Accepting and Continuing Christ’s Mission, 23rd Saturday (I), September 16, 2017

Fr. Roger J. Landry
Visitation Convent of the Sisters of Life
Saturday of the 23rd Week in Ordinary Time, Year I
Memorial of SS. Cyprian and Cornelius, Martyrs
15th Anniversary of Cardinal François Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan
September 16, 2017
1 Tim 1:15-17, Ps 113, Lk 6:43-49

 

To listen to an audio recording of today’s homily, please click below: 

 

The following points were attempted in the homily: 

  • In the Gospel, Jesus calls us to build our whole life on hearing and living his world, letting it become the treasure of our heart and letting that treasure overflow into all our actions. That’s what it means to become a good tree that produces good fruit, by becoming inwardly attached to Christ the vine as fruitful branches, because without him we can do nothing. That’s what it means to build our life on the rock, on him who is the Cornerstone rejected by the builders, but erecting our existence on every word that comes from his mouth.
  • Today the Lord calls us to do that in a special way: to base our existence on his mercy, to make his mercy the treasure of our heart that overflows in deeds. That’s what it was for St. Paul, who today tells us as he did St. Timothy, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Of these I am the foremost. But for that reason I was mercifully treated, so that in me, as the foremost, Christ Jesus might display all his patience as an example for those who would come to believe in him for everlasting life.” Christ Jesus came to save sinners, and all of us are meant to be examples of sinners — “great sinners” as we confess each morning — so that Christ’s mercy can radiate all the more through us who have built our lives on the gift of his mercy and seek to help others do the same.
  • The martyrs Saint Cyprian and Cornelius, during the ferocious anti-Christian persecutions of the 250s, sought to reconcile the lapsed in the context of others who thought that those who denied Christ to save their lives could not be forgiven. Likewise Cardinal François Xavier Nguyen van Thuan — whom I knew, who called me a friend, who died 15 years ago day, and whose feast I hope to be able to celebrate next year if a miracle is accepted for his beatification — always forgave his guards who had mistreated him in his 13 years in prison, nine in solitary confinement, and after his release, would appeal to Vietnamese emigres to forgive the communists who had killed their family members, imprisoned them, forced them into exile and more. They all lived the continuance of Christ’s mission, who came into the world to save sinners and sent the Church out to save sinners in every age.
  • As we celebrate this Mass, we remember why Christ shed his blood: it was “poured out for you and for many, for the forgiveness of sins.” Let us receive this gift today, let’s let it course through our veins, let’s respond to God’s help so that this mercy may become our rock, and help us, like Cornelius, Cyprian and van Thuan, to proclaim it no matter how ferocious the storms of hatred that blow and buffet, no matter how arid the situation in which the Lord will help us bear fruit, no matter how great our sins in the past, which can be employed by the Lord as a great example of what his mission is all about!

 

The readings for today’s Mass were: 

Reading 1 1 TM 1:15-17

Beloved:
This saying is trustworthy and deserves full acceptance:
Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.
Of these I am the foremost.
But for that reason I was mercifully treated,
so that in me, as the foremost,
Christ Jesus might display all his patience as an example
for those who would come to believe in him for everlasting life.
To the king of ages, incorruptible, invisible, the only God,
honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

Responsorial Psalm PS 113:1B-2, 3-4, 5 AND 6-7

R. (2) Blessed be the name of the Lord for ever.
Praise, you servants of the LORD,
praise the name of the LORD.
Blessed be the name of the LORD
both now and forever.
R. Blessed be the name of the Lord for ever.
From the rising to the setting of the sun
is the name of the LORD to be praised.
High above all nations is the LORD;
above the heavens is his glory.
R. Blessed be the name of the Lord for ever.
Who is like the LORD, our God,
and looks upon the heavens and the earth below?
He raises up the lowly from the dust;
from the dunghill he lifts up the poor.
R. Blessed be the name of the Lord for ever.

Alleluia JN 14:23

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Whoever loves me will keep my word,
and my Father will love him,
and we will come to him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel LK 6:43-49

Jesus said to his disciples:
“A good tree does not bear rotten fruit,
nor does a rotten tree bear good fruit.
For every tree is known by its own fruit.
For people do not pick figs from thornbushes,
nor do they gather grapes from brambles.
A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good,
but an evil person out of a store of evil produces evil;
for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.

“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ but not do what I command?
I will show you what someone is like who comes to me,
listens to my words, and acts on them.
That one is like a man building a house,
who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock;
when the flood came, the river burst against that house
but could not shake it because it had been well built.
But the one who listens and does not act
is like a person who built a house on the ground
without a foundation.
When the river burst against it,
it collapsed at once and was completely destroyed.”