To watch Fr. Marty Fisher’s homily from the 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time: CLICK HERE!
To watch Fr. Joe’s homily from the Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time: CLICK HERE!
In our First Reading today from the Prophet Amos, we hear the High Priest tell Amos that he should take his message elsewhere. A message calling for social justice and condemning those who try to please God with sacrifice and praise while their lifestyle is based on dishonesty and oppression of the poor.
And the response to this is Amos sharing that being a Prophet is not his day job and not even his choice; rather he is responding to God’s call to Prophecy.
When it comes to our calling, our vocation, our lives today and into the future… God usually does not tell us what to do directly and clearly.
We have to listen… And how hard it is today to listen…
We get frustrated when others do not listen to us, or hear what we are saying and the truth is, the reverse is often true, too.
Or maybe we are listening and we have suspicion of what God might call us to do?
Put another way, often it is easier to convince ourselves we are supposed to take the comfortable and secure path.
Imagine the challenge of the doctor from Amsterdam, NY who cares for the sick in Africa. He is the only doctor for a large area, that includes some 750,000 people.
Imagine the challenge of the woman who many years ago entered the Peace Corp and worked in Central America then, returned home for several years to care for her elderly parents and later returned to work as a Maryknoll Lay Missionary in Asia and in central America.
And then there is the story of a classmate of mine who some 50 years ago sat down to take the entrance exam for West Point Military School. And after 10 minutes, got up and left the room. Upon returning home, he shared with his parents that he did not take the entrance exam and instead was going to become a Priest, which he did in 1975 and continues to serve a Priest today.
My guess is life for each of these people is far from easy, but I do know that they certainly listened to that voice of God for them. Now most of us are not going to Central America or Africa… Truth is, most of us are going home, going on vacation, going to work, etc.
But the point is that God speaks to us every day. God speaks to us at this Mass. Calling us to be the “Prophets of God,” the “Disciples of God,” in this time of history. To become attune to the good and the Godly that we can be instruments of daily.
Instruments of hope, peace and justice, help, support and an attentive ear. A reminder that God loves us and cares for us, ALL and always.
May we strive a bit more to be more and more attuned to God’s voice in the classroom of silence and prayer as we set out daily for our journey of today and the continuing journey of life. Bringing to life the words of goodness and God to one and all.
Today’s Parable/Gospel of the Good Samaritan is probably the most well-know of the Jesus Stories. With one simple story, Jesus calls us to “notice one another.” To see who needs us. Obviously the challenge is to “do what we know is right, is good, is godly.”
Barbara Brown Taylor, an Episcopal Priest, tells of a time when she was preparing a sermon on today’s Gospel. As she drove to work, she mulled over it in her head. Suddenly, she came upon a car along the road:
As I approached, a tall man stepped into the road, holding a pair of jumper cables and looking me straight in the eye. Several hundred pieces of information went through my mind in about three seconds, the man needs help — you are a single woman alone in a car — the man needs help — never open your door to a stranger — go to the nearest service station and send a mechanic — the man needs help — what if the man cannot afford a mechanic? — the man needs help — I am sorry, I cannot help — maybe the next person will. And I drove on to work, to complete my research on the Good Samaritan.
Barbara Brown Taylor describes the frustration many of us feel because of the gap between knowing what we should be doing and doing it. Reverend Barbara Brown Taylor says:
Just maybe after all the arguments are made and all the issues are debated, it comes down to one thing — just do it. Love God, love neighbor, be a neighbor. If we want the world to be different, to be better, do some love… Do a little, do a lot, but do some!
We live it interesting times, maybe even confusing times, maybe troubling times. In recent months and weeks and days, we have lived through a variety of violent acts that have taken the lives of not just our neighbors but our family. A family that lives in Baltimore, Orlando, and Dallas to name a few places.
The Story of Jesus as to “who is my neighbor” is his way of asking us to answer the question, “are we a neighbor or do we need to be a neighbor?”
