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Homily for the Thirtieth Sunday Year B by Fr.

Tommy Lane “Why should we pray when God already knows what we want?” is a question I am asked. It is true that God already knows what we need but why then did Bartimaeus have to ask Jesus for help in today’s Gospel? Anyone watching would no doubt have thought that it must be obvious that the man wants Jesus to restore his sight but yet Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you.” And when he said, “Master, let me see again,” Jesus cured him. Jesus knew everything about people; he knew Judas was going to betray him, he knew about Nathanael under the fig tree (John 1), he knew the woman in Samaria had five husbands before her present partner (John 4). Jesus knew about this blind man, he didn’t need to be told he needed his sight restored but yet he asked him what he wanted. Bartimaeus didn’t need to tell Jesus but telling Jesus was preparing Bartimaeus’ heart for the gift of having his sight restored. Once again the question I am asked is “Why should we pray when God already knows what we want?” My response is that prayer is not about informing God what our needs are. God already knows our needs and doesn’t need our prayer to keep him up to date on what is happening in our lives. Instead prayer is for our benefit, not God’s benefit. Prayer is to prepare our heart for what God wishes to give us. What did Bartimaeus do after his sight was restored? He followed Jesus along the road. In the Gospels when we read that someone followed Jesus it means they became a disciple of Jesus. Jesus had twelve apostles but he had many disciples. All these followers and disciples of Jesus listened to his teaching and allowed it to change their lives. So the healing of Bartimaeus was really only the beginning of his journey following Jesus, being a disciple of Jesus and learning from Jesus. He did not just pray to have his sight restored and then disappear. Afterwards Bartimaeus’ whole way of life was such that it revolved around Jesus. So when someone asks “Why should we pray when God already knows what we want?” I say that praying for what we need is only part of our relationship with God. Our whole life is to be a prayer to God because our whole life is about following Jesus, being a disciple of Jesus. If we only pray when we are in a crisis are we really Christian? Prayer is not a magic formula to be recited to bring about the desired results. Prayer is also a way of living, it is following Jesus on the road. Notice the way in which Bartimaeus made his request or prayed to Jesus. Firstly he said, “have mercy (literally in Greek) on me.” It was only later that he asked, “let me see again.” His first request was “have mercy on me.” Why did Bartimaeus ask Jesus to have mercy on him before restoring his sight? Bartimaeus was sufficiently in tune with himself to know that what he needed most was deeper than restoration of sight. His deepest need was for spiritual healing, a far deeper need than his need for physical healing. He asked for spiritual healing and no doubt he received it since he also received physical healing. Again the question I am asked is, “Why should we pray when God already knows what we want?” Sometimes we pray for what we want and instead God gives us what we need. What we need is not always what we want but God in his provident mercy gives us what we need. Notice that Jesus said to Bartimaeus, “your faith has saved you.” Bartimaeus

was a person of faith, not a person who prayed only in a crisis to get what he wanted from God. He had a deep relationship with God and that faith, that deep relationship with God, firstly answered his deepest need, his need for salvation, a far greater need than restoration of sight. He reminds me of the teaching of Jesus in Matt 6, “Seek the kingdom of God first and all these other things will be given you as well.” Bartimaeus sought the kingdom of God first – God’s mercy- and the other thing, restoration of sight, was given him as well. “Why should we pray when God already knows what we want?” God already knows what our needs are and doesn’t need our prayer to keep him up to date on what is happening in our lives. Instead prayer is for our benefit. Prayer is to prepare our heart for what God wishes to give us. What we need is not always what we want but God in his provident mercy gives us what we need. Our whole life is to be a prayer to God because our whole life is about following Jesus, being a disciple of Jesus. Prayer is a way of living, it is following Jesus on the road. Homily for the Seventh Sunday of Easter by Fr. Tommy Lane You go on holidays every year and I do also. We need time away to recharge our batteries and replenish our energy. Many of you tell me where you go on vacation and you go to all sorts of interesting places. As well as going on holidays every year priests and religious also go on holidays with the Lord; it is called a retreat. Priests and Sisters take this holiday with the Lord every year but an increasing number of lay people also take this holiday with the Lord, a retreat, every year. Why? The pace of life is such now that we need a quiet time to spend with the Lord, loving him and soaking up his love and reflecting on our lives and where we’re going. We all need our private space and time apart, our time with the Lord. After Jesus’ Ascension his disciples returned to the upper room where they had celebrated the Last Supper and gathered in prayer with Mary, the women, the apostles and many disciples. They needed time apart after Jesus’ Ascension. It was like a time of retreat for them. Jesus had said to them to stay in the city until they were clothed with power from on high (Luke 24:49). Jesus had promised that he would send them a Comforter or Advocate, the Holy Spirit. So they spent these days on retreat praying for the Holy Spirit. Although Jesus would no longer be with them as he had been, he would continue to be with them as they celebrated the Eucharist and would be with them through his Spirit whom they would receive at Pentecost after this time of prayer together. Remembering Mary, the women, apostles and disciples gathered in prayer for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit reminds us of the importance of praying for what we need.

