Sunday Homily (Full Text)

Sunday Homily

 Gospel Reading by Deacon Terry Ellerman 

> Homily by Father Mike Kuse

> September 15, 2013 - 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time

> 10 AM Service

> Gospel: Luke 15:1-32

> Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen
> to Jesus,

> but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying,

> “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

> So to them he addressed this parable.

> “What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one
> of them

> would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert

> and go after the lost one until he finds it?

> And when he does find it,

> he sets it on his shoulders with great joy

> and, upon his arrival home,

> he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to
> them,

> 'Rejoice with me because I have found my lost
> sheep.'

> I tell you, in just the same way

> there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who
> repents

> than over ninety-nine righteous people

> who have no need of repentance.

> “Or what woman having ten coins and losing one

> would not light a lamp and sweep the house,

> searching carefully until she finds it?

> And when she does find it,

> she calls together her friends and neighbors

> and says to them,

> 'Rejoice with me because I have found the coin that I
> lost.'

> In just the same way, I tell you,

> there will be rejoicing among the angels of God

> over one sinner who repents.”

> Then he said,

> “A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his
> father,

> 'Father give me the share of your estate that should
> come to me.'

> So the father divided the property between them.

> After a few days, the younger son collected all his
> belongings

> and set off to a distant country

> where he squandered his inheritance on a life of
> dissipation.

> When he had freely spent everything,

> a severe famine struck that country,

> and he found himself in dire need.

> So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens

> who sent him to his farm to tend the swine.

> And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine
> fed,

> but nobody gave him any.

> Coming to his senses he thought,

> 'How many of my father's hired workers

> have more than enough food to eat,

> but here am I, dying from hunger.

> I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him,

> “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.

> I no longer deserve to be called your son;

> treat me as you would treat one of your hired
> workers.”'

> So he got up and went back to his father.

> While he was still a long way off,

> his father caught sight of him,

> and was filled with compassion.

> He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him.

> His son said to him,

> 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you;

> I no longer deserve to be called your son.'

> But his father ordered his servants,

> 'Quickly bring the finest robe and put it on him;

> put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.

> Take the fattened calf and slaughter it.

> Then let us celebrate with a feast,

> because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life
> again;

> he was lost, and has been found.'

> Then the celebration began.

> Now the older son had been out in the field

> and, on his way back, as he neared the house,

> he heard the sound of music and dancing.

> He called one of the servants and asked what this might
> mean.

> The servant said to him,

> 'Your brother has returned

> and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf

> because he has him back safe and sound.'

> He became angry,

> and when he refused to enter the house,

> his father came out and pleaded with him.

> He said to his father in reply,

> 'Look, all these years I served you

> and not once did I disobey your orders;

> yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my
> friends. But when your son returns,

> who swallowed up your property with prostitutes,

> for him you slaughter the fattened calf.'

> He said to him,

> 'My son, you are here with me always;

> everything I have is yours.

> But now we must celebrate and rejoice,

> because your brother was dead and has come to life again;

> he was lost and has been found.'”

> Homily

> All of us have been lost, probably
> several times over.   Sometimes it is on the very human
> level.   We are going to another town, we make a wrong
> turn, we are 60 miles away and we still haven't found
> our way.   That's not what Jesus is talking about
> this morning.   He's talking about all of us. 
>  He's saying,   “Spiritually if you ever feel
> lost, you need someone to throw a party.”

> And that's why you and I throw this party every single
> weekend.   It's a party where everybody is
> welcome.   The hallmark of the party is the gift of
> hospitality.   But the hospitality isn't as much
> as, “May I take your coat?   Do you have a
> seat?”   The hospitality is, “I really don't
> know what has been going on in your life this week, but I
> want you to know that it's good you are here, and I am
> glad to be with you.”

> That will change anyone's life.   And that is what
> Jesus is trying to get into our lives.   Yes, we are
> always going to have differences.   We're always
> going to be hurt.   We're always going to have
> disappointments.   That's the way of life.  
> But Jesus says, “There's something more to life, and I
> don't want you to lose it. I want you to know that I
> love you, and you will always be welcome.”

> Sometimes, when it comes to Scripture, we take things
> literally instead of understanding the thread of the message
> of hope.   

