Sunday Homilies by Fr. Rudolf V. D’ Souza

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Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Date: June 8, 2008, Year: A
Hos 6:3-6; Rom 4:18-25; Mt 9:9-13
Healing demands repentance

 

First Reading...
"Israel shall say:
'Let's us know, let us press on to know the Lord;
his appearing is as sure as the dawn;
he will come to us like the showers,
like the spring rains that water the earth.

Hear the word of the Lord, O people of Israel:
What shall I do with you, O Ephraim?
What shall I do with you, O Judah?
Your love is like a morning cloud,
like the dew that goes away early,
Therefore I have hewn them by the prophets,
I have killed them by words of my mouth,
and my judgement goes forth as the light.
For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice,
the knowledge of God rather than burnt offering"[Hos. 6:3- 6].

Second Reading...
"Hoping against hope, Abraham believed that he would become 'the father of many nations,' according to what was said, 'So numerous shall your descendants be.' He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was already as good as dead (for he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah's womb. No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, being fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.

Therefore his faith 'was reckoned to him as righteousness.' Now the words, 'it was reckoned to him,' were written not for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be reckoned to us who believe in God who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was handed over to death for our trespasses and was raised for our justification."[Rom. 4:18-25] 

Gospel Reading...
"As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, 'Follow me.' And he got up and followed him.'

And as he sat at dinner in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came and were sitting with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, 'Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?'

But when Jesus heard this, he said, 'Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice,' For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.'"[Mt. 9:9-13]

THE FASTEST WOMAN ON EARTH
Wilma Rudolph was born into poverty in the state of Tennessee. When she was four years old she had double pneumonia with scarlet fever, which left her paralyzed with polio. She had to wear braces and the doctor said that she would not be able to walk normally again. Her mother encouraged her and said that she could do anything she wanted if she only believed. Wilma said, “I want to be the fastest woman on this earth.” At the age of nine, against the advice of the doctors, she removed the braces and took her first step. At the age of thirteen, she took part in her first race and came way, way last. She entered various other races and came way, way last until one day, she came in first.  At the age of fifteen she went to Tennessee State University where she met a coach. She told him that she wanted to become the fastest woman on the track, on this earth.

The coach replied, “With your spirit nobody can stop you.” In the 1960 Olympics Wilma Rudolph, the paralytic girl, became the fastest woman on this earth by winning three gold medals - in the 100 meter race, 200 meter race, and 400 meter relay.

SUCCESS PRINCIPLES
Who would have believed that a paralytic girl could have won three gold medals in the Olympics? Wilma Rudolph did not see herself, as a cripple, but she saw herself as a winner. She took control of her destiny and went after her dream with a vengeance.  Along the way she had to overcome challenges and discouragements but it was worthwhile when she collected her three gold medals. If a crippled person like Wilma can make it big, what more can we do with a perfect physical body.


MOTIVATION

“The past cannot be regained, although we can learn from it; the future is not yet ours even though we must plan for it. Time is now. We have only today.”

Christianity is not a faith experience of pessimism, rather it is the most positive religion we have ever seen on this planet. When we analyze and scrutinize the words of Christ it seems that we ought to be happy being sinners, because he has come precisely for us. No shame to be a sinner, because Christ suffered death of a sinner so that all of us could partake of his pure innocence. Nothing can stop us, neither the past nor the future. Past might have been black and future may be bleak. But with Christ I can do all things.

Another Story:
A teacher in New York decided to honor each of her seniors in high school by telling them the difference they each made.

Using a process developed by Helice Bridges of Del Mar, California, she called each student to the front of the class, one at a time.

First she told them how the student made a difference to her and the class. Then she presented each of them with a blue ribbon imprinted with gold letters which read, "Who I Am Makes a Difference."

Afterwards the teacher decided to do a class project to see what kind of impact recognition would have on a community.

She gave each of the students three more ribbons and instructed them to go out and spread this acknowledgment ceremony.

Then they were to follow up on the results, see who honored whom and report back to the class in about a week.

One of the boys in the class went to a junior executive in a nearby company and honored him for helping him with his career planning. He gave him a blue ribbon and put it on his shirt.

Then he gave him two extra ribbons, and said, "We're doing a class project on recognition, and we'd like you to go out, find somebody to honor, give them a blue ribbon, then give them the extra blue ribbon so they can acknowledge a third person to keep this acknowledgment ceremony going. Then please report back to me and tell me what happened."

Later that day the junior executive went in to see his boss, who had been noted, by the way, as being kind of a grouchy fellow. He sat his boss down and he told him that he deeply admired him for being a creative genius. The boss seemed very surprised. The junior executive asked him if he would accept the gift of the blue ribbon and would he give him permission to put it on him. His surprised boss said, "Well, sure."

