A HOMILY FOR THE EIGHTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME –CYCLE “B” – 8/5/18 – SMG
+ Pax et Bonum! Peace and goodness to you this day!
Did you ever wonder, what God would sound like, if He spoke to you? I mean, first of all, what we have to admit, is that I think that we could get really freaked out if we heard God’s voice calling us, from out of nowhere. Voices from Heaven, when you’re not expecting them, then to make you wet your pants. We hear the story of Samuel being called in the middle of the night. Or God speaking to Moses in the burning bush in the desert. Or even hearing the voice from Heaven at the Baptism of Jesus, “Saying, this is My Beloved Son!”.
So what does God sound like? Does He sound like that guy in the All State commercials, Are you in good hands? Does God sound like Morgan Freeman? Or what if God sounds like Rosanne Barr? How scary would that be?
Many of the great saints of the Catholic Church, said and wrote that they could hear God speak to them. I think we are very curious about this. I get asked about this all the time. If God spoke to the saints and so many of the holy people of the Church over the last two thousand years, why doesn’t God speak to me? Or maybe, why doesn’t God speak to us?
And as we continue the Bread of Life Gospel, John chapter six, this week I’d like to talk a little bit about the Liturgy of the Word. And what I’d like to suggest to you is this: when we come to Mass and hear the Liturgy of the Word, we are hearing God speak to us. Do you understand this? Every time, we come to Mass, and hear the Liturgy of the Word, our living God is trying to speak to each and every one of us. We don’t need a burning bush. We don’t need some nine feet tall angel delivering the message. We don’t need some loud voice calling us in the night. All we need is to listen to the lector, or the Deacon, or the Priest, and God is trying desperately to communicate with us! It is truly one of the greatest reasons why we should want to come to Mass as often as we can!
What exactly is the Liturgy of the Word? The Liturgy of the Word starts at the end of the opening prayer of the Mass, when we all say “Amen” and sit down for the readings. Most of the Liturgy of the Word is made up of Scripture readings. On Sundays and solemnities there are four Scripture readings at Mass. During most the year, the first reading is from the Old Testament and the second reading is from one of the New Testament letters. During Easter time, the first reading is taken from the Acts of the Apostles, which tells the story of the Church in earliest days. Between the first and second reading, we either sing, or pray in responsorial fashion, one of the psalms or canticles from the Old Testament. So that the Responsorial Psalm is actually the second reading. And the Epistle, or Letter from the New Testament, is the third reading. Finally, the high point of the Liturgy of the Word is the reading of the Gospel. We stand for the fourth and final reading. Either a deacon or a priest proclaims the Gospel to us. We even sing “Alleluia” before we read it, and bless ourselves with that prayer and the making of crosses, as we pray “May the Word of God be on my mind, on my lips, and in my heart!” Then we listen to the most important words of Scripture for us at Mass, the reading from Jesus’ life and teaching.
The Liturgy of the Word continues with homily, as the priest or deacon, explains or applies the words of Sacred Scripture that we just heard, to our lives. I could give a very long homily sometime on giving homilies, but that’s not today. Just be assured that we are trying to do our best to help you to get some concrete ways of living out that week’s Gospel. IF we are not helping out, then write your own homily, but get something to take away and think about that week from the Sacred Scriptures.
The Liturgy of the Word is still not over yet. We pray the Nicene Creed together every Sunday to remind us what we believe in, and to strengthen our Faith. And we round things out with what used to be called the “General Intercession” but now are called the “Universal Prayers”, where we pray each week for the things that all of us are concerned about in our world and in our community. Many times, the readings are also reflected in our universal prayers.
This whole, big section of the Mass, called the Liturgy of the Word, IS our God speaking to us, and us responding to Him! For the Liturgy of the Word to work, guess what? We’ve got to be listening! We’ve got to be paying attention to what is going on. The truth is God is speaking to us all the time, and many of those times are when we are at Mass! Too often though, we thinking about other things, or watching the baby in front of us, or looking at our cell phones, and we miss what God is trying to tell us.
This whole Bread of Life thing that St. John is talking about is great stuff! He’s talking about the Mass. What we must remember as Catholic Christians though, is that God feeds us at Mass not just with His Body and His Blood, but He also feeds us with His Word. Remember, what is the Body and Blood of Christ, but the Word made Flesh! This all works together! And so as much as God wants to feed us with His Body and Blood, He also wants to feed us with the Living Word of God. Make no mistake about it! God is speaking to every Sunday through these readings. So sometimes God sounds like one of our lectors, or like Deacon Steve, or even like one of us priests.
The trick of course, you’ve got to listen to what God is saying. That’s why it is good to read the readings in advance. That’s why it is good to pay attention. That’s why it’s even good to follow along with the readings in the red Gather book! Because sometimes, God just might have a very special message just for you! You want to make sure you hear it.
Here’s a trick. Tonight, before you go to bed, try to remember what all the readings were at Mass today. And if you can’t remember, then make yourself go back and read them again. That will help you to get the message. That will help you to hear God in your life!
+ May God bless us all, this week, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN !!!
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us !!!