Please believe that your prayer will be answered. search and you will find. Our lives can sometimes revolve around ‘me’ or ‘I’ or ‘myself. Martha. Even though not all prayers are answered in they way we desired. the women and apostles and disciples before Pentecost we will receive graces from prayer that otherwise we would not receive. In this parable Jesus wanted to teach us to keep asking God for what we want.” (Luke 10:41-42). Not all prayers are answered.While prayer is principally to make us more open to God. “Martha. Jesus said persistence will be enough to make him get up and give his friend all he wants (Luke 11:5-8). Each one of us knows people whose prayers seem to be always answered. Even after Jesus’ resurrection some of Jesus’ disciples asked him when he would restore the kingdom to Israel as we heard in the first reading for the Ascension (Acts 1:6). It is only in the next life that we will fully understand God’s plans. and then they are asked to pray for others also. People often ask priests and sisters to pray for their intentions and ask priests to offer Mass for their intentions. If we do not pray every day there is a huge void in our lives and we cannot hope to be happy. Although the friend did not want to get up. It is Mary who has chosen the better part and it shall not be taken from her. Remember what Jesus said to Martha who was busy serving Jesus while Mary sat listening at his feet. Like them when we wait in prayer like Mary. or I should say. But God has still more wonderful plans for us if we will allow them to be fulfilled. indeed only one. we also believe that God’s love leads him to hear and answer our prayers of petition. not answered in the way we wanted. For the one who asks always receives. the women. So please pray. We have plans and sometimes our plans are not fulfilled. Jesus himself taught the importance of asking God for what we need. Don’t you all leave it to me to pray for your intentions. you should all pray for your intentions. Pray that our celebration of Pentecost will lead to the Church being renewed . Once Jesus also told a parable about someone visiting his friend in the middle of the night looking for bread because he had a surprise visitor. you worry and fret about so many things and yet few are needed. They would understand Jesus only when they would receive the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. the one who searches always finds. the apostles and disciples for a renewed outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Church and on all of us that we may respond to God better. Is prayer wasting time instead of doing something good? We need both work and prayer in our lives. hopefully we can see that we have received graces we probably would not have received had those prayers been answered as we wished. They still believed he was a Messiah to drive out the Romans from Israel and did not yet fully understand that he was a Messiah to save us from our sins. that is good. They needed the grace of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost to fully understand Jesus. “Ask and it will be given to you. the one who knocks will always have the door opened to him” (Luke 11:910). We greatly admire the faith of people who pray to God every day for a request and a long time afterwards have their prayer answered. knock and the door will be opened to you. During this week before Pentecost I ask you to please pray like Mary. but it is also good that each of us prays for ourselves. to help us respond better to God’s grace in our lives.

Homily for the Seventeenth Sunday of Year C by Fr.) . the frontal and temporal lobe circuits become disengaged. and the limbic system becomes activated. Also as well as going on holidays every year why not give some thought to taking a holiday with the Lord by going on a retreat? Lord God.and strengthened by God’s Spirit. Grant that we may hear your call to silence and prayer and withdraw to our “upstairs room. you promised not to leave us orphaned but to remain with us always. Recently Duke University released the results of a study on 4. Those who attend church weekly live 10% longer than those who do not. In May 1999 the Demography magazine published the findings of studies about the effects of prayer. The Church has strict guidelines on accepting a healing as a miracle and so fifty-four of those healings have been accepted by the Church as miracles (according to René Latourelle The Miracles of Jesus and the Theology of Miracles pages 313-314 published in 1988). Studies in Israel show that religious people have a 40% lower death rate from cardiovascular disease and cancer. Why is prayer so good for one’s health? A scientist at Harvard. The scans have shown that physical changes take place in the body when someone meditates. Since the mid 1990’s the amount of research in the US on the effects of prayer on health has doubled. So the data is there. People doubted the results of the findings because they said regular church goers live healthier lives but the study had already taken that into account and had already made adjustments for lower rates of alcohol and tobacco use among church goers. Those who prayed regularly had significantly lower blood pressure than those who did not. and a “quietude” envelops the brain. parishes and places of work.” There we ask you to pour out on us afresh your Holy Spirit that we may be better witnesses to you in our families. Herbert Benson. prayer works. The study was carried out on 22. So the researchers stood over their results.000 people over nine years. The results of the research are very interesting. the secret is out of the bag. Those who attended religious services had healthier immune systems. has conducted MRI brain scans on those who meditate.000 people over the age of 65. Tommy Lane Since the apparition of Our Lady in Lourdes in 1858 more than twelve hundred physical healings claimed to have occurred there have been said by doctors to be scientifically inexplicable. Elderly people who never or rarely attend church have a stroke rate almost double that of those who do go to church. More findings from Duke University and from Dartmouth and Yale Universities show that people in hospital who never attend church regularly have an average stay in hospital three times longer than those who do attend church regularly. (Intense activity takes place in the brain’s parietal lobe circuits. Be with us in our confusion and disappointment when we do not know what to do.

Jesus asked us to pray and prayer satisfies our thirst for God. (Listen to my meditation on Psalm 63 mp3) So just as a desert is thirsty for water we are thirsty for God and we satisfy that thirst in prayer. There are also those occasions when there seems to be no answer of any kind to prayer. If you go to your friend in the middle of the night for something and he is slow to get up to answer the door. we keep praying no matter what. O God. Sometimes when we pray for something our intentions are not always good. So prayer and meditation is good for you. There are many other reasons why Jesus said to keep on praying. continue to pray until your prayers are answered. often silently and unknown. not only did Jesus ask us to pray. Ps 63 describes our longing for God like this. you are my God. but we actually need to pray for our happiness. knock and the door will be opened to you.” We listened to Luke’s Gospel today and you will notice that the Lord’s Prayer in Luke is slightly different to the version we pray. at least for now. if you persist your friend will get up to give you what you need. After the prayer we see Jesus teaching to pray for what we need (Luke 11:5-13). Sometimes our intentions in prayer are selfish and need to be purified and by praying for some request over a long time our intention is purified. we only see bits and pieces of the answer in this life. In Matthew’s Gospel Jesus teaches a longer version of the prayer and it is Matthew’s version that the Christian Churches use. In other words. For you my soul is thirsting. and that makes them real heroes. For the one who asks always receives. the “Our Father. the one who searches always find. keep praying to God for what you need. Suffering is a mystery and we do not know all the answers. it is good for our health.” (Luke 11:9-10) Why did Jesus say to keep on praying? Jesus knew that prayer is good for us. A beautiful Psalm. “Ask and it will be given to you. If we do not pray we will not be happy because the deepest part of our being will be starving for God. we had to wait almost 2000 years for the scientists to discover the same but Jesus knew and so he emphasized the importance of prayer. . for you I long. Jesus continued. But as Jesus said. This is a real test of faith and some people have crosses to carry. search and you will find. the one who knocks will always have the door opened to him. do not stop praying. Often you would hear sick people who went to Lourdes say that although they did not receive physical healing they received the grace of acceptance. Not only is prayer good for your health. In the Gospel today (Luke 11:1-13) Jesus taught his disciples to pray the Lord’s Prayer. My body pines for you Like a dry weary land without water. So let us pray.The result is that the body becomes more relaxed and body activity becomes more evenly regulated.

