Message: Simply place yourself under the Divine Mercy - and work quietly.
I begin with a word of gratitude: Thank you for your Stewardship of Treasure. Last weekend 62 households made pledges totaling $94,092. More will return their pledges this weekend. As we observed last Sunday: You can't take it with you but you can send it ahead. On the day of resurrection you will have treasure in heaven.
Today's readings speak about that Day. Malachi says, "Lo, the day is coming..." Jesus describes terrible events including persecution that will precede his return. Today we have no lack of wars and Christians face persecution on a large scale. Politicians will always try to bend us. And when we do not bend, Jesus says, they will hate us because of his name. The key, he says, is perseverance.
How do we do that? How do we keep on keeping on? St. Paul puts it pretty simple: "Work quietly." We are little people but we have a great mission. A man working quietly in his shop, a mom working quietly in her home, can give testimony for Jesus.
You know, Jehovah Witnesses and Mormons do not make many converts going door to door. Most converts come from friends, associates and family members. Work quietly - with the name of Jesus in your heart - and you will have opportunities to invite others to Jesus.
I was delighted earlier this month when 16 people responded to Sister Barbara's invitation to be Senior Disciples. No one can retire from their baptism vows any more than a man can retire from paternity. Work quietly.
I think of Fr. Jacques Hamel. An 85-year-old priest he could have retired. Instead he worked quietly in his parish in Northern France. He was celebrating Tuesday morning Mass when two young men entered. Showing a sharpened knife and mouthing terrorist slogans, they forced Fr. Hamel to kneel. He fought back saying, "Get away, Satan!" The men cut the arteries of his neck. The priest's blood pulsed onto the sanctuary floor.
Pope Francis said, "This man accepted martyrdom next to the martyrdom of Christ, on the altar." Fr. Hamel died for Christ and he lived for Christ - working quietly with his parishioners and with the many Muslim immigrants whom the parish welcomed and served. They mourned his loss and denounced his murderers. Fr Hamel was a Steward of God's Mercy.
God wants you and me also to be Stewards of Mercy. It may not involve martyrdom but it must involved working quietly. Perhaps you feel discouraged. Maybe disappointed about yourself. Remember Zacchaeus who we saw at the beginning of this series. No matter how low you feel nobody here has fallen lower than Zacchaeus. Jesus looked at him with eyes of mercy and transformed him into a Steward of Mercy. "Half my possessions I give..."
I don't ask for half. But I do ask each member to make a planned, proportionate, sacrificial and thankful pledge. No one is so poor that he doesn't have something to give. And no one is so rich that he doesn't have something to receive. Zacchaeus was the richest man in Jerico, itself a city of much wealth. Zacchaeus received the Divine Mercy and became a Steward of Mercy.
We will see more next Sunday on the Solemnity of Christ the King. It will bring to conclusion the liturgical year and also the Year of Mercy. You may be wondering if it will be your last chance to receive mercy. I'll be honest with you. I will say it straight: Today may be the last chance for any of us to receive God's mercy.
It's not a matter of alarm. St. Paul warned us about that a few weeks back. Simply place yourself under the Divine Mercy - and work quietly. Jesus will open the doors - to be a Steward of Mercy. Amen.
From Archives (Homilies for Thirty-Second Sunday, Year C):
Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C
Audio Files of Homilies (Simple Catholicism Blog)
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Bishop Bob Barron's Homilies
Fr. Brad's Homilies
Fr. Jim's Homilies
Fr. Michael White's Homilies ("messages")
Bulletin (St. Mary's Parish)
Parish Picture Album
MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru
Review of Roe