Weekly posts on the Sunday readings
Homilies and reflections for Sunday
Ezekiel 18: 25-28
Philippians 2: 1-11
Matthew 21: 28-32
This Sunday’s Reflection
Which of the two did the father’s will?
The old proverb, ‘Actions speak louder than words’, reminds us of the inconsistencies that can be present in the lives of all of us. The parable of Jesus reminds us that these inconsistencies can be present in our Christian lives – when we see ourselves as fervent believers, always faithful to our devotions and religious observances, but with little practical expression to show of our following of Christ.
26A Ordinary Time – Blogs
26A Ordinary Time – Blogs
Fr. Anthony Ligato – DIOCESE OF ALBANY
Tax collectors, in Jesus’ time, were seen as collaborators with the occupying Roman Empire. They collected the taxes from the blood, sweat and tears of the Jewish people and took their own cut of the taxes. The prostitute had the lowest existence within society — not only bought and sold by others, but condemned to a life of degradation by the very same people who purchased her services. Now, Jesus is saying they will inherit the kingdom of God. God’s ways are surely not our ways — and thank God for that! (2017)
Msgr. Joseph A. Pellegrino – DIOCESE OF ST. PETERSBURG
This Sunday we are treated to one of the most beautiful passages in the Bible. It is found in the Letter of St. Paul to the Philippians. Paul begins by telling us to be kind, and loving, and merciful to each other. We are to put the interests of others above ourselves. Then he tells us about Jesus. He says that we should have the same attitude in life as Jesus had. He was forever God, but he did not regard this as something to be grasped. Instead, He emptied Himself of His Divinity. He became a human being. More than this, He became a slave for all of us. And He obeyed His Father for our sake, even when this obedience led to His death on the cross. (2020)
Fr. Thomas Hoisington – DIOCESE OF WICHITA
The capacity for self-sacrifice is the measure of authenticity in the Christian life. By contrast, the world around us encourages us to do what is contrary to the path that Christ asks us to walk. Instead of choosing self-sacrifice, we choose self-glorification and self-gratification. Or in contrast to Christ’s path of self-sacrifice, we fudge a little bit: we make sacrifices, but not of our selves. We sacrifice things to which we have no attachment. We’re like the child on Ash Wednesday who proudly announces that he’s giving up spinach and homework for Lent… (2020)
Jamie Waters – AMERICA MAGAZINE
This parable demonstrates that actions reveal character and intention more than words do, a fitting reflection for the recent feast of St. Vincent de Paul. St. Vincent de Paul dedicated his life to the service of others, especially the poor and disenfranchised. His ministry was founded on the Gospel message of honoring human dignity and caring for those most in need. St. Vincent founded the Congregation of the Mission and co-founded the Daughters of Charity with St. Louise de Marillac so that more people could act on the Gospel’s call to service. (2020)
Deacon Thomas Baker – LECTIONARY HOMILIES
We sometimes like to think that as Catholics, we rarely have to do this. You probably know the old joke, How many Catholics does it take to change a light bulb? The answer: What do you mean, change? And it’s true that there’s a stability to what we believe as a church that is reassuring and necessary. But as individual Christians, we don’t have the luxury of not changing. To embrace the message of this gospel, we have to permit ourselves to see something new, especially if that something is pushing us in the direction of seeing God where we were unable to see God before…. (2011)
Fr. George Smiga – BUILDING ON THE WORD
None of us stay the same. All of us are changing. Some of us are getting taller; others are getting shorter. Some people are losing weight; others are putting it on. Some of us are getting richer; most of us are getting poorer. Some of us are developing, increasing in our skills and abilities; others are finding their skills are diminishing. None of us stay the same. The same thing is true of our spiritual life, because our faith is not a set of concepts which we can memorize and then know forever. Our faith is a relationship, a living relationship with God. Therefore, that relationship is either growing or it is diminishing. It is increasing in strength or it is fading. (2008)
Click on link above to read homilies from 2017, 2014, 2005 and 2002.
