Archive for November, 2006

31st Sunday Ordinary Time Nov. 5, 2006

Monday, November 6th, 2006

Homily — 31st Sunday Ordinary Time MMVI Nov. 5, 2006

shema

Well said teacher, you are right in saying this.

Our liturgical year draws to an end; only three more Sundays remain until the Season of Advent. In a few week’s we’ll celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King, remembering how God the Father has given all judgment over to Jesus the Just Judge.

Jesus, the Judge of all, is judged by noone. He is the Word made Flesh, and His Words are spirit and life, inerrant and infallible.

It should be in this context that we view the interesting exchange between this scribe and our Lord Jesus.

One of the scribes (the scribes were the learned class of Jews) came up to Jesus and asked Him “Which is the first of all the commandments?” And after Jesus, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, gave His irrevocable answer, the scribe said to Him, “Well said, teacher. You are right in saying that.”

Jesus, the All Powerful God, the Judge of all, is being judged by this ordinary scribe, who Mark doesn’t bother to name because he wasn’t outstanding in any way. But this ordinary scribe stands up to Jesus and says: “Let me tell you something Jesus: you are right. And I’m gonna tell you why you’re right and not wrong. And another thing: that was perfect the way you said it. I wouldn’t have said it any differently!”

Notice how after this Pontificating, Jesus doesn’t say to the scribe “You, a sinner, are going to tell Me, the Son of God, why I am right and not wrong? You, a creature doomed to die, are telling Me that My Eternal Word meets your approval?”

Jesus doesn’t say any of these things; instead He says “You answer with understanding….you are not far from the kingdom of God.”

Jesus was actually very pleased with the Scribes judgement of Him, because it showed that the Scribe was loving God with all his heart, soul, mind and strength.

The Scribe was in effect saying “You know Jesus, I’ve really thought long and hard, with all my mind, about how I should please God, I’ve pondered deeply, with all my soul, on all the Books of the Scriptures, each day I seek after God, with all my heart, and ask Him to enlighten me and show me the truth, and then when God shows me the truth, I abandon everything else and run after it with all my strength.”

“And so I say Well said Jesus. You are right on about what the greatest commandment is.”

My brothers and sisters, Jesus loves it when we tell Him He’s right. He so wants us to run up to Him and say “You know Jesus, that was well said when you said “I am the Bread of Life; He who comes to Me shall not hunger” You are so right! Now that I know You in the Eucharist I no longer hunger for you as I used to!

And that was also great when you said love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you. I believe the same thing!

And that was really well said when you talked about the sheep and the goats and that Whatever you do to the least of my brothers, you do to Me. You are so right about that!

And you know Jesus, not many people are gonna tell you this today, many people think you are wrong, but you are even right in what you say about purity of body and mind, and about the indissolubility of marriage, about acknowledging ones sins and repenting of them, and about everything you say in the Bible. Well said, all of it!!!!

Jesus loves it when, after much prayer and study and struggle, we finally come to embrace His teachings so that they seem more like our own ideas rather than His ideas (of course, they are all His ideas which the Holy Spirit has placed in our heart).

So may we strive to answer Jesus with understanding, an understanding of the perennial truths of our Catholic Faith, and so prove to Christ that we do love the Lord our God with all our heart….soul….mind and….strength. Then we will be truly not far from the Kingdom of God.

All Saints Day MMVI

Wednesday, November 1st, 2006

Homily — All Saints Day MMVI

Zodiac Window in Chartres Cathedral France, c. 1220 A.D.

Don’t know if this every happens to you, but every now and then, I’ll be talking with someone and the subject of Birthdays comes up. And when I say to them “my birthday’s October 24th,” the person says to me “Oh, you’re a Libra! Or is that Scorpio?”

For some people, the first thing they think of when you tell them your birthday is what astrological sign you were born under. And if they’re really into it, they will then start thinking about whether their sign is compatible with your sign. But when it comes to my birthday, I don’t think of being born under Libra or Scorpio at all. I immediately think of being born under Archangels.

Because October 24 is traditionally the Feast of St. Raphael the Archangel. And not only that, my parents named me Michael (Feast Day September 29th in case you’re wondering).

And I’m positive that the Archangels Raphael and Michael have tremendous influence over my life, while Scorpio and Libra have no influence whatsoever.

While many people probably don’t take it seriously enough to commit a mortal sin by reading their horoscope on the comics page, objectively speaking the pseudo-science of astrology is gravely contrary to the First Commandment. Paragraph 2116 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church states that “consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens….clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the final analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect and loving fear that we owe to God alone.”

While checking out our horoscope for the day contradicts the honor, respect and love due to God, checking out the Saint of the Day gives honor, respect and love to God the Father. Because our Father has given us the Saints to be our Big Brothers and Big Sisters who can help us follow Christ in this life, if we get to know them.

Some of the saints we should probably get to know about and to pray to include the saint we were named after, and the saint who’s feast day we were born on. Also, our patron saint, the saint officially in charge of a certain profession or vocation or institution. And don’t forget about the saint whose name you may have taken for Confirmation.

As we know, every year the earth completes it’s orbit around the sun, and as the months go by the different constellations of the Zodiac as well as other constellations can been seen in the starry heavens on a clear night.

In the same way, each month throughout the year, the Church gives us different saints, shining down from Heaven upon us below. This past month of October is especially radiant with great saints: St. Therese, St. Francis of Assisi, and St. Ignatius, just to name a few; this month there’s St. Cecilia, St. Francis Cabrini, and two St. Martins.

Almost every month of the year there’s one of the twelve apostles looking down on us (like Matthew on Sept. 21, Simon and Jude on Oct 28 and Andrew on Nov 30).

There’s also most months a group of rugged missionary martyrs from a different country (like the Mexican Martyrs St. Christobal and comp. on May 21, African Martyrs Charles Lwanga and Comp. on June 4, and the Chinese Martyrs Augustin Rong and Comp. on July 9).

And every month in the Calendar doesn’t go by without one or two feast days of Our Blessed Mother: Our Lady of Mt. Carmel July 16, Our Lady of Czenstochowa Aug 26, The Sorrowful Mother on Sept. 15.

As we pray in the Third Eucharistic Prayer, all these Saints are people “on whose constant intercession we rely for help.” And they especially want to help us when their feast day comes up every year — to help us by their prayers and example to be poor in spirit, thirsting for righteousness, pure of heart, and patient under persecution.

And so, the next time someone tells you what day their birthday is, find out who’s feast day that is and ask that saint to intercede for that person.

And if we’re tempted to check our horoscope, or even if you’re not, check who the saint of the day is, and say a prayer to him or her, to help you follow Jesus more closely.

If you do that, I foresee a blessed day ahead of you, and I also predict that your reward will be great in heaven.