Fr. Donato’s Homily for Sunday, September 22, 2018

XXV Sunday in Ordinary time

Saint Louis King of France Parish

Memphis-TN – Homily

Fr. Donato


My thoughts are not like yours, says the Lord!


How can we know if we are going to enjoy the kingdom of Heaven? The readings today have a very clear answer to us! The way that you behave is the answer. Saint Benedict on the VI century said to his monks: “serve and not be served”.  If you spent your life to serve and not to be served you are in the right pathway.

On the first reading it describes very well our society. A society full of wick living according to wick thoughts and doings. How many times we happen to know how things are doing in a wrong way but we do not say nothing because it has been done in this way for years. Consequently, in a coward way we start to accept what is wrong as it was right and true.

We are calling to be the voice which speaks out in the middle of this desert in which we live in. We must be light in the middle of darkness! Even if we suffer because of the truth and justice it is worth to announce the values of the Gospel in our society. In each place that we go or we are we must be Jesus who is passing by through our presence to bring light which came from the Gospel to our society. Do not be afraid of being reproached by friends and relatives because you are trying to live your life in a Christian and dignify way. The book of Wisdom already let us know what will happen to us: “The wicked say: let us beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us; he sets himself against our doings, reproaches us for transgressions of the law…” (Wis 2,12). But we must remember that in the probation times we become more and more strong if we configure ourselves with Jesus, the only Truth, life and way.

Jesus today is telling us in the Gospel two teachings. The first one is about his imminent passion. And the second one is how one can be his disciple and a great member of his kingdom.

First of all, Jesus is the suffering servant presented by the prophet Isaiah. He comes to redeem the world through his passion. “The Messiah’s characteristics are revealed above all in the “Servant songs.” These songs proclaim the meaning of Jesus’ Passion and show how he will pour out the Holy Spirit to give life to the many: not as an outsider, but by embracing our “form as slave. Taking our death upon himself, he can communicate to us his own Spirit of life” (CEC 713).  It is why he is telling his closest collaborators what will be going on in a near future.  “The Son of Man is to be handed over to men and they will kill him, and three days after his death the Son of Man will rise” (Mk 9).  Mark tells us that they did not understood what the master was saying. Suffering and death do not sound good things for the disciples that in somehow still thinking of the glorious messiah that would free Israel from it humiliation and oppression from the romans. God ways are not like men ways. God choose to show us that redemption could not happens without a great offering of love through the redeemer suffering of Jesus. “By giving up his own Son for our sins, God manifests that his plan for us is one of benevolent love, prior to any merit on our part: “In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins.” God “shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, n.604).

The second point of today’s Gospel is the calling to be a server of all and humble like a child to enterer the Kingdom of Heaven. The gospel says: “They had been discussing among themselves … who was the greatest. Them He sat down, called the Twelve and said to them, if anyone wishes to be first, he shall be last of all and the servant of all” (Mk 9) for the kingdom of God serve is prerequisite to have kingship in the celestial kingdom. “Christ, King and Lord of the universe, made himself the servant of all, for he came “not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”212 For the Christian, “to reign is to serve him,” particularly when serving “the poor and the suffering, in whom the Church recognizes the image of her poor and suffering founder.”213 The People of God fulfills its royal dignity by a life in keeping with its vocation to serve with Christ” (CEC 786).

Let us this week make a good examination of conscience so we can recognize how are we living. Which do we need to change to be more server of all? Why do I participate in the life of our parish? Am I here to be seen or to serve? Remind the word of the Apostle James: “Where Jealousy and selfsh ambition exist, there is disorder and every foul practice. But the wisdom from above is first of all pure, and the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for those who cultivate peace. (Jas 3).