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11th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2008

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Fr.Paul Weinberger

Joined: 06 May 2005
Posts: 199
Location: Greenville, Texas

PostPosted: Fri Jun 20, 2008 9:37 pm    Post subject: 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2008 Reply with quote

11th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2008
Homily by:
Father Paul Weinberger
Saint William the Confessor Catholic Church
Greenville, Texas
June 15th 2008

Almighty God, our hope and our strength, without You we falter. Help us to follow Christ and to live according to Your Will.

In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit


Today is a secular feast and not a feast of the Church; it is Father’s Day. It happens to be very helpful to incorporate Father’s Day into the homily and these readings in today’s Holy Mass.

On the cover of the bulletin you note the figure of Saint Anthony of Padua. This is an unusual moment in the life of Saint Anthony. He lived about 800 years ago and was a Franciscan, who personally knew St. Francis of Assisi. He worked many miracles, the kind that Jesus mentions of the Apostles, cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers and drive out demons. St. Anthony lived a life of poverty and was a great preacher of the faith.

The story says that he was working these miracles somewhere in Europe and he came upon a group of people gathered by a river and they would not listen to his teaching. Saint Anthony was a very holy and persuasive speaker and preacher and these people were not giving him the time of day so he turned from the people and began to address the expanse of the sea, as you can see in the picture on the bulletin. Saint Anthony was fulfilling what Christ had said to His Disciples. In one translation it says to go and preach to all creatures and since these people were not going to listen, the creatures of the sea would. You can see that the artist portrays the miracle that happened on that day. The fish stuck their heads above water and listened. Saint Anthony was a tremendous preacher of the teachings of Christ and yet there were those on the land, the people, who wouldn’t even give him the time of day.

It is interesting that after his death he was buried and was not in any way preserved. Years later his body was exhumed and St. Bonaventure, also a Doctor of the Church along with Saint Anthony, was there and witnessed the exhumation. Saint Anthony’s entire body had turned to dust except for one part of the saint that was perfectly preserved…his tongue. He’d spoken well of Christ in this life and as gelatinous tissue the tongue would be one of the first organs of the body to disintegrate immediately and yet, in a miraculous way it was incorrupt to show the truth of the teaching of St. Anthony.

In the Holy Father’s most recent book, “Jesus of Nazareth”, there is a chapter on the Lord’s Prayer, which begins on page # 128. If you have the book at home this is a chapter that you might want to read on this secular holiday, Father’s Day. On page # 138 of this chapter 5, the pope writes this.

This gives the concept of being God’s children a dynamic quality. We are not ready-made children of God from the start, but we are meant to become so increasingly by growing more and more deeply in communion with Jesus. Our son ship turns out to be identical with following Christ. To name God as Father thus becomes a summons to live as a child, as a son or daughter.

Five years ago on this day, my father had passed away so he is not physically here with me. To my shame, I remember while growing up my father would give explicit directions to me on a daily basis. They were important as long as he was physically there in front of me, concentrating on me. The moment he was gone it went right out the other ear until the time came that I heard his tires pulling back into the driveway. All of a sudden reason returned to me and I became aware that my father’s instructions had not been followed. It continued until I was about 25…no I am kidding. Some time before I was 25 I began to recognize how my father was being very reasonable and I was being very childish, but that is all right because I was a child and children are childish. But as the pope points out in his book, even with God the Father we are not ready-made; we have to grow into it as he says. After a certain point in my life my father didn’t have to tell me a second, third, or eighteenth time. He just told me once and it would be done.

This is what is very helpful to see these readings, especially with the work that Christ points out in this Gospel.

The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few.

There is work to be done.

Recently I read a news story about a bank robbery. A lone gunman was holding up the bank and while he was holding the bank up some of the people there were able to just walk out of the bank. The gunman was concentrating on holding up the bank and he didn’t notice them walking out. They called 911 and waited for the robber to exit and they jumped on him and held him until the police got there. It probably happened in Texas; it sounds like Texans.

The bank robber was probably encouraged to rob a bank because robbing banks seems to be one of the choice themes on TV, especially a movie. What, are we up to Oceans 500 by now? It has to be in the triple digits at least. Is there that much money in the world to rob? They keep finding it! Robbing banks…I know what you are thinking.

Oh Father, not another homily on robbing banks! Come on, get the kids and lets go; I am not sitting here for another homily on robbing banks.

