Curated preaching illustrations and anecdotes from Fr. Tony Kadavil. NEW! Now with videos; Also includes Fr. Tony’s commentary, and Children illustrations/object sermons.
33rd Sunday of Year B
WATCHMOJO.COM (8:15) – The apocalypse is never that far away and these are what might actually cause it! WatchMojo picks the ten ways that the world could actually end in the near future.
God Will Be With Us Until the End
Today’s readings give us the assurance that our God will be with us all the days of our lives and that we will have the ongoing presence of the Holy Spirit in our midst, guiding, protecting, and strengthening us in spite of our necessary uncertainty concerning the end time when “Christ will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.” Each year at this time, the Church asks us to consider the “four last things” – Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell – as happening to ourselves.
Homily Starter Anecdote
The conventional wisdom is that every homily should begin with a story to capture the congregation’s attention and to introduce the theme.
Click on chevron banners for additional insights into this week’s scripture in order to relate it to the lives of your parishioners.
Intro to Readings
The readings invite us to focus our attention on the threefold coming of Jesus: 1) His first coming according to the flesh, as Redeemer. 2) His second coming, either at our death, or at the end of time and the world, which will bring our salvation to completion. 3) His coming into our lives each time we step forward in genuine Christian living.
First Reading Remarks
The first reading, taken from the prophet Daniel (167 BC), was originally given to comfort and give hope to the Jewish people persecuted by a cruel pagan king. It advises us to live wisely and justly in the present time, instead of worrying about the unknown future. Through the Psalm Response for today’s Responsorial Psalm (Ps 16), the Holy Spirit has us sing our Faith affirmation, “You are my inheritance, O Lord!”
Second Reading Summary
In today’s second reading, the author of the Letter to the Hebrews challenges us to look to the future with hope and serenity because Jesus, having secured the forgiveness of our sins and our sanctification through the sacrifice on the cross, sits forever at God’s right hand as the one Mediator between man and God.
Today’s Gospel, taken from Mark (AD 69), offered hope to early Christians persecuted by the Roman Emperor Nero, by reminding them of Jesus’ words about His glorious return to earth with great power and glory as Judge to gather and reward the elect. Daniel and Markcontinue toremind us that God will ensure that the righteous will survive the ordeal and will find a place with Him. Through the parable of the fig tree, Jesus warns us all to read the “signs of the time,” reminding us that we must be ever prepared to give an account of our lives to Jesus when He comes in glory as our Judge, because we cannot know “either the day or the hour” of His Second Coming.
Recognize the “Second Coming” of Jesus in Daily Life
Let us recognize the “second coming” of Jesus in our daily lives through everyday occurrences, always remembering that Jesus comes without warning. But let us not get frightened at the thought of Christ’s Second Coming, because Jesus is with us every day, abiding with the Father and the Holy Spirit in our hearts, dwelling in our Church in the Holy Eucharist, teaching us in the Holy Bible, and unifying us with Him and each other in our worshipping communities. We will be able to welcome Jesus in His Second Coming as long as we faithfully do the will of God by daily serving our brothers and sisters, recognizing Christ’s presence in them, and by being reconciled with God and with our brothers and sisters every day.
Learn the Lesson from the Fig Tree
Jesus tells us that our personal “endtime” is a prelude to eternal happiness. However, we are all so taken in by our secular culture’s fascination and glamour that we are sometimes embarrassed or saddened by the signs of our own approaching end. We foolishly consider growing old as an evil thing, rather than as a warning from a loving God to prepare to meet Him and to give an account of our lives. Our aches and pains and frequent “doctor’s appointments” in our senior years should remind us of God’s warning that we are growing unfit to live in this world, and that we have to get ready for another world of eternal happiness. Hence, let us take the spirit of the 27th Psalm: “Wait for the Lord. Take courage; be stouthearted, and wait for the Lord” (v. 14).
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.
#1: “You’ll wish you were Jewish!!” A Protestant minister and a Catholic priest enjoyed teasing their Jewish rabbi friend, continually asking him when he was going to convert to their Faith. When the Holidays rolled around, the rabbi sent them a card with the following: “Season’s Greetings! Roses are reddish, Violets are bluish; When the Messiah comes, you’ll wish you were Jewish!!”
#2: Missed the “rapture” by a minute: A certain man, Herbert Washington by name, was so taken up by the nearness of Christ’s second coming and “the rapture” that he became a pain in the neck to his coworkers. So his coworkers hatched a plan to pay him back in his own coin. One day, when Herbert went to the washroom, they laid their work clothes on their chairs and hid in the supply room. When Herbert came back from the washroom, he thought the rapture had taken place. The Muslim janitor, who was part of the joke, pretended to have witnessed everyone disappear and ran around the office feigning panic. Herbert fell to the ground clutching his heart and screaming, “I knew you’d forget me, Jesus! What did I do wrong?” He was rushed to a local hospital with what was diagnosed as a mild heart attack. (Fr. Munachi).
#3: The Second Coming. A Sunday school teacher asked his class, “If I sold my house and my car, had a big garage sale and gave all my money to the Church, would that get me into Heaven? “NO!” the children all answered. “If I cleaned the Church every day, mowed the yard, and kept everything neat and tidy, would that get me into Heaven?” Again, the answer was, “NO!” Again the teacher asked, “Well, then, if I were kind to animals and gave candy to all the children, and loved my wife, would that get me into Heaven?” Again, they all answered, “NO!” “Well then how can I get into Heaven?” A five-year-old boy shouted out, “YOU GOTTA BE DEAD!” Good insight for a five-year old!
