6.28.18 Thurs. wk. 12 – Ordinary Time. (II)
2nd Book of Kings: 24: 8 – 17
Gospel of Matthew 7: 21 – 29
Jesus said to his disciples: “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. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?’ Then I will declare to them solemnly, ‘I never knew you.* Depart from me, you evildoers.’
“Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock. And everyone who listens to these words of mine but does not act on them will be like a fool who built his house on sand. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. And it collapsed and was completely ruined.”
When Jesus finished these words, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as their scribes. The Gospel of the Lord.
Homily: Fr. Mike Murphy Lord, Grant Us Saints
“When †Jesus finished these words (in the Gospel) the crowds were astonished at His teaching; for He taught them as one having authority and not as their scribes”. (Matt.7:29) With these words, Matthew concludes ‘The Sermon on The Mount’ by †Jesus that we have been reflecting on for several days now. ‘The Sermon on The Mount’ is a ‘Guide Book’ along ‘The Road to Holiness’. If we strive to be a saint, simply follow the teachings found in ‘The Sermon on The Mount’ every day – starting with the Beatitudes – and you will be a saint.
Pope Francis writes this: “†Jesus explains with great simplicity what it means to be holy when He gave us the Beatitudes (cf. Mt.5:3-12; Lk. 6:20-23). The Beatitudes are like a Christian’s ‘Identity Card’. In the Beatitudes we find a portrait of the Master – which we are called to ‘reflect’ in our daily lives.” (Gaudium et Exsultate, 63) Pope Francis did not simply say ‘to reflect upon’ the portrait of the Master revealed in the Beatitudes; but we are to ‘reflect the Master’. †Jesus is holy – if we want to be holy, if we want to be saints, †Jesus must be ‘reflected’ in our daily life. And †Jesus makes it clear with His last words of ‘The Sermon on The Mount’: “Everyone who listens to these words of mine – and acts on them – will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.” (Matt.7:24) Our spiritual house will fall if it does not have †Jesus and His teaching as its foundation.
St Irenaeus, whose feast we celebrate today, was an early Christian author who helped build the foundation for much of the Christian Theology that we have today. The mission of the early Church writers – like Irenaeus – was to insure that the people of God were building their house on a strong foundation, on a firm foundation – and this is our mission as well.
Again from Pope Francis: “We are called to be holy by living our lives by love and by bearing witness in everything we do wherever we find ourselves”. (ibid, 14) Notice that the Holy Father did not write: ‘in everything we say’ – but ‘in everything we do.’ And this repeats what †Jesus said in the Gospel: “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.” (Matt.7:21) And Pope Francis – in his recent Apostolic Exhortation on The Call to Holiness in the Modern World, offers us some guidance on how to do this in our daily lives. He writes: “Are you married? Be holy by living and caring for your husband or wife as Christ does for the Church. Do you work for a living? Be holy by laboring with integrity and skill in the service of your brothers and sisters. Are you a parent or a grandparent? Be holy by patiently teaching the little ones how to follow †Jesus. Are you in a position of authority? Be holy by working for the common good and renouncing personal gain”. (ibid) Holiness is measured by how I live my life on the level of love and self-gift. The Beatitudes which begin the ‘Guide Book of Holiness’ in Matthew’s Gospel, are attitudes of self-gift and surrender: “poverty of spirit…mourning over injustice…being meek…hunger and thirst for holiness…being merciful…being clean of heart…being a peace-maker…be willing to be persecuted for the sake of righteousness.” (Matt.5:3ff)
Saints live their lives striving to eliminate the false self, the selfish, the willful part of all of us –the part that we like to hide behind masks. Saints do not love God and others with half measures – they love to the maximum with all that they are, they love with “all their heart, all their soul, all their strength, all their mind.” (Matt. 22:37)
I want to pray for you a prayer by a ‘Servant of God – William Giaquinta. I was blessed with knowing him when I was a student in Rome and spoke to him on many occasions. His cause for canonization is currently moving forward. It is a prayer about the Lord granting us sanctity – how to become a saint.
What I’d like you to do is just close your eyes and listen to this prayer and let your heart pray these words:
Lord, grant us saints.
(Servant of God Bishop Guglielmo Giaquinta)
Lord, grant us saints.
Grant us people of God,
people for whom God is everything.
Grant us people
filled with love for you;
people who never look without seeing you,
never listen without hearing you.
Grant us people able to rescue the world
from its materialism,
by impressing it
with the evidence of your salvation.
Lord, we need saints.
You are the author and the apex of sanctity;
raise saints everywhere –
among the poor and among the wealthy,
among the untutored and among the learned,
among people of the world
and among those consecrated –
for the sanctification of the world
through the witness and proclamation of your transcendence.
Help people understand
that holiness is both a gift and a conquest.
Help them to understand that being a Christian is a person conformed to God:
a whole integrated person.
Evoke in a people the desire to become
what you have meant them to be,
by walking in integrity
on a journey toward the dawn,
progressing into the perfect day.
Lord, we need saints because we need salvation.
Lord, grant us saints!
In the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.