8-MINUTE HOMILYADULT FAITH FORMATIONBIBLE STUDY HANDOUTS

26th Sunday of Year B

UNPREDICTABLE (8:53) – Aron Ralston got his arm stuck between a rock and the Bluejohn canyon wall. He got out by cutting his own arm off.
Fr. Tony

A strong warning against jealousy, intolerance and giving scandal

http://frtonyshomilies.com/

Opening Illustration

The conventional wisdom is that every homily should begin with a story to capture the congregation’s attention and to introduce the theme. 
OPTION A: ALL READINGS

Beware of the Man of One Book!

Thomas Aquinas once remarked, “Beware the man of one book!” Narrowness, intolerance or living life according to only one book or point of view is as much an injustice to the person so trapped as it is against others. The following anonymous piece offers a profile of such a person:

“When the other person acts that way, he’s obnoxious;
when you do it, it’s nerves.

When she is set in her ways, she is obstinate;
when you are, it’s just being firm.

When he doesn’t like your friends, he’s prejudiced;
when you don’t like his, you are simply showing good judgment of human nature.

When she tries to be accommodating, she’s polishing the apple;
when you do it, you’re using tact.

When he takes time to do things, he’s plodding and slow;
when you take forever, you’re being deliberate and careful.

When she finds fault, she’s cranky;
when you do, you’re discriminating.”

Each of the readings for today’s liturgy invites the gathered assembly to shatter this profile and shake itself free of its “one book mentality” by becoming more aware and appreciative of the Spirit of God at work in others, even in those we least expect. (Sanchez Archives).

OPTION B: GOSPEL

If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off

It was one of the most gripping news stories of 2003. In the beautiful but desolate mountains of southeastern Utah, a twenty-seven-year-old mountain climber named Aron Ralston, made a desperate decision. An avid outdoors man, Aron was rock-climbing one day when his right arm became trapped under a boulder, a boulder estimated to weigh at least eight hundred pounds.

He saw immediately that he was in deep trouble. Unable to budge the rock at all, Aron took out his pocketknife and chipped away at the rock for 10 hours, managing to produce only a small handful of dust. Obviously, this was not going to work.

Days were passing. No one knew where he was. Even worse, his family and friends were used to his going off for days without contacting anyone, so they were not even looking for him. With his arm still wedged beneath this enormous boulder Aron Ralston recorded a video message to his parents telling them good-bye.

At the end of several days with no food or water, however, Aron made a remarkable choice. Aron Ralston decided to amputate his arm in order to save himself. And that’s exactly what he did, using only a pocketknife.

After he was finished, he applied a tourniquet to his arm and rappelled nearly 70 feet to the floor of the canyon. Then he hiked five miles downstream where he encountered some other hikers and was rescued. Aron Ralston made the obviously excruciating decision to amputate his right arm to save his life.

It is an amazing story of courage and determination! Who can read this story without thinking of Jesus’ words from our lesson for today,

“If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell”?

What a stark declaration: “If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off”! Aron Ralston certainly made that choice – to sacrifice his arm in order to save his life. There are choices that must be made in life, and those choices determine our destiny.

OPTION C: SECOND READING

Charity vs. Social Justice

Someone once told the following story as an illustration of the difference between charity and social justice: A huge boulder rolled down a mountain and landed in the middle of a narrow, curving roadway. An approaching car rounded the turn and crashed into the boulder. Families living nearby rushed to rescue the injured passengers, brought them into their own homes and tended to them until they were well. That’s charity.

Not too many weeks later, another unwitting vehicle collided with the boulder and the families took them in and cared for them also. That’s charity. Within a month, still another carload of travellers hit the boulder. After seeing to the needs of the accident victims, the people in the area got together to decide how to get rid of the boulder. That’s social justice.

When James, in today’s second reading, called upon the rich to attend to the needs of the poor, he was not recommending charity; he was demanding social justice. He was not pleading with the wealthy to dip into their surplus in order to throw a few crumbs to the needy. James charged the rich to give the poor what was their due on two counts.

