13th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)
June 28, 2020
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.

Introit

 

Kyrie

 

Gloria

 

Collect

O God, who through the grace of adoption
chose us to be children of light,
grant, we pray,
that we may not be wrapped in the darkness of error
but always be seen to stand in the bright light of truth.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

First Reading 2 Kings 4:8–11, 14–16a

One day Elisha came to Shunem, where there was a woman of influence, who urged him to dine with her. Afterward, whenever he passed by, he used to stop there to dine. So she said to her husband, “I know that Elisha is a holy man of God. Since he visits us often, let us arrange a little room on the roof and furnish it for him with a bed, table, chair, and lamp, so that when he comes to us he can stay there.” Sometime later Elisha arrived and stayed in the room overnight.

Later Elisha asked, “Can something be done for her?” His servant Gehazi answered, “Yes! She has no son, and her husband is getting on in years.” Elisha said, “Call her.” When the woman had been called and stood at the door, Elisha promised, “This time next year you will be fondling a baby son.”

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 89:2–3, 16–17, 18–19

 

Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.

The promises of the Lord I will sing forever,

  through all generations my mouth shall proclaim your faithfulness.

For you have said, “My kindness is established forever”;

  in heaven you have confirmed your faithfulness.

 

Blessed the people who know the joyful shout;

  in the light of your countenance, O Lord, they walk.

At your name they rejoice all the day,

  and through your justice they are exalted.

 

You are the splendor of their strength,

  and by your favor our horn is exalted.

For to the Lord belongs our shield,

  and to the Holy One of Israel, our king.

Second Reading Romans 6:3–4, 8–11

Brothers and sisters: Are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life.

 If, then, we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. We know that Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more; death no longer has power over him. As to his death, he died to sin once and for all; as to his life, he lives for God. Consequently, you too must think of yourselves as dead to sin and living for God in Christ Jesus.

Gospel Acclamation

 

Gospel Matthew 10:37–42

Jesus said to his apostles: “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

“Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me. Whoever receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man’s reward. And whoever gives only a cup of cold water to one of these little ones to drink because the little one is a disciple— amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward.”

Catena Nova

A Christian is: a mind through which Christ thinks, a heart through which Christ loves, a voice through which Christ speaks and a hand through which Christ helps (St Augustine).

What does this mean, “take up a cross”?   It means they will bear with whatever is troublesome and in this very act they will be following me. When they have begun to follow me, according to My teaching and precepts, they will find many people contradicting them and standing in their way, many who not only deride but even persecute them. Moreover, this is true, not only of pagans who are outside the church but also of those, who seem to be in it visibly but are outside of it because of the perversity of their deeds. Although these glory, in merely the title of Christian, they continually persecute faithful Christians. Such belong to the members of the church in the same way, that bad blood is in the body. Therefore, if you wish to follow Christ, do not delay in carrying His cross, tolerate sinners but do not yield to them. Do not let the false happiness of the wicked corrupt you. You do well to despise all things for the sake of Christ, in order that you may be fit for his companionship (St. Caesarius of Arles).

If you wish to enter into life, keep My commandments. If you will know the truth, believe in Me. If you will be perfect, sell all. If you will be My disciple, deny yourself. If you will possess the blessed life, despise this present life. If you will be exalted in heaven, humble yourself on earth. If you wish to reign with Me, carry the Cross with Me. For only the servants of the Cross find the life of blessedness and of true light (Thomas à Kempis).

The soul that longs for divine wisdom chooses first and in truth, to enter the thicket of the Cross. ….The gate that gives entry, into these riches of His wisdom, is the Cross, because it is a narrow gate, while many seek the joys that can be gained through it, it is given to few to desire to pass through it (St John of the Cross)

The everlasting God has in His wisdom foreseen from eternity the cross He now presents to you as a gift from His inmost heart. The cross He now sends you He has considered with His all-knowing eyes, understood with His divine mind, tested with His wise justice, warmed with loving arms and weighed with His own hands to see that it is not one inch too large nor one ounce too heavy for you. He has blessed it with His holy name, anointed it with His grace, perfumed it with His consolation, taken one last glance at you and your courage and then sent it to you from heaven, a special greeting from God to you, an alms of the all-merciful love of God (St Francis de Sales).

