More Practice Homilies, by John Sistare
Homily practicum Mk 5:21-43
Jairus Daughter & Woman with Hemorrhage
Many of us probably remember the old cartoon, Dudley Doo Right. The plot was always the same. A damsel in distress was always tied to a railroad track or about to be split in half by a buzz saw, when low and behold the fearless hero, Dudley Doo Right , after battling the villian, would show up in the nick of time and save the day.
In todays Gospel reading we have a similar situation. We have a damsel in distress, so to speak, and we have Jesus on the way to save her. In fact, the whole text carries a sort of suspense: Will Jesus arrive in time to save her?
Suspense starts from the beginning: Jairus falls at Jesus feet and pleads earnestly to save his ailing daughter back home. Jesus, of course, agrees and the crowd then follows , pressing upon him. There is a sense of urgency here! They are making headway, when all of sudden there is a break in the action. A woman who was suffering from hemorrhages for 12 years interrupts. How dare she! They were making perfect time and she interrupts them by touching the cloak of Jesus. To top it off, Jesus actually stops to cure this woman of faith. The crowd must have been restless, especially Jairus, whose daughters life was at stake back on the home front. Then comes the bad news "your daughter has died."
End of the story, end of the journey! If Jesus never stopped to cure that woman we would have made it in time! He didnt save the damsel in distress! It appears that Dudley Doo Right performed better, right?
First of all, let me begin by saying, no human person can save another person from death. Possibly we can be saved temporarily by another person, but eventually we all will die. No matter how many times Dudley Doo Right saves the girl, she eventually will die some day, and so will he!
However, a Divine person, who took on our human nature, and became man can save us from death. Jesus did in fact save the little girl from death. "The child is not dead but asleep." In the presence of Jesus, death is merely sleep. It is merely sleep because it is not the end! Through His own death and resurrection, Jesus conquered death and it no longer has any power over us. Jesus rescued us all just in time. We were dead and out of communion with the Father and by his death on the cross he gave us life!!! That is why he can say to all of us as he said to the little girl, "ARISE!" By the grace of God, arise and live forever in my kingdom.
Lastly, we must do our part as well. We are called to cooperate with Gods grace and remain faithful and pure. We are called to fall down on our knees, like the hemorrhaging woman and tell the whole truth to Jesus. He invites us to be made pure through the sacrament of reconciliation.
Jesus goes even further in giving himself daily to us in the Eucharist. Just as he told them to feed the little girl after she arose, he wants to strengthen and nourish us with his own body and blood.
May we, by the grace of God, remain faithful and pure in the sight of Jesus. May we keep our eyes on eternal life, to that day when Jesus will say Arise! May we be forever grateful for His Death and Resurrection, which has rescued us from the power of death and given us hope for eternal life. Jesus did indeed save us all in time, Thank you Jesus!!!
Homily practicum Matthew 1:18-25 (advent weekday homily)
"The children were all nestled all snug in their bed, as visions of sugar plums
danced in their heads."
No doubt as Christmas approaches we will hear these lines from the classic, "twas the night before Christmas", many times. "Visions of sugar plums danced in their heads."
After reading hearing todays Gospel, one may ask what visions were going through St. Josephs head. What was the state of Josephs mind? I think it is safe to assume that he wasnt having visions of sugar plums! Rather, Joseph was confused, worried, and had a lot of fear. If we put ourselves in the mind of Joseph for a minute we may find ourselves asking many questions. For starters, How in the world is my wife pregnant?! What will I do about it? I mean, I am a righteous and just man, an obedient follower of the Law. However, I love Mary, should I divorce her quietly? All these things were going through his mind before that first Christmas, when suddenly, God intervenes. God sends an angel and says "Do not be afraid", bringing peace to the mind of Joseph. He begins to show Joseph the mystery of Christmas.
This advent we have many fears and worries as Joseph did. Perhaps we have loved ones who are ill and we are wondering will they be healthy for Christmas. Perhaps these are tough times economically. Maybe this will be the first Christmas without a loved one. Many fears and worries are possible but with all of them, God is saying , "Do not be afraid." God is inviting us to surrender and put our trust in him this advent. He is asking us to be like Joseph and trust him. He is calling us to surrender as we surrender everytime we receive the Eucharist and say, "Amen", "so be it", "Let it be done". If we surrender and trust in God this advent we will acquire a peace of mind. If we have this peace of mind as Joseph did, we will begin to see the true meaning of Christmas. If we surrender to God this advent we may just have "visions of sugarplums" the night before Christmas. Or maybe more importantly, we will have visions of Gods love. A love so great, that he sent his only Son, only to die, so that we may have life.
Homily practicum Gospel of John 19:31-37
Did the blood and water that flowed form our Lords side touch the soldier whom pierced his sacred heart?
In other words, as the soldier pierced Our lord, did any of the sacred blood and water come in contact with him, did it touch his hands?
To be honest, I dont know! I dont know. We cant tell from scripture if the blood and water hit the soldier.
