scott and Dick.

Family and friends of Richard Smith.

 

The Parish Family of Saint Patrick’s Parish would like to extend our sympathy to you at the this time of loss.

 

Our prayers and concern for you are not just for today or for a few weeks.

 

On the main altar, here in the Church,  we keep a “Book of  Life”.  We believe that physical death, for a Christian, is not the end of life but the beginning of a new life in Christ.

 

Richard’s name will be written in that Book of Life. When we gather here for prayer we will remember Richard and all of the others who have entered that special life in Christ.  Many of us hope we will share that special life with the risen Christ.

 

Richard lived a good and long life.

 

Richard was a proud graduate of OSU. Richard studied Electrical Engineering.  Richard also worked in the recording studio while he was at OSU.

Richard’s education served him and his country well when he joined the Navy and was an Electronics Technician on the USS Spinax, a submarine.

Richard worked as an Electrical Engineer for his entire working career.  

 

Richard loved the water. He built a ship in a bottle and never tired of fishing, talking about fishing and sharing jokes about fish, fishing and people who fished.

 

Richard enjoyed kidding his father in law about casting his line into tree branches instead of the water. Richard also enjoyed hunting and attending OSU sporting events.  His love of OSU sports he passed on to his son Dick.

 

Richard enjoyed a plaque about fishing that says:

 

I ask a simple question,

The truth I only wish,

Are all fishermen liars?

Or only do liars fish?

 

Richard had strong opinions about food.

He believed steak and potatoes were excellent.

Fruit and vegetables he left for others to enjoy.

 

We remember today those very positive and enjoyable aspects of Richard’s life and personality.

 

Richard’s love of Marilyn, the love of his life, and his family was very obvious to all who knew him.

 

Richard exemplified in an understated way the qualities of love that Paul speaks about in the Second Reading today.

 

Love is patient, kind, not jealous or pompous or inflated.

Love is not rude, not self seeking, does not brood over injury.

Love rejoices in the truth, bears all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

 

The last several months of Richard’s life, Richard and his family have had their enduring faith, hope and love tested.  

 

But Richard and his family believe, as Paul concludes today in the Second Reading:

 

“So faith, hope and love remain;

            but the greatest of these is love.”

 

Today in the Gospel Jesús seeks to reassure his disciples, his friends and all who suffer loss.

 

Jesús knows that our “hearts are troubled” today as we let go of our husband, father, brother, friend Richard.  

 

Jesús offers a hopeful promise assuring us today. Jesús. goes to prepare a place for Richard and us.

 

Thomas finds this promise  hard to believe and asks,

 

“Master we do not know where you are going;

          how can we know the way?”

 

Jesús answers:

 “I am the way, the truth and the life.

           No one comes to the Father except through me.”

 

So today my sisters and brothers we let go of Richard as we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, and know the Lord only partially.

 

We let go of Richard so Richard can know fully the Lord who welcomes Richard into his strong, warm and eternal embrace.

 

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29 and 30 July 2017 Seventeenth Sunday Ordinary Time A Homily

29 and 30 July 2017 Seventeenth Sunday Ordinary Time A Homily

First Kings 3:5, 7-12

Psalm 119

Romans 8:28-30

Matthew 13:44-52

 

My sisters and brothers in Christ.

The scriptures today present an abundance of rich images.

I could go on and perhaps on about the elegance and spontaneous request of Solomon for an understanding heart, his declaration of his youthfulness and “not knowing at all how to act..”

Solomon is rewarded by the Lord with a heart that is “wise and understanding.”

 

The Letter to the Romans suggests the inevitability of the free and gracious gift of salvation to those who are:  

“predestined”,

“Called”,

”justified” and

“glorified”.

 

Really I think the Word speaks to us in a very specific way by means of the three parables in the Gospel today. Jesús wants us to embrace our search for and appreciate the gift of the Kingdom.

Not everyone receives the gift of the Kingdom and as we heard two weeks ago, not everyone receives the  “seed” or  “word” of the Kingdom in “good” or “rich soil”.

