6 June 2017 Tuesday Ninth Week Ordinary Time Year 1 Homily

6 June 2017 Tuesday Ninth Week Ordinary Time Year 1  Homily

Tobit 2:9-14

Psalm 112

Mark 12:13-17

 

Tobit is blinded by cataracts.

Tobit accuses his wife of receiving “stolen goods” since his wife brings home a young goat she received as a bonus for her work as a weaver.

Tobit’s wife Anna accuses Tobit of lacking charity towards her because of his attitude.

Discouraged by this Tobit prays for death.

 

Jesús is pursued by the Pharisees and the followers of Herod.

They together plot against Jesús looking for a way to “ensnare him in his speech”.

The issue presented is about allegiance to Caesar or allegiance to God.

This is played out in a discussion over payment of taxes to Caesar.

Jesús asks for a coin and asks whose image is on the coin. The questioners say “Caesar’s”.  

Jesús then says give or pay to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what belongs to God.

We must exercise wisdom in discerning what “belongs” to

God and what “belongs” to others.

We ask the Spirit of guidance, inspiration and illumination as we make our way to the Lord.

 

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5 June 2017 Monday Ninth Week Ordinary Time Year 1 Homily

5 June 2017 Monday Ninth Week Ordinary Time Year 1  Homily

Tobit 1:3; 2:1-8

Psalm 112

Mark 12:1-12

The First Reading explains why the prophet Jonah was reluctant to go to Nineveh.

Nineveh had taken the Judean people into exile. As long as they lived in exile they could not practice their religion or even bury their dead.

Remaining faithful and living justly is difficult enough we know  when we live in freedom.  Being faithful becomes heroic when the simplest “faith” obligations are public crimes.

Jesús foretells his own story in the parable today.
Jesús will give all, lose all and be put to death.

Jesús has become a danger, beyond control of the authorities, a teacher with a disturbing message.

The Father takes the on who is rejected and makes him the cornerstone.  

 Let us rejoice.

 

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3 and 4 June 2017 Pentecost Sunday A Homily

3 and 4 June 2017 Pentecost Sunday A Homily

Acts 2:1-11

Psalm 104

Second Corinthians 12:3-7,12-13

John 20:19-23

 

My sisters and brothers in Christ.

The feast of Pentecost is replete with striking images.

There is a “noise like a strong driving wind……tongues as of fire….(they) were all filled with the Holy Spirit and…….spoke in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim…”

The “different tongues” aspect causes confusion in the listeners.  Jerusalem at this time is full of “devout Judeans from every nation…”

How is it possible they ask that each understands the “different tongues” because each person hears “in his own language.”

One of the first gifts of the Spirit to the church is the inclusion of all people from all parts of the world in hearing and responding to the proclamation of the Good News.

We sometimes react to events coming from a position of “scarcity”.

The Gospel comes to us from a position of grace, abundance and fullness.

The selection from the Acts of the Apostles today does not include the ambiguity of the response of some of  the people witnessing this event.

Two verses (twelve and thirteen) express the “confusion, astonishment and amazement” that this confluence of wind, fire and “speaking” cause.

“They were all astounded and bewildered and said to one another, “What does this mean?”  But others said, scoffing, “They have had too much new wine.”

In other words the “sweetness” of drinking too much new wine made them drunk.

Some of the people observing the work of the Spirit could not trust that it was the Spirit that helped these people understand the “proclamation of the Good News.”

Coming from a position of “scarcity” of mercy and tolerance these observers concluded the people were drunk.

In the Second Reading, from the Second Letter to the Corinthians, we are given an idea of how this embrace of the “fullness” of the Spirit’s gifts works in the community.

The “gifts” Paul tells us are different but the come from the same Spirit.

The “gifts” are for one purpose only: service of God and others..

The “gifts” are produced and given by the Spirit to everyone.

The “gifts” are given for “some benefit”.

We might not have been give the “gift” we wished for or worked for or prayed for.  

Whatever gift or gifts we are given are for “some benefit”.

The “benefit” is not given “for” me but “to” me.

The “benefit” is given for service to others, not for service to me.

Paul naturally falls back upon the image of the unity of the body, our bodies, to explain how the community is called to function by the Spirit.

“…all the parts of the body, though many are one body….”

“For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body,

whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons,

and we were all given to drink of one Spirit.”

The Gospel reminds us of one of two gifts of the Spirit that our “drinking of the Spirit” give to us.

First of all the gift Jesús was given and gives to us through the Spirit is the gift of peace.

The “disciples” after the death of Jesús  are afraid.

Jesús’ first words to the disciples are “Peace be with you.”

Jesús repeats these words after showing them his hands and his side.

Jesús then gives the gift of the Holy Spirit to the disciples with a very distinct “gift” and “mission” in mind.

“Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,and whose sins you retain are retained.”

The mission of mercy, forgiveness, reconciliation, faith and steadfast love is given to the church so that we may be

One,

Forgiven,

Forgiving,

Body of Christ.

