BONUS: Sunday Connections & Illustrations
Archive from previous weeks.
Fr. Tony’s 8-Minute Homily
November 8, 2020
This Sunday’s readings bring the usual warnings about preparation for the end of our own world, the end of our own time and our passage to another world. They tell us that a searching, watching, and growing heart is essential for a lively, dynamic Faith in God. They challenge us to check whether we are ready for these events and how we are preparing for them.
Select one or two of the following illustrations to insert here. View more by clicking on the “ILLUSTRATIONS” tab above. Feel free to insert more throughout the homily if so desired (but this should not be overdone).
Scripture Lessons Summarized
Fr. Tony’s unabridged edition for this section can be found by clicking on the “COMMENTARY” tab above. Feel free to include more detail if so desired.
Since Jesus’ parable in today’s Gospel has five well-prepared, wise women, the first reading chosen for today is one which personifies wisdom as a woman. The author advises Jews in Alexandria not to envy the wisdom of the pagan philosophers, because they themselves have true wisdom in their Sacred Scripture, a wisdom which regulates not only this life but the next also. Hence, they must live their lives in strict conformity with the Divine wisdom given them so generously by God.
In the second reading, Paul offers Christian wisdom, assuring those Christians who expected Jesus’ second coming in their lifetime that the death and Resurrection of Jesus is powerful enough to save even those who die before Jesus’ second coming. But they need to be alert, well-prepared and vigilant.
In the Gospel parable of the ten virgins, the foolish virgins represent the “Chosen People of God” who were waiting for the Messiah but were shut out from the messianic banquet because they were unprepared. The parable teaches us that, like the five wise virgins, we should attend to duties of the present moment, preparing now, rather than waiting until it is too late.
Fr. Tony’s unabridged versions can be found by clicking on the “LIFE MESSAGES” tab above. Feel free to include more detail if so desired.
1) We need to be wise enough to remain ever prepared: Wise Christians find Jesus in the most ordinary experiences of daily living — in the people they meet, the events that take place, and the situations in which they find themselves, and they carefully make their daily choices for God. They are ready to put the commandment of love into practice by showing kindness, mercy and forgiveness.
2) Let us be sure that our Lamps are ready for the end of our lives: Spiritual readiness, preparation, and growth are the result of intentional habits built into one’s life. We cannot depend on a Sunday Mass or morning service to provide all our spiritual needs. We cannot depend on Christian fellowship to provide us with spiritual development. The meeting of spiritual needs and spiritual development itself come through routine, mundane attention to ordinary spiritual disciplines — making sure we have enough oil or spiritual fuel: oil of compassion and mercy, oil of patience, sympathy, and forgiveness. We open ourselves to receive these graces by taking time for prayer, and being alone with God; by reading God’s Word; by living a sacramental life; by offering acts of service to others; by moral faithfulness, by loving obedience, and by spending time with other Christians for mutual prayer, study and encouragement. When we receive the graces we need, we thank God for His generous love. As taking these ways becomes habitual, they cease to be a struggle and begin to be a source of strength and blessing. They make our lives powerful against the onslaught of the world.
Fr. Tony’s Illustrations
November 8, 2020
Unprepared. Forgetful. Irresponsible.
These are the ten best things to say if you get caught sleeping at your desk:
The will to prepare
Former Indiana basketball head coach Bob Knight talks about his 1975-76 team that won the NCAA title and finished 32-0. They are the last college basketball team to go undefeated. (Courtesy ESPN)
In 1976, Indiana University’s basketball team was undefeated throughout the regular season and captured the NCAA National Championship. Controversial and colorful coach Bobby Knight led them to that championship.
Keep your fork…the best is yet to come!
There was a young woman who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and had been given three months to live. As she was getting her things in order, she contacted her pastor and had him come to her house to discuss her final wishes. She told him which songs she wanted sung at the funeral Mass, what Scriptures she would like read, and what outfit she wanted to be buried in. Everything was in order and as the pastor was preparing to leave, the young woman suddenly remembered something very important to her.
How will Jesus find us?
A look at the process that created the famous ‘Body Casts’ of Pompeii, videos taken at the National Maritime Museum, Sydney. (2:21)
Nineteen hundred years ago, the volcano Mt Vesuvius erupted in Italy. When the eruption ended, the city of Pompeii lay buried under 18 feet of volcanic ash. The city remained that way until modern times, when archaeologists excavated it. What they found amazed everyone. There were carbonized loaves of bread, fruit still retaining its flavor, and olives still swimming in their oil. But there were even more amazing discoveries.
Forgetting the parachute
In April 1988 the evening news reported the sad story of a photographer who was also a skydiver. He had jumped from a plane along with several other skydivers and filmed the group as they individually dove out of the plane and opened their parachutes. As the video was being shown of each member of the crew jumping out and then pulling their rip cord so that their parachute opened to the wind, the final skydiver opened his chute and then the picture went out of control.
