1. From Fr. Tony Kadavil’s Collection:
1: The management forgives you: J. Edwin Orr, a professor of Church history has described the great outpouring of the Holy Spirit during the Protestant Welsh Revivals of the nineteenth century, which resulted for many in real metanoia. As people sought to be filled with the Spirit, they did all they could to confess their wrongdoings and to make restitution. But this created serious problems for the shipyards along the coast of Wales. Over the years, workers had “appropriated,” or “borrowed,” all kinds of things, from wheelbarrows to hammers. However, as people sought to be right with God, they understood that they had actually stolen all these things from their shipyards, so they started to return all they had taken, with the result that soon the shipyards of Wales were overwhelmed with returned property. There were such huge piles of returned tools that several of the yards put up signs that read, “If you have been led by God to return what you have stolen, please know that the management forgives you and wishes you to keep what you have taken.” — In today’s Gospel, Jesus challenges each one of us to revive our life with a true spirit of repentance. Fr. Tony(http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
2: Bigotry and the Church’s universal mission: Bigotry creates the gaping chasm between God’s universal vision and the often myopic and selective insight of believers. Bigotry decides that certain people are better than others and worthier of attention, while it writes off others as valueless and not worth the effort. Bigotry went to the Berlin Olympics in 1936. Jesse Owens, a black American track and field athlete won four gold medals, but the leader of the host country refused to acknowledge him. Until 1954, bigotry relegated immigrants to the United States of America to places like Ellis Island. Many remained there for months; many were unsympathetically deported. Bigotry has gone to the voting polls several times since 1954 to further limit the rights and freedoms of immigrants. Bigotry organized and executed the systematic annihilation of six million Europeans whose beliefs and traditions were considered a threat to racial purity. Bigotry rounded up and forcibly detained Asian-American citizens during World War II. Bigotry denied women in the U.S. the right to vote until 1921. Bigotry walked the streets of Montgomery, Alabama, in 1965 when advocates of civil rights were clubbed and tear-gassed by police and stoned and beaten with bottles by opponents of integration. Despite these instances of its presence (and there are countless others), bigotry is such an ugly word, that, while we readily recognize it in others, few of us are willing to consider it as a possible, personal flaw. Perhaps if we were to ask ourselves a few pointed questions. . . Do I consider anyone or any group as a lost cause and therefore beyond the scope of my ministry as a Christian? Are there people of a certain race or ethnic group I’d rather not have as neighbors? In-laws? Bosses? When ethic jokes are told, do I laugh as loudly as anyone else? What if the experience of Jonah were to be contemporized… If a call went out for a modern-day Jonah to be dispatched to [any of “countries [currently] ranked in the top 10 for extreme persecution of Christians … North Korea, Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan, Syria, Iraq [Ancient Assyria], Iran, Yemen, Eritrea …” where “nearly 215 million Christians face high persecution…” (Open Doors USA), and where, “between the years 2005-2015, an estimated 900,000 Christians were martyred – an average of 90,000 Christians each year” (The Center for the Study of Global Christianity)] with the duty of preaching repentance and conversion to Islamic extremists there, would I volunteer for the job? Would I think it a worthwhile endeavor? Would I put off my trip, or would I labor with the sense of urgency which Paul describes in today’s second reading? Would I rejoice if my mission were successful? Do I truly believe the reign of God and the Good News of salvation are for all, without exception? Are there discrepancies between God’s concerns and my own? Jonah, Paul, and Mark challenge each of us gathered in this assembly to consider these questions today and to deal with any discrepancies we may discover. (Sanchez Files). Fr. Tony(http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
3: Deep-sea fishing: How many of you have ever been deep-sea fishing? I was shocked to learn that more than 2.4 million people participated in this sport last year, resulting in retail sales of almost $2.4 billion dollars and a total economic impact of almost $4.5 billion dollars. Deep-sea fishing provides jobs for nearly 55,000 people. You may be asking what deep-sea fishing has to do with the Church. You are going to see over the next four weeks that deep-sea fishing is a picture of the deep-soul fishing we are to be about as Church. “As He was going along by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew, the brother of Simon, casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow Me, and, I will make you fishers of men.'” (Mark 1:16-17). That one statement tells us what our primary business is as Church, both corporately and as followers of Jesus individually. If you are a follower of Jesus, I want you to understand that every day Jesus Christ wants fishermen-disciples to launch out into the sea of humanity and go deep-soul fishing, because the Church’s primary business, and so the Christian’s primary business, is the fishing business. No matter what else we do or how well we do it, if we ever get out of the fishing business, we are out of business. Your neighborhood is a lake full of fish. Your office is a lake full of fish. Your school is a lake full of fish. When Jesus said, “I will make you fishers of men,” He was saying, “I will take you, with your personality, your background, your testimony, your influence, and I will use you to catch men, women, boys, and girls and bring them into My family.” Fr. Tony(http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
4. Good News and Bad News: An old man visits his doctor and after thorough examination the doctor tells him: “I have good news and bad news; what would you like to hear first?” Patient: “Well, let me have the bad news first.” Doctor: “You have cancer. I estimate that you have about two years left.” Patient: “Oh no! That’s just awful! In two years my life will be over! What kind of good news could you probably tell me, after this?” Doctor: “You also have Alzheimer’s. In about three months you are going to forget everything I told you.”