The junior executive took the blue ribbon and placed it right on his boss's jacket above his heart. As he gave him the last extra ribbon, he said,

"Would you do me a favor? Would you take this extra ribbon and pass it on by honoring somebody else? The young boy who first gave me the ribbons is doing a project in school and we want to keep this recognition ceremony going and find out how it affects people."

That night the boss came home to his 14-year-old son and sat him down. He said, "The most incredible thing happened to me today. I was in my office and one of the junior executives came in and told me he admired me and gave me a blue ribbon for being a creative genius. Imagine. He thinks I'm a creative genius."

Then he put this blue ribbon that says "Who I Am Makes A Difference" on my jacket above my heart. He gave me an extra ribbon and asked me to find somebody else to honor.

As I was driving home tonight, I started thinking about whom I would honor with this ribbon and I thought about you. I want to honor you.

"My days are really hectic and when I come home I don't pay a lot of attention to you. Sometimes I scream at you for not getting good enough grades in school and for your bedroom being a mess, but somehow tonight, I just wanted to sit here and, well, just let you know that you do make a difference to me.

Besides your mother, you are the most important person in my life. You're a great kid and I love you!"

The startled boy started to sob and sob, and he couldn't stop crying. His whole body shook.

He looked up at his father and said through his tears, "I was planning on committing suicide tomorrow, Dad, because I didn't think you loved me. Now I don't need to".

In Our Daily Life:
We tend to become hypocrites. When someone commits a sin, we blame, in stead of feeling compassion. We criticize beyond limit of the sin committed. Do we really understand the weakness of our children? Who are to be blamed? If they have become so, who is responsible? Teachers in the school to be blamed? Our Politicians to be blamed? Priests? Shopkeepers? Mass media? Or who or what else to be blamed?

Jesus came to call not the righteous but sinners [Mt 9:13] As most of you are aware, Matthew was a tax collector. Biblical history tells us that the Roman taxes were collected by tax farmers, who bid for the right to collect taxes and then extorted them to the limit. The tax collectors were therefore not only considered oppressors, but traitors of their own people because they collaborated with the foreign imperial power. Such was the position of Matthew prior to meeting Jesus. Matthew held a position of authority that provided him with the opportunity to inflict much hardship on his Jewish brothers and sisters.

When Jesus sat at dinner with many tax collectors and sinners, He was criticized by the Pharisees. Responding to this, Jesus said, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick." When a person recognizes that he is sick, does he not seek out a doctor? And does he not also submit himself to the doctor's orders if he is serious about recovering? Equally, the tax collectors and the sinners were drawn to Jesus who is the greatest Healer of all with a sincere desire to hear Him and obey Him in order to be spiritually healed of their worldly ailments. As such, it can be summarized "The faith that heals demands repentance".

From this message, it is recognized that the self-righteous who do not recognize their illness and will not summon the true Jesus as their Physician, nor receive Him. They are beyond healing and redemption. No one can approach Jesus unless one confesses that he is a sinner. In the closing of the Gospel today, Jesus said, "I desire mercy, not sacrifice. Love, mercy, forgiveness, righteousness, these are spiritual qualities that many claim to possess? But do all the Christians who claim to possess them, actually possess them?”

When we speak of zero tolerance regarding the sins of others, sins that were committed 20, 30 and even 60 years ago, do we show mercy? Are we serving the best interest of the Body of Christ, seeking the healing of its members? Did Jesus not say, "Do not judge, so that you may not be judged? For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get" [Mt 7:2].

   Click here for other Sunday Homilies 

A New book from Fr. Rudy :
Short review of the book: This book is an out come of a serious exegetical study on the important words and texts from the writings of St John of the Cross. The study deals with a short life and writings of the mystic and then does a complete study on GOD, MAN and WAYS to EXPERIENCE GOD. The book is available at: St. Joseph Church, Near Holy Cross Convent School, Mira Road East, Thane Dt. Maharashtra State - 401 107, India. Books can be ordered through email: rudyocd@yahoo.com or rudyocd@gmail.com

The cost of the book is Rs. 125/- pp.xviii + 234, The Title of the Book is: THE DYNAMISM OF SPIRITUAL GROWTH - An Exegetical Study on St. John of the Cross, author: Dr. Rudolf V. D' Souza, OCD, MA. PhD.

Dear friend, my homilies will be posted on Thursdays and you can benefit them and if you need more resources, you could contact me on rudyocd@yahoo.com or rudyocd@gmail.com

Let us make this ministry fruitful one so that the Word of God becomes a source of joy for me and for you and help people become more aware of its riches. You are also welcome to share your feedback with me. Thanks and God bless. 

 

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