Sunday, July 16, 2017

Homily


Brothers and sisters, after giving the Parable of the Sower to the crowd, Jesus said to His disciples, "To you it has been given to know the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven but to them it has not been given." [Mt. 13:10] To the disciples it was meant to know the way to the Kingdom of God because they were blessed. They had eyes that saw and ears that heard. Others, having dull hearts, listened but did not understand. They looked but they did not perceive.

When we hear the Word of God, do we really hear it in our heart? Do we see the work of God all around us or is everything coincidental to us as it is to many who are not of our fold? 

Through Isaiah, God promised that His Word, Jesus, [Jn. 1:14] would not return to Him empty handed. [Is. 55:11] Jesus would accomplish what the Heavenly Father planned, succeeding in the things for which He had been sent.

The whole creation, the physical world, the angels of God, the Heavenly saints and all those who walk in the living faith, they await the glory of God that is to come, the days when the children of God shall inherit the eternal Kingdom. Creation as we see it today, decaying in all things, comes nowhere near reflecting the future glory that God has planned for those He loves, those who have answered His call to embrace righteousness. Those who's eyes are opened and who's ears are able to hear the Word of God, they know the way, the truth and the life that leads to the Kingdom of God.

They know that the sufferings of the present time are not worth comparing to the glory that is about to be revealed. They know that God makes good things come out of everything. They know that, the present sufferings that must be endured in perseverance, serve the purpose of sanctifying the soul. In all things, they see the hand of God at work as a loving Father who disciplines His children so they may become holy children, so they may become the first fruits of the Spirit.

In faith, those who have answered God's personal call, they groan inwardly while they wait for the day of adoption when the redemption of the bodies shall take place, when at the twinkle of an eye, all shall be transformed, receiving incorruptible bodies in the glory of Christ. [1 Cor. 15:52]

Jesus said, "Blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears for they hear." Many of the prophets and righteous people of the Old Testament longed to see what they saw, but did not see it. They longed to hear what the disciples heard but they did not hear it. [Mt. 13:16-7] We, my brothers and sisters in Christ, are privileged as the disciples of Jesus were privileged. They saw the arrival of the Kingdom of God on earth; today, we are living in the Kingdom of God, having been admitted into it through the new birth that we received during the Sacrament of Baptism. Two thousands years ago, the disciples enjoyed the physical presence of Jesus in bodily form; today, we enjoy the physical presence of Jesus in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist and in the Blessed Tabernacle. 

For three years, the disciples enjoyed the company of Jesus. Today, as Christians, we have just as great an opportunity. We can enjoy the company of Jesus throughout our lives. Jesus has made Himself available to us in the mystery of the Holy Mass. During this celebration, the Holy Mass is a physical reflection of a great spiritual Feast that is taking place where our spirits are in the Divine presence of Jesus, the blessed Virgin Mary, the heavenly saints and all the angels.

In the Old Testament, the believers had to make ongoing sacrifices of animals to maintain their righteousness in the eyes of God. Nowadays, our first righteousness is given to us as a free gift during the Sacrament of Baptism at which time God erases and forgives all traces of the original sin and personal sins that were committed prior to receiving the Sacrament. Through the Sacrament of Confession, we have been provided with the opportunity to maintain our ongoing righteousness. Through these Sacraments, we were provided with the opportunity to inherit the Kingdom of God.

These are the truths that the Holy Mother Church teaches her children. These are truths that require a spiritual heart in order to understand them. They require faith in what is unseen in the blessed hope of things to come.

There are some who hear these truths and they do not understand them because they have become worldly minded. They have set aside what is spiritual for the worldly. In such cases, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in their hearts. For them, there will be no eternal life in the Kingdom of God because they have not made the necessary sincere efforts to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of God.

Then, there are those who hear the truth and who immediately receive it with joy. Not pursuing their spiritual growth, they have no root. They only endure for awhile. When trouble or persecution arises because of controversies over the Word of God, the Bible, the Church, the Pope, the priesthood, marriage and divorce or even abortion, they immediately fall away. They too are lost for eternity.

There are some who hear the truth but they prefer to choose their love of the temporary pleasures and wealth of the world. While the Spirit of God speaks to them in their hearts, reminding them that they are not living their faith in Christ, they block out the Word of God. They produce nothing. They have nothing. And they will have nothing in the eternal life to come.

There are those who have heard the truth since the days of their early childhood. They had good Christian parents who followed through on their obligation to raise them in the faith of the Holy Church. They grew in their faith until such time as they could walk alone. They longed for the Word of God. They loved the Word of God. They understood the secrets of the Kingdom of God and by the grace of the Heavenly Father and the power of the Holy Spirit, they persevered in their living faith and hope in the likeness of Jesus Christ. These Christians shined in the fruit of the Holy Spirit. They produced much charity for the glory of God. Their entire lives were lives of spiritual growth, bearing fruit after fruit. To them belongs the Kingdom of God, they being worthy of being called children of the holy priesthood because they were as living stones.

My brothers and sisters, God said through His prophet Isaiah that the Word that goes out from His mouth shall not return to Him empty. Our faith and perseverance in the Catholic Church that was instituted by Jesus Christ is living proof that the Word of God shall not return to Him empty. Our entry and ongoing participation in the Body of Christ is proof that the Kingdom of God has grown as a large tree with its branches reaching over every nations of the world. Guided by the Holy Spirit, the ongoing visible growth of the Catholic Church is a reflection of the ongoing invisible growth of the Kingdom of God.

Through the Sacrament of Baptism, we were admitted into the mysteries of the Kingdom of God. Now, we are called to live our faith, hope and love in the secrets of the Kingdom of God. We are called to bear much fruit as children of God so we may inherit our eternal rewards, being glorified in Jesus Christ.

My hope is that all of us shall be counted among those who will return to the Heavenly Father as the Bride of Jesus. My joy will be complete when I see this fulfillment.

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Prayer

Lord God, I come from dust and to dust I shall return. You, however, existed before all time, and every creature takes its being from you. ...