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13th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)26th June 2011  Gospel: Matthew 10:37-42

Jesus said to his apostles: “Anyone who prefers father or mother to me is not worthy of me. Anyone who prefers son or daughter to me is not worthy of me.
Anyone who does not take his cross and
follow in my footsteps is not worthy of me.
Anyone who finds his life will lose it; anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it.
Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me; and those who welcome me welcome the one who sent me.
Anyone who welcomes a prophet because he is a prophet will have a prophet’s reward; and anyone who welcomes a holy man because he is a holy man will have a holy man’s reward.
If anyone gives so much as a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is a disciple, then I tell you solemnly, he will most certainly not lose his reward.”



Homily It is a common experience that at any graduate school there are some professors who students do not approach for thesis direction. The complaint is that they are too demanding. On the other hand some wise students, too few in numbers, seek out these professors because they know that with them they will produce a great work.Excellence in any sphere of life demands pushing oneself to the limits. This principle applies even to our Christian living.In the Gospel passage presented to us for our meditation this week, we find Jesus being extremely demanding with his disciples:
“Anyone who prefers father or mother to me is not worthy of me. Anyone who prefers son or daughter to me is not worthy of me.”
I believe that now, as then, one of the great temptations of the age is the temptation to mediocrity. We are all inclined to do the sufficient to get by.  What the common human experience teaches us though is that those who only do the sufficient to get by, end up on the wrong end of the scale.  Those who gain the prize are those who aim at excellence. Many of us fall to that temptation in our Christian lives.  A great spiritual writer once remarked that many Christians have domesticated the Gospel.  We have taken the sting out of it and we have watered down its demands. We preach a Gospel of mediocrity. So often we hear people saying “God does not want us to go to extremesJesus however went to the extremes of love. An extreme of love for the Father and for us that landed him on the cross and he asks us to follow him; Anyone who does not take his cross and follow in my footsteps is not worthy of me.Throughout the ages however, there have been people, from very simple people to kings and queens, who have followed Jesus in aiming at excellence in Christian living. We can think of Damian of Molokai who spent his life as a missionary among the lepers of Molokai, finally dying like one of them, we can think of Teresa of the child Jesus, who never left her convent but spent her short life doing her simple household duties like sweeping and ironing, but doing them very well out of love for her community, we can think of
Theresa of Calcutta, loving the broken image of Christ in those dying on the streets of Calcutta, and we can think of Mons. Romero of El Salvador, who in his love for the downtrodden of his land, accepted death rather than be silent before the atrocities committed against them. All of these show us that it is possible to live Christian life aiming at excellence. We thank God for these witnesses and we celebrate them.
The Gospel also calls us however to evaluate our lives in the light of this teaching. Have we accepted a domesticated Gospel which does not challenge us to excellence? I do believe that the response to this question has implications not only for us but indeed for the entire church. Let us pray then for a Church and for Church leaders who challenge us to excellence not simply by words but by the example of their lives.
Let us teach those in our care that it is not saying “Lord, Lord” which will get us into heaven but a life lived striving for excellence in love.
 PrayerAll powerful and ever-loving Father, in the midst of this world in which we concentrate so much on the self, your Son Jesus by his teaching and by the example of his life calls us to excel in love. Help us your disciples to follow his example so that the world may believe in the truth of his
message. We ask this through the intercession of Mary our Mother and Jesus your Son. Amen
  

15 sunday

13th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)26th June 2011 Gospel: Matthew 10:37-42Jesus said to his apostles: “Anyone who prefers father or mother to me is not worthy of me. Anyone who prefers son or daughter to me is not worthy of me.
Anyone who does not take his cross and follow in my footsteps is not worthy of me.
Anyone who finds his life will lose it; anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it.

Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me; and those who welcome me welcome the one who sent me.
Anyone who welcomes a prophet because he is a prophet will have a prophet’s reward; and anyone who welcomes a holy man because he is a holy man will have a holy man’s reward.
If anyone gives so much as a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is a disciple, then I tell you solemnly, he will most certainly not lose his reward.”
HomilyIt is a common experience that at any graduate school there are some professors who students do not approach for thesis direction. The complaint is that they are too demanding. On the other hand some wise students, too few in numbers, seek out these
professors because they know that with them they will produce a great work.
Excellence in any sphere of life demands pushing oneself to the limits. This principle applies even to our Christian living.In the Gospel passage presented to us for our meditation this week, we find Jesus being extremely demanding with his disciples: “Anyone who prefers father or mother to me is not worthy of me. Anyone who prefers son or daughter to me is not worthy of me.”I believe that now, as then, one of the great temptations of the age is the temptation to mediocrity. We are all inclined to do the sufficient to get by.  What the common human experience teaches us though is that
those who only do the sufficient to get by, end up on the wrong end of the scale.  Those who gain the prize are those who aim at excellence. Many of us fall to that temptation in our Christian lives.  A great spiritual writer once remarked that many Christians have domesticated the Gospel.  We have taken the sting out of it and we have watered down its demands. We preach a Gospel of mediocrity. So often we hear people saying “God does not want us to go to extremes
Jesus however went to the extremes of love. An extreme of love for the Father and for us that landed him on the cross and he asks us to follow him; Anyone who does not take his cross and follow in my footsteps is not worthy of me.Throughout
the ages however, there have been people, from very simple people to kings and queens, who have followed Jesus in aiming at excellence in Christian living. We can think of Damian of Molokai who spent his life as a missionary among the lepers of Molokai, finally dying like one of them, we can think of Teresa of the child Jesus, who never left her convent but spent her short life doing her simple household duties like sweeping and ironing, but doing them very well out of love for her community, we can think of Theresa of Calcutta, loving the broken image of Christ in those dying on the streets of Calcutta, and we can think of Mons. Romero of El Salvador, who in his love for the downtrodden of his land, accepted death rather than be silent before the atrocities committed against them. All of these show us that it is possible to live Christian life aiming at excellence. We thank God for these witnesses and we celebrate them.
The Gospel also calls us however to evaluate our lives in the light of this teaching. Have we accepted a domesticated Gospel which does not challenge us to excellence? I do believe that the response to this question has implications not only for us but indeed for the entire church. Let us pray then for a Church and for Church leaders who challenge us to excellence not simply by words but by the example of their lives. Let us teach those in our care that it is not saying “Lord, Lord” which will get us into heaven but a life lived striving for excellence in love. PrayerAll powerful and ever-loving Father, in the midst of this world in which we concentrate so much on the self, your Son Jesus by his teaching and by the example of his life calls us to excel in love. Help us your disciples to follow his example so that the world may believe in the truth of his message. We ask this through the intercession of Mary our Mother and Jesus your Son. Amen  

15 sunday

13th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)26th June 2011 Gospel: Matthew 10:37-42Jesus said to his apostles: “Anyone who prefers father or mother to me is not worthy of me. Anyone who prefers son or daughter to me is not worthy of me.
Anyone who does not take his cross and follow in my footsteps is not worthy of me.
Anyone who finds his life will lose it; anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it.

Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me; and those who welcome me welcome the one who sent me.
Anyone who welcomes a prophet because he is a prophet will have a prophet’s reward; and anyone who welcomes a holy man because he is a holy man will have a holy man’s reward.
If anyone gives so much as a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is a disciple, then I tell you solemnly, he will most certainly not lose his reward.”
HomilyIt is a common experience that at any graduate school there are some professors who students do not approach for thesis direction. The complaint is that they are too demanding. On the other hand some wise students, too few in numbers, seek out these
professors because they know that with them they will produce a great work.
Excellence in any sphere of life demands pushing oneself to the limits. This principle applies even to our Christian living.In the Gospel passage presented to us for our meditation this week, we find Jesus being extremely demanding with his disciples: “Anyone who prefers father or mother to me is not worthy of me. Anyone who prefers son or daughter to me is not worthy of me.”I believe that now, as then, one of the great temptations of the age is the temptation to mediocrity. We are all inclined to do the sufficient to get by.  What the common human experience teaches us though is that
those who only do the sufficient to get by, end up on the wrong end of the scale.  Those who gain the prize are those who aim at excellence. Many of us fall to that temptation in our Christian lives.  A great spiritual writer once remarked that many Christians have domesticated the Gospel.  We have taken the sting out of it and we have watered down its demands. We preach a Gospel of mediocrity. So often we hear people saying “God does not want us to go to extremes
Jesus however went to the extremes of love. An extreme of love for the Father and for us that landed him on the cross and he asks us to follow him; Anyone who does not take his cross and follow in my footsteps is not worthy of me.Throughout
the ages however, there have been people, from very simple people to kings and queens, who have followed Jesus in aiming at excellence in Christian living. We can think of Damian of Molokai who spent his life as a missionary among the lepers of Molokai, finally dying like one of them, we can think of Teresa of the child Jesus, who never left her convent but spent her short life doing her simple household duties like sweeping and ironing, but doing them very well out of love for her community, we can think of Theresa of Calcutta, loving the broken image of Christ in those dying on the streets of Calcutta, and we can think of Mons. Romero of El Salvador, who in his love for the downtrodden of his land, accepted death rather than be silent before the atrocities committed against them. All of these show us that it is possible to live Christian life aiming at excellence. We thank God for these witnesses and we celebrate them.
The Gospel also calls us however to evaluate our lives in the light of this teaching. Have we accepted a domesticated Gospel which does not challenge us to excellence? I do believe that the response to this question has implications not only for us but indeed for the entire church. Let us pray then for a Church and for Church leaders who challenge us to excellence not simply by words but by the example of their lives. Let us teach those in our care that it is not saying “Lord, Lord” which will get us into heaven but a life lived striving for excellence in love. PrayerAll powerful and ever-loving Father, in the midst of this world in which we concentrate so much on the self, your Son Jesus by his teaching and by the example of his life calls us to excel in love. Help us your disciples to follow his example so that the world may believe in the truth of his message. We ask this through the intercession of Mary our Mother and Jesus your Son. Amen  