The Kingdom Jesús says is like a:

Treasure hidden in a field.

A Pearl of great price.

A net full of fish that must be separated to discern what was good  and  would be kept and what was bad and needed to be thrown away.

 

I would like to share today with you about three people whom I know personally found a “treasure” hidden in a field and a “pearl” of great price.

First a literary reference might be helpful. John Steinbeck, the author wrote a famous book, ‘The Grapes of Wrath’, about the Oklahomans or “Okies” who moved to California when they lost their farms in the great depression in the nineteen thirties.

He wrote many books but one is called “The Pearl”. It is about a poor Mexican family who live on the coast. The father dives for pearls in the ocean. He brings home, after work, one day a “once in a lifetime” discovery of a  pearl.

The man tries to sell the Pearl to local buyers of pearls but they fix a very low price.

The man decides to go to a larger city with his wife and infant son to seek a better price after someone destroys his small boat as a warning to him that he should accept the unjust price.

The family is followed by robbers who fatally injure the infant child.  The man goes back to the village, takes the pearl and hurls it into the sea.

 

This particular Gospel about the “pearl” of great price was read on a Sunday in Catholic churches throughout the world in the summer of 1984.

A month or two before this Gospel was read I was asked by  then Archbishop Salatka of Oklahoma City if I would got to work in the Archdiocesan Mission in Santiago Atitlan, Solola in Guatemala Central America.

I had first met Father Rother’s parents when I visited the Mission Santiago in July of 1983.  I got to know them and even was challenged by Stan’s dad Franz Rother to consider coming to minister to this huge congregation that had not had a resident priest since his son Father Rother had been killed in the Parish Rectory in July of 1981.

As it turned out after a number of twists and turns I was “sent” “missioned” to do exactly what Franz Rother had asked me to do.

I visited Franz and Gertrude Rother and their son Tom in Okarche prior to my move to Guatemala several times. In fact I usually tried to see them once or twice a year on my home visits after I started to serve in Guatemala.

Our visits were sometimes at their farm house outside of Okarche but usually we met at a locally famous bar – restaurant called “Eischen’s”.

Eischen’s is a more than a restaurant. It is a cultural artifact. Unless the menu has changed it is or was fried chicken, store bought white bread and of course beer. The food was served very simply. There were napkins and baskets but to my recollection no or very few plates.

After one particular visit with Franz and Gertrude in July of 1984,  I was mulling over Sunday’s message for the good people of Saint Peter and Paul Parish in  Hobart, Oklahoma.   I would soon be leaving Hobart to move very far to the South.

The “pearl” of great price and the “treasure” hidden in the field were the subject at hand.

What Franz and Gertrude had communicated to me, indirectly and unintentionally, during our visits, was that Stan had found the “pearl” of great price and the “treasure” in the field.

The “treasure” and “pearl”of the Kingdom  were  the people Stan served in Guatemala.

Through Stan, Franz and Gertrude, had also found the “pearl” and the “treasure” that Stan had

sold all for,

left all for,

and given his “all” for.

 

I have never been a parent.

I have accompanied families through the loss of a child.

I am not sure I had ever met a set of parents who could be so at peace with the death, even a very violent of a child as Franz and Gertrude Rother.

 

May the Kingdom be revealed to us.

May we receive all the Kingdom has to offer.

May we generously share our experience of the Kingdom that has been so freely given to us.

Jesús asks us to embrace and share the many riches of the Kingdom as he concludes the Gospel today with these words:

“Then every scribe who has been instructed in the kingdom of heaven

is like the head of a household

who brings from his storeroom both the new and the old.”

 

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17 July 2017 Monday Fifteenth Week Ordinary Time Year 1

 

17 July 2017 Monday Fifteenth Week Ordinary Time Year 1

1 Homily

 

Exodus 1:8, 14-22  

Psalm 124

Matthew 10:34-11:1

 

The Egyptians discover the darker side of slavery. Slavery is good for the economy, for those in charge, for the owners.

It is a “cruel fate” for those who are the slaves according to the Book of Exodus today.