Through the miracle of modern science and space travel. Tommy Lane When I was in Florida recently I visited the Kennedy Space Center. What is leading Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction? Various passages in the Old Testament mention different sins in Sodom but the passage in Genesis 19 immediately following what we just heard today refers to homosexual acts. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and. by prayer and sacramental grace. The Church distinguishes between homosexual orientation and activity. if they are Christians. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. When we pray things happen. We pray expecting our prayer to change the outcome of events. that his prayer could save a city. So Jesus said.” (CCC 2358) Because homosexual acts are contrary to the natural law (CCC 2357) the Church calls on homosexual people to live celibately (CCC 2359) and offers the support group called Courage. I reached out and touched the moon! When we pray we leave this world and touch God. In the first reading (Gen 18:20-32) Abraham interceded on behalf of the city of Sodom that it might not be destroyed because of its sin. for most of them it is a trial.” (CCC 2359) Abraham knew and believed that prayer can change the future course of history and so he prayed and interceded before God to prevent a catastrophe. Abraham believed that his prayer could change the course of history. they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection. In the Space Center I was able to look at and touch moon rock.Homily for the Seventeenth Sunday of Year C by Fr. On orientation the Catechism of the Catholic Church says. to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition. I saw Cape Canaveral and the launch site for the space shuttle. If friendship will not make his friend get up out of bed. compassion. In the Gospel (Luke 11:1-13) Jesus taught the parable about someone going to his friend in the middle of the night for bread. at times by the support of disinterested friendship. They must be accepted with respect. Perhaps sometimes that is why our prayers are not answered quickly. because we need time to prepare our souls for the grace God will give us. and sensitivity. “They do not choose their homosexual condition. Prayer changes us and others to be ready to receive the grace of God. . “Homosexual persons are called to chastity. persistence at the door will.

Although we listened to the Our Father today in Luke’s Gospel. Let us never think a situation is hopeless and so let us never give up praying. Baptism is what gives us dignity in the Church. Aramaic was the language spoken in Palestine and Abba was approximately the equivalent of our word “Daddy. the Lord’s Prayer.” (Luke 11:9-10) With human eyes we cannot understand why sometimes a prayer request is granted quickly. As we heard in the second reading. As Christians believing in the power of prayer we know that our futures are not controlled by the stars or tealeaves in a cup or the lines on the palm of our hand. receives. and to the one who knocks. seek and you will find. Christians are never without hope because we see everything in the context of eternity. One of the prayers that has special significance for us is the Our Father. Our Father who art in heaven: Jesus taught us to call God Father because he is the source of all life. Daddy. and the one who seeks. which was opposed to us. knock and the door will be opened to you. ask and you will receive.“I tell you.” (Col 2:12) So let us keep praying because Jesus. (See stories about God as Father) We call God OUR Father because we are all one family in the Church. What is your image of the Father? The Father is Abba. with its legal claims.” Calling God Abba was quite unique because until then people had been accustomed to God as Yahweh. who wants you to reach out to him every day and be intimate with him. the door will be opened. having forgiven us all our transgressions. Since baptism we all belong to the one family of God. the version the Church uses is the one in Matthew which is slightly longer than Luke’s version. obliterating the bond against us. . and at other times it seems like it will never be granted. “you were also raised with Christ through faith in the power of God. We see Jesus calling his Father “Abba” in Mark 14:36. because it was taught to us by Jesus. Our futures depend on decisions we make and we know and believe that when we pray we can change the future course of events.” (Col 2:13-14) Sometimes people see the hand of God afterwards in the way situations worked themselves out. Jesus taught us to call God Father because this shows the intimacy that should exist between us and our heavenly Father. Civil society makes distinctions and differences but it is not so in the Church. who raised him from the dead. finds. nailing it to the cross. For everyone who asks. “brought you to life along with him. However we do believe that prayer is never wasted and somehow our prayer will be answered in God’s own way even if we have to wait until the next life to see how our prayer helped. he also removed it from our midst.

” Another help is to picture the person who caused the hurt beneath the cross of Jesus and Jesus dying for that person. counseling may be necessary to develop the skill of not being controlled by former painful events. From now on I will control my life. Jesus loves that person just as much as he loves you. Thy Kingdom Come: Jesus preached many times about the Kingdom of God using parables. Give us this day our daily bread: we ask God to provide us with all the physical needs we have e. it is a decision. The respect shown to God’s name by the Jewish people reminds us of the holiness of God’s name. then we become most fully who we are meant to be. This petition reminds us that we need to fill our minds above all every day with spiritual food.” (Acts 3:6) We also read in Acts 4:12 that only in the NAME of Jesus is there salvation. food. (rise and) walk. house. Both Peter and Judas failed Jesus during his Passion in different ways but the difference between Peter and Judas was that Judas put limits on God’s mercy. when reading the Hebrew Scriptures they could not pronounce the word “Yahweh” and instead said “Adonai. I take control of my life back from X. We fill our minds with much information every day from TV. For those who find it difficult to forgive I say to people to say to themselves. When praying this petition we pray that our world will more and more come to reflect the goodness and love of God. which God does in the Eucharist. Too often there is a lack of respect for the holiness of Jesus’ name and in this petition we pray that the whole world may respect God’s name. Praying in that way helps to free us from acting out of pain that has been inflicted on us. “I have neither silver nor gold. magazines etc. This petition also reminds us to forgive those who hurt us because we ask God to forgive us just as we forgive others.g. Forgiveness does not mean suppressing painful memories but it does mean not acting out of them. Although we work to earn money to provide for our needs we know that ultimately everything we have is a gift from God. Let us reach out to God for his mercy. Giving up the need to control another person in the sense of expecting them to . newspapers. but what I do have I give you: in the NAME of Jesus Christ the Nazorean. car. When the hurt is deep. We need to decide to forgive those who hurt us.) In the New Testament we see miracles performed using the name of Jesus. Forgiveness is not just an emotion. “I will not allow X to control my life. Peter said to the crippled man. We can also see this petition as asking God to fulfill our spiritual needs. There is no limit to God’s mercy.” The only person allowed to pronounce “Yahweh” was the high priest and he was allowed to do so only once a year (on the day of Yom Kippur/Day of Atonement in the Holy of Holies. When God’s will is done in our lives.Hallowed be Thy Name: In this petition we ask that God’s name be recognized as hallowed and holy all over the world. Let us not put limits on God’s mercy to us. We pray in this petition that God’s plan may be fulfilled in our lives and in the life of every person in the whole world. Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us: We all stand in need of God’s mercy. Thy Will be done on earth as it is in heaven: This petition is only in Matthew’s version of the prayer (not in Luke’s).

