Faithlife Sermons

2008 10th Sunday after Pentecost

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Homily Resource Checklist - 2008

 

Day/ Season/ Feast:            ………………………   Readings:   ……...……/……………..

Homily Focus: ………………………………………………………………………….

□             - ‘Intro to the NT’ (Raymond Brown)                             ……………...…………………………..

□             - ‘Catholic Comparative New Testament’                     ……………...…………………………..

□             - ‘NIBC’                                                                                ……………...…………………………..

□             - ‘A Byzantine Rite’                                                            ……………...…………………………..

□             - ‘The Year of Grace’                                                          ……………...…………………………..

□             - ‘Catena Aurea’ (Welcome to the CC)                           ……………...…………………………..

□             - ‘Bible and Church Fathers’ (Orthodox)                        ……………...…………………………..

□             - ‘Early Church Fathers’ Library Series                           ……………...…………………………..

□             - ‘Companion to Sunday Missal’                                     ………………………………………….

□             - ‘Sunday Homilies’/ ‘Illustrations’ (Link)                      ……………...…………………………..

□             - ‘LEC Uke Translation’                                                     ………………………………………….

□             - Libronix references.                                                          ……………...…………………………..

□             - ‘Quickverse Sermon Builder’                                          ………………………………………….

□             - ‘The Four Gospels’ (Fallon)                                             ……………...…………………………..

□             - ‘Tell Me A Story’ (Plant)                                  ……………...…………………………..

□             - ‘Stories for Preachers/ Teachers’ (Heavenword)         ……………...…………………………..

□             - ‘Christian Library Series’ (Ages)                                     ……………...…………………………..

□             - ‘JPII Homilies’ (Welcome to the CC)                            ……………...…………………………..

□             - ‘1500 Illustrations’ (Green)                                             ………….…..…………………………..

□             - ‘Nelson’s Complete Book…’                                          ……………...…………………………..

□             - Swindoll’s Illustrations + Quotes                                    ……………...…………………………..

□             - ‘Zingers’                                                                              ………………………………………….

□             - 1001 Humourous Illustrations. (Hodgin)                     ……………...…………………………..

□             - Library of Distinctive Sermons                                       ……………...…………………………..

A Reading from St. Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians.

1 Corinthians 4:9-16 (NRSV)


9 For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, as though sentenced to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels and to mortals. 10 We are fools for the sake of Christ, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. 11 To the present hour we are hungry and thirsty, we are poorly clothed and beaten and homeless, 12 and we grow weary from the work of our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; 13 when slandered, we speak kindly. We have become like the rubbish of the world, the dregs of all things, to this very day. 14 I am not writing this to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. 15 For though you might have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers. Indeed, in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. 16 I appeal to you, then, be imitators of me.

[1]

 A Reading from the Holy Gospel According to Matthew.

Matthew 17:14-22 (NRSV)


14 When they came to the crowd, a man came to him, knelt before him, 15 and said, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly; he often falls into the fire and often into the water. 16 And I brought him to your disciples, but they could not cure him.” 17 Jesus answered, “You faithless and perverse generation, how much longer must I be with you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him here to me.” 18 And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was cured instantly. 19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” 20 He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.” 22 As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into human hands,

[2]

Homily Notes

“I appeal to you, then, be imitators of me”

This plea from St. Paul in the last line of today’s first reading, is addressed to the Corinthian community. It is a bold call to look to the example of the apostles of Christ as a sure way to journey closer to God. St. Paul is reminding them that they have not fulfilled the conditions of Christian perfection, despite their claims to belong to particular factions who considered themselves somehow spiritually superior to fellow Christians.

St. Paul uses almost sarcastic language to say that the apostles have suffered greatly for their faith and must be 'scum' compared to the Corinthians. Perhaps this means that the Corinthians must be favoured by God and be spiritually superior to the apostles sent to evangelise them. He cautions that the Corinthians could fall into the trap of seeing things this way. What St.Paul is really saying is that they have not suffered or struggled for their faith and yet were acting as if they did not need to, or were somehow ‘above it all’. They were like the Pharisee in the Temple in assuming they were already ‘home and hosed’ and looked down on other Christians as second-rate, much like the Publican in the Temple was seen to be.

St. Paul was trying to remind them of the need for spiritual poverty. If any of the virtues they claimed to have were not seen to ultimately come from God, then they were not really as spiritually enlightened as they imagined. In the end, St. Paul suggests that if the Corinthians were not struggling and suffering for their faith, then it was probably not authentic or deep faith. That sort of faith was not worthy of Christ or worthy of being imitated.

Neither Christ nor His disciples experienced a comfortable faith. Their faith was tested and it became stronger because of the struggle. The struggle is not to be avoided and our effort to work in strengthening our faith is a responsibility. We see this in the gospel story today.

Jesus expected His followers to have grown in their faith in the time that He had been with them and became impatient when they could not imitate Him by trusting God enough to cure this epileptic man. Jesus knew that the time to be with His followers was probably not going to be long and so He was at times frustrated by their slowness to take on and carry on His work of bringing about the Kingdom of God. St. Jerome compares this situation to a physician trying to bring about renewed health in a sick patient when ‘…as a physician who might see the sick man acting against his injunctions, would say, How long shall I frequent your chamber? How long throw away the exercise of my skill, while I prescribe one thing, and you do another?’

We have a responsibility to respond in faith, to work to strengthen our faith and to allow God to work powerfully through us. Jesus reminds us that even a little faith that is deeply rooted in Him, can produce powerful results.

John Thornbury says: ‘In an article entitled "Scientists Still Measuring Gravity,

" I read a statement which was a real shocker. It said, "When a magnet picks up a paper clip, it defeats the gravitational pull of the entire earth." We all know this is true, yet when the power of a little magnet is put this way we are impressed.

Just think: a tiny magnet out-pulling the earth itself. The earth is of course tremendous in size and weight. Yet a magnet will remove a paper clip from the surface of this huge force.

When I read this, I thought of what Jesus said about how faith can move mountains. "...I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you" (Matt. 17:20 NIV).

All of us come upon mountains in our lives that need to be moved. There are obstructions in the way of serving God. There are mountains of physical handicaps and illnesses. There are people inside and outside the church who fight the gospel. Worst of all there are mountains of sin which stand in our way. But Christ said that by faith the size of a mustard seed a believer can command the mountain to depart.

Of course the power is not in faith but in God, who gives the faith. And yet there is no doubt that God chooses to use His believing people to accomplish His purpose in the world. Sometimes "little" people, with little reputation, education or political clout, through faith and persistence turn the course of history. A woman named Rahab, simply by believing God's messengers, saved her whole family, and was honored to be in the genealogy of Jesus Christ (Heb. 11:31).

Don't be discouraged by big problems or obstacles. Be like the magnet. Trust God and you can be a powerful force for good.’


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[1]  The Holy Bible : New Revised Standard Version. 1989. Thomas Nelson Publishers: Nashville

[2]  The Holy Bible : New Revised Standard Version. 1989. Thomas Nelson Publishers: Nashville

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