To watch Fr. Richard Vosko’s homily from the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time: CLICK HERE!
To watch Fr. Joe’s homily for the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time: CLICK HERE!
The Scriptures we hear every week are sometimes a bit difficult to understand, let alone live in our present age… Take the first reading today from the Book of Kings. Elijah sets out to inform Elisha that he is to succeed him as Prophet. But, as we can obviously discern, this is a life changing moment for Elisha, as is evident in what he does. Elisha slaughters his 12 yoke of oxen (that is 24 oxen) and uses his plowing equipment to make a fire, then boils the oxen and gives the cooked oxen to the people.
Put another way, this could be compared to a master mechanic melting down all his tools, thus abandoning one’s current means of livelihood in order to following a whole new calling.
One might think or even say, well that is asking a bit much, don’t you think? Giving up everything to begin a new life, a new occupation? Well is it?
Every day and for thousands of years, people have made changes in their lives that meant they had to:
- Do things differently
- Change their way of living
- Change their way of thinking
- Have a different routine or schedule
- Make room in their lives for another or others
- Make sacrifices
AND they have and continue to respond daily!
They have done it and continue to do so for their family, their children, fellow human beings… For justice, for equality, for the environment…
The Scriptures also remind us that as baptized persons we too are being asked daily to really live our faith, not just say I am Catholic or Religious or Spiritual.
We hear and read about and watch stories of athletes and entertainers whose enormous efforts, dedication, and sacrifice led to a rare level of achievement. And, we applaud such stories, as we should. We admire those who succeed and the coaches and mentors, and others who supported and inspired their efforts.
The same needs to be happening with our efforts of faith, with the living of our faith; our Baptismal Promises…
Some thoughts to consider that can hopefully point us to actions is:
- How is my life, as a person of faith, witnessing to love of God and others and faithfulness as a present day Disciple of Jesus in my every day relationships. How might we do better?
- How is my life not only one that teaches others, but a life that continues to learn about many things, including my faith. There is so much we do not know or forgot, that we can learn and share with others, especially our children.
- How is everyday life calling me to love, to care, to forgive, to share, to live… to WITNESS to our Baptismal Promises to love God, love others, and be Faithful Disciples. Efforts, dedication and sacrifices that make all the difference today and forever.
To watch Fr. Joe’s Homily for the 13th Sunday in Ordinary time: CLICK HERE!
I read a story this week about Nadine Collier who said, “I forgive you.” This happened three years ago and Nadine was speaking to the person who killed her mother, Ethel, who was studying the Bible at the Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
Nadine shared her hurt, her loss, but added, “But God forgives you and I forgive you.”
But what is even more amazing is that Nadine was not alone. One by one, the members of the families whose loved ones were murdered at this church rose to do the same – forgive. The message was repeated again and again – forgive!
It was a day when grace, amazing grace, won out over hate.
Said one commentator, “even an Atheist had to see divinity in these families built on love.”
Just maybe today’s Gospel sends us an enormously important message, “trust in the grace and power of God.”
Trust that the Jesus of the Gospels can also be experienced in real life, in our lives daily.
For St. Mark, our Gospel writer, grace is everywhere. God is truly “Emmanuel,” with us, for us, among us, between us.
God continues to create new miracles everyday. Miracles of conversion, repentance, new beginnings. Miracles of faith, hope, and courage.
You know, our God never gives up on us. The message about the little girl is the same message for us. The child was not dead, but asleep, “and Jesus says, ‘little girl, I say to you, arise!’”
And what is it Jesus may be saying to us? What do we need to rise from or above: fears, blindness, smallness, prejudices, hatred…
God’s grace can win out. The people of that Church in Charleston, South Carolina made that abundantly clear.
For more than 50 years, Nurney Mason was a barber in the United States Hose of Representatives. Mason cut hair out of a tiny booth in the basement of the Rayburn Office Building. His stall saw nearly as much history as the floor of the Capital itself. And every day, he brought not only his barbering skills, but kindness, optimism and encouragement. He would greet everyone, whether powerful Congressman or lowest-level staff, with a solid handshake and a knowing smile.
Mason stayed upbeat, day after day, the vibrations of his clippers surely jarring his wrists over the 50 years he worked. One day, one of his customers asked him how he stayed so upbeat and happy all the time. Nurney Mason replied simply, “I just make it right here. I create joy where I stand.”
