7th Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)


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How Does One Forgive the Unforgivable?

Claret Media Cameroon

Fr. Jude and four others were kidnapped in 2018 (and later released) in the South West Region of Cameroon.
Some have watched their parents and loved ones being killed, some have watched their houses being burnt, some have suffered the torture of kidnapping and ransom paying, some have faced defamation, treated like terrorists, spies, etc. Some have not just seen their closed relative for the past years. Some have faced the bitter story of rejection by the family and by society. Some are battling with the infidelity of their marriage partners. Some are angry with the church especially in this moment of scandals…


“Love Your Enemy”; Jesus, Do You Really Mean It?


I can hear, in my imagination, someone praying in the morning: “Thank you God for this beautiful new day. I entrust it, and all my activities, to you. Clear my way by destroying my enemies who want to set traps on my path…” If this is not just my imagination, but indeed your prayer, well, perhaps it’s high time you revised your way of praying. Here Jesus is asking just the contrary: “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.”  Is Jesus being realistic here? What does he mean by “Love your enemies”?


We Can Love Our Enemies, For God Loves Them



In this Sunday’s Gospel Acclamation, Christ gives us a new commandment: “Love one another just as I have loved you.”

“Love your enemies,” he says in the Gospel Reading, “do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.”

We see an example in the First Reading: David spares King Saul, who, by all human standards, deserved to be killed.

After David defeated Goliath, Saul, out of jealousy, twice tried to kill him with a spear; he stationed him in his army so that the Philistines could kill him; he attacked him in his own house; and he put the entire priestly city of Nob to the sword in order to find him.


God-Like Desires

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

Our enemies stir up in us a desire to be gods. For, how many of us, having been wronged, or mistreated, or humiliated, or plotted against by our enemies have not felt that rush of hatred, and a longing for vengeance? We would take to ourselves a god-like power over them, punishing them, bringing them down, having them feel remorse, or even, desiring their demise! Like a Zeus, or a Thor, or a Kali, there is this idolatrous hatred, even within Christian hearts, that wills ill upon one’s enemy in return for ill received. But “vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” (cf Rom 12:19b, Deut 32:35) So, we are to hand over our enemies to God, the true God, the living God.

PREACHING ARCHIVE (2000-present)


In Face of Violence



In face of violence Jesus says: turn the other cheek. He calls for resistance, but non-violent resistance – that states and lays claim to our own dignity and our own inner freedom. To turn the other cheek is to stand up straight, look the offender straight in the eye, name the injustice for what it is – and to claim our own dignity. It is most certainly not meek submission – “put up with it”, “say nothing”, “cover up” – that simply serves to feed a debilitating dependence. Remember Jesus under interrogation in the courtyard of the High Priest: Why did you strike me? – He confronted his aggressors.


Insides and Outsides



No homily available in the archive for this Sunday

EIGHTH SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME – In the gospel today, Jesus invites us to look inside, inside our eyes and inside our hearts. He asks us to see what might be clouding our vision of our neighbor, obscuring the reality of what’s outside, right in front of us. He asks us to check inside the eyes of our souls for cataracts that might prevent us from seeing life outside and around us as it truly is  — as the Lord truly calls us to live it. And he invites us to test the soil inside our hearts to see if it’s dry, sandy and barren  –  or rich, moist and fertile – to help us understand the harvest our hearts are yielding on the outside, good fruit or rotten fruit


Why Love Your Enemy?


When someone hates you, you have two choices: you can hate them back or you can refuse to hate. When someone hurts you, you can respond in two ways: you can hurt them back or you can refuse to hurt. In today’s gospel Jesus makes it clear that if we wish to be his disciples, we must refuse to hate, refuse to hurt. This is why he teaches that we are to love our enemies, and why he enshrines that teaching in the golden rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do to you.” Since we would not want others to hate us or hurt us, we should not adopt hateful or hurtful attitudes towards them.

Now this teaching to love our enemies, to follow the golden rule is the most difficult of all Jesus’ teachings. We all struggle against it. We have many objections. It does not make sense. It is impossible to follow. The people who hurt and hate us do not deserve our love and forgiveness. We cannot help but ask, “Why does Jesus want us to do something that is so difficult? Why is he so insistent that we love our enemies?”

Accessing the Alternative (2007)
Imitating God’s Mercy (2019)


Forgiveness and Acceptance of Mistreatment



At the heart of the teachings of Jesus that we hear today are two teachings that are so important in our lives: forgiveness and acceptance of mistreatment. Jesus tells us “love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” These teachings are so against our modern ways of thinking! Yes these same teachings would revolutionize our present world if we all lived them. The challenge is not to think to ourselves: “Nobody lives that way.” Rather, we can be thinking: “How can I live this way because Jesus has invited me to live this way.”

