4th Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)


Do you remember your childhood? If you don’t, then, just observe children at play and before long you will be shocked to see how children too can battle quite dangerously. Where does that come from?” writes Fr. Chama. “The inflated image we may have of ourselves, and the desire to have everything in our lap, may be an obstacle in our interaction with others.”
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Do Not Reject the Prophetic Church

Claret Media Cameroon

Prophets have been called to proclaim the message of God and to denounce evil in the society in which they live. They are visionaries for they see beyond their present time and circumstances. It is because they see what others do not naturally see that some reject their message. Others reject their message because it challenges their comfort zones which are of course contrary to God’s will. One of such prophets who arose at a critical time in the history of Israel was Jeremiah.

The call of the Prophet Jeremiah is dramatic. He hears the voice of God telling him ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you”. Even before he ever left his mother’s side he was chosen, consecrated and designated because at the time of his conception the kings of the North with the priests and princes had become unfaithful and idolatrous. God now sends Jeremiah to redress the situation and announce his wrath against them. It was not going to be easy for him. In fact, it was an ordeal, since these people wielded a lot of power and could resist and threaten someone to claim to do better. Jeremiah’s mission was essentially to remind them of the good things God had done for them, though they turned away from him.

Jesus Christ was also prophetic in His mission as the redeemer. The Gospel is better understood in conjunction with that of Last Sunday. Having read excerpts from the scroll of Isaiah chapter 61 and 58, Jesus declared that these promises of healing, freedom, Good news for the poor and a year of favour were being fulfilled in the midst of his listeners. Just as Jeremiah was misunderstood, so are Jesus’ efforts thwarted by a lack of acceptance. Despite this we can echo that today, that same healing and salvation are available all through the Church. Inspired by the love of Christ, the Church has been called to a prophetic mission in the world.

We must accept the message of Christ and the prophetic message of the Church no matter how it touches our comfort zones. Many persecute the Church for touching sensitive topics on family and marital issues. Many criticise the church for asking the rich to be more charitable. Many criticise the Church on many other prophetic messages. All of us are members of this Church! It is not only the Church of the Priest and Bishops. As members of this Church, you are one among the prophets in your SCC and in your family and in the Society. We should never deny Christ, much less try, like his neighbours in Nazareth to throw him to his death over a cliff.

But how often in our private actions, and in our daily dealings with our neighbours do we push him and his doctrine given to us through his church and act as if we don’t know him. In this, we are no better than Christ’s neighbours of Nazareth and we grieve his loving heart as much as they did on that sad day. Let us preach the Gospel in Season and out of season.


Envy, Cause of War from Childhood


What an emotional swing! Short time ago people in the synagogue of Nazareth looked at Jesus with admiration, and now they burst in murderous anger against him. What wrong has he done? Or isn’t it just some kind of childhood envy surfacing? Let’s see what message this has for us.

The Gospel of this Sunday continues from last Sunday’s, where Jesus announced in the synagogue his mission by reading a text from the prophet Isaiah. He has come to bring good news to the poor, liberation to captives, eyesight to the blind and liberation to the oppressed. People, in great admiration, had their eyes fixed on him. Surprisingly, that doesn’t last long; suddenly things just turn sour and people just want to finish with Jesus by throwing him off the top of the escarpment. What’s the matter?


Our Perennial Problem: God or His Creation?



When Jesus addressed the synagogue in Nazareth, everyone was “amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth.” However, before he had finished, they all wanted to “hurl him off the cliff.”

It is a perennial problem. “I’m not very pleased with God,” said a parishioner. “I asked him for help with my son, but things are getting worse.”

“I don’t believe in a God who keeps mother and son apart,” says a woman in C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce. “I believe in a God of love.”

If God is all-good, all-loving, and all-powerful, why does he seem to treat us ungraciously?



The Astonishment of Loving

 O.P. | 2019
Dominican Friars of England & Wales, Scotland

The so-called “Hymn to Love” of the First Letter to the Corinthians, our second reading, is familiar from many a wedding ceremony or funeral.  It acts often as a bridge between the Christian community and those who have no faith, or have other beliefs, but are attending and participating in significant celebrations of our God-given common humanity. Extolling our human yearning for love at its purest and implicitly exhorting us to strive for this higher standard, it is right and proper that it is taken to be part of the common heritage of all humankind.


