Hearing, Proclaiming and Living the Word, Tuesday of the 27th Week in Ordinary Time (I), October 8, 2013

Fr. Roger J. Landry
St. Bernadette Parish, Fall River, MA
Tuesday of the 27th Week of Ordinary Time, Year I
15th Anniversary of My Diaconal Ordination
October 8, 2013
Jon 3:1-10, Ps 103, Lk 10:38-42

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


The following points were attempted in the homily:

  • The readings today illustrate the two poles of the Christian life, personal holiness and apostolate, that we live the faith and spread it, in response to Jesus’ two verbs, “Come” and “Go.” In the Gospel, we see the “come.” Jesus had come to Bethany not to get but to give, not to be fed but to feed. That’s what Mary grasped that Martha didn’t. Mary grasped the one thing necessary and chose the better part. The most important thing of all is letting God do what he wants with us and in us. We need to open our hearts to what God wants to do in us rather than striving in a million activities to do something for the Lord.
  • In the first reading, focused fundamentally on sharing God’s message, we see Jonah preaching like Martha, not Mary. He preached repentance in tough pagan city of Nineveh and the whole city took the posture of Mary, sat in sackcloth and ashes, and God heard their prayer and gave mercy. But Jonah was upset at his success! He would later complain to the Lord that he’s always merciful, as if that were a character flaw. He wasn’t really open to what God wanted to do, even after he himself had been the recipient of God’s mercy through prayer made in the belly of a fish.
  • Today is the 15th anniversary of the diaconal ordination of my many classmates and me at St. Peter’s in the Vatican. The diaconate is meant to be the Church’s charity sacramentalized, it’s supposed to be the loving work of Martha with the spirit of Mary. At our diaconal ordination, we promised life-long celibacy, that God is the “one thing necessary” and the “better part,” even better than the great gift of marriage and family. We promised to pray five times a day the Liturgy of the Hours for the needs of the entire Church. That’s what helps us to make our service a liturgy of love open to God’s help rather than just an activity. We’re commissioned to proclaim the Gospel, receiving the Gospel in our hands and hearing the ordaining bishop say to us, “Receive the Word of God whose herald you have become. Believe what you read, teach what you believe, and practice what you teach.” A crucial part of that heraldry is conversion and mercy.
  • Today at Mass this minister who received 15 years ago the faculties to preach points out that Jesus mentioned that his one great sign would be the sign of Jonah. Just as Jonah spent three days in the belly of the whale so Jesus spent three days in the belly of the earth, before rising from the dead in the same body we are about to receive.


The readings for the Mass were: 

Reading 1
JON 3:1-10

The word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time:
“Set out for the great city of Nineveh,
and announce to it the message that I will tell you.”
So Jonah made ready and went to Nineveh,
according to the LORD’s bidding.
Now Nineveh was an enormously large city;
it took three days to go through it.
Jonah began his journey through the city,
and had gone but a single day’s walk announcing,
“Forty days more and Nineveh shall be destroyed,”
when the people of Nineveh believed God;
they proclaimed a fast and all of them, great and small,
put on sackcloth.When the news reached the king of Nineveh,
he rose from his throne, laid aside his robe,
covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in the ashes.
Then he had this proclaimed throughout Nineveh,
by decree of the king and his nobles:
“Neither man nor beast, neither cattle nor sheep,
shall taste anything;
they shall not eat, nor shall they drink water.
Man and beast shall be covered with sackcloth
and call loudly to God;
every man shall turn from his evil way
and from the violence he has in hand.
Who knows, God may relent and forgive,
and withhold his blazing wrath,
so that we shall not perish.”
When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way,
he repented of the evil that he had threatened to do to them;
he did not carry it out.

Responsorial Psalm
PS 130:1B-2, 3-4AB, 7-8

R. (3) If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?
Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD
LORD, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to my voice in supplication.
R. If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?
If you, O LORD, mark iniquities,
LORD, who can stand?
But with you is forgiveness,
that you may be revered.
R. If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?
Let Israel wait for the LORD,
For with the LORD is kindness
and with him is plenteous redemption;
And he will redeem Israel
from all their iniquities.
R. If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?

LK 10:38-42

Jesus entered a village
where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him.
She had a sister named Mary
who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak.
Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said,
“Lord, do you not care
that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving?
Tell her to help me.”
The Lord said to her in reply,
“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.
There is need of only one thing.
Mary has chosen the better part
and it will not be taken from her.”