7/26 Sunday Mass video & homily -- now available
This weekend's Mass video is now available on our parish website.
Click here to watch the Mass.
Button not working? Watch directly on YouTube at
HOMILY FOR 7/26/2020: 17TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
DEACON JOHN BARBOUR
Well, good day, my friends. This is, in fact, the day the Lord has made. As the psalmist tells us, let us rejoice and be glad. He has not only made this day--the 17th Sunday of Ordinary Time, this little Easter--but also that he allows us to exist in it. So praise God. I believe he calls us to rejoice and be glad whether we are in the midst of a storm or in a period of calm awaiting the next storm. That's life, is it not? This earthly pilgrimage of ours, life in this fallen world.
You know the drill, my friends. All our lives are very dramatically different from where they were just six short months ago. Six months ago, a Corona was something that you drank. Now it's something that potentially can get you sick or kill you. Six months ago, social distancing was something you did when you didn't like someone and wanted to stay away from them. Now we stay away from everybody, at least in public, six feet away. Six months ago, the only ones wearing masks were the Lone Ranger and bank robbers. Look around you, my friends. We're all wearing masks, and, in fact, at six o'clock this day, it's mandatory in the state of Ohio.
Most of our lives have become more difficult, more complicated in one way or another. How have you handled these changes, these challenges, these difficulties: with much angst, fear, or worry? Has your faith wobbled or wavered, or has it grown stronger? Where are you this day?
St. Paul, in his letter to the Romans 8:28, in that iconic line tells us that we know or we should know that all things work for good for those who love God.
Now I'm going to presume that we all are gathered here for this holy Mass, that we believe in God and profess our love for him. If that's the case, do we really believe that our God--who is all-knowing, all-loving, always in control--can bring something good from what's going on in the world today? We know that all things work for good for those who love God (that's hopefully you and I), that he will take care of us--always has, always will--and he will work something good from all the sickness and death caused by the virus, that he will work something good from all the prejudices, racism, social injustice, and divisions that we currently experience in our personal lives and in the world.
Do you believe it? Do you believe that our God, our God of the impossible, can make all things possible?
So, we come together at this holy Mass to rejoice and to be glad for what our savior, Jesus Christ, has done for us. He's done the heavy lifting: has died for our sins, has conquered death, has unlocked heaven's gates. Now heaven awaits if we repent and believe in the Gospel. Like in today's Gospel, three parables about heaven. Jesus tells us heaven is like a buried treasure or a fine pearl that should cause us such great joy that we are willing to sell all to get there. That's all, as in everything, all: your 401k, your house, your car, your boat, and any and all earthly attachments. Fill in the blanks.
Are you willing this day and every day to double down for Jesus Christ for an opportunity to spend eternity with him? Sell all for him? Surrender may be another word. If not all, then how much are you willing to spend for that great treasure, that fine pearl, for eternal life in the presence of our Lord and savior, Jesus Christ? What are you willing to pay for admission to heaven? Said another way, what takes first place in your life this day? What are your goals in life? Where does getting to heaven rank on that list? Top 20? Top ten? Didn't make the cut?
And last but not least, our Gospel parables continue about heaven in this most sobering account of heaven likened to a net thrown into the sea. The net collects every kind of fish and when the net is full, it is pulled to the shore, and the sorting begins. What is good goes into the bucket; what is bad gets thrown away. Jesus tells us, thus it will be that same way at the end of the age. The angels will go out and will separate the wicked from the righteous. The wicked go to the fiery furnace of hell. Do you understand all these things, he asks his disciples, and they reply: yes, we do.
But how about us gathered here on this 17th Sunday of Ordinary Time at St. Edward's Church, disciples likewise, two thousand years removed from the disciples' response back then? How confident are you that if you die before the sun sets today that you would be considered good enough to be placed in the bucket to heaven versus thrown away to hell? Do you understand what lies in the balance? Nothing less than eternity: eternity with God in heaven or eternity without him in hell. Can you hear Jesus asking you personally that question: "John, do you understand all these things?" or "Paul, do you understand all these things?" or "Mary, do you understand these things?"
The challenge, my friends, is not just to hear the question--not just to hear the question--but to take it to heart, to understand that when all is said and all is done that only one thing truly matters: Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth, and the Life, as in eternal life, heaven with him and getting as many of our family and friends and others there as well is what it's all about.
My prayer for you this day is that you may answer that question posed by Jesus with great confidence: Yes, Lord, I do understand. Amen.
on Saturday, July 25 at 2:38PM