Sunday Homily (Full Text)

Sunday Homily

 Homily by Father Mike Kuse

> September 8, 2013 - 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

> 10 AM Service

> Reading 1:   Book of Wisdom 9:13-18

> Who can know God's counsel, or who can conceive what the
> LORD intends?

> For the deliberations of mortals are timid, and unsure are
> our plans.

> For the corruptible body burdens the soul

> and the earthen shelter weighs down the mind that has many
> concerns.

> And scarce do we guess the things on earth, 

> and what is within our grasp we find with difficulty;

> but when things are in heaven, who can search them out?

> Or who ever knew your counsel, except you had given wisdom

> and sent your holy spirit from on high?

> And thus were the paths of those on earth made straight.

> Responsorial Psalm:   90:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14-17

> R. In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.

> You turn man back to dust,

> saying, “Return, O children of men.”

> For a thousand years in your sight

> are as yesterday, now that it is past,

> or as a watch of the night.

> You make an end of them in their sleep;

> the next morning they are like the changing grass,

> Which at dawn springs up anew,

> but by evening wilts and fades.

> Teach us to number our days aright,

> that we may gain wisdom of heart.

> Return, O LORD! How long?

> Have pity on your servants!

> Fill us at daybreak with your kindness,

> that we may shout for joy and gladness all our days.

> And may the gracious care of the LORD our God be ours;

> prosper the work of our hands for us!

> Prosper the work of our hands!

> R. In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.

> Reading 2: Philemon 9-10, 12-17 

> I, Paul, an old man, and now also a prisoner for Christ
> Jesus,

> urge you on behalf of my child Onesimus, 

> whose father I have become in my imprisonment;

> I am sending him, that is, my own heart, back to you.

> I should have liked to retain him for myself,

> so that he might serve me on your behalf in my imprisonment
> for the gospel,

> but I did not want to do anything without your consent,

> so that the good you do might not be forced but voluntary.

> Perhaps this is why he was away from you for a while,

> that you might have him back forever,

> no longer as a slave but more than a slave, a brother,

> beloved especially to me, but even more so to you,

> as a man and in the Lord.

> So if you regard me as a partner, welcome him as you would
> me.

> Gospel: Luke 14:25-33

> Great crowds were traveling with Jesus and he turned and
> addressed them,

> “If anyone comes to me without hating his father and
> mother,

> wife and children, brothers and sisters,

> and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.

> Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me

> cannot be my disciple.

> Which of you wishing to construct a tower

> does not first sit down and calculate the cost 

> to see if there is enough for its completion?

> Otherwise, after laying the foundation

> and finding himself unable to finish the work

> the onlookers should laugh at him and say,

> 'This one began to build but did not have the resources
> to finish.'

> Or what king marching into battle would not first sit down

> and decide whether with ten thousand troops

> he can successfully oppose another king

> advancing upon him with twenty thousand troops?

> But if not, while he is still far away, he will send a
> delegation to ask for peace terms.

> In the same way, anyone of you who does not renounce all his
> possessions

> cannot be my disciple.”

> Homily

> The last few weeks Jesus just keeps
> looking into our eyes and hearts and is trying to find out
> if we are sincere, or are we faking our journey of life.

> Do we just say nice things about God, or are we willing to
> walk in those footprints?   Jesus tells us, “Put
> aside everything because I've already planned to take
> care of you.   But I am asking that while you are on
> earth that you focus on each other, and that you take time
> to look within yourself.”

> Briella is asking Mom and Dad, “Remember now that
> you've got me, that I am going to interrupt your
> life.   I want you to pay attention to me, and only
> me.   I am the only one.”

> So we learn that if we are going to have that bond between a
> child and parent - we do need to know the heart, and we need
> to know the feelings that make that happen. 

> The second reading is a very powerful reading for us
> today.   St. Paul is writing to his disciple Philemon,
> and Philemon was following Paul and Jesus.   Now at
> this time in history, the culture was that slavery was a
> part of life.   I don't know how many of you have
> seen the movie,   “The Butler,”   but it shows
> the whole experience of slavery as it was fifty, sixty,
> seventy years ago and takes it up to where we are
> today.   A lot of things happened. But let me tell you,
> we still have a long way to go.   It's just that
> today, slavery takes on new meanings.

