HOMILY ILLUSTRATIONSFR TONY'S COMMENTARYHOMILIES FOR CHILDREN

14th Sunday of Year B

MODERN TRADITION: Architecture Codex looks at a modern Cathedral in Los Angeles that is secretly traditional.

ENCLAVE OF RESISTANCE

In September of 1997 there was a groundbreaking service for a Catholic cathedral to be constructed in Los Angeles. The Diocese of Los Angeles commissioned the famous Spanish architect Jose Rafael Moneo to design the building. Their hope was that the cathedral would be completed by the beginning of the third millennium, the year 2000. It was to be a unique witness to the glory of God.

There were models of the cathedral at the groundbreaking service, and on the basis of the models, a Los Angeles Times reporter wrote a review of the cathedral. This is a part of what the reporter said:

“Moneo is creating an alternate world to the everyday world that surrounds the cathedral, a testimony to grandeur of the human spirit, an antidote to a world that is increasingly spiritually empty.”

Then he wrote this sentence:

“The cathedral, set in the midst of the secular city, will be an enclave of resistance.”

What an image . . . the Church an enclave of resistance!f That word should be a part of the mission statement of every Church in the city, “an enclave of resistance against all that diminishes human life.”

Fr. Tony’s 8-minute Homily in 1 page

A HEART FOR THE POOR

GIVE LIKE GOD GIVES (2:35) – One of the most admired people of the 21st Century, Mother Teresa devoted her life to others, showing the true meaning to the word generosity.

There was a beautiful article about Mother Teresa in Time magazine. She was asked about the materialism of the West.

“The more you have, the more you are occupied,” she contends. “

But the less you have the freer you are. Poverty for us is a freedom. It is a joyful freedom. There is no television here, no this, no that. This is the only fan in the whole house…and it is for the guests. But we are happy.

“I find the rich poorer,” she continues. “Sometimes they are lonelier inside…The hunger for love is much more difficult to fill than the hunger for bread…The real poor know what joy is.”

When asked about her plans for the future, she replied,

“I just take one day. Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not come. We have only today to love Jesus.”

Was there anyone in this Church as rich as Mother Teresa?

Fr. Tony’s 8-minute Homily in 1 page

THE BOY WHO INVENTED BRAILLE

BBC IDEAS (3:30) – How 15-year-old Louis Braille invented a revolutionary tactile code for the visually impaired.

A young boy of 9 was sitting in his father’s workshop watching his dad work on a harness.

“Someday Father,” said Louis, “I want to be a harness-maker, just like you.”

“Why not start now?” said the father.

He took a piece of leather and drew a design on it. “Now” he said, “take the hole-punch and hammer out this design but be careful that you don’t hit your hand.”

Excited, the boy began to work, but when he hit the hole-punch, it flew out of his hand and pierced his eye! He lost his sight in that eye. Later, as fate would have it, sight in the other eye failed. Louis was now totally blind.

A few years later, Louis was sitting in the family garden when a friend handed him a pinecone. As he ran his sensitive fingers over the cone, an idea came to him. He became enthusiastic and began to create an alphabet of raised dots on paper so that the blind could feel and interpret. Thus, Louis Braille in 1818 opened up a whole new world for the blind.

What is it that Jesus intends to do during his three years of ministry? It is this: To open up a whole new world for you and for me. To bring us out of our poverty that has long held us down and to restore vision that you and I have long since lost.

REJECTION HURTS

Arnold Palmer’s Last Interview he ever gave was @TheMasters with Jim Nantz

Arnold Palmer played his last Master’s Tournament in 2002. Palmer, who won the Master’s in 1958, 1960, 1962, and 1964, had seen his game slip away with age and his stardom fade with the rise of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson . A reporter asked Palmer, “Why did you do it? Why did you quit?” To which Palmer replied, “I didn’t want to get the letter that (former champions) Ford, Brewer, and Casper have already received asking them to step down.”

