Readings & Homily Sunday 28th August

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Sunday, 28 August 2022

Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle C
Readings on p. 1218 and Antiphons on p. 1214 of the Daily Missal and on p 956 of the Sunday Missal.

Entrance Antiphon.

Turn your ear, O Lord, and answer me; save the servant who trusts in you, my God. Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I cry to you all the day long.

First Reading: Sirach 3:17-20, 28-29

A reading from the Book of Sirach.

My child, perform your tasks in meekness;
then you will be loved more than a giver of gifts.
The greater you are, the more you must humble yourself;
so you will find favour with God.
There are many who are noble and renowned,
but it is to the humble, that he reveals his mysteries.
For great is the might of the Lord;
he is glorified by the humble.

The affliction of the proud has no healing,
for a plant of wickedness has taken root in them,
though it will not be perceived.
The mind of the wise person will ponder the words of the wise,
and an attentive ear is the wise person’s desire.

The Word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 68: 4-5ac.6-7ab.10-11 (R. 11b)

Let us now pray the Responsorial Psalm

R/. In your goodness, O God, you provided for the poor.

The just shall rejoice at the presence of God;
they shall exult with glad rejoicing.
O sing to God; make music to his name.
The Lord is his name.

Father of orphans, defender of widows:
such is God in his holy place.
God gives the desolate a home to dwell in;
he leads the prisoners forth into prosperity,

You poured down, O God, a generous rain;
when your people languished, you restored their inheritance.
It was there that your flock began to dwell.
In your goodness, O God, you provided for the poor.

R/. In your goodness, O God, you provided for the poor.

Second Reading: Hebrews 12:18-19, 22-24a

A reading from the Letter to the Hebrews.

Brothers and sisters:

You have not come to what may be touched,
a blazing fire, and darkness, and gloom,
and a tempest, and the sound of a trumpet,
and a voice whose words made the hearers entreat
that no further messages be spoken to them.

But you have come to Mount Zion
and to the city of the living God,
the heavenly Jerusalem,
and to innumerable angels in festal gathering,
and to the assembly of the firstborn
who are enrolled in heaven,
and to a judge who is God of all,
and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect,
and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant.

The Word of the Lord.

Please stand for the Gospel.

Alleluia, Alleluia.
Take my yoke upon you, says the Lord; and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart.
Alleluia.

Gospel: Luke 14:1, 7-14

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke.

One sabbath when Jesus went to dine
at the house of a ruler who belonged to the Pharisees,
they were watching him.

Now he told a parable to those who were invited,
when he noticed how they chose the places of honour,
saying to them,
“When you are invited by any one to a marriage feast,
do not sit down in a place of honour,
lest a more eminent person than you be invited by your host
and the host who invited you both will come and say to you,
‘Give place to this person,’
and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place.
But when you are invited,
go and sit in the lowest place,
so that when your host comes, they may say to you,
‘Friend, go up higher’;
then you will be honoured
in the presence of all who sit at the table with you.
For everyone who exalt themselves will be humbled,
and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

He said also to the one who had invited him,
“When you give a dinner or a banquet,
do not invite your friends or your brothers
or your kinsmen or rich neighbours,
lest they also invite you in return,
and you be repaid.
But when you give a feast,
invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, and the blind
and you will be blessed,
because they cannot repay you.
You will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”

The Gospel of the Lord.

Homily:

Winston Churchill was once asked, “Doesn’t it thrill you to know that every time you make a speech, the hall is packed to overflowing?”

  • “It’s quite flattering,” replied Sir Winston.
  • “But whenever I feel that way,
    • I always remember that if instead of making a political speech I were being hanged,
    • the crowd would be twice as big.”

“It’s hard to be humble when you’re as great as I am,” boasted the  boxer Mohammed Ali.

  • Humility is “not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.” (C.S. Lewis).
  • Humility is an attempt to try to see ourselves as God sees us.
  • True humility is recognizing that everything good we have, comes from God.
  • A humble person is one who knows one’s gifts and talents and is thankful to God for them.
  • Humility does not imply denying our gifts, or not sharing our talents with others.
    • God made us. 
    • We, in turn, are thankful to God for those gifts, and show our thankfulness by using our talents in service to one another.

In Jesus’ day the Pharisees had their “fans.”

  • They were admired for their religious practices and for their exemplary behaviour.
  • They were treated well by their admirers and probably were among those in our gospel story choosing places of honour at the table.
  • They probably felt they were entitled to them.
  • One could get used to such favoured treatment and think it was our due.

