The Four-Fold Path to Living our Divine Filiation, 16th Tuesday (II), July 19, 2016

Fr. Roger J. Landry
Visitation Convent of the Sisters of Life, Manhattan
Tuesday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time, Year II
July 19, 2016
Mic 7:14-15.18-20, Ps 85, Mt 12:46-50

 

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

 

The following points were attempted in today’s homily: 

  • Jesus came from heaven to earth ultimately to restore God’s family by reforming us in the image of God and bringing us into communion with him and with each other. In today’s Gospel, we see that Jesus, made aware that his mother and his relatives (the Hebrew and Aramaic words for brother was used for all relatives) were outside, used it as a teaching moment to stress who his family members are. It’s an opportunity for us to focus on our divine filiation, our calling and mission as sons in Jesus the Son. We can focus on four points.
  • The first is that we become sons of God through faith in receiving Jesus. St. John tells us in his prologue, “He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him. But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God” (Jn 1:12). That power to become children is the power of the Holy Spirit that helps us to cry out “Abba, Father!” and to relate to God as Father. We receive this power in baptism, but it’s a gift received in faith.
  • The second means by which God helps us to recognize and live our divine filiation is by mercy. The Parable of the Prodigal Son is all about God the Father continuously begets us in his mercy, restoring us to his image. The prodigal son treated his father as dead and wanted immediately the inheritance that would come when he perished; the elder brother in the parable didn’t relate to his father as a dad either, but more as a slave, commenting that “Not once did I disobey your orders,” and failing to recognize his returned brother as a brother through the same Father, saying, “When this son of yours returns.” The reconciliation of the prodigal is precisely one of a restored sonship, where the Father in love finds his son, raises him from the dead, wraps him in his finest clothing, gives him the sandals of freedom, puts on his finger a signet ring, and kills the fatted calf for a celebration. In today’s first reading, Micah praises God for his mercy: “Who is there like you, the God who removes guilt and pardons sin for the remnant of his inheritance; Who does not persist in anger forever, but delights rather in clemency, And will again have compassion on us, treading underfoot our guilt? You will cast into the depths of the sea all our sins.” That’s what leads us to cry out in the Psalm, “Show us, O Lord, your mercy, and grant us your salvation.”
  • The third means the Lord strengthens us as his sons and daughters is seen in today’s Gospel, through “doing the will of [our] heavenly Father.” He forms us through obedience, as we listen attentively to his words. We become more like the Son precisely in making the Father’s will our own. This is the way he sculpts us to become chips off the old divine block. It also helps to make us, at the same time we become Jesus’ brothers, the “mother of the Word,” as St. Ambrose taught: conceiving within us the Word that grows until, so pregnant with it, we have to give birth in deeds of love, we have to bring it to the light.
  • And that doing the will of the Father in heaven leads us to becoming peacemakers with him through our words and witness, through our apostolate and all our actions. Jesus would say in the Beatitudes, “Blessed are the Peacemakers for they will be called children of God.” When we’re living out our divine filiation, we become images of Christ the Prince of Peace seeking to bring to the world the definitive peace treaty between God and man through the forgiveness of our sins and helping people to live free of the sin that divides and wrecks peace. That becomes our Mission: at peace in our relationship with God, we help others find the same peace for which they’re longing in the One who has first found us.
  • And the Lord Jesus restores us in our familial relationship here at Mass, as we hear his words as words to be done, renew our confident loving prayer to the Father, and as we enter into communion with him, enter into greater filiation with the Father and fraternal communion with each other.

 

The readings for today’s Mass were: 

Reading 1 MIC 7:14-15, 18-20

Shepherd your people with your staff,
the flock of your inheritance,
That dwells apart in a woodland,
in the midst of Carmel.
Let them feed in Bashan and Gilead,
as in the days of old;
As in the days when you came from the land of Egypt,
show us wonderful signs.Who is there like you, the God who removes guilt
and pardons sin for the remnant of his inheritance;
Who does not persist in anger forever,
but delights rather in clemency,
And will again have compassion on us,
treading underfoot our guilt?
You will cast into the depths of the sea
all our sins;
You will show faithfulness to Jacob,
and grace to Abraham,
As you have sworn to our fathers
from days of old.

Responsorial Psalm PS 85:2-4, 5-6, 7-8

R. (8a) Lord, show us your mercy and love.
You have favored, O LORD, your land;
you have brought back the captives of Jacob.
You have forgiven the guilt of your people;
you have covered all their sins.
You have withdrawn all your wrath;
you have revoked your burning anger.
R. Lord, show us your mercy and love.
Restore us, O God our savior,
and abandon your displeasure against us.
Will you be ever angry with us,
prolonging your anger to all generations?
R. Lord, show us your mercy and love.
Will you not instead give us life;
and shall not your people rejoice in you?
Show us, O LORD, your kindness,
and grant us your salvation.
R. Lord, show us your mercy and love.

Alleluia JN 14:23

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Whoever loves me will keep my word,
and my Father will love him
and we will come to him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMT 12:46-50

While Jesus was speaking to the crowds,
his mother and his brothers appeared outside,
wishing to speak with him.
Someone told him, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside,
asking to speak with you.”
But he said in reply to the one who told him,
“Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?”
And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said,
“Here are my mother and my brothers.
For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father
is my brother, and sister, and mother.”
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