  • First, as members of the same community, all were, therefore, responsible for the well-being of one another. If one was in need, those who had the means to help were bound, by the Christian law of love, to do so.
  • Second, that which was being withheld from the poor were their just wages. To refuse to pay the farmhands who had harvested the fields was not only an act of injustice, but it was an affront to God who is ever alert to the cries of the poor. (Sanchez Archives).
OPTION D: FIRST READING

The Spirit came on them also

During her rounds, a Catholic social worker in Corning, New York got acquainted with Orrin, who was on the relief rolls. Orrin, 82, lived alone in a shanty on the edge of this small upstate city. He was just about as poor as he could be, but attracted her by his quiet, cheerful dignity. One day he told her a little about himself, and she began to understand why he was so serene.

“I belong to the Gospel Tabernacle,” he said. “I go to Church on Wednesday night, and there isn’t a fuller Church in town.” “When I get up mornings, I pray for an hour. I pray for everybody I’m going to meet each day. Then I read my Bible for an hour. At night I read the Bible again.”

Orrin’s remarks set the Catholic woman thinking.

“I believe,” she said to herself, “that I belong to the true Church. But this sweet little man seems to be much closer to God than I am!”

God has indeed given us one true Church as the authorized channel of salvation. But that does not prevent Him from working out “special arrangements” with those who are not registered members of the Church. That is why Jesus told the apostles not to forbid a man outside their own number to invoke the name of Christ against demons.

“Anyone who is not against us,” He explained, “is with us.”

Moses had taken the same stand when Joshua tried to stop the preaching of the two men who had not been officially called to membership in the committee of seventy elders.

“Are you jealous for my sake?” Moses asked Joshua. “Would that all the people of the Lord were prophets!”

How the Spirit dealt with the two unofficial preachers was His business; and it was clear He “had come to rest on them also.” (Numbers 11:25. Today’s first reading.) — We have no right to pass judgment on God’s generosity towards any of His children. (Father Robert F. McNamara).

Summary of Readings

Click on chevron banners for additional insights into this week’s scripture in order to relate it to the lives of your parishioners.

First Reading Remarks

In the first reading, we find jealousy, in its destructive form of envy, raising its ugly head in Moses’ assistant and successor, Joshua. Moses and seventy future helpers were called by the Lord God to the Tent of Meeting for the Spirit-giving Ordination ceremony. But two of the invitees were absent, and Joshua could not tolerate these absent men prophesying in the camp without receiving God’s Spirit in the Tent of Meeting. Moses had to instruct Joshua to be tolerant. This selection is intended to provide a Biblical background for Jesus’ response to the same kind of jealousy apparent in the apostles.

WANT TO SAY MORE ABOUT THE FIRST READING?

Additional insights on the First Reading from Fr. Tony

The Book of Numbers was written down after the Exile, in the 6th century BC, by Jewish priests who were hoping to put the broken nation back together and to keep it faithful to God. Chapter 11 examines God’s responses to the continuing complaints of the wandering Israelites.

The Israelites had lamented the absence of meat from their diet, comparing the manna unfavorably to the variety of foods they had eaten while enslaved in Egypt. Moses appealed to God, saying that he was unable to manage the people alone. God heard his plea and told him to select seventy elders — experienced men from among the tribes — whom God would appoint as leaders of the people under Moses and assemble them in the Tent of Meeting. Moses did so, and their God bestowed on them part of the Spirit He had given Moses. At once, they began to prophesy—a sign to the people that God had appointed them as His representatives. They prefigured the ministry of the apostles.

But Joshua, a close follower and aide of Moses who was jealous for Moses’ reputation, complained about two men named Eldad and Medad. Though both had been on Moses’ list of 70, neither had attended the Spirit-giving ordination ceremony in the Tent of Meeting, yet both were prophesying. Moses asked Joshua, “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the people of the Lord were prophets!” and reminded Joshua gently that God is free to choose anyone He pleases as His prophet. Moses promptly corrected Joshua for showing the tendency toward institutionalizing the power and presence of God.

