Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization

"Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization"

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Sunday, July 16, 2006

Homily O. L. Mt. Carmel Parish Feast Day 16 July 2006

Today, as we gather to celebrate the great Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary…
under the title of Our Lady of Mount Carmel…
in the ninety-eighth year of the life of this parish…
we recall the tremendous graces God has bestowed upon the Church
and the local community…
through the love, the dedicated service, and the faith
of thousands of Catholics…
who have called Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church their home.
We rejoice in the fidelity and love
with which they have fulfilled their baptismal calling…
to go forth and proclaim the Gospel of Christ.
And we pledge ourselves ever more fully to our own unique vocations.

Today the Church call us all to reflect on the unique plan God has for each of us.
He has chosen us for a mission...and He sends us forth!

The prophet Amos was chosen to bring God’s Word to the people of Israel.
He was taken from his life as a shepherd and a dresser of sycamores…
snatched from the life he knew and loved…
to go forth on a mission he did not at first understand.
He did not choose to be a prophet…
nor did he want to leave the life he had made for himself…


The disciples of Jesus were chosen from among fishermen and tax collectors…

They received a gift more precious than the prophets of old…
for they knew and loved the Word of God made flesh in Jesus Christ.
They spoke with Him, learned from Him, were nourished by His loving presence.

They were set aside by the Lord Himself…
and sent forth on a mission to proclaim the Gospel of Christ…
and to bring His love…in Word and in Sacrament…
to every corner of the globe.
Such is the great foundation of the Church!

Each one of us is chosen…and sent out.

At our Baptism we were welcomed with joy into the Mystical Body of Christ…
as the priest makes the sign of the Cross on our foreheads.
We are consecrated…and sealed with an indelible mark.
We become more than passive members in an organization.
We are in fact baptized people…set apart from the world…
with our true citizenship in heaven…
and our true destiny in eternity.

We are chosen by Christ to be members of His Body, the Church…
and sent out to bring His Gospel to the world.

From within the “priesthood of the baptized”
are set apart those whom God has ordained to be His ministers.
As the Apostles…the first priests and bishops of the Church…were chosen…
set apart for the ministry which Christ ordained they should fulfill…
and sent forth to preach and to heal…
So every priest is chosen…
consecrated, that is, set apart…
and commissioned…
to teach, to shepherd, and to sanctify the people of the Church.

All are called…and all are sent forth…
to bring the love of Christ to others in a unique way.

Common to each and every baptized person…priest and layman alike…
is the call to self-denial.

Jesus sends His disciples forth with nothing more than a walking stick…
He commands them to take with them only what is essential.
They are to leave behind any possessions that might distract them…
for they must learn to rely on His grace alone.
The authority and power He gives them surpasses any human power…
and offers a source of strength far greater than any material possessions.

Yet, it is more than things that the disciples of Christ must leave behind…
for attitudes, prejudices, personal demands and desires…
can also get in the way of our service to Christ.

If we are afraid to approach people because of who they are…
how will we ever bring the love of Christ to them?
If what we want is always at the forefront of our minds…
how will Christ ever shine through us to the world?
If we do not ever leave behind the sinful habits and trappings of life…
which hold us back from truly embracing Christ…
how will we ever fulfill our journey of faith?

Whatever way God has chosen for you to live…
however you are to spread the Gospel…
one thing remains certain:
In order to accomplish all that Christ asks of us…
we must leave behind all that holds us back from truly embracing our vocation.

Today we honor the Blessed Virgin Mary…
Mother of Jesus…
Mother of the Church…
Mother of each one of us.
Mary stands for us as the premier example of all that the Gospel teaches us today.
She is chosen by God Himself…
given a sacred mission…
which she fulfills with utmost love and humility.

Mary was chosen by God from ages past to be the Mother of His only Son…
She was kept free from the stain of original sin…
She was visited by an angel, who announced to the her joyous news
that she had conceived the Son of God.
She was given the singular privilege of bearing in her womb and raising up
the child Jesus.
Mary’s mission was to bring Christ into the world.
She was the first to be charged with this great commission.
We are to follow in her footsteps.

Mary accepted her mission with outstanding humility and self-denial…
To the angel she declared:
“let it be done to me according to your word.”
Though she was only a young girl…
who could not have understood all that lay ahead of her…
she said “yes” to the call of God!

With Mary as our guide and example…
we approach the challenge that God’s Word presents to us today.

First, we must ask…
what is the vocation to which God has called me?
The vocation of each and every baptized person is unique…
some of you are called to be husbands and wives…mothers and fathers…
some of you may have a vocation to the priesthood or religious life.
And beyond that…
how is God calling you right now…in the life you are living…
to spread the Gospel of Christ?
Look deep within yourself…seek to find the will of God for your life!

Secondly, we must ask…
what in my life must change
in order that I may fulfill the mission on which God is sending me?
What must I leave behind in order to follow Christ?

These questions are frightening…
because change…
and self-denial…
and letting go in order to accept the will of another…
is frightening.

Yet, we must not lose hope of the promises of Christ…
That true happiness and true love lie in laying down our life for others.
That to the good and faithful servant is promised the reward of eternal life.

Today, with Mary beside us…
we approach the Altar of God…
the God who brings joy to our lives…
to receive the Body and Blood of Mary’s Son Jesus.

As we draw close to the Altar today…
May we beg God for the grace to leave behind all that burdens us…
and go out from this church nourished by Christ.
to carry out the mission He has entrusted to each of us…
a mission uniquely our own…
a mission which finds its fulfillment in the glory of heaven!

1 comment:

Denise said...

I give this homily a 10+ :)

JMJ
DL