“No Prophet is Ever Accepted in His Own Country”



Over the years, we as Church have also concentrated so much on the details of what we believe. Learning the Catechism was the big deal. But nothing like the catechism figured in what Jesus proclaimed. He focused on the non-negotiability of loving and how to do it. Paul got the message. As we heard today, “If I speak without love, I am simply a gong booming or a cymbal clashing.” Is it high time that we learnt, as disciples of the merciful, non-violent Jesus, the concrete skills, for example, of restorative justice, reconciliation and  other non-violent action for justice? Is it time to introduce into our school curricula, and make time for, such subjects as peace studies?


God is Love



Paul said, Love is patient, so no parents here, we trust,
would be impatient with their children…
no husbands or wives would be impatient with their spouse,
no children here would be impatient with their parents,
no pastor here, we hope, would be impatient with his people
– nor they with him.
No, we wouldn’t be impatient with these folks
– we’d love em…

And Paul wrote that Love is kindnot rude, not quick tempered
so we would hope and pray
that no pastor, parent, spouse, child or sibling,
no neighbor or friend would be unkind, brusque,
careless or short-fused
in dealing with any member of the family or the community
but rather – that we’d love ‘em…


Love as Intimacy and Transcendence


Intimacy demands that we hold on to another, that we commit ourselves to the hard work of listening, changing, and appreciating. If we are to be intimate we must not be afraid to commit, to hold on. Transcendence demands the ability of letting go, of understanding when we have come to the point where we no longer have control, when there is something greater than ourselves into which we can entrust our lives. A full and complete life demands the ability to hold on to the people we love and to let go at those times when mystery begins. Knowing when to do each is the key to happiness.

Love is indeed the greatest of gifts, but it pulls us in two distinct directions. Therefore, the Scriptures today invite us to examine our lives and to assure ourselves that we are open both to intimacy and to transcendence. If we wish our life to be complete, to be fulfilled, if we want to be happy, we must learn how to hold on to the people we love and how to let ourselves go into the embrace of a God who loves us.

Love as Gift (2007)
Loving in the Truth (2010)
The Power of Love (2013)
Christian Optimism (2016)
God’s Love (2019)


Jesus Walks Away from a Potential Threat to His Life



Jesus walks away from a potential threat to his life, demonstrating that ultimately God’s word cannot be thwarted and is continuously offered to and received by people. This scenario or picture of Jesus’ ministry has repeated itself down the ages in the life of the Church, described in details from the outset in the Acts of the Apostles.

In this Sunday’s reading, Saint Luke the Evangelist places before us at the beginning of the public ministry of Jesus the double theme of the rejection of Jesus’ message by his own people and the election of those outside his immediate surroundings, who also will be offered God’s gracious gift of salvation.


The Church Ministers Best as “Church”


The Church ministers best as “Church”.  The Church has done this in the pro-life movement.  From day one, the Church has been consistent in the message of the dignity of life in the womb and the dignity of the woman who carries that life.  All together the Church promotes life.  Clergy and laity in a variety of ways and settings and as different parts of the body of Christ does this.  The Church has been and will always be pro-life.  It is quite likely that Roe v. Wade will be struck down in some form or fashion soon.  It should be struck down.  It is a horrific law that has killed millions and destroyed millions of lives.  But the work of defending life will continue and we will do that work as church – helping those persons with unplanned pregnancies, caring for both children and parents, defending the dignity of the life of every person and working to ensure that dignity on all levels.


True Love



You and I are only something if we are on fire with love. Our actions only have meaning if they are rooted in His Love. Our faith, our religion, is only worthwhile if it brings the love to the world. Jesus came to establish the Kingdom of God. This is a Kingdom of love. This love is not a warm feeling of affection that tries to please everybody and never rock the boat. Rather, it is a courageous love, willing to get killed in order to bring good to those it loves. True love, God’s love, embraces everybody. That kind of love is something! And we are nothing unless we have it. We are the Church. We are the ones empowered to establish the Kingdom of God. We need to put up a fight against the vitriol of our times. We can bring God’s love to the world. We must be people grounded in His love.