apologize to us also frees us to forgive them.” Her friend smiled and said. the next morning she found herself doing exactly that. I think we should pay more attention to them. the door will be opened. knock and the door will be opened to you. “Of Course I do. and the one who seeks. It was about an advertising executive.” Then he said something else that really made her think. In spite of her successful career. He looked at her and replied. Testing and temptation can be an occasion for us to strengthen our relationship with God. riches or possessions won’t fill that gap or space. Because the Psalms were the prayers that Jesus used every day. like the Psalm in today’s Mass. “Don. in this petition we ask God to prevent us from falling into temptation.” (Luke 11:9-10) Homily for the Thirteenth Sunday of Year C by Fr. Some of the Psalms are very beautiful. So let us pray. “Then start each day with an hour of prayer. Our future is not controlled by the stars or tealeaves in a cup or the lines on the palms of our hands. He said “You’re trying to fit God into your life. Instead you should be trying to make your life revolve around God. pray. If I tried that. Can I ask you is there any emptiness in your life? Is there any lack of fulfillment in your life? Money. In 1982 an article appeared in Reader’s Digest. she mentioned that emptiness. finds. Begin each morning with prayer? Begin each morning with an hour of prayer? Absolutely out of the question! Yet. seek and you will find.” she said. I say to couples who have difficulty forgiving each other to remember their enthusiastic love when they were first in love and to rekindle that enthusiastic love once again. you’ve got to be kidding. should we do so then to rescue us from temptation and evil. Tommy Lane What prayers did Jesus say every day? The Rosary didn’t exist at the time of Jesus. I’d go off my rocker. For everyone who asks. “Do you want to fill it?” her colleague asked.” The woman left the restaurant in turmoil. And she’s been .” She looked at him and said. Our future depends on decisions we make and depends on our prayer. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil: Obviously God does not want us to fall into temptation or be overcome by evil. and to the one who knocks. Prayer can change the course of history. There are 150 Psalms and many Jews would have known most of them off by heart. One morning. she felt an emptiness in her life. during a breakfast meeting with her marketing consultant. Let us reach out and touch God in prayer because we know and believe that prayer can change our lives and the lives of others. “That’s exactly what I said 20 years ago. receives. but God forbid. The Psalms were the prayers Jesus prayed every day. pray. “Ask and you will receive.

(Psalm) ‘I will bless the Lord who gives me counsel. often with the help and advice of another. (Here I ask the congregation to follow the Psalm of today’s Mass (Ps 16). Lord.”’ (Comment) Lord God. who even at night directs my heart. S. Mark Link. you’re there. (Psalm) ‘I keep the Lord ever in my sight. I quote the first two verses of the Psalm commenting ad lib on each line somewhat similar to the following though in more detail and repeating the line from the Psalm after the comment:) (Psalm) ‘Preserve me. ‘Preserve me.doing it ever since. it is you yourself who are my prize. I bless you Lord for giving me counsel.’ (Comment) When I am in trouble I turn to God for help who is my refuge and I say to God. that on those occasions when I did not know what to do.’ (Comment) Lord God you alone can satisfy me and I am deluded if I think the pleasures of this world will bring me fulfillment. (Psalm) ‘I will bless the Lord who gives me counsel. And it was on these weary mornings that she remembered something else that her marketing consultant said. I try to love you above all else. Still.J. soul. “There will be times when your mind just won’t go into God’s sanctuary. you are the only one who can help me. it is you who are my portion and cup. you helped me arrive at a decision.’ (Comment) I thank you. God. (Psalm) ‘O Lord. But there have been other mornings when she was filled with nothing but weariness.’ (Comment) I thank you Lord that even when I sleep you look after my whole being at every moment. (Psalm) ‘since he is at my right hand. There have been mornings when she was filled with great peace and joy. mind and strength. I shall stand firm.’ .’ (Psalm) ‘I say to the Lord: “You are my God. you are my only hope. with my whole heart. That’s when you spend your hour in God’s waiting room. In many different ways the Psalm says that only in God will we find the happiness we are seeking. The woman is the first to admit that it has not always been easy.) That story about the advertising executive finding her emptiness filled with prayer reminds me of that beautiful Psalm in today’s Mass. I take refuge in you.” (I found a synopsis of the Reader's Digest article in Illustrated Sunday Homilies Year C/Series 1 (page 78) by Fr.’ (Comment) Lord. and God appreciates your struggle to stay there.

