Sunday Homilies by Fr. Rudolf V. D’ Souza

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August 31, 2008; Year: A
Jer. 20:7-9; Rom 12:1-2; Mt. 16:21-7
Seek the will of God

First Reading...
"Jeremiah cried out to the Lord: 'O Lord, you have enticed me, and I was enticed; you have overpowered me, and you have prevailed. I have become a laughing stock all day long; everyone mocks me. For whenever I speak, I must cry out, I must shout, 'Violence and destruction!' For the word of the lord has become for me a reproach and derision all day long.

If I say, 'I will not mention him, or speak any more in 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." [Jer. 20:7-9]

Second Reading...
"I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 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. 12:1-2]

Gospel Reading...
"Jesus sternly warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah. From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.

And Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him, saying, 'God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you.' But he turned and said to Peter, 'Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me, for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.

Then Jesus told his disciples, 'If any want to become followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?

For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay everyone for what has been done." [Mt. 16:21-7]

Life Experience:
We have been visiting the families in our parish with the help of the small Christian Community animators. It’s an experience that can teach us many more things than sermons and books. Once I met a pious woman, who shed tears in her home when I enquired her about the family situation. Her entire family was in Kuwait and they are now in India since 9 years. Times are very difficult for that family. But, she said to me, “father, where there is a will there is a way. I was always thinking that it is possible to have a good life only when we are abroad. Of course my husband was working and I was just doing the housewife. But when we came back from Kuwait, my husband went into depression and we found it difficult to adjust. I started going from house to house giving tuitions with the little knowledge of the subjects. But today after almost 7 years of my constant touch with the children, they are coming home and I have more than enough now. I feel energetic, healthy, and feel a sense of responsibility. We do not lack money, and we can go on with our life. Our children are growing and they will reach their destination”. 

Friends, 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] 

Nothing can we obtain in this world without hard work. If people have made a mark, they have behind their success tireless efforts and constant hard work. Hence, it’s a hard reminder to all of us that we need to work, never give up and always look ahead with the hope that we can do it, we can achieve our goal and we are capable of reaching there. 

Today’s passage reminds us that suffering is a fact of life, but not necessarily unfortunate fact of life. How big is our perspective? Is meaning compressed in the matter of our own existence, in which case suffering is the darkness of 'lights out'. Or is the matter of our own existence just a vignette on the cosmic stage of meaning, in which case suffering is but a temporary shadow in the corner of the stage?

God's loving goodness and omnipotence are so great as to encompass painful and unpleasant circumstances in serving His ultimate good of drawing all things to and in Himself - Rom. 8:28 

The suffering of man has been taken up by the Divine Suffering Servant (cf. Isa. 52:13; 53:12). Jesus emptied Himself to become incarnated into suffering humanity - Phil. 2:5-8. Denied His self-will to accept work of Suffering Servant - Lk. 22:42. His resurrection reality is the victory over suffering - I Cor. 15:57. Christians are incorporated into the suffering Person and work of Jesus Christ in the Body of Christ - Rom. 8:17; II Cor. 1:5; 4:7-12,17; Phil. 3:10; Col. 1:24; I Pet. 4:13. Suffering has a beneficent purpose. Suffering is the birth pangs for the greater experience of life. In suffering life becomes more real than the superficialities of comfort. Suffering is analogous to the surgery required to heal the disease of our self-orientation Matt. 9:12. True love is strengthened and perfected by suffering.  

Christian responses to "suffering" has a positive value. This does not mean that Christians should seek, desire, court, invite, or pursue suffering or claim proud badge of courage in "suffering for Jesus" or develop persecution-complex or martyr-complex 

What is needed: Acceptance of the situations of life and consider that suffering is not so much a problem to be solved rationally, but a mystery to be observed  personally and spiritually. Only way to "see" the mystery is by the reception of the revelation of God in Jesus Christ. Thus we participate in the mystery of Christ -  Col. 1:27; 2:2

Our sufferings, sicknesses and adversities are not happenings in themselves, but are defined by the effect we allow them to have on us. Entrust ourselves to God, His purposes and ways

Recognize His sufficiency of grace in the situations - II Cor. 3:5; 12:9

Receptivity of God's activity – Faith

Persevere - Rom. 5:3; 12:12; James 1:12

Endure - I Cor. 4:12; II Tim. 4:5; James 1:3,4

Entrust ourselves to God - I Pet. 2:21-23; 4:19 


  • Very few people begin a spiritual journey because they are blissful happy. In fact, men and women are typically drawn to the spiritual path because they want help in dealing with difficulties. Each challenge in our lives opens the possibility of awakening our heart.

  • When we are going through dark times, we are better able to let go of egotism and arrogance. Difficulties can help us grow in patience, understanding, and humility; they can help us seek out meaningful connection.

  • This is an ideal time for self-reflection and an examination of those ways in which we have contributed to our own problems—our own misery. Are any of our current difficulties, for example, caused by our own carelessness and lack of mindfulness?

  • When our troubles seem overwhelming, often we can use this as a way of growing our compassion for others. Reflect on the millions of others who—just like you—are going through tough rimes right now. Empathize with these brothers and sisters with whom you share so many emotions

  Click here for other Sunday Homilies 

A New book from Fr. Rudy.

Click here for more...  

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 or

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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