5. Jonah and the whale: There was this Christian lady that had to do a lot of traveling for her business, so she did a lot of flying. But flying made her nervous so she always took her Bible along with her to read, and it helped relax her. One time she was sitting next to a man. When he saw her pull out her Bible he gave a little chuckle and went back to what he was doing.
After a while he turned to her and asked, “You don’t really believe all that stuff in there do you?”
The lady replied “Of course I do! It is the Bible.”
He said, “Well what about that guy that was swallowed by that whale?”
She replied “Oh, Jonah. Yes, I believe that; it is in the Bible. The Bible says Jonah was swallowed by a whale, and I believe it. And if it had said that Jonah had swallowed the whale, I would believe that too!”
He asked “Well, how do you suppose he survived all that time inside the whale?”
The lady said “Well I don’t really know. I guess when I get to Heaven I will ask him.” “What if he isn’t in Heaven?” the man asked sarcastically.
“Then you can ask him when you reach the Hell,” replied the lady.
3) The best prayer I ever heard was: “Lord, please make me the kind of person my dog thinks I am.”
6. A young boy wanted to go down to the lake to fish, and his mother asked him to take his little sister with him. He said, “Mom, don’t make me take her with me. The last time she came with me, I didn’t catch a single fish.” The mother said, “I’ll talk to her, and I promise this time she won’t make any noise.” The boy said, “Mom, it wasn’t the noise. She ate all my bait!”
25- Additional anecdotes:
1) They abandoned their father: Columban, who died in AD 615., was the greatest of the Irish medieval monk-missionaries. A well-educated youth, he had a very passionate nature that caused him great concern. “Flight from the world is the only solution,” a holy anchoress (a woman living enclosed in a cell abutting ad Church with a window into the Church for Mass and the Sacraments, and a window to the outside world to counsel those who came to her for advice), advised him: “flight even from your own native land.” Following her counsel, he entered the monastic life and studied the spiritual way at the feet of some of the most noted – and strictest – Irish monks. He lived in the monastery of Bangor until he was about forty-five. Then he sought permission of the abbot to head a group of monks as missionaries among the Germans. In Germanic Burgundy he founded the monastery of Annegaray, and then the more famous one of Luxeil. To the men who flocked to become monks under his tutelage, he gave a very strict rule, heavy with penalties for even slight infractions. If his followers observed so stringent a way of life at all, it was doubtless because they saw St. Columban himself observing it to the last letter. On account of political opposition, Abbot Columban moved away from Burgundy into Switzerland, and eventually into northern Italy. Here the Germanic King Agilulf gave him land for a new monastery, and the Abbot, now in his seventies, erected the Abbey of Bobbio, where he died not long afterward. When young Columban had first felt the call to become a monk, his mother had objected very strongly. To prevent his departure, she had even thrown herself across the doorway of their home. This did give the saint pause, but only for a moment. He stepped over her and went his way, never to return.