Through Baptism, all of us are made God’s ministers and God’s prophets.  We are filled with God’s Spirit and empowered to interpret God’s vision and message to the people around us, and we are not to grow jealous of those serving the community in positions of greater authority or working for the community in different venues.


Responsorial Psalm Summary

The Refrain for today’s Responsorial Psalm (Ps 19), “The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart,” reminds us that obedience to the spirit of the Law will draw us closer to God and so give us lasting joy.


Second Reading Summary

In the second reading, James warns the rich against giving scandal by their denial of social justice to their workers in refusing to give them a living wage, by ignoring the needs of others, and by condemning and murdering the innocent and the righteous. Withholding a day-laborer’s wage was a terrible act of injustice, tantamount to murder in the agricultural economy of the ancient Middle East. Baptism commits every Christian to work for social justice through peaceable, rather than violent, means.

WANT TO SAY MORE ABOUT THE SECOND READING?

Additional insights on the Second Reading from Fr. Tony

The passage from James illustrates how the rich give scandal by their unjust treatment of laborers and their gross violation of the principles of social justice. Today’s passage is a straightforward moral condemnation and a strong denunciation of the unscrupulous rich who enrich themselves by treating others unfairly and spend their riches in self-indulgence. Withholding a day-laborer’s wage was a terrible act of injustice, tantamount to murder in the agricultural economy of the ancient Middle East.

James is merciless in his condemnation of ill-gotten wealth. There’s hardly a more emphatic passage in the New Testament. Baptism commits every Christian to work for social justice through peaceable, rather than violent, means.

Pope Paul VI’s encyclical on social justice echoes the tradition of James. Jean Paul Sartre, the French existentialist made the false statement: “Hell is other people!” But the truth is that hell is the “person of only one book.” Hell is me, when I am alienated from others, and, from God.


Gospel Summary

In the Gospel, we find intolerance among the apostles of Christ. John complains to Jesus that a man outside their group of selected disciples has been exorcising demons in Jesus’ Name, despite their attempt to prevent him from doing so. Jesus responds by giving the Apostles lessons in Jesus’ own kind of tolerance and in the reward to be given to outsiders for good deeds they have done for the apostles because they are the disciples of Jesus.

We also hear the strong warning of Jesus against giving scandal, especially to innocent children, to vulnerable members of the community, and to beginners in the Faith. Jesus instructs the Apostles, and us, that, just as a doctor might remove by surgery a limb or some part of the body to preserve the life of the whole body, so we must be ready to part with anything that causes us or others to sin and which leads to spiritual death.

WANT TO SAY MORE ABOUT THE GOSPEL?

Additional insights on the Gospel from Fr. Tony

Today’s Gospel gives us lessons in Christian tolerance and exemplary Christian living.

 1) Warnings against jealousy and intolerance: The apostles wanted to reserve God’s love and healing power to themselves as the “sole owners” and “authorized distributors”! We hear John complaining to Jesus that a stranger was driving out demons in Jesus’ Name, though he was not of their company. They want Jesus to condemn the man.  As occasionally unsuccessful exorcists, they may have been jealous of this stranger.  Jesus, however, reprimands his disciples for their jealousy and suspicion and invites them to broaden their vision and to recognize God’s power wherever it is found. Like Moses in the first reading, Jesus challenges a rigid understanding of ministerial legitimacy. He wants the apostles to rejoice in the good that others are doing, for God is the Doer of all good.  Jesus enunciates a principle for the apostles: “Anyone who is not against us is for us.” God can and does use anyone to do His work. The invitation to proclaim the Good News of salvation, in both word and work, is not restricted to the twelve apostles or seventy disciples but extends to anyone who will hear and respond to it “in Jesus’ Name.” The Church has no monopoly on God’s work, truth, love, or power to heal and reconcile. The work of the Kingdom is not confined to the baptized, although it is certainly our special work. This lesson is especially valuable today. Intolerance rising from fear and envy has a long history in the Christian Church and Christians are still known for a spirit of intolerance.  Ask the average person on the street what he/she thinks is a Christian attitude, and he/she will use words like “judgmental,” “narrow-minded,” “dogmatic,” “condemning,” and “intolerant.”  The road to the brotherly love Jesus commands must begin with each of us.  The cause of Christ is not served by one’s rejecting ways to God different from one’s own, or by one’s claiming that no real good can take place outside the boundaries of one’s own denomination.  It is through mutual respect that we find common ground with others and discover strengths in different beliefs. Wherever we see God’s work being done, we should give it our support and be ready to work together with those doing the work, whether they are Christians or not, believers or not.


