To watch Fr. Richard Vosko’s homily from the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time: CLICK HERE!
To watch Deacon Andy’s homily from the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time: CLICK HERE!
To watch Deacon Andy’s homily from the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time: CLICK HERE!
One of the best parts of being a deacon is that I don’t have to prepare a homily each week so I can take my time, read through the readings and spend as much time as I need reflecting on them before I start to put a homily together. So, in much the same way that I usually do, I read through today’s reading a couple of weeks ago and set them aside to give myself time to think about what they were telling me.
After a day or two I went back and re-read them and thought to myself, what am I supposed to do with these readings? These readings are different…at least to me.
- The first reading from Jeremiah we see him being dropped into a well to die because he criticized the wealthy for treating the poor unjustly.
- The Second reading tells us to preserver…don’t be afraid to disagree.
- And, the Gospel doesn’t talk about love and being good to one another. No, the Gospel tells us how Jesus came to bring fire to the earth and how He wishes it was already kindled. He goes on to say that He didn’t come to bring peace, but division…even within our own households.
Three readings: one about torture, another about struggle, and a third about division. How are they tied together? What is the message that is meaningful in today’s world?
I’d like to tell you that after reading them a few times I woke up one morning and thought…That’s it! I know what the message is! But like many things in life it wasn’t that simple. It finally came to me about a week later.
All three of today’s readings tell us something about the struggles that we face in everyday life.
- We don’t always agree with our leaders. – How do we respond?
- When we listen to God and do what we are being called to do we must be focused and strong. – Not just quiet and go with the crowd?
- And, following Jesus may cause division among our friends and within our families. – Do we follow, or keep the peace?
When we start to think about why we face these struggles we see that courage, especially morale courage, the courage to stand up to what we believe in is often in short supply. Too many of us, myself included, often try to keep our heads down and stay out of the way. Let someone else fight the battle.
But is that what Jesus calls us to do? Does Jesus say follow me and all will be easy? I don’t think so.
No, Jesus tells us to follow him and all will be good. That He will take care of us and walk with us always…even through life’s difficulties. He tells us that if we follow Him, He will give us courage and strength in the face of adversity and difficulty. But, He never tells us it is going to be easy.
So, what does this mean for all of us living a nice comfortable life in, or near Clifton Park in 2016?
For starters I think the message of today includes a few things that we need to think about as we go through life. Things like:
- Do I share the Good News of Jesus with everyone I meet?
- Do I welcome the stranger who is in my seat?
- Do I offer a hand when I encounter someone in need?
- Do I, as Father Joe often says, “do the simple things that will bring the Good News to everyone we meet?” (Father reminds us often that evangelization is not hard. We just have to do what Jesus taught us to do.)
- Do I make decisions, and are my actions aligned with Jesus’ message, or do I take the easy way, keep quiet and follow the crowd?
Remember, Jesus may not have promised that life would be easy, but He did promise to be with us always.
Share the good news of the Gospel…even when it is hard or makes you uncomfortable.
Scripture Readings: Proverbs 9:1-6; Ephesians 5:15-20; John 6:51-58
For many years we have all been going to Mass. Our reasons may be varied, but the one thing we have in common every time we go to Mass is we are FED.
We are fed with God’s Word…
We are Fed with God’s Body and Blood with the Eucharist/Holy Communion…
Eating has been pretty important over the centuries: We eat to stay alive; We eat to be nourished; We eat to be healthy…
The food and drink of our daily lives is a reminder of the food and drink that we share in every time we come to Mass and come around the Table of God – the Altar.
The Bread and Wine, the Body and Blood of Jesus that we receive, is God’s reminder to us that He is with us in our journey of life and faith.
The Bread and Wine, the Body and Blood of Jesus that we receive, is God’s reminder to us that He wants to nourish us and strengthen us and change us in the same way food and drink does.
The Bread and Wine, the Body and Blood of Jesus that we receive, is God’s reminder to us that he calls us to let him into our lives because we cannot do God’s Will alone.
The Bread and Wine, the Body and Blood of Jesus that we receive, is God’s reminder to us that his Gift of Himself to us is something that takes a lifetime to REALLY understand and appreciate.
The Bread and Wine, the Body and Blood of Jesus that we receive is God’s reminder to us that his Gift of Himself to us is meant to lead us to bring God’s Life and Love and Presence to those we meet every day: family, friends, neighbors and even the stranger in our midst.
The Bread and Wine, the Body and Blood of Jesus that we receive today is God’s reminder for us that we can REALLY live in Jesus and He in us, every moment of our lives beginning with these few moments we gather in Church each week and in the many moments of everyday life, till we return next week to come again into the real presence of Jesus in the Sacramental encounter we call the Eucharist, Holy Communion.
Scripture Readings: Isaiah 56: 1-7; Romans 11: 13-15, 29-32; Matthew 15: 21-28
As with many of the Scriptures, they can be difficult to understand at times, and today’s Gospel may well be one of them.
One could easily ask: How could Jesus call the woman of the Gospel a dog? The more accurate translation would be a Puppy.
Yet, there are many levels of understanding that come forth from this Gospel Reading today.
For instance, God’s cares just as much about outsiders (like this Canannite woman) as the law-abiding faithful insider. Something that deeply troubled the faithful insider of the day, including Jesus’s disciples. The Gospel is about an “expanding circle of grace.”
A friend of mine, when we play a golf match, if he feels the putt to be made is “not a gimmie” as we say in golf, he calls that: “Just outside the circle of friendship.”
For God, no one is ever to be abandoned, no one is ever to be told (directly or indirectly) they are “outside the circle of friendship,” or outside the “circle of God’s friendship.”
Another level of understanding of the Gospel today is that even Jesus had his consciousness of the scope of his mission and ministry stretched beyond the people of Israel.
So what’s it mean for us today? I would suggest we are being challenged every day to love others as God loves them.
We are being challenged to abandon the temptation to limit the circle of people who are members of the Body of Christ; who are members of our faith and faith community. Put another way: who belongs and who does not. For in the end Jesus lived, died and rose for everyone, not just you and me, or some… everyone.
We pray today that we will continue to adapt to the circumstances and challenges of today’s world as we live our faith and as others live lives that lead them to Jesus and to His Church.
We pray today that we will continue to work at including others in our circle of faith, of life and of love each day in our attitudes, words and actions.