(Comment) I do not fear the future and will not fear no matter what happens because you are at my right hand and you will help me to stand firm. (Then I repeat the first two verses of the Psalm once again and now they should mean much more to the congregation. Computers work well. Augustine wrote. we would be much more pleasing to Jesus if we spent time with him in prayer every day as well as doing good. Perhaps we could express this in a more mundane way. We are not meant to be workaholics. O Lord. “If you do your work well. indeed only one. What better companion to meet every day than God. harm no one. It is Mary who has chosen the better part. Martha was distracted with all the serving while Mary sat at Jesus’ feet listening to him. (Ps 16) Homily for the Sixteenth Sunday of Year C by Fr.” O Lord. although you admit that you don’t pray. Or again . rather than being a do gooder who does not pray. No doubt Martha would describe herself as someone who did her work well and didn’t harm anyone. It is only what you would expect. and don’t pray. I take refuge in you. and yet few are needed. Martha. she was vexed with her sister and Jesus was not entirely satisfied with her either: Martha. We can get so busy that we forget what life is all about. But it did not bring her peace of mind. like Jesus who prayed the Psalms. We could not be more privileged. (Luke 10:41-42) Clearly working well and harming no one is not nearly as good as also spending time with Jesus. Time spent in prayer is not time wasted.” I conclude with the words of the Psalm: Preserve me. but is deeply rewarding. “You have made us for Yourself. I say to the Lord: “You are my God. but you don’t pray.) I would like to encourage you to find time to pray every day. and like the advertising executive. I would like to ask you. Tommy Lane You tell me that you do your work well. what is the difference between you and a computer?” No difference. it is you who are my portion and cup. you worry and fret about so many things. it is not to be taken from her. and our hearts are restless until they rest in You. We are sons and daughters of God since baptism. it is you yourself who are my prize. God. It is a pity to see work reducing us sometimes to the level of computers. Jesus never said to work always. St. We can get so involved in pursuing the things money can buy that we forget the things money can’t buy. you don’t harm anyone. you don’t harm anyone. Martha learned that Jesus would be much happier if she spent time with him rather than running all over the house. but he did say to pray always. so you are a good Christian.

Then ask God in prayer to heal that wound. (Luke 10:41-42) Homily for the Sixteenth Sunday of Year C by Fr. It is Mary who has chosen the better part. There is a story told about someone riding an elephant through an African village. the man gave the elephant a stick to hold in his trunk. that may signal that God wants to give us the grace of healing that wound in prayer. If we really meet Jesus in prayer we will be uplifted and much better afterwards. Whatever emotions or desires arise in our mind during prayer may be a message to us to bring that matter before the Lord in prayer to get it resolved in prayer. That was his way to occupy the mad man in the attic. Usually people call the awareness during prayer of what is happening deep within them distractions. That wound is an obstacle to our friendship with God and needs to be healed.and not just do gooders. Martha. and yet few are needed. We only become aware when we take the time to quieten down and pray. No one would say that prayer is easy. It is great to see so many who spend one hour before Jesus in the Eucharist in the Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration Chapels. but these distractions are often messages to help us get our lives in order. but it is certainly rewarding. indeed only one. I would like to encourage you to spend a substantial amount of time in prayer every day. said it is like having a mad man in the attic. For example.people in relationship with Christ . three minutes. we are called to be Christians . Two minutes. It is the most fruitful time of all. Tommy Lane . Distractions can be of many kinds. Time spend in prayer is not time wasted. Reading a few verses from the Bible would help you to concentrate again. you worry and fret about so many things. I believe God calls Christians to pray for hours every day. Sometimes we become distracted in prayer simply because our minds are so active. it is not to be taken from her. or five minutes is not enough. He was then able to ride through the village without the elephant causing any trouble. So to prevent this.perhaps we could express it in this way. The elephant would poke his trunk into everything while passing by and cause damage. St Teresa of Avila. Martha. Whatever way we occupy the mad man in the attic the important thing is to meet Jesus in prayer. anger and forgiveness arising during prayer make us aware of the need to forgive. When you notice yourself becoming distracted you can look at the picture or candle again. If something painful from the past keeps popping into our head during prayer. We may need to give the mad man in the attic something to occupy himself if we are to have less distractions during prayer. Looking at a holy picture or a lighted candle might help. writing about this. We live such busy lives that sometimes we might not even be aware of what is really going on deep within us. How do we occupy the mad man in the attic or give the elephant a stick for his trunk? Maybe playing very quiet easy-listening reflective music in the background might help.

It is Mary who has chosen the better part. . (Luke 10:41-42) To be with the Lord we need space and silence. it is not to be taken from her. this particular way in which you live out your relationship with the Lord by means of poverty. is also a much needed example of the importance of these values in a world which is ever more getting lost in what has no value. and the cloister gives that space and silence needed for a special relationship with the Lord. We are well aware that this country had become materialistic. Martha. did not understand and complained about her sister. you worry and fret about so many things.This homily was delivered in a cloistered convent. Indeed to someone coming in from outside. and therefore is nothing new. One of the twelve apostles even showed the same lack of understanding – Judas – when he complained about the woman who anointed the feet of Jesus (John 12:7). Living in the cloister you live out union with Christ joyfully by means of the evangelical counsels of poverty. Mary sat at Jesus’ feet. indeed only one. Living in the cloister also means renouncing some of the goods of creation to make space for the best of all. Martha. Mary in the Gospel not only found space at the Lord’s feet to be with him but had to withdraw from doing things so as to give time to the Lord. Mary in the Gospel also had to withdraw from her sister while she spent time with the Lord. Perfectae Caritatis §5). She withdrew from the activities around her so as to concentrate on the Lord. She received praise from the Lord who said. chastity and obedience. Mary’s sister. Martha. and selfish during the economic boom of recent years but your life of evangelical poverty is a response which shows that having the Lord in one’s heart is “the one thing necessary” or the “better part” spoken of by the Lord in today’s Gospel (Luke 10:42). the Lord himself. Just as Mary was an example by spending time with the Lord. being inside this cloister gives the impression of already being halfway to heaven. greedy. and yet few are needed. Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus is often taken to be a model for the contemplative consecrated life (for example Vita Consecrata §109. Living in the cloister is withdrawing from activity to be with the Lord. chastity. She needed silence in order to listen to the Lord. Not understanding the call and grace to love the Lord in this special way goes right back to the time Christ himself was on earth. and obedience. spending time listening to him.