What did Zebedee the fisherman say when his sons, James and John, left him for good to follow Christ? The Scriptures do not tell us. He quite likely grumbled for a while about the fate of the family business. What did St. Columban’s mother do when he stepped over her and left? History does not tell us. Being a sensible Irishwoman, she quite likely got up, dusted off her clothes, and sought consolation in a cup of tea. Both she and Zebedee, God-fearing persons that they were, probably came to realize all the more clearly thereafter that children are a gift from God, and so He has first claim on their service. “They abandoned their father Zebedee.. . and went off in His company.” (Mk 1:20. Today’s Gospel). (Father Robert F. McNamara). Fr. Tony(http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
2) Four reasons why people do not catch fish: I have come to the conclusion that there are basically four reasons why people do not catch fish: (1) Some people are using the wrong bait. (2) Some people are fishing in the wrong lake, that is, they don’t know where the fish are. (3) Some people have got the right bait and they’re in the right lake, but they don’t know how to fish. (4) Then there are some people who have the right bait, and they’re in the right lake, and they know how to fish but they’re just not going fishing. The Lord Jesus came not only that we might put our Faith in Him, but that we might go fishing with Him. You see, our problem is not that we have the wrong lake. The water is full of fish. The problem is not that we have the wrong bait. We have the Gospel which can hook any fish. Our problem, I believe, is one of ignorance and apathy. There are many Christians who believe they do not know how to share the Lord Jesus, and then there are many who just don’t want to go. (Rev. Maxie Dunnam). Fr. Tony(http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
3) Then we can have the greatest renewal: Years ago, Richard Cardinal Cushing (b. August 24, 1895- d. Nov. 2, 1970. Archbishop of Boston 1944-10=970l created Cardinal, 1958), wrote: “If all the sleeping folks will wake up, and all the lukewarm folks will fire up, and all the disgruntled folks will sweeten up, and all the discouraged folks will cheer up, and all the depressed folks will look up, and all the estranged folks will make up, and all the gossiping folks will shut up, and all the dry bones will shake up, and all the true soldiers will stand up, and all the Church members will pray up, and if the Savior of all will be lifted up . . . then we can have the greatest renewal this world has ever known. Amen.” Fr. Tony(http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
4) “Follow me.” Billy Graham was in a certain town years ago, and he wanted to mail a letter, but he had no idea where the Post Office was. So he stopped a little boy walking the street and asked him if he could direct him to the nearest Post Office. Well, the little boy said, “Yes sir, go down to the red light, turn right, go two blocks to the second red light, turn left, go one block, turn back to the right and you will be right there.” Dr. Graham thanked him and said, “Son, if you will come to the Convention Center this evening, you can hear me telling everybody how to get to Heaven.” The boy said, “Well, I don’t think I’ll be there, Mister; you don’t even know your way to the Post Office.” Well I want to tell you that Jesus not only knows the way to Heaven, He is the Way to Heaven. He not only knows how to live, He is Life more abundant. The very first command He ever gave to any disciple was: “Follow Me.” For that is where discipleship begins and ends, in following Jesus. Fr. Tony(http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
5) “Follow the Leader” Has any of you ever played “Follow the Leader?” Of course you have! I played the game when I was a child — my father played the game when he was a child — his father played the game when he was a child. Follow the Leader is a game that is played and enjoyed by children all over the world. The rules are very simple. You choose a leader and you follow him wherever he goes — and do whatever he does. In our daily lives, too, we play follow the leader. In school, in Church, in sports, in any activity we join, there are always leaders. Every day we are faced with making a choice of which leader we will follow. But we must be sure to choose a leader who will lead us in the right direction. Today’s Gospel tells us how Jesus selected his first disciples and instructed them to follow him as the leader. As Jesus was walking along the seashore he saw two fishermen, Peter and Andrew, and called out to them, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” The Gospel tells us that they laid down their nets and followed Jesus. Jesus went a little farther and he saw two more men, James and John sitting in their boat mending their nets. Jesus called out to them and the Bible tells us that they left their boat and their father and followed Jesus (Mt 5:19-20). Jesus is still calling people to follow him today. He has called you and me to follow him. Now it’s up to us to decide if we will follow the Leader. Fr. Tony(http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
