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Homily For Ordinary 22 - Year A
Friar Sydney Mascarenhas. O.F.M., Ph.D


     The following Homily is provided by Friar Sidney as a way
     of enriching the ministry of the Word as presented through
     this web site.  Friar Sidney, who has spent much of his
     ministry in India, is currently a Professor of Philosophy
     in Rome.  He can be reached at smascarenhas@ofm.org.  The texts
     used by Friar Sydney come from the Roman Lectionary - which in
     most points agrees with the Revised Common Lectionary.


READINGS:  
Jeremiah 20:7-9.  Romans 12:1-2.  Matthew 16:21-27.


INTRODUCTION:
What does Jeremiah find imprisoned in the marrow of his bones?
What does Jesus mean when He says: Take up your Cross! Let us
reflect on these realities of life today. 


HOMILY:
As little children, we have all been fed with stories of "once
upon a time" and "they were happy ever after." Somehow, every
generation has had its lot to bear.

I am sure every young man and woman has passed through a moment
of suffocation.

There was 19 year old Maria. She came from a poor family.  But
that poor family of hers had found enough money to send her to
the University. 

There, she one day saw Peter.  He was handsome.  He was
sensitive.  He was courteous.  He was warm.  He was clever.  The
teachers were fond of him.  The rich girls adored him.  He had
wealth flowing off his palms.  He came in a lovely sports car
sometimes accompanied by three of the best-dressed girls in the
campus.  Yeah, he received all attention from everybody. 

But Maria also noticed something special in him.  He did not very
much bother about the attention bestowed on him.  Maria always
wondered what kept him so unaffected by all that attention and
glamour which surrounded him.  She watched him whenever their
eyes did not meet.  And even in class, whenever she could, she
took a chance to spy on him.  Of course, around his seat, were
girls who could show off wealth that she could never dream off.

One day, it so happened, while they were rushing from class, her
bag spilled over.  To her surprise she found only Peter gathering
up her things.  He then handed it over to her with a look of
affection.  She had never expected this from him.  She took her
books and all her stuff he had gathered for her.  And while she
took it, she noticed that he watched her intently.  They walked
together in silence.  When it was time to part, Peter said to
her: "Maria, can I drop you home".  Her heart swelled.  Her
throat choked.  She blushed.  But before she could react, Peter
was leading her to his sports car.  He opened the door.  She
stepped in.  And off rattled the engine and they drove off. 
Before she could recover, she was at the front of her house. 
There was Peter, in his courteous, dashing and warm manner,
opening the door of the car on her side.  She stepped out. 
Before she could thank him, he was gone.

That night she was restless.  Peter's image and mannerism haunted
her. 

The days that followed saw Peter wait for her and drop her home. 
Soon he even came to pick her every morning.

Then one evening, when they had reached her house, Peter told
her: "You know, I was just wondering how lucky you are."

The days that followed she discovered that Peter had also his
woes to bear.  His life, the way he saw it, was quite different
from the way she had looked at it.  All the gold she had seen him
have, was not glitter for him.  Painfully she listened to him. 
He told her how he struggled to be himself.  Painfully she heard
him tell her that she was a million times luckier than he. 
Painfully she realized that riches do not make a person any
better or happier.  Painfully she learnt that each has his or her
cross to bear.  And suddenly, she realized what most attractive
in him: without any airs he had laid himself down for her.  He
was a warm-blooded human.

It is this great strength and feeling that is most often
imprisoned in our bones!  Christians, do we realize we are human? 

Shalom!
   
copyright - Friar Sydney Mascarenhas and  Rev. Richard J. Fairchild 1999 - 2005
            please acknowledge the appropriate author if citing these sermons.


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