6th Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)


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Trust in the Lord

Claret Media Cameroon

Sorry, no transcript available for this week.


Happy are You; Your Happiness is Now!


When the desire to satisfy personal interests becomes the main conductor of our life we can be sure that everything around us, that is, persons, our relations and all that we do risk being transformed into mere instruments for our use. Not only that may lead to abuse, both of persons and things, but may risk also collapsing the values that serve as backbone of our life. Faith, and all ideals that go along with it, just lose their place. What counts is no longer what is right or just but what brings gain. But, at what price?


Being Catholic Makes a Radical Difference



How often we wish that “being Catholic” meant simply living “normally” except for going to Mass on Sunday!

This Sunday’s readings show that following Christ is quite different. Catholics have a radically different view of things.

At this time of the year, our thoughts turn to RRSPs, pensions, and income tax, but God says, “Cursed are they who trust in mere mortals and make mere flesh their strength … Blessed are those who trust in the Lord.”

Even when we do turn to God for help, we tend to ask for the things we need in this world. However, St. Paul says that “if for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.”


Present and Future Blessings

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

The beatitudes directed at those who are hungry and those who weep are future-tensed: their fortunes will be reversed and their suffering will pass. These are promises, albeit utterly reliable ones on account of their divine origin. But the beatitude directed at the poor is present-tensed: theirs is the Kingdom of God. This is something that is the case here-and-now…. St Luke does not allow the poor to be spiritualised: the Kingdom belongs to those who are materially poor and destitute. In a certain sense, then, Jesus’s words make the cry of the poor especially authoritative for the church. For the poor are not only to be the objects of our charity (though, of course, we can and must do more to alleviate poverty), but are the first citizens of the Kingdom, and their active voice in its affairs should be heard.

PREACHING ARCHIVE (2000-present)


Radical Change for the Poor



In predicting radical change for the poor, what was Jesus up to? Well, your guess is as good as mine. However, it strikes me that Jesus’ first interest was to place hope in the hearts of his hearers. Upwards of ninety percent of Jesus’ rural audience would have been poor, regularly going to bed at night hungry, and having plenty to weep about. For them to take any steps themselves to better their lot, they needed firstly to be given hope. They needed to find room within their constricted possibilities to make the most of what was at least already there. They needed to know their innate dignity as human persons, loved unconditionally and intensely by God their Father. They needed consistently to care for each other, to interact with attention and compassion, to avoid violence in their relationships, perhaps even to mature to the stage where they might begin to organise and, with all their limitations, to stand tall together non-violently to challenge and to conscientise their unjust oppressors.


Blessings and Woes!



Curses and blessings – blessings and woes! And as soon as we hear these words many of us will think of and turn to circumstances in our lives which we have experienced and named as a blessing or curse. And the temptation is to think that somehow it’s God who has chosen to bless or curse us: to imagine that God looks down upon us all with a bag of blessings in one hand and a bag of woes in the other
showering them upon us, letting them fall where they might. Or the temptation to think, worse yet, that with divine accuracy, God aims blessings at some and curses at others, as he chooses, never failing to hit his intended target – for good or for ill! But who would want to believe in such a God? Who would want to follow such a God? Not Jeremiah.  Not Jesus.  Not me and, I presume – not you.


The Gospel and Consumerism


To be an American is to be a consumer…  Now the point of this homily is not to attack consumerism. Consumerism is a part of our culture whether we like it or not. But my point is to warn you that it is dangerous to allow consumerism to influence and to warp our relationships…. Consumers value fairness, benefit, freedom. But these categories are inadequate to the realities of human relationships and our relationship to God. We need wider categories, deeper categories. In today’s gospel Jesus shows us where to find them. By claiming that the poor are blessed and the wealthy are to be pitied, he lifts up counter-cultural values. He is asking us to look at those parts of life that are not esteemed by our culture and to recognize in them a necessary part of living. He is asking us to widen our categories and values. Instead of being preoccupied with what is fair, we need to develop within ourselves a sense of acceptance, of humbly making our peace with those things in life that we do not understand or we cannot control. Instead of worrying only about our own benefit, we need to make room in our life for compassion and service, reaching out in love to others. Instead of treasuring simply our own freedom and discretion, we need to espouse commitment and loyalty, binding ourselves to others even when it is difficult, even when it demands sacrifice.

Joy to the Poor (2010)
Blessings and Woes (2019)


Where Do We Put Our Trust?



As consumers, we think about buying more or better or new.  If one has the means, one can buy his or her way into a state of satisfaction, even happiness (although short lived).  Our consumption patterns can redress our deficits and doubts about our self-esteem and public image:  Am I physically attractive?  Do people look up to me and respect me?  Do people perceive me as strong and confident? We rely on the material things of the world as if that is all that there is to retain.  Will the Lord condemn people who have money and food? Are those people who laugh and those about whom we speak well condemned, too?  Conversely, we hear about the blessings for all who are poor, all who do not have food, those who mourn and those who are disparaged for the sake of the name of Jesus.  The pressing question is: where (and in Whom) do we place our trust?


Jesus’ Hope


No homilies available in the archive for the rest of February. Next available homily is for March 1. 

FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT – Have you ever noticed that each of our Lord’s temptations in Luke’s Gospel is a temptation to something within the immediate and that our Lord responds to each temptation by his hope in the future? That Jesus responds by not getting stuck in the immediate but by looking beyond the immediate to the infinite?