6) “It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken.” Purdue Farms had the same problem when they tried to expand their chicken business. Their popular slogan tried to appeal to women by making men prepare a chicken dinner. Do you recall the slogan? It was, “It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken.” Desiring to reach into the Spanish market they translated their slogan and announced to the entire Latino world, “It takes a virile man to make a chicken affectionate.” Now that’s a personal touch but not the kind I had in mind. How can we reach others for Christ? We can do it by speaking their language – understanding their jobs, taking an interest in their hobbies, speaking to them about their families. We can do it with a personal touch. Fr. Tony(http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
7) “Come to the Chapel,” and “Jesus Sets the Prisoners Free!” Some of you are familiar with the name Charles Colson. Chuck Colson was, at one time, a power player in Washington politics, a member of President Richard Nixon’s inner circle. He was one of Nixon’s most enthusiastic “hatchet men.” Those who knew him best described him as a man of few principles. But his involvement in the infamous Watergate scandal led to his disgrace. It was while serving time in prison for his role in the scandal that Charles Colson came to an authentic relationship with Christ. After his release, Colson founded Prison Fellowship, a ministry to inmates in prisons around the world. Many years ago, Colson started a Prison Fellowship group with just eight young inmates at a maximum-security prison in Delaware. One young inmate was deeply affected by what he learned in the Prison Fellowship Bible study. When a judge reviewed his case and unexpectedly set him free, this young man asked to be allowed to remain in prison until he had finished the study. About a year after Colson’s first visit to the Delaware prison, he returned for an Easter morning service. Dozens of prisoners stood outside the chapel and held up signs announcing, “Come to the Chapel,” and “Jesus Sets the Prisoners Free!” Hundreds of inmates packed the chapel that morning to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ. [Charles Colson. Loving God (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Publishing House, 1987), pp. 21-24.] Christ reaches out to all kinds of people. They don’t have to be special people. But he turns them into special people. All they have to do is say, “Yes.” Here’s what we need to see: it can happen to us. Christ can turn us into someone special if we will let him. Fr. Tony (http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
8) Integrity, intelligence, and energy: Warren Buffett, the nation’s most successful financial investor and the second-richest man in America, has some very valuable advice on hiring the best people for your business. He says, “Somebody once said that in looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. And if they don’t have the first, the other two will kill you.” [Omaha World Herald, Feb. 1, 1994. Cited in Thoughts of Chairman Buffett, (New York: HarperBusiness, 1998).] If you were looking to hire someone to work for you, where would you begin? Wouldn’t you begin with someone you could trust? Jesus saw something in these men that helped him to know that he could depend on them. This is not to say that the disciples were perfect. Certainly they were not. There is a silly story about Jesus having his Last Supper with his disciples. As they ate, he looked around at them. There, in one direction, he saw Judas Iscariot, who would betray him to the authorities before three hours had passed. On the other side was Peter, who would deny him three times before the cock crowed. And almost immediately opposite him was Thomas, who, on a crucial occasion, would express doubts. There seemed only one thing to do. Jesus called over the headwaiter, “Max,” he said, “separate checks.” Fr. Tony(http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
9) Do you remember “Top Gun”? Remember how planes took off and landed on aircraft carriers? These sleek, large, worth-more-than-their-weight-in-gold jets sit on even bigger, more expensive ships. In order for both pieces of equipment to function without disaster, a bond of complete trust and genuine teamwork must be established between those who fly and those who remain grounded. Those trained to pilot the most powerful and sophisticated aircraft in the world must rely upon and wait for a series of “go-ahead” hand signals from their always-grounded “air boss.” Each step must be carried out in proper sequence before the big jets can set off on their appointed missions. The first duty of the air boss is to signal the removal of the “chocks,” the small clamps that lock in place the aircraft’s wheels and keep them from rolling. When Jesus utters his first proclamation of the Good News, “the Kingdom of God has come near” (Mk 1:15), he follows it with the command to “repent.” Before anything else can happen, even before he urges listeners to “believe in the Good News,” Jesus preaches repentance. Jesus knows that our sins and shortcomings, prejudices and preconceived notions can effectively block us from making any headway in our search for God’s kingdom. Fr. Tony(http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