Nurney Mason possessed the heart and soul of the Prophet that Jesus exalts in today’s Gospel. Such a prophet responds to God’s call to “create joy where I stand.” To reveal God’s compassion and peace “right here,” wherever he or she lives and works and plays.
“Prophetic Faith” is to seek out every opportunity to use every gift God has given us, to devote every resource at our disposal to make the love of God – a living reality in every life we touch. Like Nurney Mason, may we “create joy where we stand” every moment of each day, more and more as person, family and Parish.
Today’s Gospel is an invitation to the People of the Gospel, and to us, by Jesus to “FOLLOW HIM.” It might seem that Jesus is saying you should not bury the dead, you cannot have a home, or your family and marriage and children do not matter.
To the contrary, Jesus would be the first to remind us that we do have responsibilities to family, to others, and the dead. The point that Jesus is making is often we make excuses for why we cannot do this or that; I cannot help out with a charitable project, I cannot take the kids to Faith Formation Classes, I cannot make it to Mass. Because… the kids have soccer practice, my only time to shop is during Mass time or I have some things to do (things I should have done yesterday, really, I should have done them on Monday… Well, I should have done them 6 months ago, really, I do not want to do what you ask Lord).
Jesus is reminding those he invited to join him in sharing the faith with others (and that is US) to live the faith with others, thru the example of their lives — lives that integrate faith, hope, love and mercy into their day to day living. Not just something that we do when “we feel like it” or “if it fits into our lives.”
At our Baptisms, our parents passed on to us the gift of faith, the gift of life that comes from God, that comes from the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
Baptism is the first step in growing in love of God and in love of all people. Over the years we will take many steps, action, of love of God and love of others as our self.
Jesus is inviting us and our children to “Follow Him” by deleting the excuse of why we cannot be Disciples of Jesus; living examples of faith, hope and love to our family, our children, to others, to our church community and to our God.
Jesus asks of us to keep moving forward, to stop wavering, and to hold fast to our faith.
As people of faith we have part of two churches. The Catholic Church here at St. Mary’s, Crescent and the little “church” we call our homes. (I would guess that some of us never thought of our homes as a little “church”)
Each week, we come home to God, to this church, to be nourished in faith by word and sacrament; to live the faith we profess. And every day we come and go from our little “churches,” our homes. But for our homes to be mini-churches, there needs to something going on in terms of faith.
What in our home speaks of our faith, our Catholic Faith ?
- A cross, a prayer card, a Bible
- A family that prays before meals
- A family that goes to Mass, maybe even together
- A family that helps others in need
- A family that grows in God’s love and grace.
This Baptism weekend, may we all continue to pass on the faith and give concrete witness to the faith we profess without delay.
Scripture Readings: Wisdom 1:13-15; 2:23-24 2 Cor. 8:7-15 Mark 5:21-43
Long before Diana Ross sang the song, “Reach out and touch somebody’s hand” God reached out to you and me… God reached out to give life to his creation… God reached out to give life to his children, created in his image and likeness.
In today’s Gospel, we see two different images in one story of people in need of healing, in need of God’s grace.
In the one case, a women reaches out to Jesus. She touches him, with a faith that truly believes that she will be healed, “if she can only touch him.”
And then there is the little girl, who people say has died, but say no she is asleep. Then Jesus enters the room and touches her, takes her by the hand and says to her, “Arise.”
We will never be Jesus, but our faith calls us to “bring Jesus” to our Brothers and Sisters at home, in the community, in our nation and around the world.
Oh, yes – we “bring Jesus” to others by our donations of food, clothing and even money.
Yet, we know that Jesus, often reminds us “there more to do” in bring the Kingdom of God, the kingdom of life and love to all our Brothers and Sisters.
What is the more???
The more is taking the initiative to reaching out to our Brothers and Sisters with kindness, encouragement, personal support…
The more is reaching out and touching our Brothers and Sisters at home, in school, in the community, in church, and beyond, in concrete ways that give life and hope and encouragement to the people we encounter “at the present moment.”
The more is reaching out and touching others with the loving and healing power of Jesus that is unconditional, that is inclusive – always and everywhere.
Whether it be figuratively or literally, may we all reach out and touch somebody’s hand today and everyday in ways that continue to reflect the healing touch of God that wants life for you and me and for everyone!