2) Tolerance in practicing ecumenism: The ecumenical movement aims at uniting all Christian denominations as a sign of Christian tolerance taught by Jesus, that is, as brotherly love. “The desire to recover the unity of all Christians is a gift of Christ and a call of the Holy Spirit” (CCC #820). That is why Jesus prayed: “that they may all be one. As You, Father, are in Me and I am in You, may they also be one in Us, . . . so that the world may know that You have sent Me’” (CCC #820). On September 5, 2000, the Vatican released a theological document called, Dominus Iesus. Its purpose was to correct Church theologians who were distorting the true meaning of the spirit of ecumenism. In this document, the Catholic Church rejected pluralism that implies that all religions are equal. To teach that one religion is as good as another one endangers the Church’s missionary message that the fullness of salvation can only be found in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. As some of you may have heard, this document created a worldwide reaction from a number of Christian denominations. At the same time, some of them admitted that this document proposed nothing new, that this has always been the position of the Holy Catholic Church. The difficulty that they had was that they had not heard the Vatican expressing it so openly since before Vatican II. As a sign of brotherly love, the Catholic Church sees all the baptized as separated brethren and instructs Catholics to practice ecumenism. i) by practicing personal holiness, becoming the best Catholics we can be. ii) by public and private prayer for the unity of Christians, including appropriate prayer in common with separated brethren. iii) by “fraternal knowledge” which means first, learning Catholic doctrines thoroughly and next, by becoming friends with non-Catholics, and learning what those friends believe. iv) by promoting collaboration among Christians in various areas of service to mankind, in our parishes and communities.


3) A millstone for the scandal-giver: Jesus’ second warning is against scandal-givers: those who cause the “little ones” to sin. The Greek word for “little ones” is micron, meaning the smallest or the least.  It can mean children, those who are new to the Faith, or those who are weak in Faith.  Jesus is pointing out that the scandalous behavior of older believers can be an obstacle to those whose Faith is just beginning to develop.  Etymologically, the word scandal comes from the Greek skandalon, which was a trap-stick or bent sapling used for a snare. With a skandalon a hunter could catch a rabbit or other small prey. We may remember how the Enron scandal, the Monica Lewinsky affair, and of course, the horrible sexual abuse of children by the clergy were pictured by the media.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines scandal as “an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil” (CCC #2284). We used to consider a scandal as some disgraceful happening, but here ‘to give scandal ‘means to behave in such a way that you encourage others to sin.


4) Modern scandal-givers: The truly dangerous people to whom Jesus is referring are those evil ones who wear the mantle of religious leadership, and at the same time, by their counter-witness, turn the weak and the innocent away from God, and cause them to sin. Today, we know the irreparable harm done to the Church and the faithful by the scandals of clerical sex abuse and its coverup by the Church authorities.  Likewise, scandal is often given by unorthodox theologians and false preachers, who propagate their anti-Christian ideas under the guise of Biblical and psychological research.   Professors, even at some Christian universities, sometime advocate moral relativism and nihilism, converting students to their false beliefs.  Even teachers at Catholic universities sometimes criticize papal pronouncements as “an infringement on academic freedom.”  Do they not give scandal? Our major social institutions — the news media, the Internet, law, public education, and the entertainment industry — under the guise of “freedom of speech and expression,” often seem hostile towards religion, erecting stumbling blocks to believers.  We have an obligation to make known, with Christian courage, our views on these matters so as to protect the innocent.


