YEAR A: HOMILY FOR THURSDAY OF THE 17TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: How lovely is Your Dwelling Place, Lord.
BY: Fr. Evaristus Abu
HOMILY: Bible Study: Ex. 40:16-21; 34-38, Ps. 84 & Matthew 13:47-53
“How lovely is thy dwelling place, O LORD of hosts! My soul longs, yea, faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God.” (Psalm 84:1-2)
The Psalmist today sings: “How Lovely Is Your Dwelling Place O Lord, Mighty God.” Does it often occur to me that when I walk into a church I am actually at home? Am I able to relax knowing that God is right there? In our first reading today, we are told: “Then the cloud covered the meeting tent, and the glory of the LORD filled the Dwelling. Moses could not enter the meeting tent, because the cloud settled down upon it and the glory of the LORD filled the Dwelling.”
The Israelites had the privilege of seeing the glory of God in the form of a thick cloud. If only God could open our eyes to see his glory, ascending and descending upon the tabernacle, we would not be able to contain ourselves.
As the Psalmist sings: My soul is yearning longing and yearning, waiting to be in God’s presence. A day in God’s house is better than a thousand elsewhere! I would rather dwell in the foot-mats of God’s house than have a three-bedroom suite in the devil’s mansion.
Jesus compares the kingdom of heaven to a net that is thrown into the river and catches both good fish and bad fish. This parable is similar to that of the weeds and wheat. In the church, you have all kinds of people; those who are there to worship God and those who are there to steal, kill and destroy; those who are there to repent (and begin a new life) and those who are there to recruit souls for the devil; those who are there to better their lives and those who are there to attack, divide and cause a commotion.
By giving us the parable of the bad fish and good fish, Jesus is saying that even if you are a bad fish, God will keep giving you a second chance to grow into a good fish. This is why the fishermen throw back the bad (small) fishes into the river.
You remember Ananias and Sapphira? What sin did they commit that warranted their immediate deaths? They told a lie. Do you know God can strike you down if you enter the church after telling a lie? But God hasn’t struck you because you are just a bad (small) fish for now. Repent today. Don’t wait till it’s too late. No one knows the last day.
Today we celebrate the memorial of St. Alphonsus Maria de’Ligori, the founder of the Order of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Redemptorists). He was an Italian Catholic Bishop, spiritual writer, composer, musician, artist, poet, lawyer, scholastic philosopher and theologian. He was born on 27th of September, 1696 and died on this day 1st of August, 1787 at Pagini, in Italy.
Amongst his favourite quotes include: “Acquire the habit of speaking to God as if you were alone with Him, familiarly and with confidence and love, as to the dearest and most loving of friends. Your God is ever beside you – indeed, He is even within you.”
St. Alphonsus works for which he holds the title of Doctor of the Church continues to inspire growth in the spiritual life today. Reading through his Sunday homilies, I felt as though they were written just yesterday. Indeed, we can only say St. Alphonsus like the writers of the Sacred Scriptures was inspired by the Holy Spirit. God does great and beautiful works with anyone who opens himself to be used as His instrument. St. Alphonsus is an example of the good fish in the net caught by the fishermen.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, increase my love and devotion to you. Amen.
HAPPY NEW MONTH. Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Thursday of the 17th week in Ordinary Time. Bible Study: Ex. 40:16-21;34-38, Ps. 84 & Matthew 13:47-53).