10) Word-of-mouth evangelization in a world of commercials: One of the biggest industries in the United States today is the production of advertising. Billboards, signs on benches, magazines, newspapers, placards on the sides of buses, messages on the insides of match books, “junk” mail, computer phone calls, radio and, of course, television, all seek to commercial-ize us, to sell us something. Commercials make a host of promises. We’re told that if we just use what they sell, people will notice us; we’ll be healthier, happier, sexier; smell better; look better; feel better; get just about everything we want. I’d hate to add up the amount of time each day that is ruined by commercials. Kids, especially, are fascinated with them and affected by them (most of the time affected badly). About forty years ago there used to be an automobile named the Packard. Packard was the last car manufacturer to get into advertising, It didn’t happen until old man Packard died, because whenever he was approached to buy some advertising for his cars he always said, “Don’t need any; just ask the man who owns one.” Our Lord Jesus Christ is also known through word-of-mouth advertising. That’s how the word about him gets out. Only the Shepherds at the first Christmas heard the Good News from angels. Only the Wise Men were led by a Star. Just a comparative few were touched by miracles. But almost everybody came to know Jesus Christ, and is still coming to know him, through word-of-mouth advertising, one person telling another. There are other names we use: preaching, witnessing, sharing, testifying, evangelizing. Basically, however, it’s all word-of-mouth advertising, one person telling another. Our Gospel lesson reminds us that John the Baptizer was one of the first to get the word out about Jesus. Fr. Tony(http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
11) “MVSU was the only school to come to my house and give me a personal visit.” Some of you will remember the 1989 MVP of Super Bowl 23: Jerry Rice. There is an interesting story about him. He was the longtime star for the San Francisco 49ers, considered one of the greatest receivers in the history of football; he played for the 49ers for 15 years, 1985 to 2000. He is a famous athlete, and you would think he came from some legendary college team but he didn’t. He played for Mississippi Valley State University, in Itta Bena, Mississippi, a virtual unknown. He was once asked, “Why did you attend a small, obscure university like Mississippi Valley State University in Itta Bena, Mississippi?” Rice responded, “Out of all the big-time schools (such as UCLA) to recruit me, MVSU was the only school to come to my house and give me a personal visit.” The big-time schools recruited through cards, letters, and advertisements, but only one came to meet him and showed Rice personal attention. It makes a difference in this world to meet people eye to eye and invite them to be a part of something. As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, the Scriptures say, he saw Simon and his brother casting a net into the sea. He approached them and Personally invited them to be a part of His ministry and mission. They followed Him. He went a little further and he saw two more brothers: James and John. He went up to them extending the same Personal invitation, and they followed. Fr. Tony(http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
12) “Unlike a religious fanatic, a football fanatic can be perfectly harmless.” A man in one Church recalled how during football season he and his son watched football on television the whole weekend. On Saturdays it was college football, on Sundays, professional football, and then to cap it off professional football on Monday evenings. This same father was uncomfortable with his son being away for a weekend religious retreat, fearing his son might turn into a religious fanatic! I asked him if he thought being a sports fan was okay for his son. Of course, he replied. But when I pointed out that “fan” is the shortened form of “fanatic,” he was taken aback. His long-neglected wife, a football widow of the first rank, wondered aloud why it was perfectly acceptable to be a football fanatic and not a religious fanatic. “Because,” replied her husband without thinking, “unlike a religious fanatic, a football fanatic can be perfectly harmless.” “Yes,” said the long-unnoticed football widow, “I can vouch for that!” Neither fanaticism nor academism by themselves will do for discipleship. The word “disciple” means “learning follower.” It is the root of the word “discipline.” And the discipline required of Jesus’ disciples is thinking and acting, learning and following. Jesus calls all of us to renewed discipleship, to follow him toward new goals and priorities, to be faithful fishers of men, like Peter, Andrew, James, and John– and look how they changed the world! Fr. Tony(http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
13) Just 6 were about the Bible, 4 about Jesus, and 3 about evangelism. In the “prosperity gospel” that has gripped so many of our Churches and most of our minds, “conversion” is less a turning toward Christ than a turning toward success or fame or fortune, especially a turning towards self. Just check out “best-seller Christianity,” which has become ladder-climbing wrapped up as spirituality. A survey of CBA’s best-selling books as we began the 21st century found that family and women’s topics accounted for nearly half of the titles, with the rest focused mainly on success and the self. Of the top 100 books, just 6 were about the Bible, 4 about Jesus, and 3 about evangelism. The rest of them were about how to climb higher and higher on the ladders of success. “The Christianity of the bestseller lists tends to be personal, private, and interior,” writes Gene Edward Veith in World magazine (July 2008), “with little attention to objective theology or to the Church.” We have even made conversion primarily about ourselves, a finding of ourselves and a fulfilling of ourselves, a journey of self-discovery rather than a journey of God-discovery. “Any version of the Gospel that substitutes the message of personal success for the cross is a manipulative counterfeit,” writes A. C. Thiselton in his commentary on The First Epistle to the Corinthians. Fr. Tony(http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
