Video Lessons on the “four pillars” of the Catechism
2 Kings 4:8-11, 14-16a
Gerbrand van den Eeckhout, Elisha and the Shunammite woman, 1649
The Shunammite woman and Elisha’s blessing
FIRST READING—In the First Reading, a woman generously receives God’s prophet Elisha into her home because she tells her husband, “I know that he is a holy man of God.” Not only does Elisha’s presence in her home enrich her life, but Elisha rewards her generosity by his petition to the Lord bless his barren benefactress with a child.
Psalm 89:2-3, 16-17, 18-19
The faithfulness of God’s promises
PSALM—In the Responsorial Psalm, the psalmist proclaims God’s steadfast covenant love for His people and His faithfulness to the promises He makes to them. He describes God’s protection of His people and their king, who is God’s chosen representative to the covenant people. Chief among the kings of Israel was David, the divinely anointed shepherd-king with whom God made an eternal covenant. In Jesus of Nazareth, Son of God and Son of David, God fulfills the promises of the everlasting Davidic covenant. The resurrected Jesus Christ is the eternal King of God’s New Covenant people.
Romans 6:3-4, 8-11
Baptism at St. Isidore Church, Macomb, MI
The regeneration of Baptism
SECOND READING—In the Second Reading, Christ’s representative, St. Paul, tells us how Christians receive an infusion of divine grace through the Sacrament of Baptism. The regenerative waters of baptism yield a supernatural transformation and rebirth. Baptism not only frees us from slavery to sin but allows us to begin a new life in which we are no longer a child of Adam but become a child of God. This “new life” is not merely symbolic. Paul writes that in Christian Baptism, our old self dies with the crucified Christ, and in our new life, God calls us to live not only in freedom from “sin” but freedom from “self.” The sinner is immersed in water and is thus “buried” with Christ with whom the Christian is also raised up through the water to a resurrection as a new creation, infused with “divine life” as a member of God’s holy covenant family.
Agape Bible Study by Michal E. Hunt; used with permission.
Carrying the Cross of Christ Mosaic in St. Mary’s Cathedral, Aberdeen
The conditions of discipleship
GOSPEL— In the Gospel Reading, Jesus gives a teaching on the conditions of discipleship. Jesus, the Living Word of God to humanity, warns that the decision to follow Him may cause a break in the bonds of our friendships and families. Alluding to His future crucifixion, Jesus invites His disciples to follow Him in announcing the Kingdom in His healing ministry, in His suffering, and ultimately in His glory. Jesus also speaks of the reward for receiving one of His emissaries and the Gospel message he carries. Jesus promises that someone who does even a small act of kindness for one of His disciples will not lose his reward of eternal life.
Carrying the Cross of Christ Mosaic in St. Mary’s Cathedral, Aberdeen
We need to be hospitable and generous
Hospitality means acknowledging the presence of God in others and serving Him in them, especially those in whom we least expect to find Him. We, as individuals and as a community, are to look for opportunities to be hospitable–and, of course, there are plenty of ways of offering hospitality. Maybe hospitality is offered through a kind word to a stranger – or even a smile. A kind smile or a “hello” to someone waiting with us in a grocery line may be the only kindness that person encounters all day. We become fully alive as Christians through the generous giving of ourselves. What is more important than sending checks for charitable causes is giving of ourselves to people, first, in the way we think about them, for from that spring will flow the ways we speak to them and about them, forgive their failings, encourage them, show them respect, console them, and offer them help. Such generosity reflects warmth radiating from the very love of God.
We become fully alive as Christians through the generous giving of ourselves. What is more important than sending checks for charitable causes is giving of ourselves to people, first, in the way we think about them, for from that spring will flow the ways we speak to them and about them, forgive their failings, encourage them, show them respect, console them, and offer them help. Such generosity reflects warmth radiating from the very love of God.
Materialism and consumerism dominate our lives and turn our homes into isolated fortresses with iron gates, intruder alarms, and surveillance cameras. Society believes in competition, power, influence and success. Jesus’ argument is that when we work hard to ensure that everyone has enough, there will be enough for us, too. Hence, the questions we should ask are, “Am I living my life at the expense of others?” “Am I trying to live in solidarity with others?” and “Am I aware of people in my area who are in real need?”
In the words of Mother Teresa, “The Gospel is written on your fingers.” Holding up her fingers, one at a time, she accented each word: “You-Did-It-To-Me.” Mother Teresa then added: “At the end of your life, your five fingers will either excuse you or accuse you of doing it unto the least of these.”
