Bold, Steadfast Spiritual Childhood, Tuesday of the 19th Week of Ordinary Time (I), August 13, 2013

Fr. Roger J. Landry
St. Bernadette Parish, Fall River, MA
Tuesday of the 19th Week of Ordinary Time, Year I
Memorial of SS. Pontian and Hippolytus
August 13, 2013
Dt 31:1-8, Dt 32, Mt 18:1-5.10.12-14

To listen to an audio recording of the homily, please click here: 

In this homily the following points were made:

  • In Moses’ last words, he reminds the Israelites and then Joshua of principles none of us should ever forget. The first is total confidence in God’s incredible love. “The Lord, your God, marches with you. He will never fail you or forsake you.”  That leads to a behavior that must follow on our part: “Be brave and steadfast, have no fear or dread.” Because of God’s being on our side, we have courage and a holy faithful resolve and act.
  • In the Gospel, however, we see that this audacity and backbone are supposed to be humble and childlike. The source our courage and steadfastness is our divine filiation. The Holy Spirit that fills us with the capacity to cry out “Abba, Father!” also gives us his courage. In the exercise of our courage, we need to be humble, to serve.
  • Likewise we’re called to help others become humble, childlike, brave, and steadfast. Jesus in the latter part of the Gospel described his love for every child, that he would leave the 99 to go out in search of the 1. We must have that same passion and use our courage and holy stubbornness to do so.
  • In today’s memorial, we encounter Hippolytus, a talented Roman priest who, because he thought Pope St. Zephyrinus was a wimp in treating the lapsed and Pope St. Callistus, as an ex slave, was not the best man to be pope, went into schism, using his talents for his own advancement rather than with humility serving according to God’s plans. But God loved him as his one lost sheep and never abandoned him. At the end of his life, he was exiled with Pope Pontian to Sardinia and it was there that he was reconciled and learned how to become childlike and humble to enter the kingdom, through the Church and through martyrdom.

The readings for today’s Mass were: 

Reading 1
DT 31:1-8

When Moses had finished speaking to all Israel, he said to them,
“I am now one hundred and twenty years old
and am no longer able to move about freely;
besides, the LORD has told me that I shall not cross this Jordan.
It is the LORD, your God, who will cross before you;
he will destroy these nations before you,
that you may supplant them.
It is Joshua who will cross before you, as the LORD promised.
The LORD will deal with them just as he dealt with Sihon and Og,
the kings of the Amorites whom he destroyed,
and with their country.
When, therefore, the LORD delivers them up to you,
you must deal with them exactly as I have ordered you.
Be brave and steadfast; have no fear or dread of them,
for it is the LORD, your God, who marches with you;
he will never fail you or forsake you.”

Then Moses summoned Joshua and in the presence of all Israel
said to him, “Be brave and steadfast,
for you must bring this people into the land
which the LORD swore to their fathers he would give them;
you must put them in possession of their heritage.
It is the LORD who marches before you;
he will be with you and will never fail you or forsake you.
So do not fear or be dismayed.”

Responsorial Psalm
DT 32:3-4AB, 7, 8, 9 AND 12

R. (9a) The portion of the Lord is his people.
For I will sing the LORD’s renown.
Oh, proclaim the greatness of our God!
The Rock–how faultless are his deeds,
how right all his ways!
R. The portion of the Lord is his people.
Think back on the days of old,
reflect on the years of age upon age.
Ask your father and he will inform you,
ask your elders and they will tell you.
R. The portion of the Lord is his people.
When the Most High assigned the nations their heritage,
when he parceled out the descendants of Adam,
He set up the boundaries of the peoples
after the number of the sons of Israel.
R. The portion of the Lord is his people.
While the LORD’s own portion was Jacob,
his hereditary share was Israel.
The LORD alone was their leader,
no strange god was with him.
R. The portion of the Lord is his people.

MT 18:1-5, 10, 12-14

The disciples approached Jesus and said,
“Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?”
He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said,
“Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children,
you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven.
Whoever becomes humble like this child
is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.
And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones,
for I say to you that their angels in heaven
always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.
What is your opinion?
If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray,
will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills
and go in search of the stray?
And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it
than over the ninety-nine that did not stray.
In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father
that one of these little ones be lost.”