Curated preaching illustrations and anecdotes from Fr. Tony Kadavil. NEW! Now with videos; Also includes Fr. Tony’s commentary, and Children illustrations/object sermons.
6th Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)
1913 50 YEAR Anniversary (5:52) – Amazing historical movie footage from 1913 and 1938 of the 50th and 75th anniversaries of the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg during the U.S. Civil War.
True Happiness is
Sharing Our Blessings
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.
Frederick Buechner tells about watching a scene in the Ken Burns film series on the Civil War. It was the fiftieth anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, and veterans from North and South gathered at the battleground to reminisce. At one point, the veterans decided to reenact Pickett’s Charge. All the participants took their positions, and then one side began to charge the other. Instead of swords and rifles, this time the vets carried canes and crutches. As both sides converged, the old men did not fight. Instead they embraced and began to weep.
Buechner muses, “If only those doddering old veterans had seen in 1863 what they now saw so clearly fifty years later.” Then he adds: “Half a century later, they saw that the great battle had been a great madness. The men who were advancing toward them across the field of Gettysburg were not enemies. They were human beings like themselves, with the same dreams, needs, hopes, the same wives and children waiting for them to come home … What they saw was that we were, all of us, created not to do battle with each other but to love each other, and it was not just a truth they saw. For a few minutes, it was a truth they lived. It was a truth they became.”
Frederick Buechner, “Journey Toward Wholeness,” Theology Today 49/4 (January 1993), pp. 454-464.
Central Theme of the Readings
Today’s readings teach us that true happiness, or beatitude, lies in the awareness that we are all children of a loving Heavenly Father and that we will be happy only when we share our blessings with our brothers and sisters in need, and when we work to uplift them, thus declaring our “option for the poor,” as Jesus did. Contrary to the popular belief, wealth, health, power, and influence are not the sources of true happiness. The word “beatitude” means “blessedness” in a double sense: both enjoying God’s favor and enjoying true or supreme happiness.
Scripture Readings Summarized
In the first reading, Jeremiah tells us that true happiness consists in our placing our trust in God and in putting our trust in His promises.
The Responsorial Psalm (Ps 1) finds beatitude in keeping God’s Law.
In the second reading St. Paul warns us that true beatitude is obtainable only in Heaven, and that Christ’s Resurrection gives us our assurance of reaching Heaven for an everlasting life of happiness.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus instructs his disciples in the paradoxical blessedness of poverty, hunger, sorrow, and persecution. “Blessed are those who are poor, hungry, weeping, hated, excluded, insulted and denounced,” because in poverty, we recognize our dependence on God; in hunger, God’s providence; in sorrow for sins, reconciliation with God; and in persecution, the true joy of standing for the Faith with heroic convictions. What makes one blessed is not simply poverty or hunger or sadness or suffering for the Faith but living these in the context of one’s commitment to Jesus and his spirit of sharing. Beatitudes consist in humble selflessness and compassionate, generous sharing of our blessings with the needy. The beatitudes must be understood as eschatological statements which see and evaluate the present in terms of the future glory and everlasting happiness.
Choose AS MANY AS TIME ALLOWS
1) We need to respond to the challenge of the Beatitudes in our daily life
Millions are starving, persecuted, homeless, and leading hopeless lives. The only way the promises of the Beatitudes can become a reality for them is through the efforts of people like us. Hence, let us remember that each time we reach out to help the needy, the sick, or the oppressed, we share with them a foretaste of the promises of the Beatitudes here and now.
2) Let us light a candle instead of blaming the political set-up
God knows that 50% of His children are hungry, 80% live in substandard housing and 70% have no education. If over half our children were hungry, cold and uneducated, how would we respond to their suffering? God wants us to live as brothers and sisters who care for one another.
3) We must take care to choose our way wisely
“There are two Ways, one of Life and one of Death, and there is a great difference between the two Ways.” These are the opening lines of the “Didache” a first century Christian catechism used to teach new Christians the essence of the Christian Faith. The way of life and true happiness is the way of Jesus, the way of the beatitudes, the way of rendering loving service to God by serving our brothers and sisters.
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) Blessed are the peace makers: Choice of Weapons: Little Johnny came home from the playground with a bloody nose, black eye, and torn clothing. It was obvious he’d been in a bad fight and lost. While his father was patching him up, he asked his son what happened. “Well, Dad,” said Johnny, “I challenged Larry to a duel. And, you know, I gave him his choice of weapons.” “Uh-huh,” said the father, “that seems fair.” “I know, but I never thought he’d choose his big sister!”
2) Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness: Religious Holidays: An atheist complained to a friend, “Christians have their special holidays, such as Christmas and Easter; and Jews celebrate their holidays, such as Passover and Yom Kippur; Muslims have their holidays. EVERY religion has its holidays. But we atheists,” he said, “have no recognized national holidays. It’s an unfair discrimination.” His friend replied, “Well,why don’t you celebrate April first?”
3)Blessed are the pure of heart for they shall see God: This is taken from the national archives of the letters of pure-hearted kids to their pastors proving how pure they are in heart: Dear Pastor…
- I know God loves everybody, but He never met my sister. Yours sincerely, Arnold. Age 8, Nashville. Dear Pastor, please say in your sermon that Peter Peterson has been a good boy all week. I am Peter Peterson. Sincerely, Pete. Age 9, Phoenix.
- My father should be a minister. Every day he gives us a sermon about something. Robert Anderson, age 11.
- I’m sorry I can’t leave more money in the plate, but my father didn’t give me a raise in my allowance. Could you have a sermon about a raise in my allowance? Love, Patty. Age 10, New Haven.
- My mother is very religious. She goes to play Bingo at Church every week even if she has a cold. Yours truly, Annette. Age 9, Albany.
- I would like to go to Heaven someday because I know my brother won’t be there. Stephen. Age 8, Chicago.
- I think a lot more people would come to your Church if you moved it to Disneyland. Loreen. Age 9. Tacoma.
- Please say a prayer for our Little League team. We need God’s help or a new pitcher. Thank you, Alexander. Age 10, Raleigh.
- My father says I should learn the Ten Commandments. But I don’t think I want to because we have enough rules already in my house. Joshua. Age 10, South Pasadena.
- Who does God pray to? Is there a God for God? Sincerely, Christopher. Age 9, Titusville.
- Are there any devils on earth? I think there may be one in my class. Carla. Age 10, Salina.
- How does God know the good people from the bad people? Do you tell Him or does He read about it in the newspapers? Sincerely, Marie. Age 9, Lewiston
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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