5) Interpreting Jesus’ words about self-mutilation? William Barclay says that the Jewish rabbis had sayings based on the way in which some part of the body can lend themselves to sin. They said that the eye and the heart are two brokers of sin, the two handmaids of sin. And also there are instincts in man and certain parts of man’s physical constitution which minister to sin

Our hands become instruments of sin according to what we touch and how we touch, in lust or greed or violence. Our feet are used for sin according to the places we have them take us. Our eyes become doorways for sins according to what we choose to look at or refuse to look at. However, it is important to understand that, in these passages about “plucking out an eye or cutting off a hand,” Jesus is not speaking literally. Jesus is using a figure of speech here, one very common in the Semitic world of first century Palestine — hyperbole, that is exaggeration – to make a special point.  We have more sins than we have bodily parts. Besides, even if all offending parts were removed, our hearts and minds — the source of all sins, as Jesus points out elsewhere — would still be intact. Hence, these sayings are actually about our attitudes, dispositions, and inclinations.  Jesus is inviting us to integrate our bodies into our following of Christ, so that our hands become instruments of compassion, healing and comfort, our feet help us to bring the Gospel to the world, and our eyes learn to see, and our mouth to speak the Truth, Goodness and Beauty all around us.

By these startling words about self-mutilation, Jesus also means that we must cut out of our lives all practices that keep us away from God, and retain only those habits that draw us closer to God. Many years ago, Paul Achtemeier suggested some modern parallels to the radical actions proposed by Jesus back in his time. “If your TV causes you to sin: turn it off! If your computer causes you to sin: disconnect it! If your magazine subscription causes you to sin, cancel it! If your job position or power causes you to sin, resign! If your bank account causes you to sin, give it away.” In other words, absolutely nothing is worth jeopardizing your eternal life with Jesus Christ! Jesus is setting before all disciples the one supreme goal in life that is worth any sacrifice. That goal is everlasting union with God Himself beginning here, with our fidelity to following His will for our lives. God alone leads us to everlasting peace and happiness.  Just as a doctor might remove a limb or some part of the body in order to preserve the life of the whole body, so we must be ready to part with anything which causes us to sin and which leads us or others to spiritual death. Billy Graham has a fantastic way of summing up this Gospel message by concluding his Crusades with a final challenge: “Decide! Cut away anything that prevents you from a radical decision for Jesus Christ! Decide for Christ!”

Life messages

The word of God is meant not only to be heard but to be acted on whether it be the desire to amend ones life or to make an even deeper commitment to Christ and his Church.

Avoid conduct that can lead to giving scandal.

We give scandal and become stumbling blocks to others: a) when we are unkind or unjust in our treatment of them, b) when we humiliate them by hurting their pride and damaging their self-image, c) when we discourage, ignore, or refuse to accept them, and d) when we become judgmental of those who are still struggling to reach a level of commitment that we feel is too low to be useful.


Learn the Christian virtue of tolerance

Christian tolerance asks that we bear with the weaknesses of others (without condoning the evil they do), by: a) remaining true to our conscience and beliefs, b) respecting the differences we encounter, c) working together on projects of common interest, d) affirming what is good in the other person’s position, even when we disagree on certain things, and e) allowing the light of Christ to shine through our loving words and deeds.

WANT TO SAY MORE?

# 1: We need to avoid conduct that can give scandal. We give scandal and become stumbling blocks to others: a) when we are unkind or unjust in our treatment of them, b) when we reject them because of their weakness, faults or sins, c) when we humiliate them by hurting their pride and damaging their self-image, d) when we discourage, ignore, or refuse to accept them, e) when we ridicule them or deflate their dreams, f) when we follow a double standard: “Do as I say; don’t do as I do,” g) when we set standards which are so high that we are unable to meet them ourselves, and h) when we become judgmental of those who are still struggling to reach a level of commitment that we feel is too low to be useful. On the other hand, we become good role models: a) when we support and guide others in moments of doubt, weakness, and suffering, b) when we increase other people’s self-confidence by accepting them as they are and enabling them to discover their hidden talents, c) when we help them to grow by inspiring and correcting them, d) when we forgive them and listen to them with patience, and e) when we make ourselves examples of Christian witnessing.


