Homily by Fr. Paul Plante
21st Sunday in Ordinary Time
August 22, 2010
Scriptural Reference: Isaiah 66:18-21; Psalm 117:1,2; Luke 13:22-30
It is the response to the psalm in today’s Liturgy of the Word that seemed to be specifically directed to me, something I am called to do both as a Catholic and as a priest, and in a special way as a priest to make sure to always exhort you to do the same. “Go out to all the world and tell the Good News”. When I hear these words do I see more clearly what my mission is as a priest? Am I able to not only throw this challenge out to you but also make it important in your life as a Christian as well as making the challenge something practical and possible for everybody?
At times we can be so impressed by the message of Jesus. Isn’t this or that so beautiful? So important and conclude: “I am sure there is somebody out there doing this. It is more than I can handle. It must be meant for others, not for me.
The Good News of salvation is meant for everybody and all who have received it are meant to share it with others.
Today’s readings speak of the universality of salvation.
“Thus says the Lord: I come to gather nations of every language; they shall see my glory, they shall proclaim my glory among the nations”.
In the Gospel:
“People will come from the east and the west and from the north and the south and will recline at table in the kingdom of God.”
Our gathering here is a preview of the eternal banquet. We are here to proclaim the glory of the Lord here from East and West and from North and South.
And so I ask you, how do you go out and tell the Good News? Could it be that even when you are busy with company, perhaps people who do not go to church, that you want to make sure Mass is included in the schedule? Perhaps it is in a gentle reminder that you are planning to attend Mass. Would anybody else want to join you? Perhaps it is sharing how much your faith means to you? That you sincerely do not know how you would face certain crises without your faith? Perhaps it is admitting hurt that comes from misconduct and scandal but that notwithstanding human failure, the Church remains the special institution to bring so much good into our world.
I am always impressed by lay people who often find themselves in circles that are critical of religion and are able to keep their peace and behave lovingly when others do not.
Who has not been in the company of people who are hostile toward religion? Aren’t we proclaiming the good news when we remain peaceful in such circumstances?
I remember a doctor telling me just a few days before he died: “For me to be a good Catholic means to be the best possible doctor!”
Hopefully, there are people eager to share the good news with children, youth and adults in our religious education program. It is certainly a special way to go out and tell the Good News.
One great example of a special way to proclaim the Good News is Elizabeth Leseur, a woman married to a man of high society in France, but a man who not only did not practice his faith but even spoke against it whenever he could. Elizabeth remained a very devout Catholic, was kind towards her husband, prayed for him. During a long and painful illness, she kept a journal. After her death, her husband found and read his wife’s journal and discovered her true love, patience and desire for his conversion. He not only converted but became a priest.
In her own way she proclaimed the Good News to her husband.
Each in our own way, may we go and tell the Good News!