The downside is: if the slaves prosper and their numbers grow a tipping point is reached and “there are more of them (the slaves) than of us”.

Pharaoh decides the solution is more work for the slaves.

He also decrees the death of all male children of the slaves.

Racial prejudice, cruel slavery are not new issues in our human history.

 

The Psalm today makes it quite clear that deliverance,

rescue, freedom, hope all come from the Lord.

 

Jesus teaches the disciples many things.

The disciples will meet opposition, division even death.

Choices must be made even between blood relations and religious commitment.

Crosses must be embraced and picked up.

Finding our life, against all human logic, is encountered by losing our life.

Receiving Jesus is to receive the Father and each other.

The disciples, it appears, are left to ponder what Jesus has said.


Jesus does not wait for the disciples’ response.

Jesus “went away” to preach in the towns.

 

Can we take this advice or command to heart?

Can we with the Father’s grace carry our cross?

Can we be given, through grace, the reward of “eternal life”?

 

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15 and 16 July 2017 Fifteenth Sunday Ordinary Time A Homily

15 and 16 July 2017 Fifteenth Sunday Ordinary Time A Homily

Isaiah 55:10-11

Psalm 65

Romans 8:18-23

Matthew 13:1-23

 

My sisters and brothers in Christ.

Today the scriptures speak of the special “word” that is the “word of God”.

The LORD today refers to the special “word” as “my word” that comes down like the rain and does “not return to me void. The “word” will do the LORD’S will and achieves the end for which the LORD sends it.”

The “word” in John’s Gospel becomes “flesh” in Jesús and goes about accomplishing the “end” or “purpose” for which Jesús was sent into the world.

 

The psalm response today anticipates the message of the Gospel.

“The seed that falls on good ground will yield a fruitful harvest.”

 

The Gospel today helps the disciples understand why many people “hear” the Gospel message but do not understand or accept it.

It is helpful to remember that Matthew is speaking to a Judean community that has for all practical purposes been excluded from the Temple and the synagogues.

Believing in Christ was not a belief shared by many of Judeans who heard the Gospel message.

The believers in Christ needed to understand the persecutions and the various people who did not continue to believe the Gospel message.

Jesús speaks of different types of soil as a metaphor, comparison or parable about people’s ability to accept, commit to and remain faithful to the Gospel message of Jesús.

The message of the kingdom  in today’s Gospel is represented by the “seed” that the sower spreads about.  

The types of soil that receive the “seed” are the:

Soil on the path,

Soil in rocky ground,

Soil that has thorns and finally

“rich soil”.

 

The reasons for the “seed” not taking root are the following:

Lack of understanding so that the evil one steals the seed,

Superficial acceptance of the seed which cannot endure persecution,

Worldly anxiety and the lure of riches “choke” the seed.

 

The “rich soil” is productive because the “word” is understood and taken to heart.

A Palestinian farmer would be satisfied with a yield of seven or eighth but this parable promises thirty or sixty or a hundred fold return.

Paul, in the Letter to the Romans today speaks of the “sufferings of this present time.”  

“Suffering” may be described as “anything or any occasion that causes me to feel I am not in control.”

Suffering may be physical, emotional, spiritual, relational.

The “sufferings of the present time”  Paul tells us are “as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed to us.”

Suffering then appears to be a part of  the human condition. Suffering may be in fact that fertilizer that makes that “rich soil”  that receives the “seed” or “word” and is able to produce yields of “thirty, sixty and one hundred fold.”

Suffering, Paul goes on to say, is not just a human experience.

Paul declares:

“We know that “all creation” is groaning in labor pains even until now;

and not only that, but we ourselves,

who have the firstfruits of the Spirit,

we also groan within ourselves,”

as we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.”

“The adoption” and “the redemption of our bodies” refer to “the glory to be revealed to us” that Paul mentioned earlier.

My sisters and brothers we are invited today,

to hear,

see,

understand and live the mystery of joining our suffering and

our self giving to the suffering and self giving of Christ.

We are privileged, fortunate and blessed to have this opportunity to enter into the “groaning of all creation” as we, even now share, in the glory that will be ours.