#2: Let us learn the Christian virtue of tolerance: Christian tolerance is brotherly love; it asks that we bear with the weaknesses of others, without condoning the evil they do. Intolerance is a sign of a weak Faith. Intolerance is also ineffective. It does nothing but damage to the cause it seeks to defend. When we attack a heretic, we don’t change his mind, for the most part. We just give him an audience. To ban a book, is, almost surely, to make it a best seller. Condemning a sinner immediately draws people to defend him. An intolerant attitude will alienate, rather than attract, sinners. Only genuine agape love can overcome hatred. The Church should display this patient love to a hate-filled world. The Church is expected to present Christ to the world. How can the Church present Christ when it is arrogant or intolerant rather than loving others as Christ loves us? We cannot exalt love by encouraging hate. Hence, let us try both to learn and to practice the virtue of Christian brotherly love in our interfaith and ecumenical endeavors by: a) remaining true to our conscience and beliefs, b) respecting the differences we encounter, c) working together on projects of common interest, d) affirming what is good in the other person’s position, even when we disagree on certain things, and e) allowing the light of Christ to shine through our loving words and deeds.


# 3: “He who is not against us is for us:” There is a tendency in us to downgrade, condemn, slander, ridicule, put down and make defamatory remarks against anybody who is different from us. Since the Church of Christ is scandalously divided on denominational lines, it is in our nature to think other denominations as inferior and ridicule or condemn them. When some lay people do better than the clergy in preaching and healing ministry, it is natural for the latter to feel envious of them and question their authority. The Gospel invites us to respect the gifts and charisms of all those who work in Jesus’ Name. Though we need not and cannot accept all the viewpoints of those who are opposed to us, Jesus teaches us to respect them and their viewpoints. All have a right to their own views and thoughts. How wrong we are in thinking that we alone are right, all others are wrong; we alone possess the truth, others do not; we alone possess a monopoly over salvation. This does not mean we accept anything and everything from anybody and agree with it. We too should have our own personal convictions. Tolerance involves a respect for various aspects and facets of the truth. Intolerance gives the impression that nothing is true beyond what our eyes can see. Again, is this also not a sign of arrogance? How difficult it is for us not to hate the person himself when we hate his/her views/ beliefs/ opinions! Jesus calls us to build up a truly tolerant and inclusive society. (Email from Fr. Fredie A.C.)

End of homily

Jokes of the Week

At the end of Mass, some priests like to offer a joke to their parishioners. Please be sensitive though to particular circumstances or concerns. Some Jokes may not be suitable for particular times, placeS, OR CONGREGATIONS. 

CHOOSE ONE

1: Intolerance in the blood: In Belfast, Ireland, a Catholic priest, a Protestant minister and a Jewish rabbi were engaged in a heated theological discussion. Suddenly an angel appeared in their midst and said to them, “God sends you His blessings. Make one wish for peace and your wish will be fulfilled by the Almighty.” The Protestant minister said, “Let every Catholic disappear from our lovely island. Then peace will reign supreme.” The priest said, “Let there not be a single Protestant left on our sacred Irish soil. That will bring peace to this island.” “And what about you, Rabbi?” said the angel. “Do you have no wish of your own?” “No,” said the rabbi. “Just attend to the wishes of these two gentlemen and I shall be well pleased.” (Anthony de Mello, in Taking Flight).


#2: “Die, heretic scum!” I was walking across a bridge one day, and I saw a man standing on the edge, about to jump off. I immediately ran over and said “Stop! Don’t do it!” “Why shouldn’t I?” he said. I said, “Well, there’s so much to live for!” “Like what?” “Well … are you religious or atheist?” “Religious.” “Me too! Are you Christian or Jewish?” “Christian.” “Me too! Are you Catholic or Protestant?” “Protestant.” “Me too! Are you Episcopalian or Baptist?” “Baptist.” “Wow! Me too! Are you Baptist Church of God or Baptist Church of the Lord?” “Baptist Church of God.” “Me too! Are you Original Baptist Church of God, or are you Reformed Baptist Church of God?” “Reformed Baptist Church of God.” “Me too! Are you Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1879, or Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1915?” “Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1915!” To which I said, “Die, heretic scum!” and pushed him off. {An Emo Phillips skit}.


