The Word of God and the Christian Family Bond, 25th Tuesday (I), September 26, 2017

Fr. Roger J. Landry
Visitation Convent of the Sisters of Life, Manhattan
Tuesday of the 25th Week in Ordinary Time, Year I
Memorial of SS. Cosmas and Damian
Memorial of Blessed Paul VI
September 26, 2017
Ez 6:7-8.12.14-20, Ps 122, Lk 8:19-21

 

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

 

The following points were attempted in the homily: 

  • Today we can ponder anew the lessons of yesterday, in how the rebuilding of the Temple after the exile by Ezra and Nehemiah, with the help of Cyrus, Darius and the Persians, is meant to be a sign of the Resurrection of Jesus (the rebuilding of the true Temple on the third day) and our rebuilding on him the cornerstone. To do so we build ourselves solidly on the rock of his word, just like the exiles listened to the scrolls of the covenant from dawn to midday with attention, tears and eventually celebration.
  • In the Gospel, Jesus says that the family he has come to found is comprised of those who hear his word and act on it, just like his Mother, who conceived the word through her “ear” and in her heart, before she had ever conceived the Word made flesh in her womb. We’re able to “conceive” the word in the same way and allow it to grow within us until we have to give it to the light.
  • The Word of God, heard and put into practical, helps form the family of God. It unites. The family that prays together stays together and the family that prays the Word of God together similarly has a much greater bond. That’s why the liturgy is so important when the Word of God is celebrated as it deserves, well proclaimed, well preached, well received on good soil. That’s why pondering in the family is so important. That’s why pondering in religious communities, rectories, small Catholic groups and more are so important. Pope Benedict in Verbum Domini, his apostolic exhortation on the Word of God in the life and mission of the Church, focused on the power of the Word of God in forming and strengthening the family, which has analogous lessons for the Church as a whole and for every Church in miniature. He wrote that “with the proclamation of the word of God, the Church reveals to Christian families their true identity, what it is and what it must be in accordance with the Lord’s plan. … Through their fidelity and the unity of family life, spouses are the first to proclaim God’s word to their children. The ecclesial community must support and assist them in fostering family prayer, attentive hearing of the word of God, and knowledge of the Bible. To this end the Synod urged that every household have its Bible, to be kept in a worthy place and used for reading and prayer. …  The Synod also recommended the formation of small communities of families, where common prayer and meditation on passages of Scripture can be cultivated.”
  • Today the Church celebrates the feast of SS. Cosmas and Damian and of Blessed Paul VI. SS. Cosmas and Damian were twin brothers who were doctors and martyrs under Diocletian. They helped each other grow in love of God and his Word and letting that word become the pattern of their life. As doctors they never charged their patients, which gave them an opening to care for their patients’ souls as they were caring for their bodies, because unlike so many doctors at the time, they were not doing it for their own benefit. They lived by Jesus’ words of love and sought to love others as he had loved them first. Who is Cosmas to your Damian? Who can you help, who can help you, grow in hearing and living the Word of God? We also celebrate Blessed Paul VI, whose encyclical on announcing the word of God is one of the most beautiful documents in the history of the Church. He wrote in that document, “One cannot fail to stress the evangelizing action of the family in the evangelizing apostolate of the laity. At different moments in the Church’s history and also in the Second Vatican Council, the family has well deserved the beautiful name of ‘domestic Church.’ This means that there should be found in every Christian family the various aspects of the entire Church. Furthermore, the family, like the Church, ought to be a place where the Gospel is transmitted and from which the Gospel radiates. In a family that is conscious of this mission, all the members evangelize and are evangelized. The parents not only communicate the Gospel to their children, but from their children they can themselves receive the same Gospel as deeply lived by them. And such a family becomes the evangelizer of many other families, and of the neighborhood of which it forms part.” The Word of God strengthens the family and builds it up.
  • Now, as a family, we together will obey that part of the Word of God to which the Church has perhaps been most faithful, to do “this” in memory of Christ. May we do so with the same response to the Word of God and Word made flesh as Mary, SS. Cosmas and Damian, Blessed Paul VI and all the saints.

 

The readings for today’s Mass were: 

Reading 1 EZR 6:7-8, 12B, 14-20

King Darius issued an order to the officials
of West-of-Euphrates:
“Let the governor and the elders of the Jews
continue the work on that house of God;
they are to rebuild it on its former site.
I also issue this decree
concerning your dealing with these elders of the Jews
in the rebuilding of that house of God:
From the royal revenue, the taxes of West-of-Euphrates,
let these men be repaid for their expenses, in full and without delay.
I, Darius, have issued this decree;
let it be carefully executed.”
The elders of the Jews continued to make progress in the building,
supported by the message of the prophets,
Haggai and Zechariah, son of Iddo.
They finished the building according to the command
of the God of Israel
and the decrees of Cyrus and Darius
and of Artaxerxes, king of Persia.
They completed this house on the third day of the month Adar,
in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius.
The children of Israel–priests, Levites,
and the other returned exiles–
celebrated the dedication of this house of God with joy.
For the dedication of this house of God,
they offered one hundred bulls,
two hundred rams, and four hundred lambs,
together with twelve he-goats as a sin-offering for all Israel,
in keeping with the number of the tribes of Israel.
Finally, they set up the priests in their classes
and the Levites in their divisions
for the service of God in Jerusalem,
as is prescribed in the book of Moses.
The exiles kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month.
The Levites, every one of whom had purified himself for the occasion,
sacrificed the Passover for the rest of the exiles,
for their brethren the priests, and for themselves.

Responsorial Psalm PS 122:1-2, 3-4AB, 4CD-5

R. (1) Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
I rejoiced because they said to me,
“We will go up to the house of the LORD.”
And now we have set foot
within your gates, O Jerusalem.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
Jerusalem, built as a city
with compact unity.
To it the tribes go up,
the tribes of the LORD.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
According to the decree for Israel,
to give thanks to the name of the LORD.
In it are set up judgment seats,
seats for the house of David.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.

Alleluia LK 11:28

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are those who hear the word of God
and observe it.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel LK 8:19-21

The mother of Jesus and his brothers came to him
but were unable to join him because of the crowd.
He was told, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside
and they wish to see you.”
He said to them in reply, “My mother and my brothers
are those who hear the word of God and act on it.”