Fr. Tony’s 8-Minute Homily
Trust of Flying Trapeze Artists with Outstretched Arms
Abraham Lincoln - Never Give Up
Billy Graham's Story of A Boy Who Wants to Go To Heaven, But...
—Begin w/ Anecdote
As he lay on his hospital bed in Melbourne, an Australian Marist Brother told his gathered friends the story of his spirituality. It came from watching trapeze artists performing in a circus a few years ago. Trapeze artists are those who perform in a circus with swings. It is an air-borne performance.
Here is what one trapeze artist told him, “As a flyer I must have complete trust in my catcher, He has to be there for me with split–second precision and grab me out of the air as I come to him in the long jump.”
The flyer does nothing and the catcher does everything. When the artist flies, he has simply to stretch out his arms and hands and wait for the catcher to catch him and pull him safely over the apron behind the catcher.
The flyer should actually do nothing. The worst thing the flyer can do is to try to catch the catcher. The flyer is not supposed to catch the catcher. If the flyer grabbed the catcher’s wrists, he might break them, or the catcher might break the flyer’s wrists, and that would be the end of them both.
A flyer has to fly and the catcher has to catch, and the flyer has to trust with outstretched arms, that his catcher will be there for him.”
This is the trust we should have in Jesus, and the woman in today’s story demonstrated such a faith.
—Begin w/ Anecdote
Never Give Up
Many years ago in Illinois, a young man with six months formal schooling to his credit ran for an office in the legislature. As might have been expected, he was beaten. Next, he entered business but failed in that too, and spent the next seventeen years paying the debts of his worthless partner. He fell in love with a charming lady, they became engaged – and she got sick and died, causing her lover a mini-nervous breakdown. He ran for Congress and was defeated. He then tried to obtain an appointment to the U.S. Land Office but didn’t succeed. He became a candidate for the Vice-Presidency and lost. Two years later he was defeated in a race for the Senate. He ran for President and finally was elected. That man was Abraham Lincoln.
Today’s Gospel presents a Canaanite woman who persisted in her prayer on obtained from the Lord what she prayed for.
—Begin w/ Anecdote
Billy Graham once told of an incident that happened a long time ago when teachers could talk about religion in the classroom.
A teacher was talking to her class of young boys, and she asked, “How many of you would like to go to Heaven?”
All the hands instantly shot into the air at once, except one.
The teacher was astounded. She asked, “Charlie, you mean you don’t want to go to Heaven?”
“Sure, I want to go to Heaven,” he said. “But not with that bunch.”
Unfortunately, that is how many religious groups feel about one another. Consider the Middle East where, in parts of Lebanon, Christian militias are fighting each other and in Syria and Iraq extremist Muslims are driving all Christians from their territories on pain of death, unless they convert. All three great Faiths in that part of the world trace their origins through the patriarch Abraham. All three of them honor the Mosaic Law. All three are monotheistic. And yet as the political walls of this world come tumbling down, the religious walls seem to grow higher and higher. How tragic.
Today’s Gospel tells us how Jesus healed the daughter of a Gentile woman in spite of the religious prejudice of his fellow Jews for the Gentiles.
Source: Rev. King Duncan
20th Sunday of Year A
Fr. Tony started his homily ministry (Scriptural Homilies) in 2003 while he was the chaplain at Sacred Heart residence, applying his scientific methodology to the homily ministry. By word of mouth, it spread to hundreds of priests and Deacons, finally reaching Vatican Radio website. These homilies reach nearly 3000 priests and Deacons by direct email every week.
The clipart is from the archive of Father Richard Lonsdale © 2000. It may be freely reproduced in any non-profit publication.
Expansive and universal nature of the “Kingdom of God”
All three readings today speak of the expansive and universal nature of the “Kingdom of God,” in contrast with the theory that salvation was to be offered first to the Jews and then, through them alone, to the rest of the world. Although God set the Hebrew people apart as His chosen race, He included all nations in His plan for salvation and blessed all the families of the earth in Abraham (Gn 12:1-3).
1st Reading – Is 56:1, 6-7
By declaring through the prophet Isaiah (first reading), “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples,” God reveals the truth that in His eyes there is no distinction among human beings on the basis of race, caste, or color. The long-expected Messianic kingdom was intended not only for the Jews but for all nations as well.
2nd Reading – Rom 11:13-15, 29-32
In the second reading, Paul explains that, although the Jews were the chosen people, many of them rejected Jesus as the promised Messiah, and, consequently, God turned to the Gentiles who received mercy through their Faith in Jesus.
Gospel – Mt 15:21-28
In the Gospel story, Jesus demonstrates that salvation was meant for the Gentiles as well as for the Jews by healing the daughter of a Gentile woman as a reward for her strong Faith. Thus, Jesus shows us that God’s mercy and love are available to all who call out to Him in Faith.
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20th Sunday of Year A
Persist in prayer with trustful confidence
Although the essential parts of prayer are adoration and thanksgiving, the prayer of petition, like that of contrition, plays a big part in most people’s daily life. We cannot provide, by our unaided selves, for our spiritual and temporal needs. Christ himself has told us to ask him for these needs: “Ask and you shall receive.” Asking with fervor and perseverance proves that we have the “great Faith” we need to be able to receive all that Christ wants to grant us in response to our requests. We must realize and remember that we do not always get exactly what we ask for, but rather what God knows we need, what He wants for us, and what is really best for us. What we need most is to receive the peace and security that come from being in harmony with God’s will for us.
As Christians, we also know that our particular requests may not always be for our good, or for the final good of the person for whom we are praying. In that case, the good God will not grant what would be to our, or their, eternal harm. But if the prayer is sincere and persevering, we will always get an answer – one which is better than what we asked for. Hence, let us trust that every time we pray for something, the answer is already on its way, even before we have asked God for it. We just need to trust God’s timetable and infinite wisdom that He will answer us according to His will and purpose.
Pull down walls of separation
Very often we set up walls which separate us from God and from one another. Today’s Gospel reminds us that God’s love and mercy are extended to all who call on him in Faith and trust, no matter who they are. In other words, God’s care extends beyond the boundaries of race and nation to the hearts of all who live, and God’s House is intended to become a House of prayer for all peoples. It is therefore fitting that we should pray that the walls which our pride, intolerance, fear, and prejudice have raised, may crumble. Next, we have to be grateful to God for all the blessings we enjoy. As baptized members of the Christian community, we have been given special privileges and easy access to God’s love. But we also have serious responsibilities arising from these gifts. One of these responsibilities is to make clear to others, with true humility and compassion, that God’s love, mercy, and healing are for them also because they too are the children of God.