you worry and fret about so many things. soul. separated freedom from living under God. Your life in the cloister is a response which shows that true freedom is freedom in Christ. and obedience here in the cloister you are living examples of the love Mary showed to Jesus in the Gospel today. (Luke 10:41-42) Of course living the cloistered consecrated life is a dying to oneself and a sharing in its own particular way in the Passion of Christ. that it is possible to love God above everything and everybody. The Church values you and your life of prayer and commitment to Christ so much as well as depending on your prayers and example. but a sharing to find new life in the joyful resurrection of Christ. chastity. indeed only one. Your life of perfect chastity here in the cloister is a response which shows that with the grace of God it is possible to love God with all one’s heart. you worry and fret about so many things. indeed only one. Indeed the Church teaches that your consecrated life has an objective superiority because it is so rich a manifestation of the values of the Gospel of Christ and already anticipates the future fullness of the Kingdom of God (for example Vita Consecrata §32) Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus is often taken . We all share in some way in the Passion of Christ when we offer our suffering to the Lord for the Kingdom. and yet few are needed. There is only one freedom. it is not to be taken from her. Your renunciation of self leads to closer union with Christ your Spouse. freedom for Christ. 93). By your living of poverty. 59. Indeed we might ask if the current economic collapse and mountain of debt (2010) is an example of a return to slavery after irresponsible and immoral freedom during the economic boom. Martha. (Luke 10:41-42) We are well aware that society is losing sight of God’s plan for the gift of sexuality. mind and strength. and forgetting the boundary that God has put around his gift of sexuality. Thirdly we are aware of perverted notions of freedom in society today that have separated freedom and morality. Martha. Society is forgetting God the giver of the gift. It is Mary who has chosen the better part. Indeed we sometimes talk of Christ as your Spouse due to the special relationship of consecrated religious with the Lord (for example Vita Consecrata §34. But this renunciation of self always lead to joy because the cross leads to resurrection. Martha. and separating sexuality from morality. this country. It is Mary who has chosen the better part. Your renunciation of self in so many ways is akin to Paul in the second reading today (Col 1:24-28) who said that in his own body he made up what was lacking in the sufferings of Christ for the salvation of the Church (Col 1:24). Any other freedom would ultimately end up in slavery. and therefore freedom is obedient to Christ. and to do so joyfully.Martha. this diocese. You make up in your own bodies what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ for the salvation of this parish. and yet few are needed. it is not to be taken from her.

Instead they were fasts to ask God for a favor or protection from calamities. While the Jewish Law or Torah decreed fasting only once a year on Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). and yet few are needed.” (Luke 18:13) Unlike the Pharisee. did not raise his eyes and he beat his breast. (Sermon 351. The doctor would not be able to treat you if complained about someone else’s illness and did not tell your own symptoms. lists the faults of others.” (Luke 18:11) Therefore it is no surprise when we hear that the Pharisee did not go home justified after his prayer in the temple (Luke 18:14). Tommy Lane When you are ill and go to the doctor it would not make much sense to tell the doctor about another person’s illness. Perfectae Caritatis §5). and complains also about the tax collector praying nearby. The Pharisee and tax collector both go to the Temple to pray. the Lord himself. chastity and obedience are examples to the world of what has true value. “O God. Martha. Even his body language displays his repentance: he stood away at a distance. Therefore God met him where he was and lifted him up and went home justified (Luke 18:14). If you were to do that . it is not to be taken from her. It is Mary who has chosen the better part. If you were to do that you would go home again just as sick as when you went to see the doctor. They even fasted to prevent bad dreams or to understand how to interpret dreams. On the other hand the tax collector goes to the temple in repentance. When you are ill and go to the doctor it would not make much sense to tell the doctor about another person’s illness. Augustine on today’s Gospel) Strange as that may seem it is precisely what happens in the parable that Jesus tells in today’s Gospel (Luke 18:9-14). dishonest. be merciful to me a sinner. So the Pharisee’s fasting was not repentance. as the years went by Jewish piety added more fasting. Your life manifests richly the values of Christ’s Gospel and rightly does the Church often say that your Spouse is Christ. But these additional fasts were not to repent of sins. Mary withdrew from the activities around her so as to concentrate on the Lord just as you have renounced so many good things for the best. adulterous—or even like this tax collector. Martha. We might think the Pharisee came to God with the right attitude since he fasted twice a week. But it is above all in his prayer that we see his repentance. Your poverty. I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity—greedy. The doctor would not be able to treat you if complained about someone else’s illness and did not tell your own symptoms. “O God. However the Pharisee. He came to God as he was. (Luke 10:41-42) Homily for the Thirtieth Sunday of Year C by Fr. he did not try to conceal who he really was or put on a mask to hide his real self from God. you worry and fret about so many things. instead of presenting himself humbly before God asking for God’s help and grace. indeed only one.to be a model for the contemplative and consecrated life (for example Vita Consecrata §109.1 of St.

