Gathering into Unity with the Stronger Man, 27th Friday (I), October 9, 2015

Fr. Roger J. Landry
Sacred Heart Convent of the Sisters of Life, Manhattan
Friday of the 27th Week in Ordinary Time, Year I
Memorial of Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman
October 9, 2015
Joel 1:13-15.2:1-2, Ps 9, Lk 11:15-26


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


The following points were attempted in the homily: 

  • Today we see Christ’s saving strategy to unite and the devil’s strategy to divide. Christ during the Last Supper prayed for a unity resembling the Trinity, whereas the devil seeks to divide his house.
  • Jesus in the Gospel calls us to be all his and to help us, after he has swept clean our house, to unite ourselves with him fully so that we’re not vulnerable to worse attacks of the devil through pride. And he sends us out to gather with him. We see in the first reading from Joel how God, in the face of the “day of the Lord,” the day of Judgment, wanted for all the elders and all those who dwell in the land to be gathered into the house of the Lord for prayer.
  • Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman, whom the Church celebrates today, was a man who fought for unity in the faith. We celebrate his feast day today, which is the day he was ordained a Catholic priest, as a result of his having corresponded to the Lord’s desire for unity in the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church Christ founded. His motto, “Cor ad cor loquitur,” as Pope Benedict said when he beatified him in 2010, is meant to make us one with Christ’s heart and Christ’s desire for unity: “Cardinal Newman’s motto, Cor ad cor loquitur, or ‘Heart speaks unto heart,’ gives us an insight into his understanding of the Christian life as a call to holiness, experienced as the profound desire of the human heart to enter into intimate communion with the Heart of God. He reminds us that faithfulness to prayer gradually transforms us into the divine likeness. … Today’s Gospel tells us that no one can be the servant of two masters (cf. Lk 16:13), and Blessed John Henry’s teaching on prayer explains how the faithful Christian is definitively taken into the service of the one true Master, who alone has a claim to our unconditional devotion (cf. Mt 23:10).” “That stronger man” strengthens us to gather with him out of love and to remain wholly his.
  • Jesus, that Stronger Man, carries out the work he describes in today’s Gospel, in the Holy Mass, speaking to us from within our own hearts as we enter into communion with him and sending us forth to gather all his elders and all who dwell in the land not only “in” the temple but to become the sacred dwelling place of his presence so that with them we might all be united in that “United Kingdom” where Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman and all the saints now rejoice!

The readings for today’s Mass were: 

Reading 1 Jl 1:13-15; 2:1-2

Gird yourselves and weep, O priests!
wail, O ministers of the altar!
Come, spend the night in sackcloth,
O ministers of my God!
The house of your God is deprived
of offering and libation.
Proclaim a fast,
call an assembly;
Gather the elders,
all who dwell in the land,
Into the house of the LORD, your God,
and cry to the LORD!Alas, the day!
for near is the day of the LORD,
and it comes as ruin from the Almighty.

Blow the trumpet in Zion,
sound the alarm on my holy mountain!
Let all who dwell in the land tremble,
for the day of the LORD is coming;
Yes, it is near, a day of darkness and of gloom,
a day of clouds and somberness!
Like dawn spreading over the mountains,
a people numerous and mighty!
Their like has not been from of old,
nor will it be after them,
even to the years of distant generations.

Responsorial Psalm PS 9:2-3, 6 and 16, 8-9

R. (9) The Lord will judge the world with justice.
I will give thanks to you, O LORD, with all my heart;
I will declare all your wondrous deeds.
I will be glad and exult in you;
I will sing praise to your name, Most High.
R. The Lord will judge the world with justice.
You rebuked the nations and destroyed the wicked;
their name you blotted out forever and ever.
The nations are sunk in the pit they have made;
in the snare they set, their foot is caught.
R. The Lord will judge the world with justice.
But the LORD sits enthroned forever;
he has set up his throne for judgment.
He judges the world with justice;
he governs the peoples with equity.
R. The Lord will judge the world with justice.

Alleluia Jn 12:31b-32

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Open our hearts, O Lord,
to listen to the words of your Son.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Lk 11:15-26

When Jesus had driven out a demon, some of the crowd said:
“By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons,
he drives out demons.”
Others, to test him, asked him for a sign from heaven.
But he knew their thoughts and said to them,
“Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste
and house will fall against house.
And if Satan is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand?
For you say that it is by Beelzebul that I drive out demons.
If I, then, drive out demons by Beelzebul,
by whom do your own people drive them out?
Therefore they will be your judges.
But if it is by the finger of God that I drive out demons,
then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.
When a strong man fully armed guards his palace,
his possessions are safe.
But when one stronger than he attacks and overcomes him,
he takes away the armor on which he relied
and distributes the spoils.
Whoever is not with me is against me,
and whoever does not gather with me scatters.“When an unclean spirit goes out of someone,
it roams through arid regions searching for rest
but, finding none, it says,
‘I shall return to my home from which I came.’
But upon returning, it finds it swept clean and put in order.
Then it goes and brings back seven other spirits
more wicked than itself who move in and dwell there,
and the last condition of that man is worse than the first.”