> To give you an example of where it goes beyond family: If
> Mom and Dad are having differences, or the kids don't
> agree with the parents, and the parents don't agree with
> the kids, and grandma doesn't like this - you've got
> to get over that.   But when it comes down to really
> having a Christian community, that's something
> different. 

> About 30-some years ago, there was a movement in the
> Catholic Church. In fact, it was in all churches.   It
> was called the Charismatic Movement.   And it was that
> you were to receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  
> Well, we all receive those gifts at baptism, but this was a
> way to bring it alive.   It was that moment when
> Vatican II was ushering in some changes, when people needed
> a more emotional response.   When you got into that
> movement, one of the things was that some people would
> receive the gift of tongues.   Maybe there is someone
> sitting here who went through that experience and received
> the gift of tongues. 

> I was down in Missouri at a retreat, there were six of us,
> and there was a charismatic group having a retreat or prayer
> evening.   They said, “Come join us.”   So we
> thought, “Well, what do we have to lose?   We are
> going to pray.” 

> So we got there and all of a sudden everyone started
> speaking in tongues.   When it was over, we thought,
> “How do you get this speaking in tongues?”   For my
> group, it just wouldn't come out.   I'm not
> making fun of this, I'm just telling you the reality of
> the situation. It just would not come.

> When I got back home some people in our area were forming a
> charismatic group.   One of our priests, who has now
> gone to heaven, was very active in this charismatic
> movement.   There was a family in our parish, a
> wonderful family, who got involved.   They got involved
> when they heard the passage in Scripture that you should
> “Sell everything you have and become brothers and sisters,
> and everything will be provided for you.”   I tried
> to talk to this family and said,   “There's not a
> thing wrong with the charismatic movement, or speaking in
> tongues, or prayers, but you are misunderstanding the
> Scripture.”

> “No, we aren't, Father.   This is what it
> means.”

> They sold their house, they quit their jobs, they took their
> kids out of school, 

> they took everything and went up to Wisconsin and joined a
> group that was charismatic.   

> The conversation went back and forth with them and at first
> things went well.   However, you know what it's
> like if your kids have to move back into your house with
> you? And what if it's not only the kids but also the
> next-door neighbor, and then everybody else.   It's
> not easy.   It's not easy when you have your own
> family there.   And they found out in this community it
> just was not working.   So they decided they had to
> leave this charismatic community. 

> They came back to the parish.   They came back very
> humbly.   They left owning a home, having jobs,
> everything.   They came back penniless, just asking,
> “Can we come back.”

> The parish welcomed them with open arms.   This family
> found a home, they got their jobs, and they still were
> praying and the charismatic movement was still good for
> them.   My point is, listening to these three messages
> of the Gospel - it's not about the disappointments,
> it's not about our failures, it's not about our sins
> - it's about the fact that in the faith community we
> need always to welcome each other.

> Jesus does not ask us to be judges.   He is asking us
> to be brothers and sisters.

> That's the hallmark of our hospitality.   When
> someone rings your doorbell, you have the choice of saying,
> “Hello, I'm interested.”   Or, “will you
> please come in.” When we come here to church, when people
> volunteer to welcome, it's not like they say, “Oh, I
> know you.   Keep on going.”

> There's always going to be somebody you don't know
> and that's when you are to say, “Welcome.”

> If someone is sitting here this morning and hey or she
> hasn't been here for 40 years, that's not the
> point.   The point is - you are welcome here.

> So that's the lost coin, that's the lost
> sheep.   That's the lost son.   The joy is in
> being found.   So I come back to where I started. 
>  This is our gift of hospitality.   This is the party
> we throw over and over and over again in the church.

> Please come.   We want to celebrate with you.  
> Will you celebrate with us?

> In order to do that, it takes each of us to live the
> Gospel.

> Today is Catechetical Sunday.   We are all
> catechists.   By baptism you are a catechist.  
> Ann, and Deacon Terry and I are going to make all of us
> aware of the number of catechists who do a number of
> different things in our parish. We are going to have some
> come forward, and others stand at their seats. The main
> thing is for you to be aware and to see those who are
> willing to be that gift of hospitality, to take the word of
> God to others, and always open their lives to someone else.

> Ann Gage and Deacon Terry will now call two groups forward
> and acknowledge them. Then we will call on others. We are
> not going to reach everybody, but we are going to come
> close.   And that's who we are as the people of
> God.

> *****

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

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