Let us humbly admit our nothingness before God and our dependence on God like St. The tax collector is really living the first beatitude. The Pharisee came to God complaining about others’ sins and did not go home with the peace of God in his heart.” The Lord is waiting to fill us with his grace. It is such humble repentance that also gives us the grace to receive the Lord’s forgiveness in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. On the other hand the tax collector came before God in complete humility. be merciful to me a sinner. When you are ill and go to the doctor it would not make much sense to tell the doctor about another person’s illness. Sin is glamorized on TV but sin is sin and needs to be repented of. A libation of wine was poured over sacrifices so Paul is indicating he knows his life will end in the sacrifice of martyrdom. “O God. The doctor would not be able to treat you if complained about someone else’s illness and did not tell your own symptoms. All Paul’s witnesses abandoned him when he had to defend himself. who humbly meets Jesus in a spirit of repentance and is also saved (Luke 19:1-10) Throughout Scripture we see God coming to those who know their need of God. In fact. Glamorizing of sin on TV and other media is closing the door to God. He is just like another tax collector. Let us not be too proud like the Pharisee but humble like the tax collector so that we can make frequent use of the sacrament go home peaceful again like the tax collector. He wrote in our second reading. The Pharisee and tax collector received from God what they deserved.” (Luke 18:13) . That sacrament is a beautiful way to meet the Lord and go home peaceful again like the tax collector. Paul. if only we come before him in humble repentance saying like the tax collector. What about us? Surely the Lord is saying to us in the parable that we have nothing to fear in approaching him just as we are. it is the correct way to approach God because otherwise we block God out from our life.you would go home again just as sick as when you went to see the doctor.” He is poor in spirit. “Lord I am not worthy to receive you but only say the word and I shall be healed. Zacchaeus. “Blessed are the poor in spirit. So he is left with only the Lord to be with him. so that through me the proclamation might be completed and all the Gentiles might hear it. admitting who he really was. and went home at peace with God. Instead the Lord is waiting to fill us with his grace. whom we will hear about next Sunday. And I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.” (Luke 18:13) For the same reason we begin every Mass asking God to forgive us and again before receiving Holy Communion we say. Humble repentance before God opens us to God’s grace. be merciful to me a sinner. Paul too is living the attitude of the tax collector. He has no masks. “But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength.” (2 Tim 4:17) St. if only we come before him in humble repentance saying like the tax collector. “O God. The first reading today from Eccliasticus/Sirach reminds us that God does not have favorites and hears the cry of the oppressed (35:12-13) and that the prayer of the lowly pierces the clouds (35:17). Paul knows he will soon be martyred so he says he is already being poured out as a libation (2 Tim 4:6). It is when we realize that we have nothing that we are ready to receive God’s grace. forgiveness and love. In the second reading Paul (or someone expressing Paul’s thought) is also poor in spirit before God. forgiveness and love.

But there have been other mornings when she was filled with nothing but weariness. “Don. “Of Course I do. One morning. she felt an emptiness in her life. It was about an advertising executive. she mentioned that emptiness.” The woman left the restaurant in turmoil. “Do you want to fill it?” her colleague asked. Because the Psalms were the prayers that Jesus used every day. In 1982 an article appeared in Reader’s Digest. you’re there. Instead you should be trying to make your life revolve around God. There have been mornings when she was filled with great peace and joy. Begin each morning with prayer? Begin each morning with an hour of prayer? Absolutely out of the question! Yet. In many different ways the Psalm says that only in God will we find the happiness we are seeking. In spite of her successful career.Homily for the Thirteenth Sunday of Year C by Fr.) That story about the advertising executive finding her emptiness filled with prayer reminds me of that beautiful Psalm in today’s Mass. Can I ask you is there any emptiness in your life? Is there any lack of fulfillment in your life? Money. the next morning she found herself doing exactly that. That’s when you spend your hour in God’s waiting room. S. “There will be times when your mind just won’t go into God’s sanctuary. Some of the Psalms are very beautiful. If I tried that. “That’s exactly what I said 20 years ago.” Her friend smiled and said.’ (Comment) When I am in trouble I turn to God for help who is my refuge and I say to God. ‘Preserve me.J. I quote the first two verses of the Psalm commenting ad lib on each line somewhat similar to the following though in more detail and repeating the line from the Psalm after the comment:) (Psalm) ‘Preserve me.” Then he said something else that really made her think.” She looked at him and said. God. you’ve got to be kidding. Mark Link. during a breakfast meeting with her marketing consultant. I think we should pay more attention to them.” she said. He looked at her and replied. Tommy Lane What prayers did Jesus say every day? The Rosary didn’t exist at the time of Jesus. He said “You’re trying to fit God into your life. riches or possessions won’t fill that gap or space. The woman is the first to admit that it has not always been easy. I’d go off my rocker.’ . Still. “Then start each day with an hour of prayer.” (I found a synopsis of the Reader's Digest article in Illustrated Sunday Homilies Year C/Series 1 (page 78) by Fr. I take refuge in you. (Here I ask the congregation to follow the Psalm of today’s Mass (Ps 16). And she’s been doing it ever since. like the Psalm in today’s Mass. And it was on these weary mornings that she remembered something else that her marketing consultant said. There are 150 Psalms and many Jews would have known most of them off by heart. and God appreciates your struggle to stay there. The Psalms were the prayers Jesus prayed every day.

Augustine wrote. I say to the Lord: “You are my God. like Jesus who prayed the Psalms. It is only what you would expect. (Ps 16) Homily for the Sixteenth Sunday of Year C by Fr. that on those occasions when I did not know what to do. who even at night directs my heart. Tommy Lane . soul. I bless you Lord for giving me counsel. Lord. I take refuge in you. it is you who are my portion and cup.’ (Comment) I thank you. you are my only hope.’ (Comment) I thank you Lord that even when I sleep you look after my whole being at every moment. Time spent in prayer is not time wasted.”’ (Comment) Lord God.) I would like to encourage you to find time to pray every day. with my whole heart. you helped me arrive at a decision. “You have made us for Yourself. you are the only one who can help me. I shall stand firm. What better companion to meet every day than God. it is you yourself who are my prize.” O Lord. it is you yourself who are my prize. (Psalm) ‘I keep the Lord ever in my sight. often with the help and advice of another.(Psalm) ‘I say to the Lord: “You are my God. God. (Psalm) ‘O Lord. (Psalm) ‘I will bless the Lord who gives me counsel.’ (Comment) Lord. but is deeply rewarding. (Psalm) ‘since he is at my right hand. and our hearts are restless until they rest in You. I try to love you above all else. St.’ (Comment) Lord God you alone can satisfy me and I am deluded if I think the pleasures of this world will bring me fulfillment. O Lord. (Then I repeat the first two verses of the Psalm once again and now they should mean much more to the congregation. (Psalm) ‘I will bless the Lord who gives me counsel.’ (Comment) I do not fear the future and will not fear no matter what happens because you are at my right hand and you will help me to stand firm.” I conclude with the words of the Psalm: Preserve me. mind and strength. it is you who are my portion and cup. and like the advertising executive.

