31st Sunday of Year B

We need to trust God the way an obedient dog yields to its owner in opposition to his own will, says C.S. Lewis. (Adobe)




This Sunday, we pray “that we may hasten without stumbling” to “receive” what God has “promised.”

We call it heaven: the ultimate fulfillment of our deepest longings, the state of supreme, definitive happiness. The Bible describes it as life, light, peace, paradise, a wedding feast, the Father’s house, the heavenly Jerusalem. However, “eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it so much as dawned on man what God has prepared for those who love him.”

Imagine an adult trying to tell a small child the delights of marriage. The greatest pleasure the child knows comes from chocolate. Told that eating chocolate is not part of conjugal pleasure, he characterizes marriage as fasting from chocolate. He is familiar with chocolate; he cannot even begin to imagine a pleasure that overwhelms it.

In heaven, we will see that God himself is “the goal of our desires,” St. Augustine said; “we shall contemplate him without end, love him without surfeit, praise him without weariness.”




What is more important than anything else?  What would we value above every other thing?  The Greek philosopher Plato thought that this was the most crucial question that anyone could ask.  In fact, he set up an exercise to determine it.  He asked his students to picture their life as a big triangle and to place at the base of the triangle everything they valued, everything that they thought was important or noteworthy.  Once that was done, Plato encouraged his students to raise those things that they valued to the apex of the triangle.  Now of course as they pushed things up, there was less and less space.  And so things that were less important had to be left aside.  Finally when they reached the very top of the triangle, there was room for only one thing.  That thing, Plato said, was the one most important thing.

Now I am quite sure that Jesus never knew of Plato’s exercise. And it might seem that if he engaged in it, he would be unable to determine only one thing that is most important.  Because when the scribe in today’s gospel asks him to pick one commandment, the most important one, the one that would sit at the top of the triangle, Jesus gives two commandments:  that we should love God with all our heart, that we should love our neighbor as ourselves.  So it seems that Jesus cannot narrow it down to one.  But I would suggest to you that this would be an inaccurate understanding of Jesus’ teaching.  The two commandments that are given are actually two components of one great commandment.  Neither of those two commandments can function independently.  Both are necessary.  Each is one side of the same coin, together forming the one great commandment that is most important of all.





When the bible speaks about love you can be sure of on thing: it’s not talking about romantic love.

The scriptures were written in the days of arranged marriages. Folks didn’t marry because they had fallen in love, they married because their parents had arranged for them to do so. A couple might indeed fall in loveover the course of time in their marriage – but that wasn’t guaranteed.

Does that mean that marriages were “loveless?”  It might seem that way to us as we look back to ancient times. But there was room for plenty of love in arranged marriages – – all depending on how you define love.

In our own times, we often tend to understand love as an emotion, a feeling,  an affection, a desire, a sentiment, a delight, an energy – and therein lies a problem.

  • What happens when emotions fade and fade away?
  • What happens when feelings dissipate, when affections wane?
  • What happens when  the heat of desire cools,
    • when our energy is spent, when sentiments change,
    • when delight diminishes?





Many many years ago I taught in a high school, St. Dominic Savio High School in Boston.  I never minded if the students asked me questions.  I taught science and mathematics.  These are difficult subjects with constant exposure to new concepts for high school people.  Questions were one of the ways that the students could grasp the subject matter.  In fact, I think that every teacher would agree that a good teacher wants his or her students to ask questions.  However, every now and then a student asks questions not to try to learn, but to see if he or she can expose a weakness the teacher may have in the field.  An extremely intelligent student might ask a question that he or she knows the answer to just as a test to see how much the teacher knows.  If the teacher makes the mistake of guessing what the correct answer would be and is wrong,  the student will then disparage the teacher to the rest of the class.

 This is the type of question that our gospel reading refers to when it says that after Jesus answered the young man, no one had the courage to ask him any more questions.  People could not trap Jesus, because they knew that he understood far more about what he was teaching than they could ever grasp.

