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THE WRITTEN STYLE OF THE REALHOMILIE
It is my aim that I present the Homily to you in a way that you might hear me speaking.
I do not follow the strict rules of written prose as such; I use the techniques of oratory shared with me
in many Mission Sermons, and Mission Instructions by tried and true Mission Fathers,
from whom I am priveliged to
have been formed in that great tradition.
St.Paul of the Cross. Pray for us.
THE LITURGY OF THE WORD.
It is very important for us to read God’s Word slowly and reflectively. We are not reading it just to get information or answer questions; we must enable God’s Word to enter us just like liquid polish enters timber that is thirsty for nutrition. A good rule of thumb is to have a question like this in our mind……”Lord, what are you saying to ME in your Word today? Secondly, how can my life be changed, in order to allow God’s Word to find a Home in my being? Finally, as for special Feasts, Advent and Lent, the three Readings are in a sequence which has an underlying thread running through them. In Ordinary time, the First Reading, and the Gospel are bridged…so we generally look for the link. The Second Reading is continuous, and follows on to the next Sunday.
First Reading: Daniel 12:1-3
‘At that time Michael will stand up, the great prince who mounts guard over your people. There is going to be a time of great distress, unparalleled since nations first came into existence. When that time comes, your own people will be spared, all those whose names are found written in the Book. Of those who lie sleeping in the dust of the earth many will awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting disgrace. The learned will shine as brightly as the vault of heaven, and those who have instructed many in virtue, as bright as stars for all eternity.’ The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
(Let’s PAUSE and reflect upon this reading, and let us ask ourselves the two questions stated above. That is our PERSONAL response to the Word. This might take a few minutes, try not to rush it. The Psalm and Antiphon is the COMMUNITY response to God’s Word, a bit like a short and sweet Text Message)
Psalm: Ps 15:5. 8-11
R. Keep me safe, O God;
you are my hope.
O Lord, it is you who are my portion and cup;
it is you yourself who are my prize.
I keep the Lord ever in my sight:
since he is at my right hand, I shall stand firm. R.
And so my heart rejoices, my soul is glad;
even my body shall rest in safety.
For you will not leave my soul among the dead,
nor let your beloved know decay. R.
You will show me the path of life,
the fullness of joy in your presence,
at your right hand happiness for ever. R.
Second Reading: Hebrews 10:11-14. 18
All the priests stand at their duties every day, offering over and over again the same sacrifices which are quite incapable of taking sins away. Christ, on the other hand, has offered one single sacrifice for sins, and then taken his place for ever, at the right hand of God, where he is now waiting until his enemies are made into a footstool for him. By virtue of that one single offering, he has achieved the eternal perfection of all whom he is sanctifying. When all sins have been forgiven, there can be no more sin offerings. The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
Let’s PAUSE again after this Reading, and reflect on it like you did after the first Reading. The Community Acclamation follows and should be sung: e.g. ALLELUIA, or PRAISE TO YOU LORD JESUS CHRIST KING OF ENDLESS GLORY. When we are present at our Sunday Eucharistic Celebration, the Alleluia or Praise be to you…should always be sung. Why? It’s a bit like singing Happy Birthday! We never say it… 🙂
Gospel: Mark 13:24-32
Jesus said to his disciples: ‘In those days, after the time of distress, the sun will be darkened, the moon will lose its brightness, the stars will come falling from heaven and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory; then too he will send the angels to gather his chosen from the four winds, from the ends of the world to the ends of heaven.
‘Take the fig tree as a parable: as soon as its twigs grow supple and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. So with you, when you see these things happening: know that he is near, at the very gates. I tell you solemnly, before this generation has passed away all these things will have taken place.
Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
‘But as for that day or hour, nobody knows it, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son; no one but the Father.’
The Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
Reflection time again……. Can you see and hear the links, connecting the First Reading, and the Gospel? After that, we are then ready for what is to follow…..
DEEP SEA DIVING INTO THE SCRIPTURES
If you have ever opened your eyes under water, or used a snorkel and face mask, or had the opportunity to use an aqualung, it is a very different world to explore isn’t it? I love snorkelling, and it is though the fish welcome you into their world. However, they need to be treated with respect, and one must be aware of ‘no-go’ zones especially where sharks are known to call that place, ‘home’ especially at meal times. So, this next section is going down into the Scriptures, which opens the pathway for us to be curious about The Word, and it will also develop an appetite in us to do this more often.