#4: Somnambulist or Methodist? “Be constantly on the watch! Stay awake,” Jesus commands. The signs-of-the-times are such that, clearly, this is no time for somnambulists. A somnambulist, as you know, is a person who walks in his sleep. On the eve of his wedding, a young man decided to confess all to his fiancée. He went to her and said, “My love, there is something I feel I must tell you before we are married; something you must know. It may make a difference in your feeling toward me. You see, I am a somnambulist.” The young lady thought for a moment, then replied, “Oh that’s all right. There’s no problem. I was raised a Methodist. We can go to your Church one Sunday and to mine the next.”
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.
The Rapture sequence taken from the first film of the Left Behind series, Left Behind: The Movie.
The scene is the interior of a Boeing 747. It is the wee hours of morning and the plane is somewhere over the Atlantic en route to London. The captain leaves his cockpit and strolls down the aisle intending to flirt with the senior flight attendant. She is in shock. People are missing. They have vanished leaving shoes, socks, clothes, jewelry-everything behind. An elderly lady, sitting in first class, cries as she holds her husband’s sweater and pants. She has been left behind. (Matthew 24:40): “Two men will be in the field, one will be taken, the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill, one will be taken and the other left.” So begins Left Behind, the first novel of the immensely popular fiction series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. Sixteen volumes are now on the market with 62 million copies sold for $650 million, along with a movie, web site, 2002 calendar, and survivor kits for children and youth. Tyndale publishers tripled their company’s profits in two years.
But the truth is that Left Behind is fiction, not fact. It has more to do with finances than faith. Its miracle lies in its marketing, not its theology. The Rapture, on which the whole series is built, is the remote idea that believers will somehow be caught up in the clouds with Jesus to avoid the great persecution spreading over the earth. Matthew knows nothing about “rapture” when he talks about the endtime. Just read the text. In Verse 36 we read, “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Who of us is smarter than Jesus? Jesus didn’t even know. Why should we try to second guess the Savior?
“Ready or not, here I come.”
One of the most memorable games from my childhood days is the game of hide-and-seek. On many occasions throughout the year, the family would gather at my grandparents’ home. The children would usually start a game of hide-and-seek.
When the game started, someone was chosen to be “it”. A spot was chosen to be “base”. Whoever was “it” would stand at “base” with closed eyes and count to 100. The other players ran and hid. Then it was “its” job to find them before they could return to “base”. The game ended when everyone made it back to “base”, or when “it” found someone who was hiding. In the next game, the person who was caught became “it”.
The part of that game that still echoes in my mind is what “it” would say before he or she came looking for those who were hiding. “It” would always say, “Ready or not, here I come.” When “it” said that, you had better be ready, or you were going to be in trouble.
When I read these verses, that old childhood game came back to my memory. Jesus is telling His men that there will be a day when He will come again. That day will arrive whether people are ready or not. (SNB files)
In his famous speech, General Douglas MacArthur boldly declared, “I shall return.” Having left the Japanese-occupied Philippines, MacArthur’s words brought hope to a captive people. Two thousand years earlier, Jesus made the same promise to a world held captive in sin: “I will come again!” Join Pastor John Bradshaw on location on Corregidor Island in the Philippines and learn what the Bible says about the Second Coming of Jesus.
“I Shall Return”
IT IS WRITTEN (28:30) – The Japanese bombed Pearl Harbour in Hawaii on December 7th, 1941. Soon after, they invaded and occupied the Philippines. The US General Douglas McArthur was stationed in the Philippines, and on March 11th, 1942, he was forced to leave the islands. Before leaving for Australia, he promised the islanders “I shall return.”
On October 20th, 1944, two and a half years later, he kept his promise. He landed on one of the islands and announced, “I have returned.” This heralded freedom for the Philippines.
Jesus assures us: “Heaven and earth shall pass away before My Word passes away.” (Jack McArdle in And That’s the Gospel Truth; quoted by Fr. Botelho).
Pastor Joe Sweet tells the story of Starr Daily and how the love of Christ transformed him whilst in solitary confinement.
It Began in “the Hole”: How Love Can Open Prison Doors
There is a story of a hardened criminal serving a life sentence, who felt such despair that life had no longer any hope for him. His behavior got so mean that he was sent to solitary confinement for three weeks in what was known as “the hole.” One day while in “the hole” a remarkable thing happened. He was lying on the cold cement doing sit-ups when he noticed that something was wedged into the back corner of the cell, under the sleeping platform. He had no idea how it got there but figured a former resident of “the hole” must have left it. He wiggled it out. It was, of all things, a copy of the New Testament. Now the thing that is so remarkable is that the inmate actually began to read from it. The inmate had always been a dynamo of power and energy.
Suddenly, he began to wonder what would have happened to him had he used his power and energy for good rather than evil. The thought completely boggled his mind. For a long time he lay there thinking: “Why did God create me? Why did God create someone who would end up behind bars? Why did God create someone who would die to goodness and love and be buried in a tomb of evil and hate in a prison cell?” What happened next is hard to describe.
A surprising thought entered the inmate’s mind. The greatest event in history began in a tomb- a tomb just as secure and guarded as his cell. That event, of course was the resurrection of Jesus. A second thought jolted him. What happened to Jesus could happen to him too, in “the hole.” Because of Jesus’ new life and glory, he too could be reborn. He too could be re-created. In a sense he too could rise from the dead. At that moment something roused deep inside him; he felt it stirring. He asked Jesus to come to him and raise him to a new life, to re-create a hardened criminal into a new person. And what happened to Jesus in the tomb happened to the prisoner in his tomb, “the hole.” The resurrection power of God brought him new life.
That man was Starr Dailey, who after being released from prison became one of the pioneers of prison reform in the United States. (Mark Link).
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