> Paul asks Philemon to send someone to be with him.  
> And Philemon sent one of his slaves, Onesimus. So far,
> I've never baptized anyone with the name Onesimus.
> I'm still waiting for that to pop up.   

> So, Philemon sent Onesimus to Paul while Paul was in
> prison.   Paul said to Philemon, “I am an old
> man.”   Now Paul was about 55 years old.   But
> remember, that was like being 110 years old today.  
> “I'm getting old,”   Paul said.  
> “I've preached the word, and God is going to take me
> home.”

> While Paul had Onesimus with him, instead of saying “Do
> this, do that …”   and treating him like a
> slave,   Paul sat down with Onesimus and shared the
> faith.   In the process of sharing the faith,  
> Onesimus became a friend and a brother to Paul. 

> And so comes the letter to us.   Paul wrote back to
> Philemon and said,   “I've enjoyed Onesimus very
> much. It's time for me to send him back to you.  
> But I'm asking one thing, that you not welcome him as a
> slave, but that you welcome him as you brother, your equal,
> your family.”

> That was a powerful request.

> The neat thing about Scripture is that so often Jesus sets
> us all up, as well as he sets up the scholars. We don't
> know when Onesimus went back, or if Philemon accepted him as
> a brother.   We realize that is not the important thing
> about the story.   The important thing is that Jesus
> says, “Unless you have a change of heart nothing is going
> to happen.”

> But more than likely Philemon did accept Onesimus because
> Philemon was like a brother to Paul. And if Paul and
> Philemon could be brothers, and Paul said, “Onesimus is
> our brother” - then I'm sure Onesimus went back and
> Philemon changed his whole experience of slavery.

> Today if I would ask all of you, “Do you have slaves at
> your house who do all of your work for you?”,   your
> hands would not go up.   But is slavery in our
> midst?   Very clearly it is.   

> Today we see it in a different way.   We see people
> conniving in the world and they go over to the poor
> countries and they buy small children, and then they bring
> them over today for what we call human trafficking.  
> There are thousands of people today, children, living as
> slaves today.   Jesus is saying to us, “When you meet
> one of them, don't judge because they have been forced
> into that way of living. But can you accept that young child
> as a sister or brother of your child?”

> That's a powerful message for us.   It's easy
> for us to say, “Well, I'm not doing that. I'm not
> involved in that. So I don't have to worry about it.”

> But Jesus says, “I want to know what's in your heart,
> because I will place things for all of you.   And
> I'm going to ask if I have your heart. Because if I
> don't have your heart, you cannot be my disciple. So you
> can't live life on the surface.”

> To show you an example of someone who is not having the
> heart of Jesus -

> there was a young man who came from a very wealthy family
> and his father owned a successful business.   The young
> man wanted to get married.   He was on a business trip
> and went to this conference and happened to see a woman who
> was at the meeting and she was absolutely stunning.  
> So he thought, “This is my chance.”   He walked
> over to her and said, “My name is so and so, and what is
> your name?”

> He really wanted this beautiful woman and he wanted to
> impress her. So without even saying, “Let's get to
> know one another.” He said, “You know, my father and I
> have this business.   My dad probably is not going to
> be with us very long, and when my dad dies I will be
> inheriting the entire estate and   I'll be worth
> over $200 million dollars.”

> This stunning woman said, “Oh, that's
> fantastic.”   She said, “I'd like to meet your
> father.   May I have your business card?”

> He said, “Sure.”   And thought, “This is my
> entrance to be with her.   I'm off and running.”

> Three days later his father called him to his office and
> said, “You met a beautiful lady at the meeting and she
> contacted me.   I just want you to know that the two of
> us got married yesterday.   She is now your
> stepmother.”

> Sometimes things in life backfire.   You just have to
> know:   Is it all about money, is it all about
> looks?   Or, is it deep down in the heart?

> So that is why Jesus really pushes us and he says,  
> “When your heart stops beating, it's over.   But
> while your heart is still beating, my spirit lives within
> you. And if you're going to follow me, if you're
> going to live in my name, nothing can get in the way.  
> And all the trappings of the world will never equal when you
> can look to another person and say, “You are my
> sister.   You are my brother.”   

> That's what brings us together today.   May we
> never forget that being a disciple of Jesus - it does cost
> something, but it is worth everything.


> *****

> Monsignor Michael Kuse is pastor
> of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Quincy, Illinois.
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