Sunday, September 3, 2017

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. You formed me in my mother’s womb with infinite care, and you watch over me tenderly. I hope you will embrace my soul at my death to carry me home to heaven to be with you forever. Thank you for looking upon me and blessing me with your love. Take my love in return. I humbly offer you all that I am.

 Lord Jesus, I ask you for the courage to continue to follow your call to holiness. Help me to know where it is you want me to become more like you, and give me the strength to form myself into the saint of which you have always dreamed. Mother Mary, I entrust my spiritual life into your maternal care.

Homily

"Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven." [Mt. 6:10] Every time that we repeat the Sacred Words that Jesus taught us in the Lord's Prayer, we ask our Heavenly Father that His will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.

What does it mean to ask that "The Lord's will be done?" [Acts 21:14] Does it mean that by some supernatural means, because we pray to God the Father, that He will change things for the better? Or, does the Lord's Prayer ask for Divine favour by the grace of the Lord and the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit, that we and those around us be transformed according to His Divine Will?

My brothers and sisters, nothing in this world will improve unless we change! Unless we change our thoughts, our words and our actions according to the Divine Will of God, nothing will improve. Prayers are fruitless when there is no sincerity of heart. As Jesus said, "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of My Father in Heaven." [Mt. 7:21]

"The Lord Jesus Christ gave Himself for our sins to set us free from the present evil age, according to the Will of our God and Father." [Gal. 1:3-4] Accordingly, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God - what is good and acceptable and perfect." [Rom. 12:2] "For the doubter, being doubled-minded and unstable in every way must not expect to receive anything from the Lord." [Jas. 1:8]

As Jesus said, "The spirit is indeed willing but the flesh is weak." [Mt. 26:41] Our new heart and creation that we received through the Sacrament of Baptism longs to do the Will of the Lord God in cooperation with the indwelling Holy Spirit. Our new spiritual inclination is constantly battling against our old ways. At times, the battle between the spiritual and the worldly ways can be very difficuilt.

The evidence of the inner battle between our spiritual and worldly inclinations, often being out of control because we do not think before we speak and act, was mentioned in today's Gospel Reading when Jesus told His disciples that He must undergo great suffering and death. Embracing a worldly mind, Peter took Jesus aside and told Him, "God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you." Consequently, Jesus rebuked Peter because he was thinking worldly, only seeking worldly comfort. By failing to think spiritually according to the will of God, Peter was not striving to see the spiritual benefits of the suffering and death of Christ for the salvation of mankind.

In today's First Reading from the Book of Jeremiah, we heard that the same thing happened again. The prophet Jeremiah was experiencing that inner battle between the spiritual and the worldly ways. Choosing to embrace the worldly way rather than the will of God, he made a fool of Himself. The Lord God was telling Jeremiah how to embrace the spiritual way, but Jeremiah would not listen.

From that same reading, there is something I would like to point out. Disobeying the will of God, Jeremiah said, "If I say, 'I will not mention him, or speak anymore of his name,' then within me there is something like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot."

I would like to read you another similar passage from the Gospel of Luke. This passage refers to the experience of the disciples who had previously walked on the Road to Emmaus with Jesus. After Jesus left, they said to each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while He was talking to us on the road, while He was opening the Scriptures to us?" [Lk. 24:32]

In both instances, the hearts of these individuals were being moved by the power of the Holy Spirit. In both instances, their minds were hearing the voice of God that was speaking in their hearts. In both instances, the action of the Holy Spirit was as a burning fire within them.

My brothers and sisters, having received the Sacrament of Baptism and the new creation of the godly seed, we have all experienced this burning hunger from time to time. It is because our spirits are starving for spiritual food. When God promised the New Covenant through the Blood of Christ, He said, "I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people." [Ezek. 31:33]

Having God's law written on our hearts, the commandment of loving God first and then our neighbours, we cannot run away from God's burning fire. Our God is a consuming fire. [Heb. 12:29] "He is like a refiner's fire. With our cooperation, our free will, He will refine us like gold and silver until we present offerings to Him in righteousness." [Mal. 3:2-3] The One and only true Lord God is our God and He is speaking to us in our hearts. Will we respond or will we continue to choke His voice by remaining indifferent to His call? Are we going to dull our spiritual inclinations to the extent that we will no longer hear the voice of the Lord in our hearts?

The reason that God wrote His law in our hearts is for us to know Him, to present ourselves to Him as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable, which is our spiritual worship. "So do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is." [Eph. 5:17]

When we seek to live the ways of the world, we choke the voice of the Lord God. Alcoholism, drugs, dishonesty, adultery, common-law relationships, same sex relationships, hatred, slander, child neglect, all of these things choke the voice of the Lord God. Such worldly ways do not feed our spiritual lives. It dulls them. It leaves us as worldly souls that walk in the darkness, deprived of spiritual growth. It disqualifies us as children of God, taking away from us the promised salvation and inheritance of eternal life in the Kingdom of God.

As Jesus said, "The spirit is indeed willing but the flesh is weak." [Mt. 26:41] Knowing so, then we should equip ourselves with weapons that will help us to walk our spiritual lives as living sacrifices. We should read the Word of God. We should seek the Real Presence of Jesus in the Holy Tabernacle. We should attend the services of the Holy Catholic Church. We should receive the Sacraments of the Church. We should enjoy the Church Sacramentals for pious devotions. For all of these holy actions are spiritual worships that please the Heavenly Father.

My brothers and sisters, today's message is, "Seek the Will of God in all things." When, by the grace of God, we feel that burning fire within our hearts, let us realize that God is calling us to be spiritual in thoughts, in words and in actions. Let us not continue to act in worldly ways, allowing our conscience to convict us of our sins. Let us turn our eyes towards the Lord. Let us acknowledge Him in love. Let us show repentance with a commitment. And finally, let us thank the Lord Jesus for speaking in our heart by glorifying His Most Holy Name.

Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Book of Jeremiah 20:7-9.
You duped me, O LORD, and I let myself be duped; you were too strong for me, and you triumphed. All the day I am an object of laughter; everyone mocks me.
Whenever I speak, I must cry out, violence and outrage is my message; The word of the LORD has brought me derision and reproach all the day.
I say to myself, I will not mention him, I will speak in his name no more. But then it becomes like fire burning in my heart, imprisoned in my bones; I grow weary holding it in, I cannot endure it.

Psalms 63(62):2.3-4.5-6.8-9.
O God, you are my God whom I seek;
for you my flesh pines and my soul thirsts
like the earth, parched, lifeless and without water.

Thus have I gazed toward you in the sanctuary
to see your power and your glory,
for your kindness is a greater good than life;
my lips shall glorify you.

Thus will I bless you while I live;
lifting up my hands, I will call upon your name.
As with the riches of a banquet shall my soul be satisfied,
and with exultant lips my mouth shall praise you.

You indeed are my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I shout for joy.
My soul clings fast to you;
your right hand upholds me.




Letter to the Romans 12:1-2.
I urge you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship.
Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 16:21-27.
Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.
Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, "God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you."
He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do."
Then Jesus said to his disciples, "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? Or what can one give in exchange for his life?
For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father's glory, and then he will repay everyone according to his conduct."

Seven Great Lessons of Pentecost

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