14) There are people who are unhappy with their lives and situations. In 1957, as John Galbraith was about to describe us as “the affluent society,” our per-person income, expressed in today’s dollars, was less than $10,000. Today it is more than twice that – making us The More Than Doubly Affluent Society. Compared to 1957, we have more than twice as many cars per person; we have digital TVs, satellite dishes, cell phones and $15 billion a year worth of brand name athletic shoes. So are we happier than we were sixty-four years ago? We are not. In 1957, thirty-five percent of Americans told The National Opinion Research Center they were very happy. By 1991, our per-capita income had already doubled, and yet only thirty-one percent said they were very happy. And the trends continue. “Judged by soaring rates of depression, the quintupling of the violent crime rate, the doubling of the divorce rate, the slight decline in marital happiness among the marital survivors, and the tripling of the teen suicide rate, we are richer and unhappier.” [Adapted from James Merritt, Friends, Foes & Fools, Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holmes, 1997.] The first disciples of Jesus were probably dissatisfied with their lives. So when Christ showed them something better – when he offered to give them a dynamic new purpose for their lives – they did not hesitate. They dropped everything and followed him. Fr. Tony(http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
15) Decide between a new car and getting engaged. There are some issues too important to put off. A decision has to be made. Once, an Ann Landers column told about a dilemma faced by another young man: “Dear Ann, I have got to decide between a new car and getting engaged. I really love this wonderful young lady. But every night when I go to sleep, I dream about the car.” When we hear an invitation from Christ, we often find two conflicting inner voices within our spirit. One is telling us, look before you leap; don’t get involved; you can always do it later on. Then there is a voice urging us to trust and be obedient to the call. We can’t have it both ways. We must respond to one voice or the other. We can’t waver between two opinions. The disciples were teachable; they were decisive. Fr. Tony(http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
16) “And those who quit will be doctors, lawyers, and captains of industry.” Some of you football fans will remember when Bo Schembechler was the coach of the Michigan Wolverines. It’s said that Schembechler used to work his players especially hard during spring practice to see what kind of young men he had, winners or quitters. He made a sign with a slogan on it and hung it above the locker room door. The sign read like this: “Those Who Stay Will Be Champions.” Of course, not everyone stayed. One morning Schembechler came to the office and looked at the sign. Underneath the words “Those Who Stay Will Be Champions,” someone had written, “And those who quit will be doctors, lawyers, and captains of industry.” Not everyone has what it takes to answer the call to be a champion, regardless of the field or profession. Well, you get the idea. Not everyone is cut out to play football. Not everyone will be happy as a sailor. And not everyone was called to be among Jesus’ original twelve disciples. Jesus calls many, but only a few heed his summons. In most Churches, only about twenty percent of the congregation is really involved in the life of the Church. Another twenty percent are relatively faithful in worship, but can’t truly be counted on for anything else. Another twenty percent are sporadic attenders. And then there are about forty percent who are of the hatched, matched, and dispatched variety. That is, they are here when they need to be baptized, married and finally buried – hatched, matched, and dispatched – but they couldn’t be much more nominal in their devotion. So the fact that these first disciples were willing to not only say “yes” to the Master, but also to leave their nets and follow him is no little matter. As they say, “showing up is half the battle.” Fr. Tony(http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
17) Radical conversion of Honest Jake: Former Massachusetts congressman Tip O’Neill tells the story of a metanoia or change – the story of a man named “Honest Jake.” Honest Jake became well-known in the Boston area because of his assistance to three generations of immigrant families. He owned a little variety store and would extend credit to the poor immigrants to help them get started in their new land. As Honest Jake neared his sixtieth birthday, a group of people he had helped decided to give him a party and a generous gift of money. Jake received the money gratefully and began to use it for his own makeover. He had his teeth capped. He bought a hairpiece. He invested in a diet and exercise program and lost a lot of weight. He purchased a whole new wardrobe. Then he boarded a plane and a few hours later the new Honest Jake hit the beach at Miami. He met a beautiful young woman, asked her for a date, and she accepted. But before they could go out on the date, a thunderstorm came up, and Honest Jake was struck by a lightning bolt and died instantly. In Heaven, he said to God, “After all those years of hard work in Your service, I was just trying to enjoy myself a little. Why? Why me?” And God said to him, “Oh, is that you, Jake? I’m sorry, I didn’t recognize you.” The Scripture for this Third Sunday in Ordinary Time is about change, about the radical change we make by repentance – not in the way of Honest Jake, perhaps, but making ourselves over into the image to which the love of God and the ministry of Jesus Christ call us. Fr. Tony(http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