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To upload Fr. Harris’ homily:

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Fourteen Sunday

Sunday Gospel & Homily Notes by Fr. Joe Harris, C.S.Sp.Fr Joe Harris

FourteenthSunday in Ordinary Time (A)
3rd July 2011

Gospel: Matthew 11, 25 – 30 At that time Jesus exclaimed: “I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to little ones. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.” “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for
yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”

 Homily I remember some wise person saying to me many years ago; “Fr. Joe you fly off the handle too quickly. Remember it takes far more energy to get vexed than it does to
stay calm. Why not try staying calm, it is better for your health.”  I have tried to take that bit of advice. It has not been easy because it meant undoing a long established habit but I can tell you, in the end it has been, worth it.
I remembered that incident when I began to prepare for this weekend because of the words of Jesus in the Gospel; Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves.” In order to understand this saying of Jesus, it is important to look at the context in which it is said. Jesus has just finished talking to the multitude and extolling the virtues of John the Baptist. Jesus then condemns the cities of
Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum for their lack of repentance in the face of all the miracles which had been worked in them.  This lack of repentance referred to their persistence in sin and their attachment to the sinful structures which brought the injustices with which these cities were plagued.
Jesus then addressed the Father thanking him for revealing the Gospel message through him to the multitude of poor and sick and oppressed who surrounded him.  Jesus was in fact calling on this multitude of poor and sick and oppressed people to reject the value systems which were prevalent in these cities, value systems which did not bring happiness but which rather were the cause of so much pain and suffering. Jesus invited this multitude to imitate him promising them that in so doing they would find the peace and happiness which they lacked. ; Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves.”  The first reading of the Mass for this weekend expresses this theme using the prophet Zechariah; Rejoice heartily, O daughter Zion, shout for joy, O daughter Jerusalem!
See, your king shall come to you; a just savior is he, meek, and riding on an ass, on a colt, the foal of an ass. He shall banish the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem;
the warrior’s bow shall be banished, and he shall proclaim peace to the nations.”
The message is very clear. When we accept Jesus and his message we attain the harmony which all of us desire so greatly.
There is a danger however and a temptation for all of us to live by those values which characterized the
cites of Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum, cities condemned by Jesus. St. Paul calls these values, values of the flesh and warns us; Consequently, brothers and sisters, we are not debtors to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”
The pertinent question for all of us is this: As a people, what characterizes us? The values of the flesh or the values of the Spirit? The answer it would seem if we are truthful would be, the values of the flesh! This will only change however if each one of us takes it as our sacred duty to live by the values of the Spirit. There were ages in the church when this was done. There were ages when sanctity flourished. We have to make of this age an age of sanctity. It will not be
easy. It will mean the undoing of long established habits but as the calypsonian says; “We can make it if we try!”
 PrayerAll powerful and ever-loving God, your Son has given us a model of virtuous living. To accept this model and live it will not be easy. It will demand of us the undoing of long entrenched habits. Help us with your graces. Give us the wisdom to recognize our need of change. Give us the grace to want that change and the courage to undertake it. We ask this through the intercession of Mary our Mother and the same Jesus Christ, your Son. Amen   
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Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)

Sunday Gospel & Homily Notes by Fr. Joe Harris, C.S.Sp.Fr Joe Harris

FourteenthSunday in Ordinary Time (A)
3rd July 2011

Gospel: Matthew 11, 25 – 30

At that time Jesus exclaimed: “I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to little ones. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.” “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”
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Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)

Sunday Gospel & Homily Notes by Fr. Joe Harris, C.S.Sp.Fr Joe Harris

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)
26th June 2011

Gospel: Matthew 10: 37-42 

Jesus said to his apostles: “Anyone who prefers father or mother to me is not worthy of me. Anyone who prefers son or daughter to me is not worthy of me. Anyone who does not take his cross and follow in my footsteps is not worthy of me. Anyone who finds his life will lose it; anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it. Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me; and those who welcome me welcome the one who sent me. Anyone who welcomes a prophet because he is a prophet will have a prophet’s reward; and anyone who welcomes a holy man because he is a holy man will have a holy man’s reward. If anyone gives so much as a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is a disciple, then I tell you solemnly, he will most certainly not lose his reward.”
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Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)

Sunday Gospel & Homily Notes by Fr. Joe Harris, C.S.Sp.Fr Joe Harris

Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)
26th June 2011

Gospel: Matthew 10: 26-33

Jesus said to the Twelve: “Fear no one. Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known. What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light; what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both
soul and body in Gehenna. Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge.  Even all the hairs of your head are counted.  So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father.

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Trinity Sunday (A)

Sunday Gospel & Homily Notes by Fr. Joe Harris, C.S.Sp.Fr Joe Harris


Trinity Sunday (A)
June 19, 2011

Gospel: John 3:
16-18

God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
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Solemnity of Pentecost (A)

Sunday Gospel & Homily Notes by Fr. Joe Harris, C.S.Sp.Fr Joe Harris


Solemnity of Pentecost (A)
June 12, 2011

Gospel: John 20: 19-23


On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”  And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”

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