Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Catholic 761 : Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Year C - Sunday, October 27, 2019

Homily Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Year C   - Sunday, October 27, 2019

First reading. Ecclesiasticus 35:12-14, 16-19 
Responsorial Psalm.  33:2-3,17-19,23.The Lord hears the cry of the poor 

Second reading. 2 Timothy 4: 6-8,16-18. 

Alleluia, alleluia! All who love me will keep my words, and my Father will love them and we will come to them.

Gospel. Luke 18:9-14 

Image: By askib. Shutterstock licensed. ID: 96205922. Pharisee and the publican praying in the temple. colour  
++++Please listen to my audio recordings of the readings, prayers and reflections for the Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Year C   - Sunday, October 27, 2019, by clicking this link here:   https://soundcloud.com/user-633212303/30c-faith-hope-and-love-ep-183/s-cmwio  (EPISODE: 183)
prologue: Our Church's Liturgical year is coming to an end soon.   We have a three-year cycle of readings in which we hear from the three main Gospels in-depth,  and this year that is coming to an end is the Year of Luke's Gospel...Year C.  and it's been a wonderful journey.   Next year's gospel will primarily be Matthew's Gospel.  Each of them has a special focus.   In Luke's gospel, we hear some of the most beloved parables that are not featured in the other gospels.  Oh, and if you are wondering why there is a three-year cycle when there are four gospels,  John's gospel is so significant for special times in the year that it features heavily within all three years, as well as augmenting the gospels such as Mark which are shorter than the others. So we get a very wonderful large selection of texts from all of the gospels over the three years.  This weekend is another excellent and thought-provoking parable... the proud Pharisee and the humble tax collector.   What Matter's most to God is what is within...  what is in our hearts and minds... and how this flows out consistently into justice, kindness, compassion, and loving actions. 
The parables of our Lord combine together to build an extraordinary and beautiful picture of God's view of the world and God's people. The parables of Jesus, collected together in Luke's gospel, which we have been listening to throughout this year, create a clear picture of the Kingdom.  For example, the parable of the Prodigal son, or the two sons who act like slaves and forget they are beloved sons of the father,   and even last weekend's gospel of the unjust judge, who does the right thing but for the wrong motive.  The unjust judge didn't care about God or the poor widow but only did the right thing because he was sick of being annoyed and wanted to get the widow out of his hair. And of course, today's parable where the person who does everything right according to God's law, is offside with God because of the lack of charity and humility in his heart. The person labelled a sinner is at rights with God because he is humble and repentant and knows his utter dependence on God's mercy and grace.  I am deeply struck by the earlier parable of the prodigal son's older brother.  He too has done everything right and worked in his father's property very diligently. But he is in the wrong because he acts more like a slave and not like a beloved son. he works begrudgingly and without love and is resentful and judgemental and has lost concern and love for his brother.  It takes a slave working for his father to try and explain the realities: "your father had to celebrate because he got his son back safe and sound."  You know you are in trouble when you don't get something and the hired workers do. Same with the Pharisee in today's gospel, he does all the right things but not with the right spirit of love and of being an eager shareholder in the family of God, not just a resentful and judgemental slave who goes through the motions of faithfulness but who is quite unloving at heart. 
Today's gospel is about true inner humility.. and also refraining from judging others. The Pharisee in the gospel seemed a righteous and upright man who outwardly did everything God's law required….but inside his heart and mind, we discover that he was filled with pride and conceit and judgementalism. 
His actions were loveless and uncharitable, and he looked down on his neighbour who outwardly did not appear to be as righteous as the Pharisee seemed to be. 
Meanwhile, unbeknownst to anyone. the tax collector's mind and heart was actually much more close to God. He was penitent and humble.. and knew his place .. He recognised his absolute need for God's grace and mercy and that he did not deserve or merit God's love, and that God gave this grace and mercy out of love (as a loving parent does), and that all of us depend on God's generous love and mercy…  
it is true, God does want us to be faithful co-workers for the Kingdom and eager, compassionate, loving ones at that. Of Course, God wants us to do the right things and avoid doing wrong, but first and foremost because choosing the wrong path is terribly bad for us and God wants only good for us. But as important as doing good is, just as vital is HOW we do this good and how we avoid the bad. The love with which we do this is an essential factor.
This gospel brings to mind the life of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, (the little Flower). Her famous 'little way' was built on such principles......It turns out that actually Therese always focused primarily on why and how one does the things they do. She also was too well aware, as Saint Paul writes, that it is possible to do great acts of bravery, sacrifice and good, but for a wrong motive - and without love in one's heart. 
Thérèse knew that a person can do a kindness to someone not out of love but rather, from pride or superiority. The action itself might be good, but it does not foster love within the person nor strengthen unity between God and ourselves. Such acts do no good whatsoever, (as St Paul puts it in his famous letter to the Corinthians). 
Also, a person can do something that can be mistakenly interpreted to be selfish or hurtful but where their inner intention and object was quite the opposite and was actually done with great love and out of concern for the good of another or to build up the love between God and ourselves.  
St Thérèse gives an example of the time her superior asked her and another nun:  "Which of you two would like to go and open the door to let in the man delivering the Christmas tree?" 
Thérèse (filled with love and concern) believed that her fellow nun would have loved to do this, so she rose from her seat slower than the other, slowly untying her apron, and putting up her hand after the other sister raised her hand. The superior, mistaking her motivation of her heart for selfishness, singled out Thérèse in front of everyone and said 'Aha, so Thérèse didn't want to go and do the hard work, so she responded slowly. No glory for you then!" 
Everyone assumed she had acted selfishly; but her inner motivation was not that at all. Her actions or others judgements on those actions did not reveal the true motivation of her loving heart. This is very revealing of the inner working of the heart attached to God. 
On top of this, and in the true spirit of the Gospel, Thérèse also determined never to try to justify or explain herself if wrongly judged; for she felt it would be her pride that would be trying to prove that she did not act selfishly. ironically, Thérèse would not have even shared this example to anyone in her writing s, except her Mother Superior ordered her, under her vow of religious obedience, to write down her life and insights as an act of absolute generosity. The head nun rightly judged that these secret insights from Therese would be enormously inspiring and helpful to other souls. So the sharing of these things, was itself a sacrifice which might have looked to some like self- promotion. 
So Thérèse showed that she had a healthy caution when it came to judging merely external acts. 
Outward appearances can be quite misleading and ambiguous. Thérèse also developed a healthy ambivalence to both receiving both compliments and receiving criticism or negative judgement from others. (Her previous experience had taught her that the judgements of others as to the state of her inner heart - or anyone else's heart - were quite unreliable, to say the least) – Only God truly and fully knows the human heart and its true motives. 
There is a little example that Thérèse cites which I love ………One day she was walking along and a nun said to her, "my… my, you are putting on weight, that is not God's will for us. ……" Thérèse nodded respectfully and kept walking. Then Thérèse met another nun as she continued along the same corridor and the older nun said to her: "My goodness child, you are so thin. Dear me you are wasting away. You are like a skeleton.  God wouldn't want you to be skin and bones."  Two completely opposite judgements within seconds of each other, based on incorrect assumptions from external appearances. And to both contradictory judgements Therese gently and lovingly nodded and continued on her way. (This is simply amazing and wonderful!).    

