Curated preaching illustrations and anecdotes from Fr. Tony Kadavil. NEW! Now with videos; Also includes Fr. Tony’s commentary, and Children illustrations/object sermons.
3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)
VOX (5:40) – What the best inaugural addresses have in common
RELATED VIDEO: Inaugural Addresses Have Defined Presidencies: A Look Back
Jesus’ Inaugural Address
The conventional wisdom is that every homily should begin with a story to capture the congregation’s attention and to introduce the theme. Here is one example. Visit Fr. Tony’s website for a whole lot more.
Every single Inaugural Address from George Washington’s to Joseph Biden’s has been preserved. In these speeches, presidents have laid out for the country their dreams, goals, and aspirations.
- Here is a part of the speech given by our first president, George Washington (April 30, 1789), when he bravely acknowledged the role of God in his administration: He said, “It would be improper to omit in this first official act my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being Who rules over the universe, Who presides in the councils of nations, and Whose providential aids can supply every human defect.”
- Franklin Roosevelt said on March 4, 1933, “This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly.”
- Americans remember the role of citizens outlined in President John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address (January 20, 1961), “In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. …. And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.”
- More recently we call to mind Ronald Reagan’s American Song theme in 1985: “hopeful, big-hearted, idealistic – daring, decent and fair. That’s our heritage, that’s our song… we raise our voices to the God who is the author of this most tender music.”
No doubt you were able to identify several of the presidents by the historical references or by the famous lines, and while all of these Inaugural Addresses are important, some are moving, inspiring and worthy of remembrance.
Today in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 4, we have listened to an “inaugural address” delivered not to a Nation but to a synagogue congregation; not in an American city but in a poor village, Nazareth, in Galilee; and not by a man elected by the power of the people but by the God-man Jesus, anointed with the power of the Holy Spirit; Jesus outlines his mission, vision and dreams in this famous reflection and teaching.
Central Theme of the Readings
Today’s Gospel, presenting Jesus’ “inaugural address” in the synagogue of Nazareth and outlining his theology of total liberation, marks a great moment in Jesus’ ministry. The Scripture readings for today focus our attention on the importance and liberating power of the Word of God as “sacramental,” making God present in our midst. The readings challenge us to listen to the Word, accept it into our hearts, then put it into practice as we live out our lives, thus liberating ourselves and others from all types of bondages.
Note: In his motu proprio of 30th September 2019, Aperuit Illis, Pope Francishas declared that the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time is to be devoted to the celebration, study and dissemination of the Word of God).(ORDO-2021-22 page 45).
Scripture Readings Summarized
Today’s first reading, taken from Nehemiah, and Luke’s Gospel both describe a public reading of Sacred Scripture which challenges the hearers to make a “fresh beginning” with a new outlook. In the first reading, after rebuilding the Temple and restoring the city, Ezra leads the people in a “Covenant renewal” ceremony by reading and interpreting the Law. Today’s Responsorial Psalm (Ps 19) sings the praises of the Law of the Lord and its effects on those who accept it.
The Second Reading, taken from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, reminds us that “together we are Christ’s Body, but each of us is a different part of it.” This suggests that, as different parts of Christ’s Body, each of us has a share, as instruments in God’s hands, in bringing the freeing and saving mission of Christ to our world in our times.
Today’s Gospel describes how, on a Sabbath, Jesus stood before the people in the synagogue of his hometown, Nazareth, reading and interpreting what Isaiah had prophesied about the Messiah and his mission. Jesus claims that he is One sent “to bring glad tidings to the poor, liberation to captives, recovery of sight to the blind and freedom for the oppressed”—language that reflects the Biblical year of Jubilee. To the great amazement and disbelief of his own townsmen, Jesus declares that Isaiah’s prophecy is being fulfilled at that very moment “in your hearing,” because the prophecy foretells and describes Jesus’ own mission and ministry. Jesus’ mission is still to give liberation to everyone who will listen to his “Good News,” accept it and put it into practice. Luke reports that surprise and admiration were the initial reactions of the people who were astonished at the power and eloquence. of this son of their soil
Choose AS MANY AS TIME ALLOWS
1) Receive Christ’s freedom, live it and pass it on to others
As members of Christ’s Mystical Body, we share in the freeing, saving mission of Jesus. But we are captives of sin. We need Christ to set us free. We are often blinded by our evil habits, addictions and need for financial security. Once we receive true liberation from Christ, we have to share it with those we encounter in our daily lives, families, neighborhoods, parishes and workplaces.
2) Let the power of the Holy Spirit fill us, and then be ready to have miracles done through us
Today’s Gospel tells us that Jesus performed miracles because he was filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. Let us be ready to become Spirit-filled instruments of Christ’s saving freedom.
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) “Liberation theology” of obesity: And God created the earth with broccoli and cauliflower and spinach, green and yellow vegetable of all kinds, so Man and Woman would live long and healthy lives. And Satan invented McDonald’s. And McDonald’s invented the 99-cent double-cheeseburger. And Satan said to Man, “You want fries with that?” And Man said, “Super-size them.” And Man gained pounds. And God created the healthful yogurt, that woman might keep her figure that man found so fair. And Satan discovered chocolate. And woman gained pounds. And God said, “Try My crispy fresh salad.” And Satan invented ice cream. And woman gained pounds. And God said, “I have sent you heart-healthy vegetables and olive oil with which to cook them.” And Satan invented a chicken-fried steak so big it needed its own platter. And Man gained pounds and his bad cholesterol went through the roof. ………..And Man went into cardiac arrest. And God sighed and created quadruple bypass surgery. And Satan invented HMOs
2) “ I’ve been looking for these for 3 years!” A door-to-door salesman from a publishing house asked a lady if she owned a copy of the Bible. “I certainly do!” she replied with some pride. To his next question, did she read it regularly, she responded, “Oh, yes!” and sent her little daughter to get the Bible from the table drawer. As she showed it to the man, her spectacles fell from between the pages. Without thinking, she exclaimed, “Oh, here are my glasses! I’ve been looking for these for 3 years!”
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.
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