Whether it’s that girl in elementary school who looked at you in disdain when you offered her a Valentine card, or the boss that suggests you are not included in the company’s new plans, rejection hurts. It causes pain. Yet, Jesus said it’s going to happen, and we would be wise to live with it, for “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.” There is some rejection that’s worth the cost.

LIFE MESSAGE FROM FR. TONY

LET US FACE REJECTION WITH PROPHETIC COURAGE AND OPTIMISM

The story of Jesus’ rejection by fellow-townsmen in Nazareth is a story that we can identify with because it is a story that has happened to most of us. We might have experienced the pain of rejection caused by hurts, wounds, betrayal, divorce, abandonment, violated trust, trauma, neglect, or abuse in its various forms. What about rejection by those closest to us? Often our friends, families, or childhood companions fail to listen to, and refuse to accept, the words of grace, love and encouragement that we offer to them, because they are so familiar with us as we were that they are unable to see us as God’s appointed instruments, the agents of God’s healing and saving grace. Let us check also the other side of the coin. How often do we discount God’s agents through prejudice? How often do we fail to see God’s image in them because of our own hardheartedness?  We must realize that God’s power is always available to transform even the most unlikely people.

Fr. Tony’s 8-minute Homily in 1 page

 

PRISONS OF OUR OWN MAKING

Kazimerz Symanski of Poland was a prisoner of war during World War II. There is no record of what happened to Symanski in the prison camp, but his experiences there obviously changed him.

In his later years, Symanski seemed bent on reliving his prison experience. He even turned his small apartment into a prison cell. He put bars over the windows and constructed a small cage in which he slept. He refused to allow electricity or running water in his apartment. He seemed determined to live in the most primitive and confining conditions. Symanski died in 1993 from the effects of his living conditions. (Oswald Chambers in “The Moral Foundations of Life” Christianity Today, Vol. 32, #13.)

Some of us, too, have been living for years in prison cells of our own making. We are bound by addictions, anxiety, low self-esteem, anger, fear, guilt, misconceptions about God. Jesus proclaims in today’s Gospel that he came to liberate all such prisoners.

A DIFFERENT KIND OF PROPHET

THE BEAT (4:57) – Why do we have four gospels?

In one of his books, David Buttrick tells about a cartoon in a magazine. The cartoon shows three men sitting in a row behind a long table. A microphone has been placed in front of each of them. One man is pictured in long flowing hair and a draped white robe. Another is battered, a wreath of jagged thorns on his head. The third is swarthy, with dark curly hair and a pointed nose. The caption said, “Will the real Jesus Christ please stand?” [David Buttrick, Preaching Jesus Christ (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1988), p. 23.]

Everybody sees Jesus from a different angle, including the writers of the New Testament.

  • For Matthew, Jesus is the Teacher of Righteousness. Like Moses, Jesus climbs a mountain and teaches a new Law to all present.
  • For the Gospel of Mark, Jesus is an Exorcist, constantly battling the powers of evil. Jesus is the Strong Son of God turned loose in the world.
  • According to the Gospel of John, Jesus comes to reveal God. “No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, Who is close to the Father’s heart, Who has made God known” (John 1:18).
  • But for the writer of Luke’s Gospel, the word that best summarizes the person and work of Jesus is the word “prophet.” Jesus is a prophet. But Jesus is a different kind of prophet, standing squarely within the tradition of the prophets of Israel.

SCIENTIST REJECTED

TCT NETWORK (1:39) – Faith in History: George Washington Carver; SEE ALSO: Top 20 George Washington Carver Quotes

George Washington Carver was an African-American scientist who did some pioneering work on the lowly peanut. In January, 1921, he was called before the Ways and Means Committee in the House of Representatives to explain his work. He expected such a high-level committee to handle the business at hand with him and those who had come with him with dignity and proper decorum.

He was shocked when the speakers who preceded him were treated very rudely. As an African American, he was the last one on the list, and so after three days of waiting, he finally got to make his presentation. He was shocked when he noticed one of the members with his hat on and feet on the table.