Visit Fr. Tony’s Homilies each week for an introduction to the Sunday readings, scripture lessons, homily starter anecdotes, a summary of each of the scripture readings, and Gospel exegesis. Fr. Tony’s Life Messages have be used with permission.
Praying with the Word
Jesus, in the Gospel you tell us that commitment to you must be the number one priority in our lives. Help me to recognize what, if any, other loves I have that distract me from you, and help me to move towards putting you first in my life.
1. Turn to the person next to you and share what word/s or image/s in the readings caught your attention. Did they comfort or challenge you or touch you in some way? Which part of the Passion story speaks to you most this year? Why?
2. Did you grow up in a home that offered hospitality to others? In what ways does your parish show hospitality to newcomers? In what ways could it do a better job?
3. Dying to the false self is usually not easy. What can help us in this process?
4. In the Gospel, Jesus says that the giving of a glass of water will not go unrewarded. What are other examples of small acts of love that you and I can practice?
5. Name one thing today’s Gospel says to us that we disciples of Jesus need to heed and act on.
©2020 Fr. Eamon Tobin. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.
Responding to God’s Word
Live the message of hospitality in your home, neighborhood, workplace and Church.
Father, I abandon myself into your hands; do with me as you will. For whatever you do, I thank you; I am ready for all, I accept all.Let your will be done in me as in all creatures; I ask nothing else.Into your hands I commend my soul; I give it to you with all the love of my heart. I love you and I want to give myself into your hands with a trust beyond all measure because you are my Father. — Charles de Foucauld (Prayer of Abandonment)
I thank God for my handicaps, for through them, I have found myself, my work, and my God. — Helen Keller
Video by Larry Broding. Visit Word-Sunday.com website for detailed commentary and other resources regarding the readings for this Sunday.
INTRODUCTION — Living as a Christian is not a neutral reality. The disciples and early Christians were committing themselves to real challenges, often life-threatening. Answering Christ’s call was to embrace his life with all its ramifications. Those who did so believed it would be worth it. It’s doubtful that they blindly followed him. Have we ever considered that being Christian may cost us something? Perhaps we’ve never asked ourselves this question. Maybe it is time to do so.
|Lord Jesus, you called the apostles to take up your cross: Lord, have mercy.||Christ Jesus, you promised rewards to those who lived as you lived: Christ, have mercy.||Lord Jesus, you offer us the same invitation: Lord, have mercy.|
NCR SUNDAY RESOURCES – Joan DeMerchant
Note: Fr. Sigma has no available homilies for 13A Ordinary Time. Instead, here is the homily he gave on June 7, 2020.
EXCERPT – This week I began to understand that racism is not limited to the individual intentional actions of bad people. I will repeat that. Racism is not limited to the individual intentional actions of bad people. Actions such as assaulting a person of color are certainly a part of racism. They are its most visible part. But racism is bigger. It goes beyond individual intentional actions. Racism is imbedded in the structures of our society. It is present in the ways laws, tradition, and influence give preference to one race over the other in the areas of business, housing, education, health, and safety.
RELATED HOMILIES BY FR. SIGMA: Fr. Sigma has no homilies in his archive for 13A Ordinary Time.
BUILDING ON THE WORD – Fr. George Sigma
EXCERPT — The rewards for accepting the Gospel are awesome, but the demands are hefty. Jesus wants his followers to recognize fully the implications of their decision to believe. Belief is not passive or easy. It is an active engagement with God and community. Devoting oneself to God will result in a life of sacrifice for the sake of others. Jesus previews the work of true discipleship and invites his followers to imitate him, while recognizing the benefits and challenges they might encounter.
Juneteenth, when we celebrate the freedom of slaves in the United States, is a good time to reflect on ancient prophets who have much in common with today’s activists.
AMERICA MAGAZINE – Jamie Waters
EXCERPT – In our Gospel reading, Jesus affirms that whoever receives someone he sends receives him. Catholic doctrine declares that the priest acts in persona Christi–in the person of Christ. This is most evident inthe Mass, when the priest speaks the words of Christ in the Eucharistic Prayer and then feeds the community with the body and blood of Christ, but it is also true in general. We may find it difficult to affirm this teaching in an age when we have been made acutely aware of the failings of some priests. Yet, the New Testament, in its stunning honesty, did not hesitate to point out the failures of the apostles themselves. We can affirm this teaching because it is a grace given to usby the Lord. He chooses to act through priests.But not only through priests. All Christians, by virtue of their baptism, are incorporated into the Church and become a priestly people. In a broader sense, we are all called to act in persona Christi. This is another way of saying that we are called to be saints.
