Rooted, Built and Firm in Faith, Tuesday of the 23rd Week in Ordinary Time (I), September 10, 2013

Fr. Roger J. Landry
St. Bernadette Parish, Fall River, MA
Tuesday of the 23rd Week in Ordinary Time, Year I
September 10, 2013
Col 2:6-15, Ps 145, Lk 6:12-19

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

 

The following points were attempted in the homily:

  •  In this Year of Faith, God wants to help us grow in faith. In the Gospel, we see that people from everywhere came to Jesus to be touched by him and healed, but that’s just the beginning of faith. God wants to enter into a deep relationship with each of us. That’s why St. Paul says at the beginning of today’s passage from his letter to the Church in Colossae, “As you received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in him.” We’re supposed to be journeying in our pilgrimage of faith and not just following Christ’s footsteps on the outside, but walking in him, doing everything in him.
  • St. Paul makes what is far more than a metaphor concrete with three verbal expressions, all in the passive voice, which gives us criteria to evaluate how we’re supposed to be growing during this Year of Faith. “Rooted in him,” “Build upon him,” and “Firmly established in the faith as you were taught.” For World Youth Day in Madrid in 2011, Pope Benedict chose these words as the motto and wrote a letter to the young people of the world    about them. His words are relevant to all of us, no matter how young, during this Year of Faith.
  • To be rooted in Christ means that we embed our lives more and more in him, like the image of the tree in the first psalm that stretches forth its roots to the living water and remains strong and vibrant even in drought and against wind. We’re supposed to root ourselves in Christ’s word, in the sacraments, in his charity, in his body the Church. If we’re not firmly rooted in him, we’ll be like the chaff that burns away.
  • To be built on him brings to mind Jesus’ words about the wise man who built his house on rock, the man who hears his words and acts on them. The Church’s architectural plan has Christ as the cornerstone, the apostles (who are called in today’s Gospel) as the pillars, and each of us as “living stones,” living meaning growing, alive in Christ, and stones meaning not play dough but solid. We see that Simon, the first of the apostles, had his name changed to Peter meaning “Rock,” despite the fact that he was a sinner and weak before temptation. The Lord, likewise, can change us from dead silly puddy to living stones and that’s what he wants to do in this Year of Faith.
  • Third is “firm in the faith” we have been taught. Pope Benedict said that St. Paul was writing to a Church in which many had been seduced by the philosophies associated with gnosticism. He said we likewise need to make sure we’re not seduced away from the faith by the philosophies of our own age, individualism, materialism, hedonism, secularism and the like. We need to be firm in faith to recognizes these seductions and resist them.
  • That’s the gift Christ wants to give us this Year. He calls us, just as much as he called the apostles in today’s Gospel; he prays for us just like he prayed before he called them, so that we might become pillars for the transmission not only of the faith as Good News to others, but pillars, living stones, for others to be able to root themselves in a personal relationship with Christ, build their entire lives on him, grow firm in fidelity to him, and we and they might be able to confirm the whole world in this same faith.

The readings for today’s Mass were: 

Reading 1
COL 2:6-15

Brothers and sisters:
As you received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in him,
rooted in him and built upon him
and established in the faith as you were taught,
abounding in thanksgiving.
See to it that no one captivate you with an empty, seductive philosophy
according to the tradition of men,
according to the elemental powers of the world
and not according to Christ.For in him dwells the whole fullness of the deity bodily,
and you share in this fullness in him,
who is the head of every principality and power.
In him you were also circumcised
with a circumcision not administered by hand,
by stripping off the carnal body, with the circumcision of Christ.
You were buried with him in baptism,
in which you were also raised with him
through faith in the power of God,
who raised him from the dead.
And even when you were dead in transgressions
and the uncircumcision of your flesh,
he brought you to life along with him,
having forgiven us all our transgressions;
obliterating the bond against us, with its legal claims,
which was opposed to us,
he also removed it from our midst, nailing it to the cross;
despoiling the principalities and the powers,
he made a public spectacle of them,
leading them away in triumph by it.

Responsorial Psalm
PS 145:1B-2, 8-9, 10-11

R. (9) The Lord is compassionate toward all his works.
I will extol you, O my God and King,
and I will bless your name forever and ever.
Every day will I bless you,
and I will praise your name forever and ever.
R. The Lord is compassionate toward all his works.
The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and of great kindness.
The LORD is good to all
and compassionate toward all his works.
R. The Lord is compassionate toward all his works.
Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your Kingdom
and speak of your might.
R. The Lord is compassionate toward all his works.

Gospel
LK 6:12-19

Jesus departed to the mountain to pray,
and he spent the night in prayer to God.
When day came, he called his disciples to himself,
and from them he chose Twelve, whom he also named Apostles:
Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew,
James, John, Philip, Bartholomew,
Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus,
Simon who was called a Zealot,
and Judas the son of James,
and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.And he came down with them and stood on a stretch of level ground.
A great crowd of his disciples and a large number of the people
from all Judea and Jerusalem
and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon
came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases;
and even those who were tormented by unclean spirits were cured.
Everyone in the crowd sought to touch him
because power came forth from him and healed them all.