The gospel tells us that our Lord, after fasting for forty days was hungry. That is an immediate need. We all know that when we are hungry it is hard to even think about anything else. The devil plays on this. “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” Answer this immediate and pressing need! Satisfy your hunger! Our Lord responds, “… One does not live on bread alone.” Our Lord’s hope is not in a quick fix or easy answer right now but on that which is truly enduring and lasting – relationship with the Father.


Making Room for God



In today’s Gospel we hear the beatitudes. But they are not the beatitudes we are used to. They are not the nine beatitudes from the Gospel of Matthew. There are only four beatitudes. And these are followed by four woes. Instead of “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven,” we hear, “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the Kingdom of God.” Luke is telling those who are poor, hungry, weeping, hated, excluded, insulted, and denounced that they are blessed. And he’s telling those who are not suffering, those who are rich, filled with food, laughing, and treated with respect that they will suffer.

What are we to make of this? Is it good to be poor? Should we, like St. Francis of Assisi, throw away all our possessions and become beggars? Well, that can’t be what the Lord is saying. After all, if everyone became a beggar, there would be nobody to beg from. God created all the wonderful things of the world. Does God want us to suffer for enjoying his gifts? That can’t be correct either.


Death is a Vanity


Christ’s resurrection, and our hope in following after him, turns the curse of inevitable suffering into the blessing of eternal life. The ugliness and disease of sin is redeemed into the beauty of godly perfection. Rather than curse those who mourn, weep, endure insult, hunger and thirst, we bless them, knowing that everything persevered here and now is also redeemed here and now, made new, wholly and utterly transformed into acts of praise and thanksgiving here and now. After death, our suffering is made perfect in the sufferings of Christ, but here and now, while we endure, we are blessed with the hope of that perfection. If we will, we can call the state of suffering with hope, Beatitude—the beautiful life lived in Christ. Jeremiah prophesies, “Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose hope is the Lord. He is like a tree planted beside the waters that stretches out its roots to the stream. . .” And as we stretch our thirsty roots, seeking out the waters of eternal life, the hope we share in Christ sings just one refrain over and over again: there is nothing we should fear. Nothing. The beauty of hope does more than oppose fear, it conquers fear. And that victory was won long ago. The rock of the tomb was pushed aside and the grave was found empty. Our perishing—though painful—is redeemed. And our beautiful lives in Christ, here and now, are blessed beyond measure.


Where is Our Reliance?



Few, if any, would question the premise that we live in one of the most affluent nations of the world. Most Americans have more – and are able to do more – than hundreds of millions elsewhere. Yes, we have our poor. We have our homeless. Many must struggle from paycheck to paycheck. But we don’t have the starving masses of many of the other countries.

Nevertheless, are we, Americans, any better off emotionally and spiritually, than those who are really poor? It is really easy to become completely reliant on our material things and our technology. But we could be in mortal danger of losing our souls!

We might have everything we want for the moment – We might be able to go anywhere and do anything we want. But we can be hollow in our deepest selves. We can have empty and barren souls and spirits! And this is exactly what Jeremiah was trying to say in the first reading for today.


Happy Are You Who Are Poor



What is it about poverty that is so “blessed” or “happy” or even authentically “human”?  We must first make a critical distinction between poverty and destitution.  All human beings are entitled to have their basic needs met.  The fact that millions are living in our world in the state of destitution, where hunger and disease ravage entire nations, is a great sin against humanity. There is certainly no blessing in this, neither should it ever be a cause of happiness. Every time we withhold our cloak from the naked or our food from the hungry, we sin, not only against the human person, but also against the Lord Himself.  But poverty, or at least evangelical poverty, is not identical with destitution.  The destitute may think of themselves as forsaken, but the poor are definitely not forsaken by God. Poverty is the state of simplicity, that is the state of having only what one needs.  Poverty brings with it the simplicity to give oneself to God, who is the final cause of all of humanity. God is their wealth.


Open to the Supernatural

HomiliesSUNDAY WEB SITE | 1997

Perhaps Jeremiah was having one of his many bad days when he came up with that bit of wisdom. The very idea. We are cursed if we trust humans.

When we hear such outrageous statements in our scripture, if we’re not dozing off, we must somehow flick a little switch in our consciousness that allows us to think, “This has to be nonsense.” Then we don’t have to worry about making sense out of it in our daily lives. No sane human would think or talk the way Jeremiah does.

But that is what should give us pause. Maybe our sane, human way of thinking is not God’s way. What if God’s ways are utterly unlike our ways?


Are Our Beliefs Reflected in the Way We Live Our Lives?

HomiliesST. LOUIS REVIEW | 2022

If I ask you the question, “Who do you believe?” I’m not asking what idea you think is true. I am asking how you actually live. We can say we believe anything or believe anyone, but our belief is called into question if it doesn’t follow through in the way we live. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a protestant pastor in Hitler’s Germany, called that “cheap grace.” He said that when we believe something but it doesn’t have anything to do with how we live, that comes without a cost, or in his words, cheap. Costly grace is the kind of grace that requires some sacrifice on our part and some willingness to mold our lives in a way that is not convenient but is sacrificial. In his choice to be a steadfast dissident against Hitler, he was a constant target of hatred, and eventually, it cost him his life. That is what you call costly grace.

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Year C Homilies for this Sunday

In the Crypt Church at the Basilica of the National Shrine: Celebrant & Homilist: Rev. Msgr. Charles Pope; St. Leo the Great Parish Adult Choir, Fairfax, Virginia

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