 

Jesús, with good reason says to us today:

“But blessed are your eyes, because they see,

and your ears, because they hear.

Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people

longed to see what you see but did not see it,

and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.

 

 

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8 and 9 July 2017 Fourteenth Sunday Ordinary Time A Homily

8 and 9 July 2017 Fourteenth Sunday Ordinary Time A Homily

 

Zechariah 9:9-10

Psalm 145

Romans 8:9,11-13

Matthew 11:25-30

 

Jesús has said some hard and challenging  things in his “commands” to his disciples.

We are to love Jesús more than anything.

We may be persecuted for loving Jesús even a little.

We can only gain our lives by losing them.

We are to trust in the Father’s goodness not matter what.

 

Today the scriptures seem to give us reason for hope.  In the first reading the king’s “coming” to the people is promised.  This King will come riding on an ass.  If a king rides in on a horse, he is declaring his willingness to wage war.  

The chariot, we are promised by the prophet, will be “banished” . In other other words all weapons of war will be done away with.

If we reflect upon the second Reading from the Letter to the Romans we are given even more reason to have confidence in the promise of salvation.

 

Paul, in Romans, is explaining the implications of our baptism.  So what does Paul means when he says today:

“You are not in the flesh: on the contrary, you are in the Spirit, if only the Spirit of God dwells in you.”?

Paul is not saying we do not have bodies made of flesh.  Literally we have flesh, live in our flesh, can’t  be free of  or leave our flesh until we die.

The translation of the Greek word “sarx” with the English word “flesh” in this reading  is unfortunate for two reasons.

First, “sarx” for Paul’s purposes would better be translated as “yourself” or “human condition” or “ego”.  The last word “ego” is a Latin word that refers to our “self”, or our “idea” about who we are.

The Second reason that “flesh” is an unfortunate translation for “sarx” is that we often think of “flesh” in the Bible as “sex” as in sexual activity or immoral sexual activity.

If we think of “sarx” as “self” or “myself” in Paul’s passage today from Romans it points to Baptism changing us.

After Baptism I no longer think of my “self” as living only “in” and “for” me, myself or I.

The transformation of baptism is about how our “self” is transformed when we live “in the Spirit.”  If I live in the Spirit of God then I am changed, transformed and transfigured.  

Paul says whoever does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him (Christ).

If I am still thinking that life, religious practice, my religious rituals are all about “me” or the all important “I” then I still belong to “myself” and cannot even begin to belong to Christ.

“Paul tells us we are not debtors to the flesh…” In other words we are not debtors to “ourselves”.

Our “debt” is to live not for ourselves but to allow ourselves to be transformed by living in and for Christ.

Paul concludes today:

“For if you live according to your flesh / sarx/ self, you will die, but if you live by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”

Paul is explaining what Jesús said last week about “if you lose your life (your self centered self) you will find your life (true self).

 

The Gospel today begins with another paradox not unlike the one I just mentioned.  

Jesús says to his Father “….you have hidden these things from the wise and learned

you have revealed them to the little ones”.

“Little ones” in this context means not children but person’s who may be “new” at hearing the Gospel and heeding the call to follow Jesús.

Jesús invites “all” to come and receive rest.

Jesús’ yoke “is easy” and his burden is “light”.

We know the “yoke” used for farming or hauling material requires, even demands a community of at least two animals and a person to guide the animals.

Jesús promise of a “light burden and and easy yoke” tells us that our journey of faith is not mine or about me or only for me.

Our faith can only be lived, be transforming, be possible if each of us becomes part of the “we” who  as Paul tells us “….though many are one if Christ.”


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5 July 2017 Wednesday Thirteenth Week Ordinary Time Year 1 Homily

5 July 2017 Wednesday Thirteenth Week Ordinary Time Year 1 Homily

Genesis 21:5, 8-20

Psalm 34

Matthew 8:28-34

 

Abraham today faces the anger of Sarah. Sarah will not have Ishmael share the inheritance that goes to her son Isaac.

