To watch Deacon Andy’s homily from the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time: CLICK HERE!
To watch Fr. Tom Hayes’ homily from the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time: CLICK HERE!
To watch Fr. Joe’s homily for the Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time: CLICK HERE!
Jesus meets you and me in the Sacraments. Most especially in the Eucharist, Holy Communion, which we have the honor and privilege of receiving at least on a weekly basis. This free gift, this body and blood of Jesus, is God’s way of reminding us of his eternal love. A love that is unwavering and unconditional and eternal presence that is forever. Here on Earth as it is in Heaven.
As was asked of the Disciples of Jesus’s time, do you believe??? I hope so; God hope’s so….
You know God will never force us to accept his eternal love and presence, but God never gives up on us. Each and every day, we are invited as person, family and Parish to know our God more today than yesterday. We are invited to come to the Feast of Heaven and Earth, to come to the Table of Plenty.
And as we leave this table, we are also asked to invite others to come to the Table of Plenty.
The challenge before us always is to keep the Gospel message of Jesus Christ front and center. Remembering, like the Disciples, that we have come to believe and are convinced; that You (Jesus, our Lord and Savior) are the Holy One of God!!!
In our Gospel today we hear Jesus ask his Disciples a few questions. First: “Who do people say that I am?” What’s the word, the gossip around town?
And if Jesus stood here today and began a discussion with us, how would we answer the question of, “who do people say that I am,” here in the USA, in the Capital District, in the Parish of St. Mary’s, Crescent?
But then Jesus asks a second question, a more personal question of his Disciples: “Who do YOU say that I am?” And then we hear Peter’s answer, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”
Peter’s answer, for himself and the Disciples, declared that their relationship with Jesus was the commitment that defined their lives. For Disciples of Jesus, yesterday and today:
+ their faith, their commitment to Jesus was something that grew daily, with the grace of God.
+ their faith, their commitment to Jesus was something that became more and more evident in the life they lived each day.
+ their faith, their commitment to Jesus was something they strove to share and invite others to know and accept.
In our Scriptures today from Isaiah and Matthew we heard about keys… Keys which are a symbol of authority that grants access…
You and I may just be the KEY to another having the door to Jesus, the Way and the Truth and the Light, open for them…
The key is not the key in our pockets; the key is our lives of faith and commitment centered in Jesus, that we live every day, everywhere…
May our lives as Person, Family and Parish continue to answer the question of Jesus to us the Disciples of today: “Who do YOU say that I am?”
“Lord, will only a few people be saved?”
This question from today’s Gospel has been asked many, many times through the ages. But, often what is being asked is: “Will I be saved?”, “Will I be among the select few?”
And what does Jesus say? “Strive to enter through the narrow gate.” Simply put, to enter through the narrow gate is to FOLLOW Jesus, to love what Jesus loved, and to live like Jesus lived.
Wasn’t this part of our Gathering Prayer today at Mass, “Grant your people to love what you command and to desire what you promise.”
But Father Joe, what might be some ways we can live lives and enter through the narrow gate?
- STRIVE to be “compassionate as your Heavenly Father is compassionate.”
- STRIVE to “FORGIVE 70 times 7, as your Father does.”
- STRIVE to “Seek first the Kingdom of God.”
- STRIVE to be of SERVICE.
- STRIVE to be among those to whom the Lord says, “I was in need and you helped me.”
There is no doubt following the example of Jesus our Lord and Savior is not always easy. It may well be inconvenient, it may well be something we would rather avoid. Maybe that’s also what makes it a “narrow gate” in our journey of life and faith in living our love of God and others…
May we keep striving, as person, family and Parish to FOLLOW Jesus, to love what Jesus loved, and to live like Jesus lived.
Scripture Readings: Joshua 24:2-2, 15-18; Ephesians 5:21-32; John 6:60-69
If asked “Do you believe? Are you and your family people of faith?” We would most readily share, “Sure I believe, sure I am a person of faith!”
But as life gets in the way, with all that can and often does go wrong… With the suffering and injustice and hate, that is part of the lives of others and even our own.
With the business of life that keeps us, at times, from doing the good or the right we espouse. How are our actions, our lives, really saying: “As for me and our household we will serve the Lord, for he is our God.”
Let me share two examples:
+ There was a story I heard this week about an American woman who was taken hostage about 2 years ago by ISIS. Time and time again, she was asked, maybe better said demanded to renounce her Christian faith. But in the face of torture and so much more – refused time and time again to renounce her Christian faith.
Makes you wonder how we might response to such a situation?
+ Then in the past few days, we hear that former President Jimmy Carter has brain cancer. Jimmy Carter has always been known to be a person of faith and this came out again, as he shared with the media on Thursday his diagnosis.
Jimmy Carter spoke about the peace he has had in dealing with the diagnosis and now with the treatment. And as a person of 90 years of age, he spoke not of regrets (except one), but of all the opportunities he has had over the years to assist people. That one regret was in not freeing the hostages in Iran for 444 days (Nov. 4, 1979 thru Jan. 20, 1981) Said the President, “If I had sent in one more helicopter, in the failed attempt to rescue the Iran hostages.” He then added, that he would have been re-elected had the effort succeeded.
Jimmy Carter shared he would be cutting back dramatically on his schedule but planned to continue teaching Sunday School at his Church. (and we struggle to get health people to teach Faith Formation)
Said the former President, “I am perfectly at peace with whatever comes. Now I feel this in the hands of God. I am ready for anything and looking forward to a new adventure.”
It seems to me, President Carter can be at ease and at peace with this serious condition not because he is old, but rather that he has grown in the faith, grown in his love of God and others. Said the 90 year old President, “I have had an exciting and venturous and gratifying existence.”
“As for me and our household we will serve the Lord.”
“Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of Eternal Life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”
Like the woman hostage, like President Carter, like other people of true faith we know or will get to know. May our lives increasingly give witness to the faith we profess each day; to the centrality of God in all that we do and all that we are every day.