Curated preaching illustrations and anecdotes from Fr. Tony Kadavil. NEW! Now with videos; Also includes Fr. Tony’s commentary, and Children illustrations/object sermons.
4th Sunday of Advent, Year C
SPEECHES IN AMERICAN HISTORY (13:59) – Bobby Kennedy delivered a speech, known as a ‘Ripple of Hope’, to the University of Cape Town in South Africa amidst racial tensions. On arrival in Johannesburg, the South African government informed then Senator Bobby Kennedy, and his wife Ethel, that they would not be providing protection, but this did not dissuade them. Bobby Kennedy was a fierce advocate for civil rights and a humanitarian in the purest sense. He was known for referencing the quote, “Some men see things as they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?” Bobby Kennedy was the last kind of man who should be taken from this world.
Jesus is Reborn Everyday in Ordinary People Living Ordinary Lives
Today’s readings remind us that Jesus is reborn every day in ordinary people living ordinary lives, who have the willingness to respond to God’s call and the openness to do God’s will.They suggest that Christmas should inspire us to carry out God’s word as Mary and Jesus did, in perfect, loving obedience to His will, with cheerful kindness and unselfish generosity.
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.
In the first reading, the prophet Micah gives assurance to the Jews that God is faithful to His promises and that from the unimportant village of Bethlehem He will send them the long-expected ruler.
The second reading, taken from Paul’s Letter to the Hebrews, reminds us to be thankful for Jesus Christ’s Self-offering, the perfect sacrifice of loving obedience that liberated us from sin. In obedient, willing eagerness to do God’s will, (“Behold, I come to do Your will”), Christ gave Himself in the place of all other ritual sacrifices offered as the means of sanctification.
In the Gospel, Luke tells us how two seemingly insignificant women met to celebrate the kindness and fidelity of God. We see here how sensitive Mary was to the needs of Elizabeth, her older cousin who had miraculously become pregnant in her old age. For Luke, discipleship consists in listening to God’s word and then carrying it out, and Mary does both, to become the most perfect disciple.
1) We need to carry Jesus to others as Mary did. Christmas is the ideal time for us to be filled with the Spirit of Christ, through Whom Christ is reborn in us and thus enables us to share His love with all whom we encounter. We do so by offering them all humble and committed service, unconditional forgiveness and compassionate, caring love. Let us take the time to visit others during this Christmas season, especially the sick and shut-ins, to bring some inspiration into their lives, and hopefully to bring them closer to God.
2) We need to bless and encourage the younger generation. Elizabeth demonstrates the responsibility of the older generation to inspire the younger generation. Grandparents, parents, teachers, and leaders are responsible for encouraging those around them. By complimenting and encouraging one’s spouse, children and friends, let us make them know how valuable they are to us and to God.
3) We need to recognize the Real Presence of the Emmanuel (God is with us) in the Holy Eucharist, in the Bible, in the Sacraments, and in the praying community. The hill country of Judea is right here in our surroundings. Let us convey Jesus to people around us by our acts of love, kindness and forgiveness.
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) Christmas telegram: The preacher and his pregnant wife had left for a conference in France, forgetting to give instructions for the banner which was to decorate the hall at the Christmas Carol Concert, the following weekend. The parish secretary was astonished to receive a telegram from France which readd simply: UNTO US A SON IS BORN. NINE FEET LONG AND TWO FEET WIDE. REV. AND MRS. JOHNSON.
2) Christmas Stamps: A woman went to the Post Office to buy stamps for her Christmas cards. “What denomination?” asked the clerk? “Oh, good Heavens! Have we come to this?” said the woman. “Well, give me 20 Catholic stamps for me and 20 Baptist stamps for my husband.”
3) On whose side? During the American Civil War, a lady exclaimed effusively to President Lincoln: “Oh Mr. President, I feel so sure that God is on our side, don’t you?” “Ma’am,” replied the President, “I am more concerned that we should be on God’s side.”
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 World’s First Eucharistic Procession
FATHER BURKE (15:08)
Pope Benedict XVI has written that the Visitation is more than just a trip into the country for a young girl from Nazareth. As he explains, when Mary “set out in haste” to visit her cousin Elizabeth, she embarked on the world’s first Eucharistic procession. She carried Christ into the world. She was a living tabernacle. And so it is that her cousin became the first to experience Eucharistic adoration, and to share in the first Benediction. “Blessed are you,” she says to Mary. “Blessed is the fruit of your womb. Blessed are you who believed.” Three times, she speaks the word “Blessed.”
I can’t help but be reminded of our own Benediction, when the bells ring three times, and then we chant the divine praises: “Blessed be God…”
When Pregnancy Met Pregnancy
(Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen in The World’s First Love): One of the most beautiful moments in history was that when pregnancy met pregnancy, when child-bearers became the first heralds of the King of Kings. All pagan religions begin with the teachings of adults, but Christianity begins with the birth of a Child. From that day to this, Christians have ever been the defenders of the family and the love of generation. If we ever sat down to write out what we would expect the Infinite God to do, certainly the last thing we would expect would be to see Him imprisoned in a carnal ciborium for nine months; and the next to last thing we would expect is that the “greatest man ever born of woman” while yet in his mother’s womb, would salute the yet imprisoned God-man. But this is precisely what took place in the Visitation.
The Sonnet, “The Visitation”
The sonnet, entitled “The Visitation”, and today’s feast, celebrate one wonderful moment of our salvation as Mary shares with Elizabeth the arrival of the “hidden God”. The poem was written by American poet Joyce Kilmer (1886–1918), author of “Trees.” It has a dedication to fellow-American poet, Louise Imogen Guiney. A sergeant in the 165th US Infantry Regiment, Kilmer was killed at the Second Battle of Marne in 1918 at the age of 31. (Fr. Tony) (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/21
There is a wall of flesh before the eyes
Of John, who yet perceives and hails his King.
It is Our Lady’s painful bliss to bring
Before mankind the Glory of the skies.
Her cousin feels her womb’s sweet burden rise
And leap with joy, and she comes forth to sing,
With trembling mouth, her words of welcoming.
She knows her hidden God, and prophesies.
Saint John, pray for us, weary souls that tarry
Where life is withered by sin’s deadly breath.
Pray for us, whom the dogs of Satan harry,
Saint John, Saint Anne, and Saint Elizabeth.
And, Mother Mary, give us Christ to carry
Within our hearts, that we may conquer death.
Please be patient
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Please be patient
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