When the Chairman asked him to take off his hat, the member said out loud, “Down where I come from, we don’t accept a black man’s testimony. And furthermore, I don’t see what this fellow can say that would have any bearing on the work of this committee.”

At this point, George was ready to turn around and go home, but he said to himself, as he wrote in his autobiography, “Whatever they said of me, I knew that I was a child of God, and so I prayed ‘Almighty God, let me carry out Your will’”. He got to the podium and was told that he had 20 minutes to speak. Well, his presentation was so engaging that he was granted several extensions until he had spoken for several hours. At the end of his talk, everyone on the committee stood and applauded him. (“More Telling Stories, Compelling Stories by William J. Bausch).

REJECTED BY THE AMISH COMMUNITY

Simone Thorogood reviews Crossing Over

The book Crossing Over is the story of the rejection one woman faced when she fell in love with a person outside the Amish Community and ran away to marry him. Ruth Garrett had always been a little rebellious, but not even she could imagine the pain she was about to experience from being shunned by her family and community. –

Rejection: even the word, has a foreboding sound. Sadly, it is an experience with which most, if not all, of us, are painfully familiar. Everybody experiences rejection sometimes. It may come from a boss, from a peer, from a lover, from a Church, even from strangers who communicate clearly that you are not welcome in certain circles. Today’s Gospel explains how Jesus experienced rejection by fellow-townsmen in Nazareth. hometown.

PROPHETS EMPOWERED BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD

Mahatma Mohandas Gandhi once said, “It is possible for a single individual to defy the whole might of an unjust empire to save his honor, his religion, his soul, and lay the foundation for that empire’s fall or its regeneration.” Gandhi, a twentieth century man of peace and leader of a nonviolent movement to improve conditions in his native India, was just such an individual.

So was Ezekiel and so were the other prophets of Israel and Judah. Acting as God’s mouthpieces (the meaning of the Greek prophetes), the prophets were empowered by the Spirit of God to call forth truth, justice, and fidelity in situations where these qualities were overshadowed by the lies, frauds, injustice, and faithlessness of their contemporaries. Called upon and charged by God to speak to the people, Ezekiel was also fully equipped by God for his mission. God’s ruah (Hebrew for breath) or Life Force entered into the prophet and remained with him, enabling him to understand and to communicate God’s message to his contemporaries (8:3; 9:24; 11:1). Regardless of their recalcitrance (v. 8 “hard of face and obstinate of heart”), the power of God, at work in Ezekiel, was such that even the most rebellious would be caused to acknowledge that a prophet had been among them (v. 9). The assurance that God’s word would prevail is further affirmed by the designation of the prophet as Son of man. Occurring more than 90 times in Ezekiel, this title underlines the contrast between the Divine Word and its mortal messenger, thereby emphasizing the fact that the message is God’s not Ezekiel’s and that reward and/or retribution will be decided by God alone.(Sanchez Files).

FAMILIARITY BREEDS CONTEMPT

People come from all over the world to tour Yellowstone National Park, and yet there is a man living in Livingston, Montana, I understand, just 56 miles away, who never set foot in the park until he was in middle adulthood. There are people in New York City who have never visited the Statue of Liberty. People come from all around the world to visit Disneyland, yet there are residents of Anaheim, California who have never gone the few blocks to visit “the happiest place on earth.”

There are those in the Church who know Jesus the same way that an apartment dweller in New York City may know about a neighbor living in the apartment above, but has never spoken to that neighbor in the 25 years they have shared the same roof. One can be too close to something. It may come as a surprise to you, but ministers have a difficult time worshipping. They are too close to the action. They know all of the things which can, (and sometimes do), go wrong. They are too close to the trees to experience the forest. So were Jesus’ townspeople as described in today’s Gospel.

THE VOCATION OF THE PROPHET AND THE FEAR OF REJECTION

John Quincy Adams, the sixth president of the United States and the son of a former President, reportedly said that he would rather clean filth from the street than become the President. The Old Testament tells us that most of the prophets shared John Quincy Adams’ hesitation about their calling, probably for fear of rejection or failure.

