Gratitude for Jesus’ Wisdom and Call to Conversion, Monday of the 28th Week in Ordinary Time (I), October 14, 2013

Fr. Roger J. Landry
St. Bernadette Parish, Fall River, MA
Monday of the 28th Week in Ordinary Time, Year I
Memorial of Pope St. Callistus, Martyr
October 14, 2013
Rom 1:1-7, Ps 98, Lk 11:29-32

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


The following points were attempted in the homily:

  • In yesterday (Sunday’s) Gospel, we focused on thanksgiving. Only one of the ten healed lepers came to say thank you for the incredible miracle Jesus had given. Jesus pointed out that the man was a Samaritan, implying that his fellow Jews who had been healed were ingrates, who perhaps thought they deserved the miracle or that God didn’t need to be thanked through the One who had given them that gift. As Catholics, closer to God through revelation and the Sacraments than the Jews were, have so much more for which to be thankful, but we need constantly to thank God.
  • Today in the readings we see two things for which we need to thank God with all our heart. The first is God’s wisdom. The Queen of Sheba came with a huge retinue and so much money just to hear Solomon’s wisdom but Jesus was saying that he contained a far greater wisdom. But are we grateful for that wisdom? That wisdom is contained in the Gospel and, more largely, in Sacred Scripture, but very few Catholics seek after this wisdom as we should, with the same passion with which a greedy businessman tries to make more money.
  • Likewise Jesus is the sign of Jonah. Jesus is the greatest sign of conversion ever. But often we fail to be grateful for this gift because we really don’t think we need God’s mercy and if we don’t see Jesus’ mercy as a greater healing than one of leprosy, or AIDS, or stage-4 cancer, we won’t truly be grateful.
  • Jesus’ wisdom and call to conversion continues in the Church. We see in St. Paul in the first reading at the beginning of the Letter to the Romans shows us that St. Paul saw his whole apostolic mission as bringing people to the “obedience of faith” and to “holiness.” The obedience of faith is the type of faith we see in the Blessed Virgin Mary, to whom we consecrated ourselves yesterday. It’s not a servile obedience but a loving, trusting, wholehearted, free obedience. Obedience comes from the Latin word for eavesdropping because we hang on every word that comes from God’s mouth — from God’s wisdom — and see that wisdom and word as imperatives to help us become truly happy and more and more God-like.
  • St. Callistus whom we celebrate today enfleshes both God’s wisdom and God’s perpetual sign of conversion. He was a slave who had made some financial blunders managing his master’s accounts. But eventually after escape, capture and jail time, he was eventually freed, was appointed by the Pope to be in charge of the papal cemeteries, and was eventually elected Pope Zephyrinus’ successor. God’s wisdom is inscrutable. He chooses the weak, the nobodies, and exalts them. St. Callistus, because of his own life story, was always merciful to those who had sinned, and that scandalized some of the early rigorists in the Church, like Tertullian and Hippolytus. But he was a far greater sign of Jonah than they were, because God’s mercy is always more moving to sinners than the fire-and-brimstone of the rigorists.
  • Today we are called to remember that we are supposed to enflesh God’s wisdom, receive his mercy, and become a sign of Jonah for the world, helping others to come through mercy to the obedience of faith and to sanctity so that one day we can experience the eternal joy of St. Callistus, St. Paul, St. Bernadette and all the saints.

The readings for today’s Mass were: 

Reading 1
ROM 1:1-7

Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus,
called to be an Apostle and set apart for the Gospel of God,
which he promised previously through his prophets in the holy Scriptures,
the Gospel about his Son, descended from David according to the flesh,
but established as Son of God in power
according to the Spirit of holiness
through resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Through him we have received the grace of apostleship,
to bring about the obedience of faith,
for the sake of his name, among all the Gentiles,
among whom are you also, who are called to belong to Jesus Christ;
to all the beloved of God in Rome, called to be holy.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Responsorial Psalm
PS 98:1BCDE, 2-3AB, 3CD-4

R. (2a) The Lord has made known his salvation.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.
R. The Lord has made known his salvation.
The LORD has made his salvation known:
in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel.
R. The Lord has made known his salvation.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise.
R. The Lord has made known his salvation.

LK 11:29-32

While still more people gathered in the crowd, Jesus said to them,
“This generation is an evil generation;
it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it,
except the sign of Jonah.
Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites,
so will the Son of Man be to this generation.
At the judgment
the queen of the south will rise with the men of this generation
and she will condemn them,
because she came from the ends of the earth
to hear the wisdom of Solomon,
and there is something greater than Solomon here.
At the judgment the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation
and condemn it,
because at the preaching of Jonah they repented,
and there is something greater than Jonah here.”