Robbing banks is safe territory because I don’t presume that you have robbed banks and I have never robbed a bank and I don’t presume that we are ever going to rob a bank so it is safe territory. But, in those movies they always show that robbing a bank is serious business. Oh no, this is not for the wimp. You really have to be dedicated and you have to study and work. Sometimes you have to be confined in a small compartment until they wheel you into the vault or something like that. Oh no, people who rob banks give up a whole lot, like friends, family, girlfriends, and the social life because they are so focused and are studying, working, concentrating and they are praying…. well, I guess you can’t say they are praying for God to help them rob the bank. Amen! You are not going to hear that on one of the movies.

Think of all that goes into robbing a bank in what we’ve seen from “Mission Impossible” forward. Think of how much work goes into that; it is work that doesn’t glorify God and if it does give glory it is NOT to God the Father. No good father is proud to hear that his child has turned out to be a bank robber, yet it shows that even criminals such as bank robbers have the ability to work and plan, study and sacrifice if they wish. The reason I brought up bank robbing and have gone into such detail is to make us think of our lives and think of how sin is in daily life.

Well, at least I am not robbing a bank!”

That is “at least”, but are we giving our full attention to the direction that our Father has given us. Let me show you the direction that our Father has given us. Remember how Pope Benedict explained it? He said,

Our son ship turns out to be identical with following Christ.

Do you remember when Christ robbed a bank? I don’t either. Forget robbing the bank; forget the sins that come upon us in daily life.

Well Father, you don’t expect me to give that up do you? You don’t expect me to fight against that do you?

Think of those people in the bank, who were able to slip out and actually subdue the criminal before he could make his get-away. We are not powerless in the face of evil and that is what Jesus is showing us here in the Gospel. He is giving the Apostles authority over unclean spirits. You know, whenever you hear the words “unclean spirit”, you just need to replace it with “demon.”.

Jesus said to them, “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand; cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons.”

There is work to be done and that involves concentration, study, dedication and sacrifice and Jesus is looking right at you and me! The fact that this work goes undone because we are no longer focused on our Father and our attention is no longer there. Why? It is because He seems remote to us somehow.

”He’s gone so I’ll just forget those very specific instructions He left for me.”

That is what I would say to myself and then my father would come back home and there it goes. How could this happen to me? How did it happen to me? It wasn’t a surprise. Can you imagine the bank robber at his trial?

”Your honor I would like to defend myself.”

“Okay, go ahead.”

”Well, the reason I robbed the bank was…I really hadn’t planned on robbing the bank, in fact I had my deposit slip already made up.”

Now that is a lie! How many people will go to a bank with a deposit slip already made up? At least no one I stand behind! Anyway the robber tells the judge that it was a surprise and he didn’t know he was going to rob the bank. Oh yea, right!

Think of all the words that might slip out in a day, the thought that might cross our minds and the things we might do or leave undone; these are occurring again and again and have settled in to a nice rut, like a comfortable chair. This does not contribute in any way to bringing in the harvest that Our Lord points out in the Gospel and what He is so in need of. Don’t let yourself be talked into believing that what Jesus says here, He is saying only to priests.

The harvest is abundant but laborers are few so ask the Master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.

He is not only talking about priests but to everyone else as well. In this way we show that God is our Father by doing His will and living it. The Collect or the Opening Prayer may not be a perfect translation. It says,

Almighty God, our hope and our strength, without You we falter. Help us to follow Christ and to live according to Your Will.

Recently I was talking to a friend of mine and she was telling me about two days she experienced in the last week. Day one is contrasted with day two. Day one…she works for herself and she was working at home and throughout the day she felt the inspiration to pray and pray often. When that happens to me I usually just lay down and it goes away. But guess what she did? She prayed in the morning, the afternoon and in the evening. She prayed different kinds of prayer; she used the bible and the rosary and other things to help her pray. It is a good thing she prayed because guess what happened the next day? Her description of herself the next day was something like this right here.Father points to the serpent below the feet of Our Lady She was as low as a snake that day and she felt very much attacked spiritually. Fortunately for her, the day before she had prayed. God was preparing her spiritually to be protected by her having prayed the day before.

There are many ways that you and I can describe how daily patterns of sin, venial sins included, don’t count and aren’t important. It is important. On this Father’s Day, all fathers should look to God the Father and His complete instructions. He has left nothing out in His instruction, known as the Kingdom of Heaven, and we cannot say that we don’t get it. If we say we don’t get it we are not giving glory to the Father. As it says so beautifully in the Collect,

Help us to follow Christ and to live according to Your Will.

In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit

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