We see these teachings today in the story of David’s relationship with King Saul. We also see this today clearly in the Gospel reading. In the reading from the First Letter to the Corinthians, Saint Paul tells us that we bear the image of the first man and we can bear the image of Jesus Christ.


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.


Children of the New Adam



Consider this: there is a famous billboard that hangs along a congested highway. People stuck in bumper to bumper traffic, going 5 miles an hour, look up and read “You aren’t stuck in traffic. You are traffic!” That’s a great insight! We distance ourselves from a problem, whether it is our politics, our churches, the ecological problems on our planet, or most anything else. We are not, as we want to think, stuck in a bad political climate wherein we can no longer talk to each other and live respectfully with each other. Rather we ourselves have become so rigid, arrogant, and sure of ourselves that we can no longer respect those who think differently than we do. We are a bad political climate and not just stuck in one. We are not separate from the events that make up the world news each day. Rather, what we see written large in the world news each night so often reflects what’s going on hidden inside of us. When we see instances of injustice, bigotry, racism, greed, violence, murder and war on our newscasts we rightly feel moral indignation. It’s healthy to feel that way, but it’s not healthy to naively think that it’s only others and not us, who are the problem. When we are honest we have to admit that to some degree we are complicite in all these things, perhaps not in their crasser forms, but in subtler, though very real, ways. The fear and paranoia that are at the root of so much conflict in our world are not foreign to us. We too find it hard to accept those who are different from us. We too cling to privilege and do most everything we can to secure and protect our comfort.


Choose Your Measure Wisely


Sinners are a lot like saints. They love those who love them and forgive those who forgive them. Sinners will even do a good deed for someone who’s done a good deed for them. Sinners go to work everyday, raise their kids, pay their bills, visit sick relatives, give Christmas presents. And they even show up to Church once in a while. In the eyes of the world, a sinner can be a Good Person who’s trying hard to do and be better. Nothing wrong with that. But Jesus sets the goal higher for those who will follow him. We must be better than the sinner who’s just trying to be and do better. Not “better” in the sense of being Holier Than Thou but “better” in the sense of being more deeply convicted of our sin and more thoroughly committed to growing in holiness. A big part of our on-going growth in holiness depends on how we choose to live in the world while not being of the world. Jesus tells us how to do this: “. . .the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.” That’s right – you get to choose the measure with which you will measured. Choose wisely.





No homily available for this week.


Hostility Into Love



To understand what our Lord is saying, we need to clarify two words, ‘love’ and ‘enemies’. Who are our enemies? Now, the question may seem ludicrous but it is important to state the obvious. Most people live in denial and because they do so, they end up either never resolving their issues with their enemies or never attempting even to love them. So, yes, we do need to know and recognise our enemies in order to love them. Our enemies can either be the people that we are hostile towards or the people who are hostile to us. They are persons whom we dislike, whom we even hate or despise. Or they may be the ones who dislike us, hate us or despise us. These are our enemies. Our first reaction would be to repay them in kind – if they are hostile to us, then we are entitled to be hostile to them too. But these are the ones whom we are called to love.


Open to the Spirit

HomiliesSUNDAY WEB SITE | 1997

While the mind of Friedrich Nietzsche was unraveling as the last century ended, Freud’s was taut, wrapped around the mystery of unconscious human behavior. Both thinkers are now celebrated as the great unmaskers of motivation. They spread the awful news that we humans are not as nice as we think. Under our seeming civility and tidy-mindedness lurks a raging thirst for power hunkered down around an oven of anger and lust that Freud dubbed the “id.” Civilization, to Nietzsche’s disgust and Freud’s approval, supposedly tamed those feral impulses, yet both men suspected that the cooker of repression would explode.


God, Give Us Humility and Courage

HomiliesST. LOUIS REVIEW | 2022

This Gospel assumes that we are part of a community that supports and encourages one another. As we all know, many of our communities, whether they be churches or countries or cities or families, are badly broken. Because of the brokenness, we can become cynical about the possibility of believing God’s Word. But how will that be remedied if we wait for perfection or someone else to make the first move? Jesus knew that His communities were severely broken and knew that His task was to be an example of charity and love toward all, not just some.

Brokenness within our communities can cause deep insecurity and tempt us to move in the direction of seeking security in things that don’t last. Our security will never come from proving ourselves right and someone else wrong. Our security will never come from the amount of power we accumulate or the level of success that we attain. Our security will never come from our possessions or even our popularity. Some of us even think that we can find security in an individual relationship with God without connecting with others in love and trust.

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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; St. John Neumann Parish Choir, Gaithersburg, MD

Fr. JD Matherne is Pastor of St. Hilary in Mathews in the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux | Diocesan Vocations Director

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