# 3: Jealousy even in death: Feeling very ill, a tough businessman went to see his doctor. After examining him, the doctor backed away and said, “I regret having to tell you this, but you have an advanced case of highly infectious rabies. It appears you’ve had it for some time. It will almost certainly be fatal.” In shock, the man asked the doctor for pen and paper. “Do you want to write your will?” the doctor asked. “No! I want to make a list of all the people I want to bite!” the man replied.)

About Fr. Tony

Fr. Tony started his homily ministry (Scriptural Homilies) in 2003 while he was the chaplain at Sacred Heart residence, applying his scientific methodology to the homily ministry. By word of mouth, it spread to hundreds of priests and Deacons, finally reaching Vatican Radio website (http://www.vaticannews.va/en/church.html). Fr. Tony’s homilies reach nearly 3000 priests and Deacons by direct email every week. Since Fr. Tony is retiring from parish duties, he has started a personal website: https://frtonyshomilies.com/ where he has started putting his Sunday and weekday homilies, RCIA lessons, Faith Formation articles and other useful items for pastors and pastoral assistants. Fr. Tony warmly invites priests and deacons and the public to visit his website and use it for their preaching and teaching ministries. He welcomes your corrections, modifications and suggestions to improve the homilies and articles given in this website.

RCIA Handouts

Clicking on these links to download Fr. Tony’s Microsoft Word documents. 

1- Introduction

2- RCIA & Faith Formation YouTube classes

3- Bible- books, origin, manuscripts, translations (L)

4- Bible books 73 or 66 (L)

5- Bible-Official Roman Catholic Teachings compiled by Felix Just

6- Bible- its divine inspiration (L)

7-Bible- its interpretation (revised)

8- Why the Scripture alone argument is wrong

9- Gospels-Catholic teaching on their origin 10- Jewish and Christian Bibles

11- Historicity of the New Testament (L)

12- The Catholic Bible Study Resources

13- Apostolic Tradition as a source of Catholic theology (L)

14- Sacraments in General (L-12)

15- The sacrament of Baptism (l-12)

16- The Sacrament of Confirmation (L)

17- The sacrament of penance or reconciliation (L)

18- Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist (L)

19- Holy Mass- its origin and theology (L)

20- Holy Mass- objectives and benefits

21- Holy Mass- a short account of the structure (L)

22- Holy Mass- Active participation in the Holy Mass (L)

23- Are we crucifying Christ at each Mass

24- sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick (L)

25 – The sacrament of marriage (L)

26- Marriage annulment- Catholic treaching (L)

27- The Sacrament of Holy Orders (L)

28- Sacramentals in the Catholic Church (L)

29- Catholic Liturgical Year(L)

30- Catholic teaching on prayer (L)

31- Rosary devotion(L)

32- Veneration of Mary & Marian dogmas (L)

33- Why Catholics pray for the dead (L)

34- Catholic devotions as expressions of popular piety (L)

35- Catholic teaching on the use of statues and images in worship

36- Catholic teaching on indulgences (L)

37- The Ten Commandments (L)

39- The six precepts (commandments) of the Church (L)

40- Catholic teaching on abortion (L)

41- Catholic teaching on Divorce (L)

42- Morality of Homosexuality (L)

43- Morality of cohabitation (L)

44- Catholic teaching on contraception (L)

45- Morality of pornography (L)

46-The Apostles Creed & the Nicene Creed (L)

47- Justification by faith hope and charity-L

48-Protestant beliefs and 33,000 denominations (L)

49 – Eastern Rite Catholic Churches (L)

50- Did Jesus Exist (Historicity of Jesus)