Victory goes to those who are prepared
Graham Greene once observed: “There is always one moment when the door opens and lets the future in.” Will you be ready when your time comes? Robert Runcie was.
You snooze, you lose
The Tortoise & the Hare (11:33)
From time immemorial, people have resorted to stories, especially fables, to teach some moral points for our instruction. In the West, Aesop’s Fables were famous. One such fable from this collection, which every child reads, is “The Hare and the Tortoise’.
Let us trim our lamps and fill them with charity in silence
When Thomas Merton, the Trappist monk and author died in 1968, he left behind a literary legacy which has continued to feed the spiritual hungers and prod the social and political consciences of believer to this day. Merton’s death, by accidental electrocution, while attending a conference of Buddhist and Catholic monks in Bangkok, Thailand, was unexpected and untimely. Nevertheless, there is little doubt that Merton was prepared, like the wise virgins in today’s Gospel, to meet the Lord.
“Scriptural Homilies” Cycle A (No. 56) by Fr. Tony: firstname.lastname@example.org
November 1, 2020
We need to be wise enough to remain ever prepared
Wise Christians live each day in the light of Jesus’ vision. Such people find Him in the most ordinary experiences of daily living — in the people they meet, the events that take place, and the situations in which they find themselves. They carefully make their daily choices for God. They are ready to put the commandment of love into practice by kindness and forgiveness.
There is absolutely no better way to prepare for the final call than to learn to spend each day in the company of Jesus, remembering his assurance, “I am with you always.” (CCC 1036, 2612: vigilant waiting for the Lord’s return).
The following short prayer should be always on their lips:
“Lord, grant that all my thoughts, intentions, actions and responses may be directed solely to Your love and service this day.” “Help me, Lord, to seek, to find, and to respond to You in every single experience this day.”
When we eventually hear the final call, “Get up! The Master is coming!” we will not be worried, but happy and more than ready to meet Him, as well as old friends and family, in Heaven.
God has made this promise to us: “Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever” (Dn 12:3).
(Fr. Tony) (http://frtonyshomilies.com/)
Let us be sure that our Lamps are ready for the end of our lives
Spiritual readiness, preparation and growth do not just happen. They come as a result of intentional habits built into one’s life. We cannot depend on a Sunday morning service to provide all our spiritual needs. We cannot depend on Christian fellowship to provide us with spiritual development.
These things come through routine, mundane attention to ordinary spiritual disciplines — making sure we have enough oil: spiritual fuel. They come when we habitually take time for prayer and being alone with God. They come through reading God’s Word; living a sacramental life; performing acts of service for others; being morally faithful; obeying God with love, and spending time with other Christians for mutual prayer, study, and encouragement.
These are the things which, along with the normal difficulties of life, enable a person to grow in Christ and to be prepared for Christ’s coming. Without these things we will not be prepared.
The preparation cannot be hit-or-miss, nor can it be postponed. We dare not procrastinate, lest death come unexpectedly and ruin us. We need to develop those things which encourage our spiritual growth into holy habits in our lives, for that growth must take precedence over other interests and claims on our time and attention. As these habits become entrenched, they cease to be a struggle for us and begin to be a source of strength and blessing. They make our lives powerful against the onslaught of the world.
(Fr. Tony) (http://frtonyshomilies.com/)
What is the oil that we lack?
Oil in Scripture is often a symbol for the Holy Spirit.
- Perhaps we try to spring into action without first submitting our work to the Holy Spirit.
- Perhaps we lack the oil of kindness and compassion. There’s no way we can be ready to meet Jesus without the essential oils of compassion and mercy.
- Perhaps we lack the oil of patience and sympathy. Without such oil, we’re ill-equipped to deal with someone who comes to us in need of long-term love and guidance.
- Perhaps we’re short of the oil of education and instruction, or we’re not adequately trained and lack proper skills to be of service in areas where help is needed. Perhaps God is calling us to take our expertise and skills to another level in order that we may more adequately meet Jesus in the people God allows to enter our lives.
I need to have the oil of being in the state of grace. If not, I am in the empty a state of mortal sin. Ignatius of Loyola’s famous prayer is the prayer of the follower of Jesus;
‘Lord, teach me to know you more, love you more and serve you more faithfully in my life.’ (Spiritual Exercises).
The “more” indicates that our earthly life is always in process, never a finished product: like love and friendship it grows in our lives.
It is exciting that Jesus is never gone from us.: risen from the dead he is always alive, always new. Our reading of the Gospel, our sharing at Mass and the sacraments and our personal prayer keep this relationship always alive, always new.
(Fr. Tony) (http://frtonyshomilies.com/)
Fr. Tony’s Commentary
November 8, 2020