Fr. Michael Chua




When the US Supreme Court ruled by a 5 to 4 vote in 2015 that the US Constitution guarantees the right of marriage to all persons, without exception, meaning same-sex marriage is now a constitutional and legal right, supporters celebrated by making the hashtag #lovewins viral on social media. Outside the Supreme Court, the police allowed hundreds of people waving rainbow flags and holding signs, to advance onto the court plaza as those present for the decision streamed down the steps. “Love has won,” the crowd chanted as courtroom witnesses threw up their arms in victory. It is ironic, that those opposed to the decision to redefine the age-old definition of marriage came to be labelled as “haters” – the logic – if you are against same-sex marriage, you are against love, therefore, you are a “hater.”  It is interesting how “love” too has been redefined to include those who agree with one’s ideological positions and excludes those who don’t. It is more ironic that if you are a supporter of a traditional viewpoint of marriage, you are a “hater” too. To put a label on people as a way of closing off the debate or as a way of vilifying those who disagree really runs counter to this whole idea of “love.”



HomiliesSUNDAY WEB SITE | 1997

October is a great month for saints. It begins with the commemoration of St. Thérèse of Lisieux and ends with All Hallows Eve, the night of spirits who do not so much haunt streets as inspire hearts.

October is a month of giants: Francis of Assisi, who rebuilt the church and inspired centuries of holy souls; Teresa of Avila, mighty doctor of the church and reformer of the Carmelites; Anthony Claret, missionary, founder, archbishop of Cuba, and chaplain to the Queen of Spain; Simon, Jude, and Luke, apostles and evangelist; Ignatius of Antioch, one of our earliest bishops, a martyr in Rome; Margaret Mary Alacoque, Visitation contemplative, who with her Jesuit friend Claude La Colombière bequeathed the Sacred Heart devotion to the church.

31st Sunday of Year B

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Cardinal Tagle


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The Pittsburgh Oratory


SOURCE: Homily Archive

Homily for the Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time preached by Father Joshua Kibler, C.O. at The Pittsburgh Oratory.

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Washington Archdiocese


Fr. Larry Swink, Pastor of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in La Plata, MD talks about what he’s planning for this weekend’s homily.

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John Michael Talbot


SOURCE: Year Cycle B – Sunday Gospel Reflections (2018)

31st Sunday of Year B



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Celebrant & Homilist: Msgr. Raymond East

Sunday Homilies

OCT 31, 2021 | NOV 4, 2018 | NOV 1, 2015 | NOV 4, 2012 | NOV 1, 2009

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31st Sunday of Year B

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Sunday Podcast Archive


by Bishop Robert Barron

Our first reading for Mass this week contains the defining prayer of the Jewish tradition: the “Sh’ma.” In the Gospel, when asked which commandment is the greatest, Jesus, a pious Jew, recites this prayer from the book of Deuteronomy. We Christians too claim—or better, are claimed by—this great prayer. But what does it mean?

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31st Sunday of Year B

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Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, shares thoughts on preaching pro-life on the 30th Sunday of Year B.
Father Frank Pavone



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Christ puts the second commandment together with the first. “There is no other commandment greater than these.” The close relationship between these two commandments is discussed at length in the First Letter of John, in which he makes it clear that the failure to love the neighbor we see, and to attend to his needs, makes it impossible to love the God we do not see.

These two closely-related commandments provide the core of the Church’s efforts to defend the unborn and the vulnerable. Because we love God with all our mind, heart, soul, and strength, we cannot place our own plans and choices above His choice to create human life and entrust it to our care. Moreover, we realize that religious piety is never meant to turn us in on ourselves, but rather to make us more attentive and responsive to the needs of the vulnerable. We love our neighbor – including our unborn neighbor – “like ourselves,” which means that we recognize the unborn as a person like ourselves. Some say the unborn are too small, or too unlike us in their characteristics, to be considered a neighbor, a person. But the second commandment requires that we see every human being as a neighbor “like ourselves,” and therefore love them.

This demand of love is greater than any other commandment. Often, it is the claim to observe other commandments that keeps people from intervening to save the unborn. We have legal concerns, often exaggerated. We shrink back because of human respect. We are afraid to part with certain possessions, relationships, or guarantees of security. And sometimes even those to whom we must answer tell us to “tone it down” regarding our outspoken defense of the unborn. But “there is no greater commandment than these.” We are to love our unborn neighbor just as we love our born neighbor, and without reserve.


General Intercessions

Celebrant:  God provides for the needs of his children.  As people of faith, we present the needs of our Church and the world to our generous Father.


That the Church may always keep focused on Christ and on the mission to proclaim God’s kingdom, we pray to the Lord.