Every cross, great or small, every discomfort even, is an appeal from our Beloved, asking us to declare our love and go on doing so while the cross lasts. When we think of it like this, could we not wish that our cross could last forever? It will last as long as Jesus wishes. However sweet it may be, however greatly loved, we desire it only as long as it is Jesus’ will for us. Your will, not ours, Brother Jesus. As for ourselves, we should think no more of ourselves…. We should think only of you, our beloved spouse. We want not what seems good to us, but what is good to you. We ask nothing for ourselves; all we ask is your glory. Hallowed be thy name; thy Kingdom come; thy will be done in your children, in all men. May these things be done in us. May we give all possible glory to you throughout our lives. May we do your will—may we give all possible solace to your Heart. That is all we want and all we need. We are here at your feet, do with us as you will—whatever it may be, do it according to your will. We have no will, no wish except to fulfill your will, to do what seems good to you (Bl. Charles de Foucauld).

My dear children—without our suffering, our work would just be social work, very good and helpful, but it would not be the work of Jesus Christ, not part of the redemption. Jesus wanted to help us by sharing our life, our loneliness, our agony and death. All that he has taken upon himself, and has carried it in the darkest night. Only by being one with us has he redeemed us. We are allowed to do the same: All the desolation of the poor people, not only their material poverty, but their spiritual destitution must be redeemed, and we must have our share in it. Pray thus when you find it hard: “I wish to live in this world which is so far from God, which has turned so much from the light of Jesus, to help them—to take upon me something of their suffering.” Yes, my dear children, let us share the sufferings of our poor—for only by being one with them we can redeem them, that is, bringing God into their lives and bringing them to God (St. Teresa of Calcutta).

Homily

Cross Purposes

            I’d like to tell you about a friend of mine named Maria.  I’ve known her for over 40 years.  She belongs to the first parish I was assigned to after my ordination.  Shortly before my arrival, Maria, who was 49 years old at the time, suddenly lost her husband.  She struggled to go on with life, despite her loss.  With two children still at home, things were difficult, but she managed.  I don’t know if she had a faith crisis, but during my years at that church, she was very active in the parish and community.  After suffering an injury at work, she went on disability.  Her health declined somewhat and, of course, there was always the loneliness to deal with, something that worsened after both children left home.  Most recently, she has been placed in a nursing facility suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease.  The last time we tried to speak by phone, she didn’t know who I was.

            I recall having dinner at her house one evening.  She told me about the things which then filled her life:  She coordinated a program of Eucharistic adoration in her parish, making sure the people who participated kept their weekly commitment of an hour before the Blessed Sacrament; she kept the chapel decorated with candles and flowers, and many other duties connected to this ministry, which all told practically amounted to a full-time job. In addition to this, she babysat for grandchildren, helped other widows like herself deal with their loss; she visited the sick, comforted the bereaved, assisted new immigrants, and God knows what else.  All that voluntary activity took place despite significant health problems of her own, as well as financial and emotional stress.  At the end of our conversation, she simply said, “My life has always been for others.  And this gives it meaning and purpose.”

            As I looked over today’s readings, I couldn’t help but think of Maria.  When I read the story of Elisha the prophet and the woman of Shunem, I wasn’t sure what I could say about it; the story seemed so far from our own experience.  Then I thought of the hospitality I and other priests have been shown time and again by people like Maria.  Those who’ve opened their hearts and homes to receive the ministers of Christ.  People with no hidden agenda or dubious motives--only a generous disposition.

            Then when I turned to the gospel, I heard Jesus’ words to the apostles: Whoever receives you receives me; and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me ... whoever gives only a cup of cold water to one of these little ones to drink because he is a disciple ... will surely not lose his [or her] reward. (G)  And I thought once more of people whose generosity has astounded me over the years.  People who couldn’t do enough to collaborate in the work of the church, serving God and their neighbor.  When you look at such people (and they’re in every parish), you see how they’ve learned the hard lesson in today’s gospel: the one about taking up your cross, and losing your life for Jesus’ sake in order to find it (cf. G).  And you see how, despite their problems and limitations, such people continue to serve with joy and simplicity.