Echoing God’s WordS – Rev. Clement D. Thimbodeau (1932-2017)
EXCERPT – If the totality of our love is exhausted by any created thing or person, then that “loved one”must become the anchor of our being, our purpose and fulfillment, our security and final hope. Sooner or later such a total object of our love becomes our idol, a false god. But God must always be “more than” any creature of earth. If we turn a human person into a god, either that person will eventually possess us, or we will try to possess and use the fabricated god as an idol. Psychologically this paradox makes sense, although not to the person under the spell of idolatry. If we say to another, “You’re my everything; you’re my meaning; I am nothing without you,” then what is left of us to give that person? Why would he or she even be bothered with us, if we are nothing without them?
SUNDAY WEB SITE – Father John Kavanaugh, SJ
THIS WEEK’S CATECHISM EXCERPTS
“By using the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the homilist can help his people integrate the word of God, the faith of the Church, the moral demands of the Gospel, and their personal and liturgical spirituality.”
From the Homiletic Directory
CCC 537, 628, 790, 1213, 1226-1228, 1694: baptism, to die to self, to live for Christ
CCC 1987: grace justifies through faith and baptism
To follow Christ is first vocation of Christian
The Family and the Kingdom
2232 Family ties are important but not absolute. Just as the child grows to maturity and human and spiritual autonomy, so his unique vocation which comes from God asserts itself more clearly and forcefully. Parents should respect this call and encourage their children to follow it. They must be convinced that the first vocation of the Christian is to follow Jesus: “He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”39
2233 Becoming a disciple of Jesus means accepting the invitation to belong to God’s family, to live in conformity with His way of life: “For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother, and sister, and mother.”40
Parents should welcome and respect with joy and thanksgiving the Lord’s call to one of their children to follow him in virginity for the sake of the Kingdom in the consecrated life or in priestly ministry.
Baptism, to die to self, to live for Christ
The baptism of Jesus
537 Through Baptism the Christian is sacramentally assimilated to Jesus, who in his own baptism anticipates his death and resurrection. The Christian must enter into this mystery of humble self-abasement and repentance, go down into the water with Jesus in order to rise with him, be reborn of water and the Spirit so as to become the Father’s beloved son in the Son and “walk in newness of life”:238
- Let us be buried with Christ by Baptism to rise with him; let us go down with him to be raised with him; and let us rise with him to be glorified with him.239Everything that happened to Christ lets us know that, after the bath of water, the Holy Spirit swoops down upon us from high heaven and that, adopted by the Father’s voice, we become sons of God.240
“Buried with Christ. . .”
628 Baptism, the original and full sign of which is immersion, efficaciously signifies the descent into the tomb by the Christian who dies to sin with Christ in order to live a new life. “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”475
790 Believers who respond to God’s word and become members of Christ’s Body, become intimately united with him: “In that body the life of Christ is communicated to those who believe, and who, through the sacraments, are united in a hidden and real way to Christ in his Passion and glorification.”220 This is especially true of Baptism, which unites us to Christ’s death and Resurrection, and the Eucharist, by which “really sharing in the body of the Lord, . . . we are taken up into communion with him and with one another.”221
The Sacrament of Baptism
1213 Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit (vitae spiritualis ianua),4 and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission: “Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water in the word.”5
Baptism in the Church
1226 From the very day of Pentecost the Church has celebrated and administered holy Baptism. Indeed St. Peter declares to the crowd astounded by his preaching: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”26 The apostles and their collaborators offer Baptism to anyone who believed in Jesus: Jews, the God-fearing, pagans.27 Always, Baptism is seen as connected with faith: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household,” St. Paul declared to his jailer in Philippi. And the narrative continues, the jailer “was baptized at once, with all his family.”28
1227 According to the Apostle Paul, the believer enters through Baptism into communion with Christ’s death, is buried with him, and rises with him:
- Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.29
The baptized have “put on Christ.”30 Through the Holy Spirit, Baptism is a bath that purifies, justifies, and sanctifies.31
1228 Hence Baptism is a bath of water in which the “imperishable seed” of the Word of God produces its life-giving effect.32 St. Augustine says of Baptism: “The word is brought to the material element, and it becomes a sacrament.”33
Life in Christ
1694 Incorporated into Christ by Baptism, Christians are “dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus” and so participate in the life of the Risen Lord.8 Following Christ and united with him,9 Christians can strive to be “imitators of God as beloved children, and walk in love”10 by conforming their thoughts, words and actions to the “mind . . . which is yours in Christ Jesus,”11 and by following his example.12
Grace justifies through faith and baptism
1987 The grace of the Holy Spirit has the power to justify us, that is, to cleanse us from our sins and to communicate to us “the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ” and through Baptism:34
- But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. For we know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. The death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves as dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.35