Moses tried to convince God that he stammered and, hence, could not become Israel’s leader. Jeremiah complained to God that he was too young. The prophets trembled at the trials ahead of them, and that with good reason: (II Chr 36:16, Jer 2: 30, Am 2:12, Mt 23:37, Lk 13:34, I Thes 2: 15, Heb 11: 32 ff.).

Jeremiah was threatened with death several times, thrown into a dry cistern, imprisoned, dragged off to exile in Egypt, and, perhaps most painful of all, was forced to watch the destruction of Jerusalem, because its inhabitants would not listen to his message.

Elijah, at least twice in his lifetime,  gave the warning of God to King Ahab concerning the king’s promotion of idolatry. As a result, Elijah was forced to flee into the wilderness where he suffered great privation (I Kgs 16: 29- 17: 3; I Kgs 18: 16 – 19: 4).

Today’s Gospel gives another example of why the prophets did not jump for joy at their career prospects. It describes in five sentences how the people of Nazareth turned from amazement to furious indignation at Jesus’ statement of the Truth, hinting at a Messianic identity. Speaking God’s Truth is a risky business even today. It results in arrests and persecution in Communist and Islamic countries. In developed countries, insulting the religious beliefs and practices of Christians is perpetrated in the name of the freedom of speech.

REJECTED GENIUSES

Bishop Fulton Sheen, the great Preacher, was told by his college debate coach, “You are absolutely the worst speaker I ever heard.”(Mark Link S.J.).

Ruth Graham felt an uncontrollable urge to run out of the meeting the first time she heard Billy Graham preach. She was not convinced of his preaching ability. She was put off by his preaching style. Billy had to improve his preaching before Ruth would become his wife.

G.K. Chesterton could not read until he was eight years old. A teacher said if his head were opened, they would probably find a lump of fat where there was supposed to be a brain. That teacher was wrong.

Earnest Hemingway, the great novelist, was told by his teachers, ”Forget about writing; you don’t have enough talent for it.” Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Peter Rabbit was rejected by seven publishers.

Richard Bach got twenty rejection slips before Jonathan Livingston Seagull was published.

Richard Hooker’s humorous war novel, MASH was rejected by 21 publishers before it became a bestseller, a movie, and long-running television series.

Dr. Seuss, one of the most popular children’s authors of all time, got more than two dozen rejection slips before The Cat in the Hat made it to print.

Today’s Gospel tells us how Jesus encountered rejection with prophetic courage. If people rejected Jesus in his lifetime, we should not be surprised if people reject us who believe in and follow Jesus in our lifetime.

DO NOT LET REJECTION DERAIL YOUR DREAMS

The annals of human history are replete with case after case of good people being rejected by those who knew them best.

Beethoven, for example, had a rather awkward playing style and preferred to work at his own compositions rather than play the compositions of the classical artists of his day. Disapproving of his technique, his teacher called him hopeless as a composer.

Albert Einstein did not speak until he was four and could not read until age nine. His school master said that he was “mentally slow, unsociable and adrift in his foolish dreams, and that he would never amount to anything.”

Thomas Edison’s teachers advised his parents to keep him home from school, stating that he was “too stupid to learn anything.” In his autobiography, Charles Darwin wrote, “I was considered by all my masters and my father, a very ordinary boy, rather below the common standard in intellect.” An expert once said of the great football coach, Vince Lombardi, “He possesses minimal football knowledge and lacks motivation.”

Socrates was written off as “an immoral corruptor of youth.”

Louisa May Alcott’s family thought she was hardly educable and encouraged her to find work as a seamstress or house-servant.

When F. W. Woolworth first sought work at a dry goods store, his employers said he did not have the intelligence to wait on customers.

Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor who complained that he was lacking in creative ideas.

The father of the sculptor Rodin said, “I have an idiot for a son.” Described as the worst pupil in his school, Rodin failed three times to secure admittance to a school of art.