Love is Cruel, Possessive, & Easily Angered


If I wanted to preach an unholy homily on the vices of love, I couldn’t do much better than to proclaim this gospel of St Narcissus and point out to you that, though we would deny the truth of this passage if pressed, most of us have experienced love as our impious saint has described it. Hurt. Loss. Aggravation. Passion given but not returned in kind. There is often a disordered feel to the way we love, a shaky balance to the way we will the good for the other. And why? When we love, why do we sometimes sense the presence of our unholy evangelist and his nasty gospel of ego-bloated cynicism? Paul is clear: love is the greatest spiritual gift. Love is a gift. A passion with which we are graced. Think of a green tea bag releasing its brew into a cup of hot water. God diffuses His love through us, infusing us with the best routine, the most excellent exercise of doing the good for everyone around us—the virtue of charity.


Habitual Behaviors: Good or Bad?



Brothers and Sisters, from all that has been said, it should be evident that it is time to examine our habitual behaviors. We should take an honest look at all of our habits. Which of them further the Reign of God here – as well as the Kingdom of Heaven? Which are those that make me and others better people? Which are those that are harmful? Where are my blind spots? How much am I influenced or determined by my preconditioning and the surrounding pagan culture? What must I change in myself to make the world a better place?

Jesus came for our eternal salvation. He came to liberate us from our sinfulness. He came to make the world a better place. As disciples and members of his Mystical Body, we are called to share in his work!


Political Correctness



If Jesus had lived today, he could have saved himself from a lot of bad press by listening to some useful advice from pundits of political correctness – the art of not offending the sensitivities of his audience. But I guess, if this was true, Jesus would have equally stayed on course and perhaps gotten himself into the same kind of trouble, if not worse. Last week, we saw Jesus begin his public ministry by preaching in the synagogue of Nazareth. He stacked up brownie points for his gracious and inspiring words, words that promised healing and liberation. Things rapidly and dramatically changed when he began to challenge their ideas and convictions. Jesus reminded them that God’s salvation is accorded to Gentiles too, not just Jews. They were not so elite, not so chosen, and not so exclusively special. Their prideful expectations were subjected to a humiliating reality check and this enraged them, so much so that they wanted to throw Him headlong over a cliff. No sweet comforting words here, just the plain painful Truth.


Justice Done in Love

HomiliesSUNDAY WEB SITE | 1997

Imagine this. What if there were a politician who could somehow speak of love? What if there were a President who would not only talk of a kinder and gentler nation but refuse to drop bombs upon a city like Baghdad? What if a people’s nobler hopes and dreams were addressed, their latent generosity and fairness, their willingness to share with the unfortunate?

What if there were a liberal politician who could spare as much love for human fetuses as he or she can muster for baby seals and trees? What if there were a conservative politician who realized that words of love apply to criminals and refugees as much as they do to unborn humans and middle-class Christians?


Becoming a Brilliant Example of Jesus’ Love

HomiliesST. LOUIS REVIEW | 1997

To bring about that purification we all need, we are given a description of love that is easy to measure. We are reminded that we can do marvelous deeds in the world, but if they are not done with love, they are hypocritical and destructive. St. Paul gives us some virtues to use as measuring points for loving. He uses the words patient, kind, not jealous, not quick-tempered, not pompous, not inflated and not rude. I don’t know about you, but trying to live up to that description of love will keep me busy for the rest of my life. St. Paul reminds us that it is time for us to grow up and act like the loving people we profess to be. It is time for us to quit rejoicing over other people’s failures and to start rejoicing in the truth — God’s truth, not our opinions.

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Year C Homilies for this Sunday

In the Crypt Church at the Basilica of the National Shrine: Celebrant & Homilist: Rev. Kevin Regan; Guest Choir: St. John Neumann Parish Choir, Gaithersburg, MD

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