Incidents like these underlined to Thérèse that she ought not rely on others opinions and judgements in order to get a sense of self-worth, that really comes alone from her identity as an infinitely beloved child of God and not by our own merits or virtues or what other people think of our hearts or motives. Thérèse also believed strongly in the scripture passage 'judge not and you shall not be judged.' 
Imagine three people looking at a person.  Imagine that one of the three is God and the other two are ordinary people.  One person might point to the subject person and say: "I see a saint!"   and the other might say, "well, I see a sinner."   Meanwhile, note how God answers in an entirely different way, coming from a completely different mindset and perspective. God says, "I see my dear child, - for whom I want only all that is good .... and whom love utterly."   
Fr Paul W. Kelly 
"Story of a Soul: The Autobiography of St.  Thérèse of Lisieux" (1898)

Image: By askib. Shutterstock licensed. ID: 96205922. Pharisee and the publican praying in the temple. colour     

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May God bless and keep you.

Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Year C 
Sunday, October 27, 2019)
(EPISODE: 183 )
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (or/ The Lord be with You)
{{Joy and peace to everyone}}
My brothers and sisters, trusting in Gods mercy and love let us call to mind our sins.
Lord Jesus, you have revealed yourself as the way to the Father: Lord, have mercy//You have poured out on your people the Spirit of truth: Christ, have mercy//You are the Good Shepherd, leading us to eternal life: Lord, have mercy.//
May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life.  Amen.
Memorial Acclamation
3. Save us, Saviour of the world, for by your Cross and Resurrection you have set us free.
Sundays Ordinary IV
Eucharistic Prayer II

Communion side.  pwk: 
thank you for your company as we have given thanks and praise to our God. }
Go forth, the Mass is ended.

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