Homily and Prayers of the faithful for Sunday, June 21, 2020
Homily 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time & Graduation (Matthew 10, 26-33) June 21, 2020
Every year on the third weekend of June, we not only celebrate a Sunday in Ordinary Time and Father’s Day. We also acknowledge the graduates. Since the early 60’s, our parish community continues to preserve this awesome tradition. Because of the Covid 19 pandemic we cannot worship together today or be part of a large crowd. At least I offer to the graduates this homily and a copy of the Prayers of the Faithful.
On Easter Sunday, in the book entitled Touch Points for Leaders, I am still excited with the four word sentence I read: “Success is knowing God.” We all enjoy the feeling of success. With God, with the great gift of Jesus his Son, we always succeed, win and celebrate our accomplishments. Indeed, God’s love conquers all things. Pain, affliction and darkness are overwhelmed in his goodness. Through the gift of faith, we are able to live in safety, joy and dignity.
As baptized people, we are all disciples of the Lord. Being a priest, I am called to care for everyone’s well-being. As we continue our life journey, may we learn how to be disciples of Jesus.
One of the hardest things our faith asks of us is to believe in God’s love even when we are suffering or see others suffering. In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus tells us to fear no one when we are in danger or feeling lost or are suffering, he is with us to protect us and save us. So be confident and courageous.
Dear baptized people especially graduates, at a time of transition, you need courage, self-confidence and hope. It is fitting to share this prayer. Lord Jesus, from the beginning of creation you named and claimed us for yourself. Look with kindness upon us all especially the graduates who now begin a new chapter in their lives. Mark them by your cross, feed them by your Word, fill them with your love and care and send them to be your presence to everyone they meet. Guide them on the way and abundantly bless them with your wisdom that they may be a word of hope for a world in need.
As we are all sent on a mission by Jesus, we are reminded today that following our Teacher will entail hardships and maybe even persecution. And yet we have nothing to fear for the God of life holds us in the palm of his hand and has counted every hair on our heads. In other words, our Creator and Father knows all: “the hairs of our head are all counted.” We, each human being is worth more than “two sparrows sold for a penny.” So the disciples can rest assured they can be fearless in facing the world, as they are worth a great deal in the sight of our loving God.
To summarize what I already said, todays readings seem to point to two great truths of discipleship. The first is that we are greatly loved. Our creator has counted all of the hairs on our heads and we are infinitely precious to him. Thus we know, as today’s Psalm proclaims, that the Lord hears us when we call out to him – which leads us to the second great truth: “For the Lord hears the needy and does not despise his own that are – in bonds.”
Finally, in our life of faith, all year round, we are always called to focus on the Passage of the Lord’s death and resurrection. Therefore fearlessness ought to be a mark of Christian discipleship. It is a quality that motivated Jesus throughout his earthly ministry and allowed him to face threats and violence. Fearlessness accompanied him even as he went to his death. Not many of us will be called to make the ultimate sacrifice required for being a disciple of Jesus though this does happen in parts of the world even today. Instead, our own attitude of fearlessness can manifest itself in caring for those in need and for those on the margins of society. When we overcome our own prejudices and fears, let us live as disciples of Jesus facing the world in a fearless manner knowing that we are worth a great deal in the sight of the loving God.
Prayer of the Faithful 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time June 21, 2020
Celebrant: To the Lord whose kindness is bountiful, we pray.
1. For religious leaders, may they serve in holiness and integrity; may they preach God’s light in the midst of the Covid 19 pandemic. We pray to the Lord
2. For all Islanders as we begin the summer season; support our own tourism industry and take time to visit Island communities. We pray to the Lord
3. For all graduates, may they be affirmed; may their family and their community pray and energize them during this time of transition. We pray to the Lord
4. For those paralyzed by illness, especially Donald McKenna. May the reassurance of God’s love and the support of community bring them courage and peace. We pray to the Lord
5. For all who have died especially Walter Shea, that they may know eternal light, rest and peace. We pray to the Lord
6. For all people especially fathers and their family members. May they feel secure in God’s abundant love and may we share this greatest gift with all we meet.
We pray to the Lord
Celebrant: Good and gracious God, may as your disciples, you respond to our needs (silence). May we also follow the teachings of your Son – the wise and holy person Jesus Christ our Lord.