Fr. Austin Fleming – A CONCORD PASTOR COMMENTS
Some years back I offered you my “Snickers Bar Theology” which I was taught not in the seminary but at my mother’s kitchen table. These scriptures on God’s fairness bring it to mind again. When my sister and I were children and it came to sharing a treat, like a Snickers bar, my mother would say, “OK – one of you gets to cut the Snicker bar in half and the other one gets to choose first between the two pieces.” You can imagine the caution, the care, the precision with which one of us cut that candy bar in two, being oh-so-careful that neither piece come out the slightest bit larger than the other. When I was the one cutting the candy bar I wanted to make sure of two things: 1) that I get my fair share 2) and that my sister didn’t get so much as a speck more than her fair share…In the first scripture today God asked if it were he who’s unfair – or us. And the discomforting answer to that question is: it’s us! (2014)
Father John Kavanaugh, SJ – SUNDAY WEB SITE
In The Brothers Karamazov, Dostoevsky tells the tale of Madam Holakov’s confession to the monk Zossima. The old woman, doubting her destiny in the face of death, presumes her crisis is of faith. Father Zossima, however, sees the problem as one of love. When he advises Holakov to labor at loving her neighbors as a way to dispel her worries, she realizes he has struck a nerve. There is no doubt, she thinks, that she loves humanity; but the actual doing of it, the living of it, gives her pause. (1997)
Father Vincent Hawkswell – B.C. CATHOLIC
Confronted with the freedom he himself has given us, God has decided to make himself powerless, as Pope St. John Paul II said in his book Crossing the Threshold of Hope. God loves us and wants us to love him; but love, by its nature, cannot be compelled; God can woo us, but he cannot make us love him. Our love, then, is all we have that is not already his. Now love does not bargain. No lover says, “I’ll love you this much if you’ll love me that much,” or “I’ll be 80 per cent faithful to you if you’ll do the same.” Love proposes not a contract or a bargain, but a covenant: not an exchange of goods, but an exchange of persons in their integral totality. (2020)
Father Donald Senior, CP – CHICAGO CATHOLIC
Most of us will remember that back in the 1990s, a popular form of Christian piety promoted the saying, “What would Jesus do?” You can still search Amazon under this heading and find a mind-boggling array of bracelets, jewelry and T-shirts emblazoned with “WWJD?” The saying originated with a popular book written in 1897 by a New York Congregationalist minister and social activist named Charles Monroe Sheldon titled, “In His Steps: What Would Jesus Do?” Some claim that Shelton himself was inspired by the German medieval theologian and mystic Thomas a Kempis who wrote “The Imitation of Christ,” one of the most popular devotional books of its era, which is still being published today. (2020)
Leon Pereira O.P. – TORCH
Running through the Scriptures is the recurring theme of two sons, rivals before their father. Ishmael and Isaac are pitted against each other for their father Abraham’s legacy. Esau and Jacob squabble for the same from Isaac. Ephraim and Manasseh are not favoured in the order desired by Joseph. The twin sons of Judah, Perez and Zerah, struggle in the womb with each other. Adonijah and Solomon compete for their father David’s throne. The prodigal son and his brother are rivals for their father’s property and love. This theme is the struggle to be acceptable to the Father. In the beginning, Abel’s offering was accepted by God, but Cain’s was not. It ended with murder, the first murder. The slain brother’s blood cries out to God for vengeance. All this because both struggled to be the Father’s accepted son. (2020)
Fr. Jude Siciliano, O.P. – PREACHER EXCHANGE
The parable is a reminder that, despite our past and present misdeeds and our stubbornness, we are again offered a chance to change and find welcome in the kingdom of heaven. This is a good news parable for both big and small wayfarers who have chosen a path away from God and God’s ways. The parable is also a challenge and invitation to change if we have pretended to be good and upright Christians – in name only. Our initial “Yes” to serving God has to be backed by action. It is not enough to say, “I am a Christian,” or “I am a Catholic,” unless our lives reflect the identity we claim. Yes, we come to church and even say our prayers at home, and then what follows? What’s the vineyard to which we are being sent to labor for God these days, even in the midst of a pandemic lockdown? We don’t have to leave our homes to be doers of the Word of God. (2020)
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26A Ordinary Time – Blogs
26A Ordinary Time – Blogs
Lifeissues.net website publishes articles directly related to issues raised in Evangelium Vitae, and related homilies by Fr. Al Cariño, O.M.I., Fr. Tony Pueyo, and others.
We may have said yes to God’s call to conversion, but did not have the courage to change our sinful ways. Or we may have said no to God’s invitation but later have a change of mind, accepted it and returned to Him. If we did, it is not because of ourselves but because of our cooperation with God’s grace. For this, we can only thank God for His love and mercy for us.
Making word and action fit is a habit to be learned. There are different kinds of people: those who say little and do little (lazy ones), those who say little and do much (the doers), those who say much and do little (the talkers) and those who do much communicating and doing (the leaders). We are defined by our actions, according to Pope John Paul II who, as a philosopher, wrote a book entitled “The Acting Person.”
Most people want to do what is good. Most of us who profess to be disciples of Christ want to follow the way of the Master. The problem is that our actions cannot quiet catch up with our good intentions. We do not lack words but we are short on deeds. As one Filipino rap line goes, “Gusto kong bumait, hindi ko magawa” – I want to be good but I cannot do it. What then is the secret that bridges intentions and actions, words and deeds?
God owes us nothing, not an extra day, nor does He owe anyone in my family more time. How do I accuse God of doing an injustice? It’s as if I were a billionaire and I decided that I was going to deposit $100,000 to your bank account every month, for no reason, I just want to, I want to see you flourish. But I do let you know that it will, at some point, come to an end. If after 4 or 5 years the money flow stops, there’s no way you can accuse me of injustice.
People, indeed, can convert. God himself asks us to believe that through today’s readings.