Abraham is “greatly distressed” but the Lord assures Abraham that all will go well with Ishmael.

Abraham sends Hagar and Ishmael off.  After aimless wandering Hagar fears she and Ishmael will die.

God hears the cry of Ishmael and promises to make of him a great nation.  This story concludes with “God was with the boy as he grew up.”

In a way that can be said of each of us as we grow up, grow and even past when we grow old. God is with the us forever.

 

The Gospel relates a dramatic work of Jesús, driving out demons who enter swine who rush to be drowned in the sea.

The response of the people is to “beg Jesús to leave their district.”

The power of the Gospel may cause wonder, fear and rejection.

The Mission however  goes on in spite of many apparent setbacks and reversals.

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Ruth Geneva Terronez Eucharist of Resurrection July 1, 2017

Ruth Geneva Terronez   

Eucharist of Resurrection  

July 1, 2017

 

 

 Isaiah 41:0-13

 Psalm 22

 Second Corinthians 6:1, 6-10

 John 14:1-6

Leonard, Debra, Tina and Zella, family and friends of Ruth Terronez.

The Parish Family of Saint Patrick’s Parish would like to extend our sympathy to you at the this time of loss.

Our prayers and concern for you are not just for today or for a few weeks.

On the main altar we keep a Book of  Life for we believe that physical death is not the end of life but the beginning of a new life in Christ.

Ruth’s name will be written in that Book of Life and we will remember Ruth and others who have entered that special life in Christ that we all hope to share in.

 

Ruth was a very active wife, mother, friend and companion to many people.

Her many interests included working with arts and crafts. On this warm day we recall the Ruth liked to build snowmen with her family and even built snow sleds.

Ruth was a teacher, served for twenty years in the military, managed apartments and helped in Leonard in his businesses.

While in the military Ruth was a marathon runner. Ruth’s interests included helping in various work projects related to the construction of homes for  the family.

I first Ruth some forty two years ago when she and Leonard came and asked me to bless their marriage in the Church.  It was my privilege to receive Ruth into the Church at that time.

The Second Reading today, from Second Corinthians,  speaks about “earthly dwellings”. Our earthly dwelling, our body, we know will eventually be destroyed.  For some people the “earthly dwelling” is destroyed rapidly.

For Ruth the process was much slower.  Over the past few years we have watched her suffering and pain as her “earthly dwelling” and her health gradually diminished.

Saint Paul today speaks about a “building we have from God, a dwelling not made with hands. This dwelling is eternal in heaven.”

Paul sees this as a motive for our being always “courageous”.Ruth certainly gave witness to a courageous faith during her final illness.  

Ruth encouraged others during her illness to “walk by faith…”

Isaiah today speaks of the Lord “choosing” us and promising to
“strengthen us”.

I believe the Lord did do in Ruth what is promised in the last words of the Prophet Isaiah  today: “I will help you.”

The death of a wife, mother, family member, friend always poses a question for us.  

“What happens now?”

Jesús, in the Gospel, today is asked about “the way” to where he is going. This place the “disciples” will follow Jesús to is a place of “many dwellings”.

Jesús has asked the disciples to not let “their hearts be troubled.”

Thomas is puzzled about “the way” and Jesús assures all disciples of all ages about “the way”.

Jesús explains: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Today we let go of Ruth so she may follow “the way”to the eternal dwelling prepared for her.  “The way” will take Ruth to the Father’s strong, warm and eternal embrace.

 

 

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1 and 2 July 2017 Thirteenth Sunday Ordinary Time A Homily

1 and 2 July 2017 Thirteenth Sunday Ordinary Time A Homily

 

Second Kings 4:8-11, 14-16

Psalm 89

Romans 6:3-4,8-11

Matthew 10:37-42

My sisters and brothers in Christ.

Paul’s Letter to the Romans seeks to explain today what happens when we are “baptized into Christ”.

We believe Baptism is a step we take that begins our journey into eternal life.

Paul reminds us today that baptism into Christ Jesús also baptizes us into his death.

What baptism does is  it helps us be “raised from the dead” and “live in newness of life.”