After Fred Astaire’s first screen test, the memo from the testing director said, “Can’t act! Slightly bald! Can dance a little! “Obviously, all of these people lived to contradict their naysayers and so excelled in their respective fields as to become a surprise to those who thought they “knew” them.

So also Jesus. So also, Paul. So also, Ezekiel. Each of the readings for today’s liturgy challenges the human propensity for labeling and limiting and invites believers to begin to look at God, the world, and one another with more open eyes and more receptive hearts.(Sanchez Files)

LIFE MESSAGE FROM FR. TONY

WE MUST HAVE THE PROPHETIC COURAGE OF OUR CONVICTIONS

By our Baptism, God   calls us to be prophets like Jesus, sharing Jesus’ prophetic mission.  The task of a prophet is to speak God’s truth. We must never be afraid of this call.   We may rely on   Jesus to supply us with the courage to oppose the many evils in our society.

By legalizing abortion in 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court has allowed the killing of over thirty million unborn children in forty-eight years and it is tolerating the brutal execution of 4400 defenseless lives every day by abortion.

Our television and movie conglomerates, which are supported by the tax money of millions of citizens, systematically poison the minds of the young as well as the old by the excessive importance given to secular values, materialistic hedonism, perverted sex, and unnecessary violence. Many well-known corporate sponsors support more than 75,000 U. S. websites of pornographic material, thus enabling the destructive behavior of perverts and sex abusers.

Our society tells youngsters that promiscuous sex, drugs and alcohol are means by which they express their individuality.  It is here that our country needs Christians with the prophetic courage of their convictions to pray, do penance, make reparation for, and speak out where challenged as our means to fight against such moral evils.

Fr. Tony’s 8-minute Homily in 1 page

 

View More Homily Starter Anecdotes compiled by Fr. Tony

14th Sunday of Year B

More Gospel Dramatizations/Documentaries

Rejection of Jesus Matthew 13:53–58 Mark 06:01–06 Luke 04:16–30

FACING REJECTION AND HARDSHIP WITH PROPHETIC COURAGE

Today’s readings introduce Jesus as a prophet and explain how prophets and other messengers from God inevitably suffer rejection. The readings challenge us to face rejection and hardship with prophetic courage.

The first reading, taken from the book of the prophet Ezekiel, tells us about his call from God to be a prophet. Yahweh warns Ezekiel that he is being sent to obstinate and rebellious Israelites in exile in Babylon. Hence, as God’s prophet, he will have to face rejection and persecution for giving God’s message. This reading warns us that, as Christians who accept the Way of Jesus and seek to follow it, we also may face indifference, hostility, contempt, scorn, weakness, hardship, persecution, insults, and rejection.

In the second reading, St. Paul gives us the same warning from his own experience, that not only prophets, but apostles and missionaries will encounter hardships and rejection in their preaching mission. Paul confesses that God has given him a share in Christ’s suffering – a chronic illness which causes physical suffering — a “thorn in the flesh,” — so that he might rely solely on God’s grace in all his work and might glory in the power of the strengthening God Who alone sustains him. The apostle invites us to rise above our own weaknesses and disabilities, cooperating with the grace of God and proclaiming His message by word and example as Paul did.

Today’s Gospel passage, Mark 6:1-6, shows us that many people of Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth did not accept him as a prophet because they “knew” Jesus and the family. They also “knew” that this “son of the carpenter” could not be the promised Messiah who would come from Bethlehem as a descendant of David’s royal family. Besides, they were angry when Jesus not only did not work any miracles in Nazareth but chided them with prophetic courage for their lack of Faith, then left them, to proclaim God’s message, through a preaching, healing ministry to those who would receive it and believe.