 

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27 and 28 May 2017 Ascension Sunday A Homily

27 and 28  May 2017 Ascension Sunday A Homily

 

Acts 1:1-11

Psalm 47

Ephesians 1:17-23

Matthew 28:16-20

 

The feast of the Ascension is a “transitional” feast.

In the Gospel Jesus tells the disciples:

“And behold I am sending the promise of my Father upon you;

 but stay in the city

 until you are clothed with power from on high.”

 

The “promise of the Father” is a “clothing with power from on

high.”

 

Apparently Jesus must “leave” or “ascend” so that the “promise of

the Father” can “clothe the disciples with power from on high.”

 

There must be some sorrow and sadness for the disciples at the

moment of Jesus “ascending.”

The disciples some forty days earlier had seen their hopes and

dreams and Jesus die on a cross.

 

Was Jesus “ascending” , “being taken up into heaven” a really

welcome and clearly understood event for the disciples?

 

Was Jesus going to come back?

Was Jesus going to abandon the disciples as they had abandoned

him?

As the Gospel recounts this even to Jesus “being taken up into

heaven” the disciples “did Jesus homage” returned to the city of

Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple

praising God.”

 

We are given a further clarification about the meaning of this

“transitional event” or “transitional experience” in the First

Reading.

 

The “promise of the Father” is made more explicit.

Jesus says “…you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes

upon you….

and you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit….and you will be

my witnesses

in Jerusalem,

throughout Judea and Samaria

and to the ends of the earth.”

 

Times of transition

can be disconcerting,

can throw us off balance,

can make us wonder what and when the next new thing will occur.

 

In fact Jesus is asked “Lord are you at this time going to restore the

kingdom of Israel?”

 

Jesus is  being asked the political question of the Judean people of

his time.

Will Jesus throw out the Romans and establish an earthly kingdom

in Israel?

 

Jesus explains that we cannot know “the times and seasons” since

the Father is the one who establishes his kingdom.

 

Our part is to “witness” what we do know about the

establishment of the kingdom. We know the Kingdom of God is not an earthly kingdom.

Our business has to do with cooperating with,

witnessing to the establishment of God’s kingdom.

 

The disciples are asked an interesting question at the end of the

First Reading.

The two men dressed in white garments ask:

“Men of Galilee,

why are you standing there looking at the sky?

This Jesus who has been taken from you into heaven

will return in the same way as you have seen him going into

heaven.”

 

We are in a “transitional time”.

We are in a time of questions and questioning.

We are in a time when we are invited to experience the Holy Spirit

“who clothes us with power from on high.”

We are invited to stop  “standing ….looking at the sky”.

We are invited to witness to Jesus now, here and to the “ends of the

earth.”

 

 

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24 May 2017 Wednesday Sixth Week Easter Homily

24 May  2017 Wednesday Sixth  Week Easter  Homily

Acts 17:15-22-16:1

Psalm 148

John 16:12-15

 

Paul could “cover all of the bases”.

Paul is escorted to Athens because there is some trouble over his preaching.

Paul does not sit idly by, while waiting for Silas and Timothy,

Paul engages in a discussion with the various philosophers of the city.

Paul is taken to the Areopagus (the hill of Ares). Ares is the god of war.

Paul does battle by putting a name to the “To and Unknown God” whose altar he discovered among the many “gods” of the Greeks.

Paul meets disbelief when he speaks about the resurrection of the dead.  

Paul then moves on to Corinth.

Corinth will provide Paul with subject matter that will inspire Paul to write more “Letters”.

 

Jesús promises in the Gospel today that “the Spirit of truth” will come and “guide you to all truth.”

We are given the assurance that the Spirit of truth will take from the Son what he, the Son has been given by the Father.

Jesús declares or testifies that we will be cared for, guided, given the truth about the gift of the Father’s love present in the Son and in the Spirit.

We are invited to come to believe that we are a part of that divine dance.

 

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23 May 2017 Tuesday Sixth Week Easter Homily

23 May  2017 Tuesday Sixth  Week Easter  Homily

Acts 16:22-24

Psalm 138

John 16:5-11

 

This story might be called “turning the tables”.

“The crowd in Phillipi joined in the attack on Paul and Silas….(the authorities) threw them into prison.”

Paul’s initial success in Philippi has turned into being attacked by a mob and being “thrown into prison.”

Paul the former persecutor now experiences. Personally persecution.

The prisons cannot  “hold” Paul and Silas.

The jailer is ready to kill himself but Paul tells him not to harm himself.

The jailer becomes “captured” by the Gospel, by Christ, by the witness of Paul and Silas.

The jailer comes to believe and takes the disciples to his home for a meal.

We are invited today to come to faith and to eat a meal.

We are invited to wait in faith for the Advocate who comes as the Spirit of truth.

 

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22 May 2017 Monday Sixth Week Easter Homily

22 May  2017 Monday Sixth  Week Easter  Homily

 

Acts 16:11-15

Psalm 149

John 15:26-16:4

 

Philippi is “a leading city….and a Roman colony”.

Paul and his group spend time there.

This is an important city because one of Paul’s letters is addressed to that community.

 

The group, on the sabbath go out of the gate looking for a place of prayer.

This search ends with Paul speaking to a group of women.