Paul explains that “dying with Christ allows us to also “live with him.”

Christ can die no more and Christ’s death included a “death to sin once and for all.”

Paul concludes today saying that we must think of ourselves as “dead to sin and living for God in Christ Jesús.”

I think a key phrase today in Paul’s exhortation is to be “aware” of what our baptism means. Jesus is getting at this same issue in the Gospel today.

 

The Gospel starts with some startling words by Jesús: Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more that me is not worthy of me….”

Could Jesús possibly mean these words?  If so I am glad they were not read on mother’s day or father’s day.

Jesús is not saying we should not love father, mother, sons or daughters.

Jesús is simply emphasizing how demanding the call to be his follower is.

Jesús immediately after talking about loving him talks about the proof of our worthiness or depth of love for him.

Jesús says: ”,,,, whoever does not take up his cross

                             and follow me is not worthy of me.”

Our worthiness does not depend on our being perfect or being pious or even not loving our family.

Our “worthiness” or love of Jesus depends upon our taking up our cross and following wherever Jesus might lead us. This response is the key to our “losing” our life so that we are free, paradoxically, to “find” it.

“Following” the call of Jesús has a lot to do with how we receive others. Jesús mentions receiving prophets, or a “righteous person” as ways of “receiving Jesus and “the one who sent me.”

The “one who sent” Jesús to us is none other than the Father.

Jesús has a special fondness for “these little ones”. “These little ones” are not necessarily children since Jesús calls them “disciples”.  The “little ones” might well be those who are

new to the faith,

new to the call,

new to baptism,

new to “being dead to sin

and living for God in Christ Jesús”.

Our need to live in “newness of life” does not end with Confirmation or any other sacrament.

Our “newness of life” needs to embrace not only Jesús and our family members or the usual people we know and are comfortable with.  

Our assurance or even insurance about receiving our “reward” remember is as simple as giving a “cup of cold water to one of the little ones to drink.”

                     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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24 and 25 June 2017 Twelfth Sunday Ordinary Time A Homily

24 and 25 June 2017 Twelfth Sunday Ordinary Time A Homily

 

Jeremiah 20:10-13

Psalm 69

Romans 5:12-15

Matthew 10:26-33

My sisters and brothers in Christ.

We return this Sunday to “Ordinary Time” in the Sunday Readings. There is, in my opinion, no such thing as “Ordinary Time” when we gather as a Community.  We celebrated last Sunday as the “Body and Blood” of Christ and there is nothing “ordinary” about  breaking open the word of God and breaking  the bread.

 

All time becomes sacred when it is time lived according to the gifts, grace and wisdom of God’s word.

God’s word today is really centered around the Gospel.  We last visited Matthew’s Gospel  on an “Ordinary Time” Sunday last February.

Today we continue listening to Jesús preparing his disciples for experiences that the Kingdom offers to those who “follow” Jesús.

Jesús addresses the issue of the danger posed to one who “proclaims” the Gospel clearly and openly.

The first Reading also treats this theme. Jeremiah, the prophet, knows persecution, threats and in the end, the LORD’S saving power.  After listing the threats and rumors whispered about his person Jeremiah proclaims: “…the LORD is with me, like a mighty champion…..”

Jeremiah’s summary of the LORD is this: “…he has rescued the lfe of the poor from the power of the wicked.”

Jesús speaks plainly about the “stakes” involved in taking the Gospel message  to heart.  

For Jesús the Gospel is not a once a week hour long “paying of dues” so that we maintain our minimum balance necessary to keep on the “right” side of God.

Jesús is one who Paul tells us in the Second Reading today gave “the gracious gift (which) overflows for the many.”  

This “gracious gift” is still “overflowing for the many.”

Each of us today is invited to know this “gracious gift” and live out its implications.

Jesús used simple images to describe “the knowledge”  and love the “mighty champion” (the LORD) that Jeremiah so deeply trusted and counted on.

Jesús asks “Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin?”

The extent of the Father’s love is such that: “Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge.”