rather than being a do gooder who does not pray. it is not to be taken from her.You tell me that you do your work well. For example. Martha. but it is certainly rewarding. she was vexed with her sister and Jesus was not entirely satisfied with her either: Martha. Perhaps we could express this in a more mundane way. Jesus never said to work always. We can get so busy that we forget what life is all about. We can get so involved in pursuing the things money can buy that we forget the things money can’t buy. you don’t harm anyone. Time spend in prayer is not time wasted. But it did not bring her peace of mind. and yet few are needed. you worry and fret about so many things. what is the difference between you and a computer?” No difference. (Luke 10:41-42) Clearly working well and harming no one is not nearly as good as also spending time with Jesus. we would be much more pleasing to Jesus if we spent time with him in prayer every day as well as doing good. although you admit that you don’t pray. We are sons and daughters of God since baptism. or five minutes is not enough. No doubt Martha would describe herself as someone who did her work well and didn’t harm anyone. so you are a good Christian. Or again perhaps we could express it in this way. It is Mary who has chosen the better part. It is a pity to see work reducing us sometimes to the level of computers. Martha was distracted with all the serving while Mary sat at Jesus’ feet listening to him. that may signal that God wants to give us the grace of healing that wound in prayer.and not just do gooders. “If you do your work well. but you don’t pray. Whatever emotions or desires arise in our mind during prayer may be a message to us to bring that matter before the Lord in prayer to get it resolved in prayer. It is great to see so many who spend one hour before Jesus in the Eucharist in the Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration Chapels. If something painful from the past keeps popping into our head during prayer. .people in relationship with Christ . but he did say to pray always. We only become aware when we take the time to quieten down and pray. and don’t pray. It is the most fruitful time of all. We live such busy lives that sometimes we might not even be aware of what is really going on deep within us. No one would say that prayer is easy. Usually people call the awareness during prayer of what is happening deep within them distractions. We are not meant to be workaholics. I would like to encourage you to spend a substantial amount of time in prayer every day. Distractions can be of many kinds. We could not be more privileged. indeed only one. I believe God calls Christians to pray for hours every day. but these distractions are often messages to help us get our lives in order. Martha learned that Jesus would be much happier if she spent time with him rather than running all over the house. That wound is an obstacle to our friendship with God and needs to be healed. anger and forgiveness arising during prayer make us aware of the need to forgive. I would like to ask you. Then ask God in prayer to heal that wound. you don’t harm anyone. Two minutes. we are called to be Christians . Computers work well. three minutes. harm no one.

I was approached by the man I had treated earlier. We waited for you to go to sleep and planned to kill you and take your money and drugs. “Some friends and I followed you into the jungle. Dr David Jeremiah relates the following incident. I was not the only one . It is Mary who has chosen the better part. I then returned home without incident. He was then able to ride through the village without the elephant causing any trouble. “I was certainly all alone out in the jungle campsite. Martha. knowing you would camp overnight. So to prevent this. One day the two of them were out riding on horseback and St. Whatever way we occupy the mad man in the attic the important thing is to meet Jesus in prayer. While serving at a small field hospital in Africa. That was his way to occupy the mad man in the attic. The elephant would poke his trunk into everything while passing by and cause damage. and yet few are needed. Martha. His friend got as far as. we would pray more. Upon arriving in the city several weeks later. “Give us this day our daily bread” when he looked at St. I traveled every two weeks by bicycle through the jungle to a nearby city for supplies.” The young man pressed the point. you worry and fret about so many things. Bernard I heard the following related by Archbishop Fulton Sheen in a broadcast. One was seriously hurt so I treated him and witnessed to him about the Lord Jesus Christ. “Can I have the saddle too?” I am convinced that if enough people prayed the course of world history could be changed. If we really meet Jesus in prayer we will be uplifted and much better afterwards. Bernard that he had no distractions. (Luke 10:41-42) Distractions in Prayer and St. Just as we were about to move into your campsite. He said.Sometimes we become distracted in prayer simply because our minds are so active. I laughed at this and said. We may need to give the mad man in the attic something to occupy himself if we are to have less distractions during prayer. A friend boasted to St. Looking at a holy picture or a lighted candle might help. we saw that you were surrounded by 26 armed guards. He told me he had known that I carried money and medicine. Bernard and asked. the man gave the elephant a stick to hold in his trunk. Reading a few verses from the Bible would help you to concentrate again. I saw two men fighting in the city. How do we occupy the mad man in the attic or give the elephant a stick for his trunk? Maybe playing very quiet easy-listening reflective music in the background might help. St. If we did. Bernard admitted that he had trouble with distractions. it is not to be taken from her. There is a story told about someone riding an elephant through an African village. writing about this. Bernard said he would give his friend his horse if he got off his horse and could pray the Our Father without any distractions. We don’t believe enough in the power of prayer. indeed only one. “No sir. This required camping overnight halfway. On one of these trips. Think about this example. said it is like having a mad man in the attic. When you notice yourself becoming distracted you can look at the picture or candle again. St Teresa of Avila.

He stated. I was preparing to play golf.” At this point of my church presentation in Michigan. I felt the Lord leading me to pray for you. As I put my bags in the car. there were 26 of them! (Dr. one of the men in the church stood up and interrupted me. He asked. and we all counted them. the Great Adventure) . “Can you tell me the exact date when this happened?” I thought for a while and recalled the date. Will all those men who met to pray please stand?” The men who had met that day to pray together stood. My five friends also saw them. . . the urging was so great that I called the men of this church together to pray for you.to see the guards. In fact. The man in the congregation then gave his side of the story. “On that night in Africa it was day here. David Jeremiah’s story about prayer is published in Prayer. It was because of those guards that we were afraid and left you alone.