Freedom

18th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Originally delivered on August 2, 1992

Readings: Eccl 1:2; 2:21-23; Col 3:1-5, 9-11; Luke 12:13-21

In today’s liturgy, we’re given a standard from Jesus by which to live.  While it’s easy to focus on sexual sins, Fr. Healy reminds us that greed, at the expense of our brothers and sisters, is perhaps overlooked as part the standard by which we should live.  In the gospel itself, Jesus refuses to get involved as arbiter of a man’s dilemma.  Rather, he puts it back on us to figure out when he says, “Avoid greed in all its forms.  A man may be wealthy, but his possessions do not guarantee him life.”   In other words, be dead to things and alive to God, passionate for His people without distinction among our brothers and sisters. We are called to include everyone in the family of God. Indeed, we must struggle within ourselves to determine if we are sharing our riches among our brothers and sisters.

13th Sunday of Ordinary Time

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Originally delivered on July 2, 1989

Readings: Kings 19: 16-21, Paul to the Galatians 5:1, 13-18; Luke 9: 51-62

In today’s homily, which begins with Fr. Healy singing an anthem, we hear of an oppressed people that risked everything for freedom.   In today’s readings, Paul says that “It was for liberty that Christ freed us.  So stand firm, and do not take yourselves the yoke of slavery a second time! My brothers, remember that you have been given freedom that give free rein to the flesh.  Out of love, place yourselves at one another’s service.”  And furthermore, it says, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Fr. Healy passionately states that this law of love, must triumph all other laws enacted by others. Indeed, this law of freedom and love is both liberating and frightening. Through a series of present-day challenges, we are challenged to view those issues through the lens of love and personal conscience. Our freedom hinges on our faith and responsibility to others.

 

14th Sunday of Ordinary Time

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Originally delivered on July 4, 1993

Readings: Zechariah 9:9-10;  Romans 8:9, 11-13; Matthew 11:25-30

What does it mean to be a citizen of God’s Kingdom?  From the fist reading of Zechariah, we hear that God would put an end to war, jealousy, and human competition. In the second reading, Paul reminds the Romans and us today, that we must walk in the spirit. In the Gospel, Jesus tells us to learn from Him just as children learn.  That is, we are to be gentle and humble of heart.  We are challenged to reflect on how capital punishment fits with our being citizens of God’s Kingdom. If we really believe in the unconditional, all-embracing forgiveness of Jesus, we cannot harbor vindictive, hostile dispositions toward anyone. Let us all learn from Jesus and forgive others. Only in this way, will be truly free, in the way that Jesus talks about freedom, and find rest in our hearts.

Christmas

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 Originally delivered on December 25, 1987

Readings: Isaiah 62:1-5; Acts 13:16-17, 22-25; Matthew 1:1-125

The good news for humans is celebrated today in the birth of Jesus as a fragile baby.   We had all been waiting long, and it was becoming an obsessive topic of conversation:  “When will He come?”  Today we celebrate the birth, not coming as a king or great ruler, but as a child, his destiny clothed in our humanity.  For all people, the promise has been kept.  He has entered into our world as a human. We are reminded that “you can’t have it both ways” — the promise of a free people making decisions for themselves and God as a leader providing everything. But in Jesus, we are shown the way.  Along with the freedom we are afforded, we pay the price that Jesus paid. We walk in search of God with all the pain and suffering that we must sometime endure to reach Him.  But it’s pain and suffering Jesus endured with us, and through it, we are granted salvation. Today we celebrate the arrival of Jesus on earth.  May our future be filled with us learning more about His message to us to achieve our salvation with God.