For Jesus, you and I must be neighbor to those we encounter each day. Jesus, says not only to the know it all Scholar of the Law, but to each of us, “Go and do likewise.”
May our prayer today lead us to be neighbors who treat others with mercy, with kindness, with respect, with a love of God and others, that is evident to us and in others, more and more each day.
To quote Moses, from our First Reading, “You know what the Lord God asks of you. It is already in your mouth and in your hearts; you have only to carry it out.”
Scripture Readings: Amos 7:12-15; Ephesians 1:3-14; Mark 6:7-13
The Disciples of Jesus were the First Evangelizers… The first to share, to proclaim, to talk about the God’s Good News…
And like the 12 Disciples in today’s Gospel – sent out by Jesus to bring the Gospel of hope and life and love and joy and so much more; so we are called to be the Disciples, the Evangelizers of 2015 who have been called by our Baptisms to go out to others with God’s Good News.
For many the word evangelization evokes a negative reaction. Yet, maybe we do not understand the word or the implications of it.
Evangelization is not just bringing God’s Good News to those who are hearing it for the first time. In reality, evangelization is also meant for those who have already heard God’s Good News. Giving them and thereby giving us, the opportunity of a new level of understanding and living God’s Good News.
There is no “once and done” process for being and becoming a person of faith… a Disciple of the Lord. We are people of LIFE and GROWTH. If you think about it those who evangelize and those who are evangelized are the same people.
As I was reflecting on this homily for this weekend, I thought of the many opportunities that exist for each of us today and everyday, to make real in some concrete way God’s Good News to others.
It might mean being more understanding and less judgmental.
It might mean being more helpful and less of an obstacle.
It might mean being more praise worthy and less critical.
It might mean being more joyful and less grumpy.
It might mean being more generous and less self-centered.
For many, the experiences of God’s Goodness and God’s Good News come from you and me and us. People who continue to live their faith more deeply every day in every situation, in ways that proclaim God’s Good News of the Gospel.
May we, the Disciples of 2015, continue to evangelize and to be evangelized!
Scripture Readings: Isaiah 55:10-11; Romans 8:18-23; Matthew 13: 1-23
Today we need to pray for ourselves, for our family, for our Parish that we will hear God’s word, understand it, and in the process live God’s word allowing God’s word to bear good fruit 100, 60 or 30 fold.
Just maybe the word of God is a continuing reminder, as Pope Francis shared recently: that being Catholic is a way of life!
Maybe we Christians, we Catholics have forgotten – have failed to appreciate – that the blessings of God, the Spirit of God given all of us is meant to assist us 24/7 in being people who better the lives of others so that they may taste the joys of the Kingdom of God here on Earth, as we will one day in heaven.
Last winter in New York City a commuter got off his train and was walking home at a rapid pace thinking about the hot drink he would have as soon as he got home. As he rounded the corner to his street he heard a young girl cry out, “Get your hot chocolate here, hot chocolate here!”
And there in front of him was a table with a large thermos of hot cocoa, a can of whipped cream, miniature marshmallows and a stack of plastic cups. The commuter was impressed – a different take on the summer lemonade stand. As he approached the 7 year old girl asked if he wanted whipped cream or marshmallows. Placing his order, he took out his wallet and asked how much she was charging.
“Oh, it’s free,” she laughed.
The confused commuter looked at the girl’s mother, who was standing nearby and said, “You’re giving it way?”
“Yes, it’s free,” her mother said with a smile. “My daughter got so many gifts for the holidays, we wanted her to learn to give back to the community, and we thought this might be a good way, so enjoy!”
It’s obvious from this story that the girl’s parents were people of selflessness, compassion, generosity, caring and humility. Seeds, if you will, that they were planting in the mind and heart of their child that will one day mature in the child’s life.
Christ calls us to model the sower of today’s Gospel in our homes, our neighborhoods, our work places, our schools, our churches. Everywhere and always. Never forgetting that the works of God, the works of the Gospel, even the simplest act of kindness, may be the “seed” that recreates and transforms not only our homes, but just maybe a world.