            I’ve noticed, with some amazement, how often the most generous people are the ones who bear the heaviest burdens.  I remember noticing another woman I knew years ago, sitting by herself in a church where I used to assist.  I stopped her after Mass, and inquired about her husband.  She told me he was confined to bed, in the final stages of Parkinson’s Disease.  I asked if I could stop and visit.  When I arrived, I went to Joe’s room.  I couldn’t believe it was him.  His illness had left this once vigorous man a complete invalid.  I couldn’t even give him Communion since he wasn’t able to open his mouth, having to be fed through a tube in his stomach.

            Joe nodded that he recognized me.  I said a few feeble, priest-type words, and gave him my blessing.  His wife Virginia and I went to the kitchen for some coffee.  She told me, very matter of factly, how she cared for Joe around the clock with just a few hours’ assistance from a public nurse, and how “You know, Father, it’s not so bad.”  I was struck by the calm resignation with which she and her husband bore this heavy cross: Two people who could never do enough for their pastor or their church, never seeking the slightest recognition, going on with their lives with the same discretion and humility they’d always shown.

            I could tell you many other stories of people I’ve been privileged to know as a priest. I’m sure you have your own models of people who live their baptism in such marvelous ways: living proof of God’s power at work in us who believe.  People aware they’re immersed in Christ -- as Paul says, buried with [Christ] through baptism into his death.  And despite their burdens, they walk in newness of life, believing they’ve died with [him]…. and living for God in Christ Jesus (cf. II).  Who lives and reigns, forever and ever.  Amen.

Creed

Intercessions (Mary Grace Melcher)

For the church and her holy leaders, that we may all think of ourselves as dead to sin, and living for God alone in Christ Jesus.

That rulers of the nations may walk in the light of God’s countenance and be exalted through His justice as they obey His command to uphold life and create justice.

For the prophets of our own day, that they may be honored and received with obedience so that God’s blessings may descend on those who hear them.

That we may be worthy of Jesus, loving Him more than father and mother, more than son or daughter, more than our own life, taking up our cross and following Him faithfully.

For those who long for children, for the sick, the oppressed and the grieving, that God, whose kindness and faithfulness are confirmed in the heavens, may grant them the blessings they desire on the earth.

For our faithful departed ones, that Jesus, over whom death no longer has power, may raise them up to live for God in the heavenly kingdom.

All-powerful God, your incarnate Word commands our obedience and offers us true life. Make our ears attentive to the voice of your Son and our hearts generous in answering his call,
that we may take up the cross with trust in his promises.  We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Offertory Anthem

 

Christ, being raised from the dead, dieth no more: death hath no more dominion over him. O sing unto the Lord a new song, for the Lord hath done marvellous things. In the sight of the nations hath he showed his righteous judgements; with his own right hand and with his holy arm hath he gotten himself the victory. Alleluia!

Lord’s Prayer

Let us call upon God in the words of Christ the beloved Son....

Spiritual Communion (Book of Common Prayer)

In union, O Lord, with your faithful people at every altar of your Church, where the Holy Eucharist is now being celebrated, I desire to offer to you praise and thanksgiving. I remember your death, Lord Christ; I proclaim your resurrection; I await your coming in glory. Since I cannot receive you today in the Sacrament of your Body and Blood, I beseech you to come spiritually into my heart. Cleanse and strengthen me with your grace, Lord Jesus, and let me never be separated from you. May I live in you, and you in me, in this life and in the life to come. Amen. 

Communion Antiphon

 

Recessional Hymn

 

If you lose your life for my sake, you will find it;

If you want to save your life, let it go.

Take up your cross, deny yourself;

Come follow me, follow me.

1. How will you profit by gaining the world while you forfeit all of your life?

What will you give in return? What will you give in return?

2. Before I return in glory, I will give you the gift of my love;

You will never taste death. You will never taste death.

 

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