Focusing the word
Key words and phrases
They will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.
He will send his angels to gather his chosen from the four winds.
But as for that day or hour, nobody knows it.
Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
to the point
‘Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.’ If we live our lives in conformity to Jesus’ words, then we need have no fear of the future because we know, like his words, we will not pass away but, indeed, ‘shall live forever’ (first reading). Therefore, we are faced with a choice – to be rooted in this world or in the words of Jesus.
Connecting the Word
to last Sunday
Our conformity to Jesus’ words (this Sunday) identifies us more closely with Jesus (last Sunday), making his presence more visible and compelling in the world.
Today we have our own apocalyptic visionaries – environmentalists warn of global destruction, activists warn of nuclear annihilation, etc. They call us to see signs of these possible futures so that we might change our present ways. Jesus talks of the future so that we might make a present choice for him.
Understanding the Word
Daniel and end times
Both Daniel and Jesus are talking about the end times. The ‘unsurpassed distress’ and ‘tribulation’ that accompany the end – the darkening of sun and moon, the falling of stars, the shaking of the heavenly powers – are part of the apocalyptic worldview (see Advent 1 and Sunday 5). This kind of literature typically appears when the present seems hopeless and is usually the product of a minority group experiencing persecution. Such was the time when the book of Daniel was written. Though the narrative is set during the Babylonian Exile (597–539 B.C.), scholars think the book was written during the persecution of the Jews under Antiochus Epiphanes who ruled Palestine from 175–164 B.C. He prohibited the offering of sacrifice to Yahweh and he made observance of the Sabbath a crime; he ordered Torah scrolls to be burned; he set up pagan altars and placed a statue of Zeus in the Temple. This resulted in a popular revolt led by Judas Maccabeus who defeated Antiochus, purified the Temple, and rededicated it in 164 B.C. – an event commemorated in the Jewish feast of Chanukah.
In this Sunday’s first reading Daniel describes the role played by Michael, the captain of the heavenly host. Michael also appears in the Book of Revelation where he battles Satan, hurling him and his angels down to earth (Rev 12:7-9). In both Daniel and Revelation this heavenly battle takes place at the end of time. Yet in the traditions that develop later – immortalised in Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’ – this battle is transferred to the beginning of time and explains how Satan entered the world which, in turn, led to the temptation of Adam and Eve. In this sense time is relative: the end and the beginning are simply moments in the unfolding of God’s sovereignty over all things, even time. The passing of this world marks the inauguration of the world to come. Cataclysm and tribulation are, from this perspective, merely the birth pangs of a new reality. What seems so calamitous to us simply heralds the ‘Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.’
A realhomilie from Fr.Kevin Walsh
Dear One and All,
Nearly every day when we go to our letterboxes to get the mail, there is always some “junk mail”!! Advertising for this or that, a note from a Real Estate Agent suggesting to you that many people would like to buy your house; should you wish to sell. Give them a call for a quick sale!!! I am sure that we have all seen that before. Then when you see in the midst of all this impersonal junk mail, a few letters with windows in them…. we may prefer to read them last; up pops a Postcard from a friend who is overseas. Once you see the handwriting, a spark of joy flickers within, and when you read it, you can actually hear the person speaking to you. What a wonderful experience it is, to receive the written word from a loved one. It can be read over and over again, and it fills us with a communion of loving friendship all the time.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus says, ‘Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.’ Words are very important and very powerful. Once spoken, they take on a life of their own, for good or ill. Some words spoken by wise and loving people can remain in our minds and hearts forever. I remember an old priest giving us a Retreat when I was a Novice at Mary’s Mount Passionist Novitiate, Goulburn, NSW Australia, and he knew that some of us were facing difficult times as we came to accept each other’s differences, which is part of growing up and living in Religious Community. In one of his talks he said, ‘If you can’t change a situation in your life, change your attitude towards it’. That has stayed in my mind ever since I was 19 years of age. These words are true, but to live them can be very hard; yet it is real wisdom. I am sure that there are words and sayings that you have had spoken to you over the years, and they will never leave you. In the Old Testament, the Prophet Isaiah 43:1, we hear these precious words,’ But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob, and formed you, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name: you are mine.’ These words, and the words of Jesus in today’s Gospel are evergreen, and they remain with us to this very day and beyond, comforting us, guiding us, and challenging us. They turn our values upside down. Once heard, they can never be forgotten. It does us well, to listen to God’s Word with all our heart and attention….” Lord, what are you saying to me through your Word today?” Spend some time in silent waiting, as the Spirit stirs an inner response, thus making its own reply in Words beyond our imagining.
