Shepherds of Christ  
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June 7, 2008

June 8th Holy Spirit Novena
Scripture selection is Day 6 Period I.

The Novena Rosary Mysteries  
for June 8th are Glorious.


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Homily from Fr. Joe, Rita's brother


Jeremiah 20:7-9

You have seduced me, Yahweh,
    and I have let myself be seduced;
you have overpowered me:
    you were the stronger.
I am a laughing-stock all day long,
they all make fun of me.
For whenever I speak, I have to howl
and proclaim, ‘Violence and ruin!’
For me , Yahweh’s word has been the cause
of insult and derision all day long.
I would say to myself,
    ‘I will not think about him,
I will not speak in his name any more,’
but then there seemed to be a fire
    burning in my heart,
imprisoned in my bones.
The effort to restrain it wearied me,
I could not do it.


Matthew 16: 21-27

From then onwards Jesus began to make it clear to his disciples that he was destined to go to Jerusalem and suffer grievously at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes and to be put to death and to be raised up on the third day. Then, taking him aside, Peter started to rebuke him. ‘Heaven preserve you, Lord,’ he said, ‘this must not happen to you.’ But he turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle in my path, because you are thinking not as God thinks but as human beings do.’

Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me. Anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it. What, then, will anyone gain by winning the whole world and forfeiting his life? Or what can anyone offer in exchange for his life? 

    ‘For the Son of man is going to come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and then he will reward each one according to his behaviour.



22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

August 28, 2005

INTRODUCTION: (Jeremiah 20, 7-9) Our first reading goes back about 600 B.C. The author of our passage is the prophet Jeremiah. Apparently he thought that people would be grateful to him for speaking God’s word to them. But his job of telling them to change their ways and get right with God only made them hate him. The people ridiculed him, threw him in jail and even tried to kill him. We hear him complaining to God “You duped me! You tricked me, God!” I’m sure it wasn’t the first time God heard the complaint that life is not fair. Jesus’ faithfulness to his mission would bring him suffering too, but Jesus was well aware of what was going to happen to him as we hear him warn his disciples in today’s gospel. In last Sunday’s gospel Jesus praised Peter for acknowledging Jesus as the Messiah. Jesus even promised Peter the keys to the kingdom of heaven. But Peter wasn’t ready for all this talk about suffering and when Peter tried to talk Jesus out of the idea Jesus called him Satan. That’s because Peter was trying to tempt Jesus away from being faithful to his calling.

HOMILY: (Matthew 16, 21-27) Jesus tells us “whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” At the time St. Matthew was writing, this was literally true for many Christians. It still happens in some parts of the world that those who believe in Christ and follow him end up paying for it with their lives. Do not misunderstand Jesus’ statement. When Jesus said “whoever wishes to come after me must take up his cross and follow me,” that does not mean that if we decide not to follow him we’re not going to have any problems or crosses. If we choose not to follow him in order to avoid the difficulties that might be demanded of us, problems will find us anyway. Problems and crosses are part of everyone’s life, whether they believe in Christ or not. And since Christ came to show us the way to peace and joy, avoiding the hardships involved with following him will only cost us more dearly in the long run.

Religion and philosophy have always tried to understand the mystery of suffering, especially the difficult problem of why good people suffer. So many different explanations are out there. None of them can take all the mystery out of suffering. For me, the best answer is found in the gospel. Jesus through his cross and resurrection has given us hope in our pain and hopelessness and has shown us suffering can lead to glory, if we will accept our crosses along with him. That requires total faith in him.

Now Peter, whom we heard in today’s gospel, had faith in Jesus. If you recall last week’s gospel he said of Jesus: “you are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” That profession of faith was made just minutes before the scene in today’s gospel. When Jesus began talking about suffering Peter objected. Peter professed that he believed in Jesus as the Messiah, the Christ, but Peter didn’t think the Messiah should have to suffer. Peter had Jesus’ career path all figured out. Peter’s faith in Jesus was way too limited. He couldn’t see what Jesus was seeing and was trying to tell them. He couldn’t see that if Jesus was determined to be faithful to his mission of teaching and healing, which he was, being faithful would cost him his life. Jesus scolded Peter and called him Satan because he was trying to tempt Jesus away from faithfully staying with his calling. Jesus told him: “you are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”

That sounds almost unfair of Jesus to say: “You’re thinking not as God does!” How are we expected to think like God thinks? If we tried really hard, do you suppose we could? With only our human brains to think with, we can only think like human beings do. But there is something that helps us think like God does. It’s faith! Faith enables us to go beyond our own limited human capabilities. It’s just like learning from any great teacher, when God tells us something and we truly believe it, we’re seeing things and knowing things God sees and knows, even if we can’t fully grasp everything at once. We’re beginning to think like God does. Now I interrupt this homily for a brief commercial.

If we are grateful to have the faith and hope in Christ that we have, isn’t this something we would like to share? One way we do this is though our RCIA program which begins this Wednesday evening. Everyone who has gone through our RCIA reports having enjoyed it. If you know anyone who might be interested in knowing more about Christ and the Church, please invite them or better yet, come with them. In a similar vein, we still have room in our school for some more students. All our children receive an excellent education as well as an education about Jesus Christ and his teachings, whether they are Catholic or not. We have a great principal and a great staff. And if a family needs help with tuition there is a very good possibility of getting it. End of commercial.

Coming to Mass, as we are doing now, teaches us to think as God does. We listen to what he tells us in the Scriptures. And we celebrate in a mysterious way Jesus’ death and resurrection. In that event we are given a vision of God’s plan for all who live in his grace. Amen.






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