Lydia  and her household are baptized and she “prevailed on” the group to “stay at her home.”

Lydia is an example of a business woman, the head of a household and a person of some persuasive force.  Paul was not known for being “prevailed upon” according to most of the Scriptural testimony.

Jesús in the Gospel speaks to the disciples about the coming of the Advocate, Paraclete, the Holy Spirit of truth.  

The persecution of the Church must have lead to great divisions and divided loyalties.

“Falling away”, being “prevailed upon” by the sword or money or power must have called for stark and courageous “testimony” from the communities who had come to believe and testify to Jesús.

Jesús invites us to give faithful testimony since we have been with him from the “beginning”.

In a way our life, our life in Christ begins when we come to see and believe that Jesús is Lord, Messiah and Savior.

 

 

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20 and 21 May 2017 Sixth Sunday of Easter A Homily

20 and 21 May 2017 Sixth Sunday of Easter A Homily

Acts 8:5-8, 14-17

Psalm 66

First Peter 3:15-18

John 14:15-21

 

My sisters and brothers in Christ.

We are approaching the end of the Easter Season.

Next week we will celebrate the Ascension of Jesús.

In two weeks we will celebrate Pentecost.

Pentecost, we sometimes refer to as the “birth” of the church since it marks a special beginning of the outreach of the church.

According the Book of the Acts of the Apostles the church begins in Jerusalem and its mission and reach extends to the whole world.

This “outreach” is described today in the first reading as a missionary journey undertaken by the apostle Philip after a persecution of the church.

We know from the Gospels of Luke and John that the Samaritans were not “friends” of the Judeans.  The Samaritans shared some beliefs with the Jews but differed on some very basic issues.

While the Book of Acts reports today about the success of the Philip’s mission to Samaria we also hear about what was lacking in Philip’s missionary efforts.

The First Reading tells us about Peter and John going from

Jerusalem to Samaria to complete the initiation of the people of the

city of Samaria. Philip had only baptized with water.

 

John and Peter pray for the Holy Spirit and “lay hands on the  people and “they (the people) received the Holy Spirit.”

This rather “orderly” description of the completion of the work of “initiating people into the Church may offer us some understanding of how our church changes or adapts our teaching and practice over time.

John’s Gospel today prepares us for the Ascension which we will celebrate next week.

Jesus promises “another Advocate” to be with us always.

Jesus promises we will not be orphans,

that he will “come to us,”

On that day Jesus says

“you will realize that I am in my Father,

and you are in me

and I in you.”

 

Jesus tells us how we will remain in him and how he will remain in us.

John’s Gospel is repetitious and spends a lot of time explaining the unity of:

Father and Son,

the Son and us,

us and the Father.

 

“Being in” and “remaining in” are two phrases that get at how this unity is begun, achieved and maintained.

The maintaining is not temporary or transient.

We “remain in” and “are in” eternally.

 

Jesús today speaks about a third force or person who will “remain with” us.

In fact Jesús assures us:

“ I will not leave you orphans”.

The Father will be asked by the Son (Jesús) and will give us another Advocate to be with us always.

This Advocate will be  “the Spirit of truth”.

The Spirit of Truth will help us to “remain” in the Father’s love by our “keeping” the commandments.

Let us today “keep the commandments”,

remain and

live

surrounded by and in the love of  Father, Son and the Advocate, the Spirit of Truth.

 

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15 May 2017 Monday Fifth Week Easter Homily

15 May  2017 Monday Fifth  Week Easter  Homily

Acts 14:5-18

Psalm 115

John 14:21-26

Imagine the thoughts that Paul and Barnabas had when they were renamed Zeus and Hermes.

They could have enjoyed divine status but they chose to dissuade the crowd from making them into “gods”.

The possibilities of misunderstanding or manipulating people’s trust are infinite when we confuse our own will with the will of God.

 

Jesús makes a very simple observation in the Gospel today.

To love Jesús is to keep his commandments.

To love Jesús is to love the Father.

Jesús also promises that the Advocate, the Holy Spirit will be sent to teach and remind us what Jesús has told us.

Let us listen, live our love of the Father, Son and Spirit.

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9 May 2017 Tuesday Fourth Week Easter Homily

9 May  2017 Tuesday Fourth Week Easter  Homily

 

Acts 11:19-26

Psalm 87

John 10:22-30

 

The death of Stephen begins a persecution that scatters the community of Jerusalem to various places.

The custom is to preach the Gospel only to Jews. The Gospel could not be contained or confined and “Greeks” also heard the Lord Jesús proclaimed.

What was originally experienced as a great tragedy becomes the vehicle for growth in the community that reaches far beyond Jerusalem.

 

Jesús is asked to speak “plainly” about whether or not he is the “the Christ.”

Jesús gives indirect answers and asks the people to believe because of his “works” which are the testimony to Jesús being the Christ.

Being a part of Jesús flock, his sheep, signifies belief in Jesús and the Father.

The sheep, Jesús assures his listeners, have eternal life and cannot be “taken out of the Father’s hand.”

Let us hear the voice of the Good Shepherd and enter into life with the Son, Father and Spirit.

 

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