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August 5, 2010

August 6th Holy Spirit Novena
Scripture selection is Day 5 Period I.

The Novena Rosary Mysteries  
for August 6th are Joyful.

 

China Retreat

August 10th - 13th

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Cycle A -

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                August 5, 2010

 


19th Sunday in Ordinary Time
 

Wisdom 18: 6-9

That night had been known in advance to our ancestors, 
so that, well knowing him in whom they had put their trust, 
    they would be sure of his promises. 
Your people thus were waiting 
both for the rescue of the upright and for the ruin of the enemy; 
for by the very vengeance that you exacted on our adversaries, 
you glorified us by calling us to you. 
So the holy children of the good offered sacrifice in secret 
and with one accord enacted this holy law: 
that the holy ones should share good things and dangers alike; 
and forthwith they chanted the hymns of the ancestors.

 

Hebrews 11: 1-2, 8-19

Only faith can guarantee the blessings that we hope for, or prove the existence of realities that are unseen. It is for their faith that our ancestors are acknowledged.

    It was by faith that Abraham obeyed the call to set out for a country that was the inheritance given to him and his descendants, and that he set out without knowing where he was going. By faith he sojourned in the Promised Land as though it were not his, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. He looked forward to the well–founded city, designed and built by God. 

    It was equally by faith that Sarah, in spite of being past the age, was made able to conceive, because she believed that he who had made the promise was faithful to it. Because of this, there came from one man, and one who already had the mark of death on him, descendants as numerous as the stars of heaven and the grains of sand on the seashore which cannot be counted

    All these died in faith, before receiving any of the things that had been promised, but they saw them in the far distance and welcomed them, recognising that they were only strangers and nomads on earth. People who use such terms about themselves make it quite plain that they are in search of a homeland. If they had meant the country they came from, they would have had the opportunity to return to it; but in fact they were longing for a better homeland, their heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, since he has founded the city for them. 

    It was by faith that Abraham, when put to the test, offered up Isaac. He offered to sacrifice his only son even though he had yet to receive what had been promised, and he had been told: Isaac is the one through whom your name will be carried on. He was confident that God had the power even to raise the dead; and so, figuratively speaking, he was given back Isaac from the dead.

     

Luke 12: 32-48

    ‘There is no need to be afraid, little flock, for it has pleased your Father to give you the kingdom.

    ‘Sell your possessions and give to those in need. Get yourselves purses that do not wear out, treasure that will not fail you, in heaven where no thief can reach it and no moth destroy it. For wherever your treasure is, that is where your heart will be too.

    ‘See that you have your belts done up and your lamps lit. Be like people waiting for their master to return from the wedding feast, ready to open the door as soon as he comes and knocks. Blessed those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. In truth I tell you, he will do up his belt, sit them down at table and wait on them. It may be in the second watch that he comes, or in the third, but blessed are those servants if he finds them ready. You may be quite sure of this, that if the householder had known at what time the burglar would come, he would not have let anyone break through the wall of his house. You too must stand ready, because the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect.’ 

    Peter said, ‘Lord, do you mean this parable for us, or for everyone?’ The Lord replied, ‘Who, then, is the wise and trustworthy steward whom the master will place over his household to give them at the proper time their allowance of food? Blessed that servant if his master’s arrival finds him doing exactly that. I tell you truly, he will put him in charge of everything that he owns. But if the servant says to himself, "My master is taking his time coming," and sets about beating the menservants and the servant–girls, and eating and drinking and getting drunk, his master will come on a day he does not expect and at an hour he does not know. The master will cut him off and send him to the same fate as the unfaithful. 

    ‘The servant who knows what his master wants, but has got nothing ready and done nothing in accord with those wishes, will be given a great many strokes of the lash. The one who did not know, but has acted in such a way that he deserves a beating, will be given fewer strokes. When someone is given a great deal, a great deal will be demanded of that person; when someone is entrusted with a great deal, of that person even more will be expected.

     

August 12, 2007

INTRODUCTION: The spiritual tradition we follow as Christians did not begin with Christ.  It began long before Christ as God prepared the world for the coming of Christ through the Jewish people.  Our two readings take us back in history to our spiritual beginning.  Today’s second reading takes us back to the time of Abraham, almost 19 centuries before Christ.  Abraham and his wife Sarah were the parents of the Jewish people.  The letter to the Hebrews puts Abraham and Sarah before us as models of faith for us to imitate.  The first reading takes us several centuries after the time of Abraham to the time when God’s people, in faith, left Egypt to head for the Promised Land under the leadership of Moses.

HOMILY:  We were introduced to the faith of Abraham and Sarah as they left their homeland and relatives to travel to a new land where God was leading them.  They had faith too in God’s promise they would have many descendants even as they were without children and were growing older.  We were introduced to the faith of the Jewish people as they set out under the leadership of Moses, leaving behind an unpleasant life of slavery for a more uncertain journey through desert and wilderness to an unknown land. 

Each of us today is making his or her own journey.  It might be toward graduation from school, it might be toward marriage or toward a new career, it might be toward improved health, it might be toward retirement or it might be just a matter of trying to survive the stresses of each day.  Whatever it is, time is moving us along.  We are unable to stand still in life, and if we try, we’ll eventually discover that we’re going backwards. We know from everyday experience that if it’s a better place we are moving toward, we need to adequately prepare ourselves for it.    

In our journey through life, there is an event that we definitely need to prepare for.  That is the day we are going to meet our Lord, not just in prayer, not just in the sacraments, not just in the invisible ways in which he comes into our lives, but in a visible, unmistakable way at the end of life’s journey through this life.  It’s a meeting most of us like to put off as long as possible and many people do not like to even think about.  That’s why our Lord warns us to prepare for it, because we may tend to procrastinate or just put it out of our minds altogether. 

Jesus uses two simple examples.  The first is about the head of a household who was out of town for a wedding celebration.  In Jesus’ day wedding celebrations often went on for days, so it’s understandable that the servants would not know when to expect their master’s return.  The second is about a thief.  Of course, a thief doesn’t warn a person before breaking into their house.  If Jesus were preaching today, he might use the example of terrorism.  We’re sadly familiar with the havoc it can cause and the need to be diligently on the alert.  Unlike a thief or a terrorist who may be prevented from striking, Jesus’ coming is not a matter of if but of when.  

The reason he warns us is not to fill us with fear, but because he loves us and he wants us to share in all the blessings he has for us. If we’re not ready, we may miss out.  Most of God’s people who left Egypt started off with faith, but when the going got difficult they refused to do the things God told them and they missed out on enjoying the blessings of the Promised Land. 

I am sure many people here have seen the sign which said, “Jesus is coming.  Try to look busy!”  Being prepared is not something we can fake or make happen at the last second.  It’s the way we live our lives in faith and love.  Faith and love are not superficial attitudes that have no substance.  They are attitudes that guide us to live our life every day the way Jesus taught us.

Right now we follow the lead Jesus gave us as we do in his memory what he commanded us, worshipping the Father through our sharing in his perfect sacrifice.  Amen. 

 

    

 

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