51- The history of papacy and the role of Pope in the Catholic Church (L)

52- Papal infallibility (L)

53- Danger of moral realtivism

54- Catholic teaching on conscience (L)

55- Catholic teaching on exorcism (L)

56- Canon Law & canon lawyers

57- Why Rapture theory is wrong and unbiblical (L)

58- Apparitions and private revelations- Catholic teaching (L)

59- Are Catholics born-again and saved

60- Catholic teaching on Creationism and evolution (L)

61- Catholic teaching on one’s eternal salvation (L)

62- Catholic teaching on Bible Prophecy (L)

63- Catholic teaching on devil and devil worship (L)

64- Catholic teaching on the parousia or Christ’s “Second Coming.”

65- Catholic teaching on Heaven and Hell (L-13)

66- Is Atheism- a religion- Jimmy Akin

67- Pope Francis and the three temptations of the church

69- What makes us Catholic

69a- Summary- Homosexuality, Cohabitatiion, Contraception

About Fr. Tony

Fr. Tony started his homily ministry (Scriptural Homilies) in 2003 while he was the chaplain at Sacred Heart residence, applying his scientific methodology to the homily ministry. By word of mouth, it spread to hundreds of priests and Deacons, finally reaching Vatican Radio website (http://www.vaticannews.va/en/church.html). Fr. Tony’s homilies reach nearly 3000 priests and Deacons by direct email every week. Since Fr. Tony is retiring from parish duties, he has started a personal website: https://frtonyshomilies.com/ where he has started putting his Sunday and weekday homilies, RCIA lessons, Faith Formation articles and other useful items for pastors and pastoral assistants. Fr. Tony warmly invites priests and deacons and the public to visit his website and use it for their preaching and teaching ministries. He welcomes your corrections, modifications and suggestions to improve the homilies and articles given in this website.

NAB Introductions

Clicking on these links to download Fr. Tony’s Microsoft Word documents on the introductory material from the NAB Bible provided by the USCCB. 

Genesis

Exodus

Leviticus

Numbers

Deuteronomy

Joshua

Judges 7

Ruth

Samuel I, II

Kings I & II

Chronicles I & II

Ezra

Nehemiah

Tobit

Judith

Esther

MACCABEES I & II

Job & Introduction to Wisdom Books

Psalms

Proverbs

Ecclesiastes

Song of Songs

Wisdom

Sirach

Isaiah

Jeremiah

Lamentations

Baruch

Ezekiel

Daniel

MINOR PROPHETS

Hosea

Joel

Amos

Obadiah

Jonah

Micah

Nahum

Habakkuk

Zephaniah

Haggai

Zechariah

Malachi

Preface to the New American Bible

ntroduction to the gospels

Matthew (L)

Mark (L)

Luke (L)

John (L)

Acts of the Apostles (L)

Introduction to Paul’s epistles to the Romans (L)

Romans (L)

Corithians I (L)

Corinthians II (L)

Galatians (L)

Ephesians (L)

Philippiens (L)

Colossians (L)

Thessalonians I, II (L)

Timothy I, II (L)

Titus (L)

Philemon (L)

Hebrews

James

Peter I, II

 John I, II, III

Jude

The Book of Revelation

About Fr. Tony

Fr. Tony started his homily ministry (Scriptural Homilies) in 2003 while he was the chaplain at Sacred Heart residence, applying his scientific methodology to the homily ministry. By word of mouth, it spread to hundreds of priests and Deacons, finally reaching Vatican Radio website (http://www.vaticannews.va/en/church.html). Fr. Tony’s homilies reach nearly 3000 priests and Deacons by direct email every week. Since Fr. Tony is retiring from parish duties, he has started a personal website: https://frtonyshomilies.com/ where he has started putting his Sunday and weekday homilies, RCIA lessons, Faith Formation articles and other useful items for pastors and pastoral assistants. Fr. Tony warmly invites priests and deacons and the public to visit his website and use it for their preaching and teaching ministries. He welcomes your corrections, modifications and suggestions to improve the homilies and articles given in this website.

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