About Me

Bilingual Roman Catholic priest of the Southern Dominican Province. The "homilettes" on this website are completely the work of Fr. Mele. He may be contacted at cmeleop@yahoo.com. Telephone: (415) 279-9234.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Monday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time

(Revelation 1:1-4.2:1-5; Luke 18:35-43)

Crowds are notoriously fickle.  One moment they can strongly support a person or team.  The next, because of a mistake or misfortune, they may turn against the same.  Theorists have proposed that in crowds individuals lose their sense of responsibility.  They allow the prevailing mood of the group to control their thinking.  This is especially apparent in Luke’s gospel.

In today’s passage the crowd rebukes the blind beggar for asking help from Jesus.  They are certainly insensitive if not mean to the poor man.  When Jesus is being tried by Pilate, the crowds act with similar hostility.  Three times they call for his crucifixion, more than in any other gospel.  But in both cases the crowds change their dispositions.  In today’s passage it is said that they “gave praise to God.”  After the crucifixion, the crowds return from Calvary “beating their breasts.”  In both instances the cause of the change is the experience of Jesus as the compassion of God.  He gives sight to the blind man.  On the cross he not only prays for his persecutors but promises a repentant thief a place in Paradise.

We too have experienced Jesus as the compassion of God.  He forgives our callowness, lustfulness, and viciousness in the sacrament of reconciliation.  He gives himself as food in the Eucharist so that we might conduct lives worthy of an eternal destiny.  He has told each of us of his love for us in prayer.  We too can only give praise to God for our encounter with Jesus.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Friday of the Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time

(II John 4-9; Luke 17:26-37)

In many places throughout the United States and Western Europe Catholic churches are less than half full on Sundays.  People no longer worship God at mass as they did two generations ago.  Certainly some of the fallout comes from clerical abuse of children.  However, before that scandal was publicized, the numbers had begun to drop.  Many people are following “progressive” ideas which today’s first reading rails against.

At the time of the writing of the Second Letter of John the progressive ideas include belief that Jesus was not really human.  At least a few people at the end of the first century believed that he did not have a physical body.  They are likely tired of talk prohibiting sexual relations outside marriage and weary of living up to it.  They figure that it is his teachings and not his death and resurrection that save.  That is, they began to think that one may gain eternal life by getting along with others and rendering helpful service.  Who one goes to bed with does not factor into the equation.  The “presbyter,” who writes the letter, refutes such an idea.  First, he commends those who “walk in the truth” of moral righteousness.  Then he condemns those who teach ideas like Jesus’ not having a body for leading others astray.

It seems like things have not changed so much over twenty centuries.  Sexual morality is still a great impediment to many today.  We do not like to restrain ourselves sexually.  But this is why Jesus’ humanity is so important.  It not only shows us that it is possible to live a sexually upright life; it also enables us to do it.  By dying and rising in the flesh, Christ provides us the grace to live with minds and hearts directed to him.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Thursday of the Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time

(Philemon 7-20; Luke 17:20-25)

It is often said that the biblical Kingdom of God is better rendered Reign of God.  The reason given is that the concept indicates a dynamism more than a territory.  Something similar may be said about heaven.  Although people may point to the sky when they say the word, heaven is more a condition of love than a physical locale.  In today’s gospel, Jesus stretches the idea of Kingdom of God even more.

Jesus tells the Pharisees that the Kingdom of God is neither a place nor a thing.  He adds that it is “among” them.  He may be referring to a relationship with himself.  The Kingdom of God is friendship with Jesus himself.  He provides all the security and support, the joy and the affection that makes life worth living.  Since he will rise from the dead, the Kingdom of God will likewise never know a sunset.

Jesus extends his hand to form a relationship with us daily.  He is present to us physically in the Eucharist where we actually take him into ourselves.  The experience does not diminish him, but it does expand us.  Having his love and support, we can become as gracious and happy as he.  We become bearers of the Kingdom to others.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Wednesday of the Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time

(Titus 1:1-9; Luke 17:11-19)

The readings today indicate two responses to God’s graciousness.  The Letter to Titus recommends that Christians respect everyone by being peaceful and considerate.  Since Baptism has healed them of crude and spiteful behavior, they should try to win over others to Christ.  The gospel’s recommendation for expressing gratitude is more direct.  The tenth leper, healed of disease, returns to Jesus with thankfulness on his lips. 

Jesus is the central figure in both passages.  He is God’s instrument in the first reading.  Sharing in Jesus’ cross through Baptism, the Christian dies to sin.  Experiencing rebirth in the same baptismal waters, she now lives for God and not for self.  In the gospel Jesus pronounces physical healing for each of the ten lepers.  Then he announces salvation for the one who comes back to give thanks.

We are fast approaching the great American holiday of Thanksgiving and the joyful Christian feast of Christmas.  Both occasions invoke great amounts of gratitude.  Americans thank God for their remarkable prosperity.  We Christians raise our voices to God in highest praise for sending Jesus, our Redeemer.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Memorial of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, virgin

(Titus 2:1-8.11-14; Luke 17:7-10)

A family is not a household.  A family is based upon blood relationships among people. People can belong to the same family without living in the same household. People live together in a household for a common purpose.  They share daily experiences in order to be united in a community of care.  In a household people come to know that they live for one another and not for themselves.  In a Christian household they learn as well that God has called them to this purpose and that Christ has made known the reason for the call.

Today’s first reading from the Letter to Titus assigns responsibilities to different members of the household.  Older women are to teach younger women.  Younger women are to take care of household needs.  Younger men are to teach their children virtue so that no one can criticize the Church, the household of households.  The purpose of this great household is to witness to Christ, the Savior, who will come to justify the sacrifices made by his people.

Most of us live in a culture that plays down the work of a household.  We seldom pray together at home, much less teach our children about God.  We don’t even eat together much anymore.  Should we wonder why young men and women have lost the faith?  Likewise, should we wonder why the young are individualistic?  We need to reclaim the work of the household to pass on our hope for the Savior.  Indeed, we have to reclaim it to pass on our humanity.