The Prophet Daniel in the Sistine Chapel
Before and after the recent cleaning.
Now let’s have a look at the first Reading from the Prophet Daniel…I suppose one of the first things that come to our mind is Daniel in the Lion’s Den! Well, that is a start; but let’s check out his name and what it means…..Dani el or daniy el. Now, you can see already that his name has something to do with an attribute of God, el being a prefix or suffix for El=God. Now the first part of his name means.. Judges or another English synonym would be adjudicator. So his name means, God Judges! That being the case, we see that inner and living aspect of God permeating like a silver thread running through this Book in the Old Testament. It is so important for us to have this kind of background, so that the milieu of the intention and delivery of God’s Word has its origin within this Godly quality of El.
The next name that pops up is Michael…we have all heard of this Archangel of the Lord; look at his name….Micha….el. So, following our dissection of Daniel’s name, this one means mica el…..who is like el, God. While we are at it, the Prophet Micah comes to our mind here, and I bet that some of you have already noticed that….Micah….mikah which is an abbreviation for mik yahu….this means who is like Yahweh, oops, YHWH, we omit the a and the e out of respect for the Divine Name. Now, in the Prophet Micah, Chapter 6, verse 8….is the crux of what God asks of us……in your spare time you might like to look that up….see, I have given you some homework……. 🙂
So, taking all that into account, when Michael begins to speak…the sense of occasion here mutes any chatter…JUST LISTEN! The literary form of this extract is what is called apocalyptic literature, it is a form of writing which is deliberately intended to shake up people within their possible lethargic responses to living out the God initiated Covenant, ratified in Jesus. It’s a bit like what we do to our swimming pools…..when it goes green through neglect or a broken down filtration pump….we shock it with chlorine, to get it back to its pristine beauty! This kind of literature was never meant to be taken literally……no way, enough Hollywood Film Producers have done that for us…… But it works!!!! As we look at the natural disasters that have been happening in recent times, they have an apocalyptic flavor about them, and many people like to play on that as well, and make various predictions about the end times, or why this or that is happening as a manifestation of God’s wrath. This is where we can miss the point, and go off getting sidetracked and get buried within the realms of sensationalism. Notice what happens to the majority of people in and through natural disasters? Look at what happens in them? It is a crisis, which means an opportunity to resurrect inner Divine attributes….reaching out to others selflessly, bringing in the homeless to shelter, feeding anyone in need as we saw on Television News when Super Storm Sandy hit the Caribbean, US and Canadian Coastline. In short, the results of the Disaster, even though horrendous, do get back to the basic humanitarian building blocks of community building. Unfortunately, it also gives an opportunity for some people to take unfair and unlawful advantage of others and their goods. So, to cut a long story short, surely part of the message of the First Reading is………’No time for resting on our laurels, because if we do, we might miss opportunities of being Christ to each other and meeting Christ in each other.
Now, let’s go to the Gospel….here we have another fine example of apocalyptic literature in the New Testament, here in Mark’s Gospel, the first paragraph is like the setting for a huge 3D surround sound stage, and the curved backdrop is a living collage of natural disasters, cataclysmic as they may seem, interwoven with a multitude of ‘life-scenes’ focusing on unconditional loving moments of our global sisters and brothers, together with moments where opportunities for recognizing the ‘divine’ in each other has been bypassed. Then after all this apocalyptic commotion, the eye of the storm is present, and there is an eerie feel as what it is like being within the eye of a Hurricane. Then with the Voice of Michael whose timbered tones resound and enter the inner quick of people’s spirits….the words in paragraph two are proclaimed……..‘Take the fig tree as a parable: as soon as its twigs grow supple and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. So with you, when you see these things happening: know that he is near, at the very gates. I tell you solemnly, before this generation has passed away all these things will have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. ‘But as for that day or hour, nobody knows it, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son; no one but the Father.’