18) Whom and what are your ready to renounce? Hermit’s loin-cloth (‘Baavaani Iangoti’) is a popular Gujarati folktale of a devoted hermit (sadhu) who owned nothing but a pair of loin-cloths and lived a life totally committed to God. Once, a rat nibbled a hole in one of his loin-cloths and so he got a cat to protect it. However, he had to beg for extra food and milk to feed the cat. “I’ll keep a cow to get milk for the cat and myself,” thought he. So he got a cow, but had to find fodder for the cow. “Too troublesome!” mused he, and married a woman to look after the cow. With wife, cow and cat to feed, he got some land and hired laborers to work upon it. Soon, he became the richest man in town. When asked about why he renounced discipleship, he explained, “This is the only way I could preserve my loin-cloths!” To become fishers of Man, Jesus’ first disciples renounced everything. Whom and what are you ready to renounce? (Francis Gonsalves in Sunday Seeds for Daily Deeds; quoted by Fr. Botelho). Fr. Tony(http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
19)“I, and this nation, should be on the Lord’s side.” A friend of Abraham Lincoln one day tried to console the President in his many problems by saying: “I hope that the Lord is on our side.” Lincoln replied kindly but firmly that this was not his hope. Everyone was amazed! Then he went on to say: “I am not at all concerned about that, for we know that the Lord is always on the side of the right. But it is my constant anxiety and prayer that I, and this nation, should be on the Lord’s side.” If we are on the Lord’s side and for His Kingdom, we will use the countless gifts He has given to each of us to advance his Kingdom. (Vima Dasan in His Word Lives; quoted by Fr. Botelho). Fr. Tony(http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
20) Who and what am I working for? There was once a holy rabbi who lived in a town where the houses of the rich stood in an isolated area so that they had to hire men to watch over their property at night. Late one evening as the rabbi was coming home, he met a watchman walking up and down. ‘For whom are you working?’ the rabbi asked. The man told him and then inquired in his turn, ’And for whom are you working, rabbi?’ The words struck the rabbi like a shaft. ‘I am not working for anyone just now,’ he barely managed to say. Then he walked up and down beside the man for a long time. ‘Will you be my servant?’ he finally asked. ‘I should like to,’ the man replied, ‘but what would be my duties?’ ‘To ask me that question every now and then,’ said the rabbi. It’s a question each of us might ask ourselves every now and then: Who or what am I working for? (Flor McCarthy in Sundays and Holy Day Liturgies; quoted by Fr. Botelho. Fr. Tony(http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
21) On whose side? A Russian youth who had become a conscientious objector to war, through reading of Tolstoy and the New Testament, was brought before a magistrate. With the strength of conviction he told the judge that he believed in a life which loves its enemies, which does good to those who despitefully use it, which overcomes evil and which refuses war. “Yes,” said the judge, “I understand. But you must be realistic. These laws you are talking about are the laws of the Kingdom of God, and it has not come yet.” The young man straightened and said, “Sir, I recognize it has not come for you, nor yet for Russia or the world. But the Kingdom of God has come for me! I can’t go on hating and killing as though it had not come.” In a way, the Russian youth summed up what we believe about the Kingdom of God. –How soon will the plan of God for his Kingdom be realised? It depends much on how earnest we are to be on God’s side and cooperate with his plan. (Fr. Botelho). Fr. Tony(http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
22)Turning Evil to Good: A lady once showed Ruskin a costly handkerchief on which had fallen a large blot of ink. “What a shame!” she moaned. “It is absolutely good for nothing now. It is totally spoiled. Ruskin said nothing but asked to borrow the handkerchief for a day. The next day he handed it to her without a word, and the lady delightedly saw that, using the blot as a starting point, the great artist had designed an intriguing pattern on that corner of the handkerchief. Now it was actually worth more than it had ever been before the blot had disfigured it. God can draw forth good from evil! (Bruno Hagspiel, from Tonic from the Heart in 1000 Bottles; quoted by Fr. Botelho). Fr. Tony(http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