Jesús goes on:

“Even all the hairs of your head are counted. So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

This simple image reflects the dignity and “worth” of each human person and the dignity and preoccupation of the Father for all of creation.

I have a deep affection for the particular statement “Even all the hairs of your head are counted.”

Learning and speaking a new language in public can be a very humbling experience.

One of my funniest and most humbling experiences about learning Spanish and one that I can repeat in “polite” company is as follows.

I was reading this particular passage:“Even all the hairs of your head are counted.” at a daily mass in my then (1984) “new” assignment in Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala. Spanish was my new “working” language.

During the Gospel I noticed the Carmelite sisters who worked in the parish were giggling for some reason.

I asked the Sisters, after mass what was so funny.

They said the word for hair in Spanish is “Cabello”.

The word for horse in Spanish is “Caballo”.

Father you read: “Even all of the horses of you head are counted.”

I laughed with the sisters and have never read this passage privately or in public without smiling.

No one promised me that being a follower of Jesus would be easy. convenient, risk free or without some “humbling” moments.

But then Jeremiah, Paul and Jesús did not comfortable, carefree or easy road.

They did promise a: “Mighty champion who rescues the life of the poor.”

Let us be thankful for the One who forgives, saves and rescues us.

 

 

 

 

 

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17 and 18 June 2017 Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Cristi) A Homily

17 and 18 June 2017 Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ  Corpus Cristi A Homily

 

Deuteronomy 8:2-3,14-16

Psalm 147

Second Corinthians 10:16-17

John 6:51-58

 

My sisters and brothers in Christ.

The Readings for this Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ have to do with our hunger, need and deep longing for nourishment.

We know that every living thing requires nutrition.

As human beings we, in general, reduce this complex process of nourishment to two words: “food” and “drink”.

The first reading today from Deuteronomy speaks to the need for food by relating a story about bread.

The story is aboutf Moses and the people who tested Moses and the LORD in the desert.

The people were afflicted with hunger and the LORD answered by giving “manna”.  The word “manna” does not mean anything in particular.  The word means “What is it?” or “What is this?”  

In other words the people were so afflicted with hunger they might have eaten anything that appeared  possibly be food.

The explanation was for these afflicted people that this “thing” that turned out to “nourish” the people and save them from starvation was “food” from heaven since it appeared each morning.

This “food” that “was unknown to our fathers” eventually became known as “bread come down from heaven”.

This gives us some insight into the history and emotional “charge” that the word “bread” has for the Chosen People.

“After all the stiff necked people”, asked Moses,  “what was the point of freeing the people from Pharaoh’s oppression if they were to end up dying in the desert from starvation and thirst?”

 

The second Reading speaks about “the cup of  blessing that we share is…. a participation in the blood of Christ.” The word “wine” is not mentioned in this explanation by Paul of Christ’s blood being present “in the cup of blessing”.  

When we  “bless” at Eucharist:

        Bread becomes body.

        Wine becomes blood.

 

The one bread broken for us and  the one cup shared with us makes us,

“though many”   “one body”.

We actually “become” what we eat and drink when we bless, transform, eat and drink the Body and Blood of Christ.

Finally, today in the Gospel,   Jesús explains what eating his body and drinking his blood does to us and for us.

What Jesús invites us to believe is that he is “living bread” given by the “living Father”.  This “living bread”  come down from heaven is the “living flesh” of Jesus. All of this “living” gives “life”.

The Son of man asks that his “living bread”  be eaten.

The Son of man asks that his “living blood”  be taken as drink.

This eating and drinking, this nourishment helps us to  survive our earthly life.

This eating and drinking gives us the sustenance to have “eternal life”.

Jesús’ promise is one that we may find difficult to believe, Jesus tells his listeners, because our ancestors ate bread that came down from heaven but died.

This “bread” Jesús tells us is Jesús’ himself “come down from heaven.”

Jesús therefore concludes saying:

“…whoever eats this bread will live forever.”

Let us bless, consecrate, transform, be transformed, eat and drink.

Let us eat this bread.

Let us drink this wine.

Let us live forever.

 

 

 

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