At this stage of our realhomilie, you might be thinking that I have seen too many Movies……..Well, such a shake-up calls us to be very sensitive to Christ’s presence in His people, His Word and Sacrament, just as our awareness of what happens with the Fig Tree, as summer approaches. May we be ever mindful, of the nearness of Christ to us in each other, with the graced insight that God’s Word once issued forth continues to resound around the Universe through its own perpetual motion. Words from God for all times and Seasons….As we pray while Blessing the Paschal Candle at the Easter Vigil:-
Christ yesterday and today
The beginning and the end,
All time belongs to him,
And all the ages;
To him be glory and power,
Through every age for ever. Amen.
Now, you may be thinking that the Readings for this Sunday are very different in character from the previous Sundays this year; well there is a deliberate reason for the difference. Next Sunday will be the last Sunday for Year B, as we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the Universal King. So, as we look back over the Sundays of Year B, we have been on a journey with the Lord, in communion with Christians throughout the world…..it has been a journey of ongoing’ conversation through which we have had countless opportunities to respond to God’s evergreen Word. The week after next will be the beginning of Year C …..The First Sunday of Advent with its inherent theme of ‘ Stay awake, be on the alert, for we do not know the time when the Lord will come in Glory! Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus!
‘Heaven and Earth will pass away, but my Words will never pass away,’ says the Lord!
I would like to conclude with a couple of sentences from (Mark Twain), He says, ‘others are bothered by the part of the Bible they can’t understand. I’m bothered by the parts I can understand.’
May God Bless you, and your families, and may we never forget each other in prayer. Fr.Kev
OUR FAMILY PRAYER TIME………
This is a great opportunity to gather the Family in Prayer. Having a Prayer Setting really adds to and designates this time as a ‘special’ time together. You might like to have a nice coloured cloth on a coffee table, or on the centre of the Dining Room Table. You will need a candle, Crucifix, Bible …in the opened position, even at the Gospel of the Sunday, and maybe a flower. During Easter tide you might like to place some white and gold material on your devotional altar. You might like to create your own permanent ‘sacred space’ in your home, where the Word of God is open, and a small tee light within a fire proof glass, could awaken in the minds and hearts of your family of the ‘real presence’ of God in His Word. Prayer time needs to be able to engage as many of our senses as possible. The burning of some fragrant oil also can evoke in the minds of your family, ‘prayer time’. Someone in the family might like to be the leader of the intercessions, then other family members can share the prayers….everyone can be invited to join is spontaneous shared prayer…
Leader: With anticipation of Christ’s return rather than fear, let us pray that we are ready.
For all members of the Church to live in conformity with Jesus words. We pray to the Lord: Lord, graciously hear us.
For the salvation of the world. We pray to the Lord: Lord, graciously hear us.
For the poor and sick, the lonely and desperate. We pray to the Lord: Lord, graciously hear us.
For all of us to live in joyful expectation of Jesus coming. We pray to the Lord: Lord, graciously hear us.
Let’s think back over the past week, and what we have seen on the T.V News, Breaking News on our Mobile Phones, ipads & tablets….who are some of the people in our Global village or need our prayers? You might like to share some of these…………., We pray to the Lord: Lord, graciously hear us.
Leader: God of heaven and earth, you will send your Son to gather all back to you: hear these our prayers that we might be found written in the book and invited to enjoy everlasting life with you. We ask this through your Son, Jesus Christ, who is to come in glory. Amen.
Blessing is taken from the Iona Abbey Sacramentary, Scotland.
Iona Abbey is located on the Isle of Iona, just off the Isle of Mull on the West Coast of Scotland. It is one of the oldest and most important religious centres in Western Europe. The abbey was a focal point for the spread of Christianity throughout Scotland and marks the foundation of a monastic community by St. Columba, when Iona was part of the Kingdom of Dál Riata.
1. The Cross
ALL WE SHALL TAKE IT.
2. The bread……………
ALL WE SHALL BREAK IT.
3. The pain
ALL WE SHALL BEAR IT.
4. The joy………………
ALL WE SHALL SHARE IT.
5. The Gospel……………
ALL WE SHALL LIVE IT.
6. The love…………
ALL WE SHALL GIVE IT.
7. The light……………
ALL WE SHALL CHERISH IT.
8. The darkness…………….
ALL WE SHALL PERISH IT. Amen.