CATHOLIC HOMILY FOR THE 21ST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR C
TOPIC: DISCIPLESHIP AND SALVATION
BY: Fr. Mike Lagrimas
Gospel: Luke 13:22-30
“Your Queen and Your Leader”
(TO THE PRIESTS, Our Lady’s Beloved Sons, Marian Movement of Priests)
1.The Marian Message
a. The Feast of the Queenship of Mary is on August 22. This feast was first instituted by Pope Pius XII and was formerly celebrated on May 31. It is now observed as a memorial rather than a major feast on this day, August 22, which is the octave of the Solemnity of the Assumption (August 15). The two feasts are connected by the traditional belief that, after her Assumption into heaven, Mary was crowned as Queen of Heaven. Both feasts are meditated upon in the Glorious Mysteries of the Holy Rosary.
b. Mary is our Queen: “It is my universal royalty: Mother of the Son, Queen with the Son” (letter d). Her Queenship is always with and in view of her Son, Jesus, who is the Eternal King. In the culture of the Middle East, the legitimate queen is the mother of the king, and not the wife. This is because of the culture and practice of polygamy. The kings in the Old Testament have two or more wives, and they all cannot be queens. Making one wife as Queen will subsequently downgrade, and thereby offend, the other wives, and that will surely be harmful to the entire kingdom. So, the only recognized queen of the kingdom is the mother of the king.
c. As our Queen, she is also our Leader (letter f). And she calls all her children to obey and follow her as our leader, and no one else. She demands obedience and docility from us (letters k, l and m).
d. In concrete terms, she asks us to obey the Pope through whom she will give her orders: “I will give my orders through the voice of him whom my Son has appointed to govern his Church: the Pope with the hierarchy united to him” (letter n).
e. She is saddened and deeply hurt by the fact that many bishops and priests do not anymore obey the Pope, the Vicar of Christ (letter o). Those who disobey the Pope are victims of Satan who has succeeded in misleading and deceiving them into errors, which have led so many people astray (letters r, s, t and u).
f. She urges all priests to be prudent, attentive and enlightened in these times of darkness engulfing the world (letter v). And she appeals to them to return “to love, obedience and communion with the Pope” (letter B). This is the only way to belong to her army, of which she is the Queen and Leader (letter C), and the only way to sure and final victory (letter D).
- The Sunday Readings
a) The first reading expresses the universal salvific will of God – He wants all men and women to be saved: “I come to gather nations of every language; they shall come and see my glory.” After all, we come from God; we all belong to Him.
b) The Responsorial Psalm is in support of the message of the first reading: “Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.” Since God wants all men to be saved, He commands us to proclaim His teachings and message of salvation to the whole world. As Christians, we are all missionaries, for the faith we have received is meant to be shared so that people will be saved.
c) But in the second reading, the author of the Letter to the Hebrews gives us an important reminder regarding salvation. It is true that God want us all to be saved, but salvation does not come to us served on a gold platter. We have to cooperate with God’s graces and abide by His commandments and teachings. So the Letter to the Hebrews talks about discipline: “My son, do not disdain the discpline of the Lord, or lose heart when reproved by him; for whom the Lord loves, he disciplines; he scourges every son he acknowledges. Endure your trials as ‘discipline’; God treats you as sons.”
d) The teaching of Jesus is very serious. If we want to be saved, we cannot be complacent and laid back. We have to struggle and work for it assiduously: “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.” Baptism is a sacrament that is necessary for salvation. We are so blessed for being recipients of this priceless sacrament. But baptism is not enough in order to be saved. All throughout our lives, we have to prove and show the dignity that we received in baptism. It means constant struggle and effort for perfection according to our dignity as God’s children. Jesus said: “Be perfect as the heavenly Father is perfect.”
e) All the readings are related. The first reading says that God wants us all to be saved. That is why, in the Psalm, we are reminded of our obligation to proclaim and spread the Good News of salvation. This is not an easy task, the second reading warns us. It means being disciplined by God who trains and molds us into His likeness. So, in the Gospel, Jesus warns us against complacency and self-righteousness. We have to struggle and cooperate seriously with God’s graces in order to enter the narrow gate of salvation. Many will try to enter but will not be able to do so because of self-righteousness, pride, sloth and unwillingness to conform their lives to the teachings of Christ. This is basically the content of the message of the Blessed Mother. Her main message is obedience to God, to her and to the Pope. Otherwise, we will be left out in eternal darkness.
- Points for Reflection
a) In a world that is engulfed in secularism and desire for comfort and luxury, the Gospel message sounds so unkind and harsh. Many people are offended when they hear the priest talking about the evil of abortion, divorce, same sex marriage and homosexuality. Definitely, too many people “disdain the discipline of the Lord.” Worse still, many priests, fearing the loss of parishioners – and subsequently, the much-needed revenues – decide to play the goody-goody type of person in order to be perceived as accommodating and nice, thereby watering down the truths of the Gospel in the process. We have to be reminded time and again that following Jesus means taking up the cross and dying to one’s self. Discipline, struggles, hard work and sacrifices are part of being true Christians. A Christian who avoids discipline and sacrifice, and instead loves the easy and comfortable life, is not a true Christian – he cannot enter through the narrow door.
b) To be true disciples, we have to willingly subject ourselves to the discipline of the Lord. The words “disciple” and “discipline” are closely related. A “disciple” (Latin “discipulus”) is a learner of the “instruction” or “knowledge” (Latin “disciplina”) of the master. A disciple is someone who follows the discipline of his master or mentor. For many of us, discipline has a negative connotation of corporal punishment. But that is not correct. In fact, according to the Letter to the Hebrews, discipline is a clear indicator of God’s love. God loves us, and that is why He disciplines us – He teaches us and molds us in His likeness. Molding is a painful and difficult process – we are the clay; God is the potter. God does not enjoy chastising us; but He disciplines us because He wants us to be saved and be formed according to His likeness. If He does not love us, He will just let us go our own way to harm and destruction. He loves us, and that is why He takes care that we follow the right way and acquire the right character and personality. “Ayaw ni Lord na tayo ay lumaki sa layaw.”
c) Mary is the Queen of heaven and earth. As Queen, she has only one command to us her followers and children. It is the command she gave to the waiters at the wedding feast of Cana: “Do everything Jesus tells you.” She cannot give a command that is not in consonance with the teachings of her Son. She is fully obedient the will of God. True devotion to the Blessed Mother should make us become more obedient to the will of God, more disciplined in the teachings and ways of the Lord, and better messenger of the Good News of salvation.
d) “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” This is the question people are wont to ask nowadays. The self-righteous and proud Pharisees would likely and readily say, “yes”. For them, it is only they who will be saved; the vast majority will not be saved. But for the liberals and the worldly, who always tend to water down and weaken the Gospel message, they will say, “no” – they believe that most, if not everybody, will be saved. However, Jesus did not take sides – he did not say yes or no to the question proposed to him. He just said: “Strive to enter the narrow gate.” It is as if saying, “Mind your own business!” Of what concern it is to you if many or few will be saved? The important thing is that you are seriously striving to grow in holiness and perfection. Salvation, although it is a communitarian concern, is still fundamentally a personal responsibility. As St. Paul said, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive recompense, according to what he did in the body, whether good or evil” (2 Cor 5:10; cf also Rom 14:12).
FOR A SIMILAR HOMILY, CLICK HERE>>>>>