23) History Changed by One Man: In September of 1862, the Civil War tilted decisively in favour of the South. The morale of the Northern army dipped to its lowest point of the war. Large numbers of Union troops were in full retreat in Virginia. Northern leaders feared the worst. They saw no way to reverse the situation and turn the beaten, exhausted troops into a useful army again. There was only one general who might be able to work this miracle. That was General McClellan. He had trained men for combat, and they loved and admired him. But the War Department didn’t see this, nor did the Cabinet see it. Only President Lincoln saw it. Fortunately, Lincoln ignored the protests of advisors and put McClellan back in command. He told him to go to Virginia and give those soldiers something no other man on earth could give them: enthusiasm, strength, and hope. McClellan accepted the command. He mounted his great black horse and cantered down the dusty roads of Virginia. What happened next is hard to explain. Northern leaders couldn’t explain it. Even McClellan couldn’t quite explain it. McClellan met the retreating Union columns. He waved his cap in the air and shouted words of encouragement. When the tired men saw their beloved leader, they began to take heart. They began to get the unexplainable feeling that now things could be different. Now things could be right again. Here’s how Bruce Catton, the great Civil War historian, describes the excitement that grew and grew when word spread that McClellan was now back in command. “Down mile after mile of Virginia roads the stumbling columns came alive, and threw caps and knapsacks into the air, and yelled until they could yell no more…. because they saw this dapper little rider outlined against the purple starlight. And this, in a way, was the turning point of the war…. No one could quite explain it.” And whatever it was, it gave Lincoln and the North what was needed. And history was forever changed because of it. — That is what Jesus did by choosing his apostles. (Mark Link in Sunday Homilies; quoted by Fr. Botelho). Fr. Tony(http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
24) An epitaph to God’s grace: In the small cemetery of a parish churchyard in Olney, England, stands a granite tombstone with this inscription: “John Newton, clerk [pastor], once an infidel & Libertine, a servant of slavers in Africa, was, by the rich mercy of our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ, preserved, restored, pardoned, and appointed to preach the Faith he had long labored to destroy.” You may not remember his name, but all of us know the song he wrote as a testimony of his life: Amazing Grace.” Fr. Tony(http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
25) A Priest is always wrong
If he waits for people, they say he has never been punctual.
If he starts the Mass on time, they say his watch is wrong.
If he owns a car, people say he is luxurious.
If he does not have one, they say he is always late.
If he asks for donation, people say he is a money-grubber.
If he does not ask, they say he is proud and lazy.
If he is seen with women, people say he is a playboy.
If he goes with men, they say he is a sissy.
If he preaches too long, they say they get bored.
If his homily is too short, they say he is unprepared.
If he visits houses, people say he is always out.
If he stays in the rectory, they say he has no time for them.
If he is young, they say he has no experience.
If he is old, they say he should have retired.
But when a priest dies nobody takes his place. Perhaps, we should put this into our minds — that being God’s priest does not abolish his humanity. When he is ordained as a priest, he does not become an angel. Pride, ambition, personal interest, greed for power and materials, and even sensuality are very much present in a priest, and they can blind him just as they can other people. But the Lord called and selected imperfect men — just like St. Peter who was so sensitive and denied Him three times, and yet he became the head of His universal church. These church leaders on their part have the obligation by virtue of their Divine calling, to strive constantly to overcome their human weaknesses and, so, to become better priests and servant-leaders. Concretely, they should continue to pray, and to strive to live as good shepherds, servants and stewards of people whom God has entrusted to them, and always to seek help from Him Who can and will make them what they cannot make themselves. Fr. Tony(http://frtonyshomilies.com/)
3. From other Sources including Sermons.com
Green is smooth and sweet, while yellow is sharp and pungent.
Purple has the depth of a bruise.
Orange may not rhyme with anything, but is feels like the sun on your face on a warm day.
Explaining the impossible to the unknowing describes much of the mission and message of Jesus.
How could he communicate the vastness of divine love to individual human hearts?
How could he present the fullness of time to a world parsed into days, hours, minutes, seconds?
How could he reveal the unity of all creation to warring nations, cracked communities, and fractured families?
Be real, be vulnerable, and be honest.
Be creative. We don't have to do things the same old way.
Be spiritual, but not "churchy".
Be ready for surprises!
Be willing to step out of your comfort zone.
Be on the lookout for where God is at work.
+ If you'll do it only so long as it doesn't interfere with other activities, it's a job. If you're committed to staying with it even when it means letting go of other things, it's a ministry.
+ If you quit because no one praised you or thanked you, it was a job. If you stay with it even though no one seems to notice, it's a ministry.
+ If you do it because someone else said that it needs to be done, it's a job. If you are doing it because you are convinced it needs to be done, it's a ministry.
+ It's hard to get excited about a job. It's almost impossible not to get excited about a ministry.
+ If your concern is success, it's a job. If your concern is faithfulness, it's a ministry.