FIRST READING

First Reading – Ezekiel 2:2-5

Today’s reading from Ezekiel captures the same experience in the career of the prophet Ezekiel, who lived about 600 years before Jesus. Ezekiel is warned by God that, though he has been called by Yahweh and sent with a message to the people of Israel, they will almost certainly refuse to hear and accept his message. God is angry about the rebelliousness of the people to whom He is sending His prophet. Ezekiel was the first person called to become a prophet while the Chosen People were in Exile in Babylon. While the false prophets were consoling people, saying that the Exile was soon to end and they’d be going home to a newly prosperous Jerusalem soon, Ezekiel resolutely foretold the further destruction of Jerusalem. No wonder he was hated and rejected by the people! Those who accept the call of God and seek to follow Him may also face indifference, hostility, contempt, scorn, weakness, hardship, persecution, insults and rejection.

SECOND READING

Second Reading – 2 Cor 12: 7-10

In today’s selection, Paul frankly admits the fact he has learned by trial and error that he couldn’t preach the Gospel on the basis of his own strength and talent. Rather, the weaker he became, the more room he left for the Spirit of God to work through him. In the midst of a conflict with the Corinthian Christian community, Paul reveals two of his deepest spiritual experiences. In one he had an ecstatic theophany when he received an exceptional revelation. In the other, he fervently prayed to have the unidentified cause of great suffering removed but was given instead the reassurance that God’s grace would be sufficient for his every need. Paul’s opponents within the Corinthian community presumed that an authentic apostle would be vindicated by Heavenly visitation and a miraculous healing. Instead, Paul discovered positive value in his pain. He understood that suffering, accepted as God’s gift, produces patience, sensitivity, compassion, and a genuine appreciation of life’s blessings. Hence, Paul declares that the weaknesses which continue to mark his life as an apostle represent the effective working of the power of the crucified Christ in Paul’s ministry. Paul was content with weaknesses and hardships for the sake of Christ; we, too, will find, in our surrender to God’s Love, that His grace does suffice for all our needs. For Christ’s Power dwells in us in our weakness, and in weakness we are truly strong.

GOSPEL READING

Gospel Reading – Mark 5:21-43

The Context

It was natural that Jesus should visit his hometown, Nazareth, as a rabbi with a band of disciples. On the Sabbath day, Jesus went to the local synagogue. In the synagogue there was no definite person to give the address. Any distinguished stranger present who had a message to give might be asked by the ruler of the synagogue to speak. Since Jesus’ fame as a preacher and miracle worker in other places of Galilee had reached Nazareth, Jesus was invited to read from the Prophets and explain the text. During his “Inaugural Address” or “Mission Statement,” Jesus took upon himself the identity of a prophet, different from the image of a miracle worker that people wished to see.  As other faithful prophets of Israel had done, Jesus, too, held  people accountable for their selfishness, their faithlessness to God, their lack of justice and mercy (Mi 6:6-8), and their sinfulness.


The Adverse Reaction

 

The first reaction of the people in the synagogue to Jesus’ words was one of astonishment. Luke says they were “amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips.” But Mark says that they asked one another: “Where did this man get all this? They knew him only as a carpenter from a poor family, with no formal training in Mosaic Law.

Certainly, they thought Jesus had gone far beyond the place of a humble carpenter. (One of the dreams of Martin Luther King was that his people “would be judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character”). Jesus’ neighbors did not expect this “carpenter’s son,” to be skilled in interpreting the Scriptures.  They also could not understand how a mere carpenter could be their political Messiah who would liberate them from Roman rule and re-establish the Davidic kingdom of power and glory.

The local townsfolk also objected that Jesus had no distinguished lineage, identifying Jesus as “the son of Mary” (v. 3) rather than with the traditional title, “son of Joseph” (“Bar Joseph”) title. Such a reference could be seen as an insult, because men in that culture were identified by who their fathers were (see John 1:45). Jesus responded: “No prophet is accepted in his native place.” Those who accept the call of God and seek to follow Him will face indifference, hostility, contempt, scorn, weakness, hardship, persecution, insults and rejection. The apostle John said of Christ in John 1:1011, “He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.”The Faith that was rewarded

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