But what if we look at this another way. What if we look at the soldier, maybe we can find an answer there.
You see, according to the Tradition of the Church, St. Augustine and other early fathers, say that this soldier was Longinus.
In fact, Longinus is St. Longinus! Longinus looked upon he whom he pierced and was converted. Did the blood and water hit him?
He was baptized. In the early church they used full immersion. That means Longinus was covered from head to toe with the sacred water. He was dunked!
Longinus was a bishop. That means every time that he consecrated the bread and wine which became the sacred body and blood of Our Lord, he touched and received the body and blood.
Not only did Longinus touch the blood and water, but he shed his own blood for Christ and his church. Longinus was martyred.
So where does that leave us today. Well, we who have been baptized have come in contact with the scared water as Longinus did.
Every time we attend the Holy sacrifice of the Mass, we come in contact and receive the precious body and blood, as Longinus did.
Now one question remains: Will we, after coming in contact with the blood and water like Longinus, allow that blood and water to penetrate and strengthen us. Will we be like St. Longinus and remain faithful and hopefully, with the help of Gods grace, enter into eternal life.
Weekday homily based upon 2 Cor 12:7-10 "Thorn in the Flesh"
"What Would Jesus Do ?"
"What Would Jesus Do ?" I remember my Mom telling me that when she was a child her father used to always remind her to ask that question in times of uncertainty or confusion. I have even seen bracelets with the letters W.W.J.D. (What Would Jesus Do), worn by many young Catholics witnessing to the faith.
What would Jesus do? Unfortunately, we cant apply it to every situation. What would Jesus eat, Fruit Loops or Bran Flakes? What would Jesus drive, an automatic or standard? What would Jesus drink, Pepsi or Coca Cola? We have no idea! However, more seriously, there are some situations we can apply the question to. What would Jesus do in the face of suffering? What would Jesus do?
To answer this question lets enter the Garden of Gethsemane. There we can see that Jesus prayed three times that the cup of suffering may pass by him, but let the Fathers will be done and not his. He freely chose to take on the sufferings that would soon face him. At Calvary we can see that Jesus endured the mocking, beating, and scourging. In the face of suffering Jesus endured the thorns in the flesh! The thorns that were pressed into his head and the nails that were driven into his hands and feet he endured. He endured the entire suffering of his crucifixion. We can see what Jesus would do when faced with suffering!
The disciple does the same. St Paul in todays reading, is also faced with thorns in the flesh, figuratively speaking. We dont know exactly if these thorns were people or a physical ailment, but they brought struggle and suffering nonetheless. Paul, like his Lord and Savior, prayed three times that God may take the suffering away. In the end, he also submits and chooses to endure the suffering, being reminded that Gods grace is sufficient to deal with them. The disciple did as the Master did!
We are called as well to do as the Master did. We are called to pray and seek the grace of God to endure the sufferings that we may be presently going through. In enduring these sufferings, these thorns in the flesh, we will be strengthened, humbled, and purified. In enduring these thorns in the flesh, we will one day enter into eternal joy, as Paul did.
What would Jesus do? What would he do in the face of suffering?
To put it simply:
HE WOULD SUFFER AND DIE FOR YOU, IN ORDER THAT YOU MAY HAVE ETERNAL LIFE!
Its Time for Class!
The Professor: none other than, our Blessed Mother
The Course: Sanctity of Life 101
Hours: Always! Every day! (No exceptions!)
In the visitation narrative, Mary teaches us two basic fundamental truths:
Lesson #1: Love of neighbor: Mary, in perfect charity, makes haste to visit Elizabeth who has conceived in her old age. Mary realizes that this could be a difficult time for Elizabeth and remains with Elizabeth for 3 months. Mary teaches us that life is sacred, even in old age. It is important to care for and not ignore or even terminate our elders, as many in our day seem to think. Mary teaches us to love our neighbor.
Lesson#2: Love of God above all: Mary recognizes that God is the Author of Life. Elizabeth has conceived a child in her old age and could possibly have health risks in this pregnancy. However, Mary shows us that despite these circumstances, the life within Elizabeth is sacred and a gift from God. This human life within Elizabeth is alive and kicking and not some clump of tissue which many in our day like to claim! In her own pregnancy, despite the circumstances of being poor, young and unmarried, Mary recognizes the value of the life within her as well. Thank God she did, because the salvation of humanity depended on it. Mary sees this precious life within her as a blessing and a true gift from God. Mary teaches us that God is the Author and Creator of all human life!
Today, we are all invited to attend this class on the sanctity of life Mary teaches us that God is the author of all life and as a result we are called to love Him as well as each and every person. One final and key point must be made here. Although Mary is the teacher of this class, she simply echoes what the Father, Son and Holy Spirit have said from all time. God invites us to listen to Mary and learn the most basic fundamental command: To love God above all and to love our neighbors, all of them, whether in the womb or in old age!
John Sistare, Seminarian, Angelicum in Rome
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