That the leaders of the Church may make their decisions guided by the Holy Spirit and may bring us to a greater love for Jesus, we pray to the Lord.

That all citizens may exercise their duty to vote in places where there is an election this Tuesday, so as to advance the common good and the dignity of human life, we pray to the Lord.

For the grace to see and love each person as a neighbor like ourselves, including the unborn, the outcast, the burdensome, the stranger, and the criminal, we pray to the Lord.

That the families of our parish may be strengthened in their love for one another by the love and witness of our parish community, we pray to the Lord.

That the deceased members of our families may be welcomed into the presence of God’s love for eternity, we pray to the Lord.

Celebrant: Lord God, hear these prayers which we bring to you from the depths of our hearts.  Answer us, we pray, in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Bulletin Insert


In some parts of the country there are elections this Tuesday. It is an appropriate occasion for all of us as believers to reflect on what our Church teaches about the duty and privilege of voting. Our bishops have written,

“We encourage all citizens, particularly Catholics, to embrace their citizenship not merely as a duty and privilege, but as an opportunity meaningfully to participate in building the culture of life. Every voice matters in the public forum. Every vote counts. Every act of responsible citizenship is an exercise of significant individual power. We must exercise that power in ways that defend human life, especially those of God’s children who are unborn, disabled or otherwise vulnerable. We get the public officials we deserve. Their virtue — or lack thereof — is a judgment not only on them, but on us. Because of this, we urge our fellow citizens to see beyond party politics, to analyze campaign rhetoric critically, and to choose their political leaders according to principle, not party affiliation or mere self-interest” (US Bishops, Living the Gospel of Life, n. 34).

SOURCE: Priests for Life

Life Issues Homilies website publishes articles directly related to issues raised in Evangelium Vitae, and related homilies by Fr. Al Cariño, O.M.I., Fr. Tony Pueyo, and others.

The Primacy of Love

Al Carino

If we ask ourselves “How are we to live in the footsteps of Jesus?,” the answer is simple: “Live the two greatest commandments.” Everything else is commentary.

Only Love

Antonio P. Pueyo

There are stories told about St. John the Evangelist who was said to have spent his last years as an old man in the island of Patmos. He was asked, ” Why do you keep writing and talking about love?” His answer was, “Is there anything else more important?” Indeed, “Ubi caritas, ibi Deus.” Where there is love there is God for God is love (1John 4: 7ff.)

Character Is What You Do When No One Is Looking

Douglas P. McManaman

It has been said that character is what you do when no one is looking. That’s what I thought of when I read this verse of the gospel that speaks of being faithful in small matters, when no one is looking. And no one is looking, because they are small matters, and people generally interested in the big things. But one’s true character is revealed in the small things.

Let the child, poor, meek, comforting, honest, merciful, pure, peaceful and joyful be your guide.

Tom Bartolomeo

All we have to do is carefully observe small children and learn again who we once were: innocent at first, sullied then by worldly interests and finally scandalized by the behavior of adults eroding away our simplicity and innocence. Then they, our children, became us. The gift of children returns to every generation a child who is father to the man and mother to the woman – if we choose to be more like our children, unattached from soulless possessions, sympathetic to the needs of others, comforting, merciful, peaceful and courageous witnesses to the Faith.

Love Your God With All You Have

Matthew Habiger

Choosing our leaders is a major event. A democracy means that the people govern themselves by electing good leaders, who share their values. The survival of a democracy is never guaranteed. It is always a work in progress. A democracy can be strengthened, and it can be weakened.

Some Thoughts on Human Life, War, and the Possibility of Peace

Douglas P. McManaman

The world has not achieved peace because the nations of the world insist on doing things their way, not God’s way – and God’s way is laid out in these readings today.

Ten, Two or One? A Scribe, the Kingdom of God and You

Proclaim Sermons

In this exchange with an earnest and well-meaning scribe, Jesus teaches the scribe, and us, not only what is the greatest commandment, but what is the one overarching purpose of every commandment. WEBSITE PUBLISHES ARTICLES DIRECTLY RELATED TO ISSUES RAISED IN EVANGELIUM VITAE, AND RELATED HOMILIES BY FR. AL CARIÑO, O.M.I., FR. TONY PUEYO, AND OTHERS.

EWTN Pro-Life Weekly

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