Jesus had been invited to the home of one of the leading Pharisees.

  • He was being closely watched by them and, in turn, he was watching them.
  • The atmosphere was probably “edgy” because it was the Sabbath and Jesus had already been criticized by the Pharisees for his “inappropriate” Sabbath observances.
  • For example, he had broken the Law by curing a man on the Sabbath (6:6-11); healing a woman who was crippled for 18 years (13:10-17), etc.
  • Contrary to what they were saying about him, Jesus was attempting to show that the seeming-piety of the Pharisees was a façade for their lack of humility and true observance of the Law.

In contrast to ostentatious display,s Jesus advises his disciples take a lower place at table and avoid the humiliation of being asked by the host to yield the place of honour to a more distinguished guest.

  • They should take, he says, a lesser place so they might be honoured by being invited to come up higher at the table.

Now we know that Jesus wasn’t teaching his disciples a technique to receive praise from their peers.

  • Rather, he is directing them to avoid being show-offs and identify with the least.
  • And more: he tells them when they hold a banquet to invite “the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind.”
  • In this teaching he seems to be addressing people of means – who else could have a banquet?
  • Those who have, are to share with those who have not.

Bottom line: a disciples’ expressions of love should not depend on expecting equal returns.

  • Jesus will show them what true love and humility are by his upcoming passion and the gift of himself for sinners.
  • We have been baptized in that love and so must reflect it in the ways we serve the world– especially the least.

One of the signs of humility is allowing ourselves to be personally touched by another’s pain.

  • To let that happen requires a new and humbler way of seeing.
  • If I live and view the world from a comfortable and powerful position I will never see and feel the pain of the hurting.
  • But if I take on the perspective of the powerless and needy I will be seeing with a different set of eyes – their eyes.

In Mark 9: 36-37 we read “Jesus took a little child, set him in front of them, put His arms around him and said to them,

  • ‘ Anyone who welcomes one of these little children in my name, welcomes Me,
  •  and anyone who welcomes Me,
  • welcomes not Me but the One who sent Me’.
  • In verse 42, Jesus gives a stern warning:
    • ‘Anyone who is an obstacle to bring down one of these little ones who have faith,
    • would be better thrown into the sea with a great millstone round his neck’.

These words from Jesus are painful to hear in the light of the clergy sex abuse scandals in the Church.

  • Abuse of children occurs in all levels of society around the world.
  • The abuse of children by clergy and laity in the church is particularly heinous in the light of the high standard of behaviour claimed for the church.

Children are a gift from God.

  • They have a right to be respected, nurtured, cared for and protected.
  • This right is embedded in Gospel values, best practice guidelines and international and domestic laws.

Every part of the Church and every organisation within the Church must be committed to take the necessary steps to:

•         demonstrate that the right of the child to protection from harm is paramount

•         ensure that all minors in the care of the Church are in a safe and secure environment

•         that codes of behaviour and procedures are in place and implemented, making clear what is and is not acceptable behaviour

•         that all Church members are made aware of child safeguarding issues as well as Church policies and procedures

•         support Church organisations and personnel in safeguarding children

•         establish safe recruitment and vetting practices, aimed at preventing those who pose a risk to children from holding positions of trust

In 2019 our parish set up a team to develop a policy and procedure to safeguard and protect the young from any form of abuse.

  • The Archdiocese were impressed with our initiative and subsequently co-opted Janine Mosetlhi and Peter Henning onto the Diocesan Safeguarding team,
  • and Janine and Peter have made a significant contribution to the training of parishes across the diocese.

Safeguarding Sunday is essentially about increasing awareness of safeguarding to the entire parish,

  • making the parish aware that there is a Safeguarding policy and what the policy represents.
  • Safeguarding costs money and that is why parishes across the diocese are taking up a second collection to help cover the costs of implementing the policy.

I am confident that our safeguarding policy in our parish will ensue that every child or vulnerable person is safe in our parish.

From today’s Gospel reading:

“Rather, when you hold a banquet,

invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind,

blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you.

For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

Reflection:

Jesus is preparing us for a banquet where those in most need will receive honours and fulfilment. Since that will be the case, we ought to do some “kingdom practicing” now: act in ways that will reflect the kingdom in which we are already citizens— treat the poor as honoured guests in our lives.

So we ask ourselves:

  • Have you ever had a surprise party? What did it feel like to be surprised and honoured?
  • To whom can you extend the “surprise” of special and honoured treatment?

Communion Antiphon.

How great is the goodness, Lord, that you keep for those who fear you.

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