Learning from the Exile how to Listen to Jesus, 26th Friday (I), October 6, 2017

Fr. Roger J. Landry
Sacred Heart Convent of the Sisters of Life, Manhattan
Friday of the 26th Week in Ordinary Time, Year I
Memorial of St. Bruno and Bl. Marie Rose Durocher
October 6, 2017
Bar 1:15-22, Ps 79, Lk 10:13-16

 

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

 

The following points were attempted in the homily: 

  • During the last two weeks, we have focused on the lessons to learn from the exile, with the help of Ezra, Haggai, Zechariah, Nehemiah and today and tomorrow Baruch. Baruch summarizes those lessons, that the exile occurred because “we… have sinned in the Lord’s sight and disobeyed him. We have neither heeded the voice of the Lord, our God, nor followed the precepts which the Lord set before us. … We have been disobedient … and only too ready to disregard his voice. … We did not heed the voice of the Lord …  in all the words of the prophets whom he sent us, but each one of us went off after the devices of his own wicked heart, served other gods, and did evil in the sight of the Lord, our God.” So when they came back, as we saw yesterday with Nehemiah, they gave renewed, assiduous attention to hearing the Lord’s voice, to studying and living by his word, lest history recapitulate.
  • In the Gospel we see that it did. Even though the towns of Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum had heard Jesus’ preaching and witnessed his miracles, they did not act on his call to repent and believe. And so he mercifully upbraided them saying that if he had spoken and worked miracles like he had done among them in the infamously debauched Philistine towns of Tyre and Sidon, or in the notoriously inhospitable and licentious Sodom, they would have repented like Nineveh. And yet, as Jesus said in St. Matthew’s version of the scene, there’s a greater than Jonah and than Solomon among them, and they hadn’t repented. St. Luke places these words of Jesus at the end of his instruction to the 72 disciples whom he was sending out to announce that kingdom, to prepare them for the reality that some would turn a deaf ear to the incredibly good news they were proclaiming, but in rejecting them, their auditors would be rejecting Jesus and ultimately God the Father. All of this was a means to make real the words of the Alleluia verse from Psalm 95: if today you hear God’s voice, harden not your hearts.” They were hearing God’s voice, and feeling his touch, and seeing him with their own eyes. And that’s supposed to be a consequential encounter! Today we hear so many voices, from politicians, to news men, to talk show hosts, to neighbors, teachers, celebrities and more. But are we listening to God? Are we hearing his speaking to us with words to be done? Are we building our life on the rock of his word? Are we helping others to do the same?
  • Today the Church celebrates two different holy ones who did this. St. Bruno, the founder of the Carthusians, whose whole life is built on listening to God’s word in perpetual silence, and Bl. Marie Rose Durocher, the foundress of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, who not only persevered in hearing and acting on God’s voice in her whole life but sought to help generations of children to learn to do the same in French Canada. They’re interceding for us to listen to Christ and accept him and the Father who sent him. Today as we celebrate the Mass that was at the center of their life, we ask their help so that we might listen to the Word of God the way they did, the way the Jews wished they had before the exile, the way God ultimately wants us to respond when he with merciful love reveals himself and the plan of his love. For we have and are today receiving more than even Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum even imagined!

 

The readings for today’s Mass were: 

Reading 1 BAR 1:15-22

During the Babylonian captivity, the exiles prayed:
“Justice is with the Lord, our God;
and we today are flushed with shame,
we men of Judah and citizens of Jerusalem,
that we, with our kings and rulers
and priests and prophets, and with our ancestors,
have sinned in the Lord’s sight and disobeyed him.
We have neither heeded the voice of the Lord, our God,
nor followed the precepts which the Lord set before us.
From the time the Lord led our ancestors out of the land of Egypt
until the present day,
we have been disobedient to the Lord, our God,
and only too ready to disregard his voice.
And the evils and the curse that the Lord enjoined upon Moses, his servant,
at the time he led our ancestors forth from the land of Egypt
to give us the land flowing with milk and honey,
cling to us even today.
For we did not heed the voice of the Lord, our God,
in all the words of the prophets whom he sent us,
but each one of us went off
after the devices of his own wicked heart,
served other gods,
and did evil in the sight of the Lord, our God.”

Responsorial Psalm PS 79:1B-2, 3-5, 8, 9

R. (9) For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.
O God, the nations have come into your inheritance;
they have defiled your holy temple,
they have laid Jerusalem in ruins.
They have given the corpses of your servants
as food to the birds of heaven,
the flesh of your faithful ones to the beasts of the earth.
R. For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.
They have poured out their blood like water
round about Jerusalem,
and there is no one to bury them.
We have become the reproach of our neighbors,
the scorn and derision of those around us.
O LORD, how long? Will you be angry forever?
Will your jealousy burn like fire?
R. For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.
Remember not against us the iniquities of the past;
may your compassion quickly come to us,
for we are brought very low.
R. For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.
Help us, O God our savior,
because of the glory of your name;
Deliver us and pardon our sins
for your name’s sake.
R. For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.

Alleluia PS 95:8

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
If today you hear his voice,
harden not your hearts.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel LK 10:13-16

Jesus said to them,
“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida!
For if the mighty deeds done in your midst
had been done in Tyre and Sidon,
they would long ago have repented,
sitting in sackcloth and ashes.
But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon
at the judgment than for you.
And as for you, Capernaum, ‘Will you be exalted to heaven?
You will go down to the netherworld.’
Whoever listens to you listens to me.
Whoever rejects you rejects me.
And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.”