Curated preaching illustrations and anecdotes from Fr. Tony Kadavil. NEW! Now with videos; Also includes Fr. Tony’s commentary, and Children illustrations/object sermons.
5th Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)
Oh, God! (2:29) – God (George Burns) speaks to Jerry (John Denver) through his car radio.
When God Calls Out to Us
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.
In the spring of 1978, the film, Oh God! was given an award. It was a film that portrayed the message that God cares about people, that God comes to people, and He wants people to be happy. Do you know the award that film received? “Best Fantasy Film of the Year”!
To some people, it is a fantasy that God cares for us; that God loves us and comes to us in the ordinary affairs of our life. To some, that is a fantasy! Why? If we truly believe that God comes to us, speaks to us, calls out to us, then we, too, have to place the net where He tells us, in spite of the fact that we think we know better. That is what this Church is trying to do. When Simon saw the miracle and stood face-to-face with the miracle worker, he fell to his knees at Jesus’ feet and said, “Get away from me! I am unclean! Get away from me! I am a sinful man!” Confrontation with Jesus was not a fantasy for him.
Central Theme of the Readings
Today’s Scripture readings challenge us to discern God’s call to each one of us to become His disciple with a mission. We are asked to recognize God’s holy presence and acknowledge our unworthiness, due to our sinfulness, to become humble instruments in His hands, as the prophet Isaiah did in the first reading, as St. Paul did in the second reading, and as St. Peter did in today’s Gospel. Today’s readings also teach us that God has His own criteria for selecting people to be His disciples, ministers and prophets. Presenting the special calls, or vocations, of Isaiah, Paul, and Peter as life-changing events, the readings challenge us to examine our own personal change of life and commitment to our discipleship.
Scripture Readings Summarized
Isaiah, in the first reading, and Peter, in today’s Gospel, express their unworthiness to be in the presence of God’s great holiness, and Peter and Isaiah both immediately receive reassurance and their Divine calls.
Today’s Responsorial Psalm (Ps 138) offers a prayer of gratitude for just such a calling. For, it was by giving these three men a strong conviction of their unworthiness and of their need for total dependence on His grace that God prepared them for their missions.
Today’s second reading describes the call of another great apostle, Paul, who judges himself to be unworthy of the name or the call, as he was a former persecutor of the Christians and as he was last apostle selected by the Risen Lord.
It was the miraculous catch of fish at Jesus’ command, described in today’s Gospel, which enabled Peter to find God in Jesus and prompted him to surrender his life fully to Jesus’ service as a full-time disciple. The Second Vatican Council teaches that we are all called to Christ’s ministry by virtue of our Baptism into Jesus Christ.
Choose AS MANY AS TIME ALLOWS
1) We need to pray that our encounters with the holiness of God may lead us to recognize our sinfulness and accept His call.
God, who calls us and commissions us for His service, wants us to realize His presence everywhere and in everyone, to repent of our sins, and to remain in readiness to speak and act for Him in our life circumstances, as He shall direct us through His grace and His Holy Spirit.
2) We need to teach and practice expressions of reverence for the Lord.
We need to express our reverence for God through appropriate bodily gestures. For example, when we come into Church, we need to show reverence for Jesus’ presence in the Tabernacle by making a deep bow or by genuflecting and blessing ourselves with sign of the cross. Then we need to honor Him by listening to the word of God and by actively participating in the liturgy’s prayers and singing. This same sense of reverence can be expressed by keeping the Bible, God’s living word to us, in a prominent place in our homes and by kissing it each time we read from it. True reverence for God naturally leads us to reverent, respectful love of our neighbors, as God dwells in them.
3) We need to remember that each of us has a unique mission in the Church.
This is why God has a different call for each of us. Each of us is unique, so each of us has a mission which no one else can fulfill. Let us accomplish this mission as parents, priests, religious, and lay persons by radiating the love, mercy, and forgiveness of Jesus and by participating in the various ministries of our parish.
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) Catching fish from the shop: A man had spent fruitless day fishing. He didn’t want to go home empty-handed. He decided to stop at a local fish market. “I’d like three good sized fish,” he said to the clerk. “But before you wrap them, toss them to me, one by one.” The clerk looked puzzled at his request, “Sir? That’s a strange thing to ask.” Smiling the man said, “This way I’ll be able to tell my wife truthfully that I caught them!”
2) “I am a fisher of men.” The Reverend Dr. McStuffed-Shirt encountered one of his less-than-faithful parishioners returning from a day’s fishing and engaged him in conversation. “Ah, Brother Jones,” he began in his best preaching tone, “You are a fine fisherman, but I am a fisher of men.” Jones, determined to get home after a long day, replied, “So I have heard. But I was passing your Church last Sunday, looked in the window, and noticed you had not caught too many…”
3) Priest Plays Hooky:The pastor was a fisherman, but he hadn’t fished in months. One perfect Sunday morning he couldn’t resist. He called up his associate priest and claimed he had laryngitis. The priest then headed out to his favorite spot. The hook hadn’t been in the water five minutes before he got a strike and landed the biggest fish he had ever caught – although he had seen bigger ones caught by others. A half hour later, he caught the biggest fish he had ever seen. Another forty-five minutes later he landed a fish that broke the world record. All this time St. Peter and God have been watching the priest from Heaven. St. Peter turns to God, and says, “How can you reward this priest? He lied. He doesn’t observe the Sunday obligation.” — God smiled at St. Peter, and replied, “I am punishing him.” St. Peter was confused, so God continued, “Well, after he finishes, to whom can he tell his story?”
4) Walking on water: Three ministers were out in a boat on a lake fishing one fine afternoon, a Protestant minister, an Episcopalian priest and a newly-arrived Catholic priest. They were sitting out in the middle of the lake and the Protestant minister said he had to relieve himself, so he got out of the boat and walked across the water to shore, relieved himself behind a tree. Then walked back to the boat. The Episcopalian priest did the same thing. The Catholic priest thought to himself, if they can do it, so can I. So, he stepped out of the boat and started sinking. After saving him and bringing him back on the boat one minister commented: “We should have told him where the rocks are under the water!”
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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