National Vocation Awareness Week 2015 - Homily Points

Sunday, November 6

2 Macc 7: 1-2, 9-14; Ps 17:1, 5-6, 8, 15; 2Thes 2:16 – 3:5; Lk20:27-38 OR Lk 20:27, 34-38

The brothers remain faithful to God's covenant, even in the midst of terrible torture. Their faith makes them courageous enough to die for God. Like the psalmist, they can proclaim, "My joy is the glory of God." St. Paul prays that his listeners would be encouraged and strengthened by God. He reminds them that the Lord is faithful, and that he will strengthen and guard them. In today's gospel Jesus exhorts the Sadducees, and us, to remember that God is the God of the living, for to God all are alive.

St. Maximilian Kolbe is an example of a modern day priest who, like the brothers in the Book of Maccabees, freely offered his life to those who would persecute him. He did this in exchange for the life of another prisoner in a World War II concentration camp; in other words, he did this because of love. Our greatest joy in this life is found in following God, regardless of where he calls us to witness the Gospel. Those whom God calls to a vocation of service in the Church are strengthened with all the gifts and resources needed to follow his call. Have courage, follow your vocation from God, and your life will be filled with joy!

Questions to keep in mind for your congregation as you prepare your homily are:

"Do I pray for the courage to do God's will?"

"Do I believe that God is faithful to his promises?"


Monday, November 7

Tit 1:1-9; Ps 24:1B-2, 3-4AB, 5-6; Lk 17:1-6

In writing to Titus, Paul encourages him to hold fast to the truth of the Gospel that he has received, so that he can teach with sound doctrine to others. The psalmist invites us to not seek what is vain, but rather to seek the face of God. Jesus cautions his disciples to be on guard against leading others to sin, and encourages them to forgive others. All things are possible for the one who has faith.

We all need heroes. They are all around us, but are often missed because their heroic efforts are masked by the ordinariness of their lives. Faithfulness in small matters strengthens us for those times when we are tempted by a lack of faith. We can think of a religious sister preparing lesson plans, educating children day after day, year after year. What heroism! Daily asking God for the strength to be faithful to our commitments becomes a lifelong journey in fidelity and heroism in the vocation that God has given to us. God wants each one of us to be a hero. The Church needs heroes to lead and guide us in the truth of the Gospel. What type of hero will you become?

Questions to keep in mind for your congregation as you prepare your homily are:

"Do I seek to learn more about God through the teachings of the Church?"

"How often do I ask God to increase my faith?"

"Do my daily actions demonstrate that I am a person of faith?"


Tuesday, November 8

Tit 2:1-8, 11-14; Ps 37:3-4, 18 AND 23, 27 AND 29; Lk 17:7-10

Jesus Christ claims us as his people, and makes us eager to do good. Therefore, we are called to trust in the Lord and do good. If our delight is in the Lord, we will receive the grace to accept his response to our heart's request.

The marketing industry does an amazing job of making us desire the latest technology and modern conveniences. Some people become so obsessed with obtaining the latest version of their favorite gadget that they will stand in line for hours just for an opportunity to buy it. Just think of the upcoming "Black Friday" following Thanksgiving, and all of the online sales that accompany it! And yet the more we have the sadder we often become. Depression and loneliness are at an all-time high. Do we desire God as much as we desire consumer goods? He offers us the greatest gift that the world will ever know – namely, himself, and it's free! How much energy and time do we devote to the things of God? The more we become enmeshed in the things of this world the more difficult it is to hear God inviting us to take a different path, one that will lead to true happiness. Pause during the upcoming holiday season, and ask God what will make you truly happy. Ask him to place on your heart the desires that will fulfill his will in your life. You'll be amazed with the results.

Questions to keep in mind for your congregation as you prepare your homily are:

"Do I pray that my desires may be conformed to those of God's will for me?"

"Do I live with a spirit of temperance regarding the things of this world?"


Wednesday, November 9 (Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome)

Ez 47:1-2, 8-9, 12; Ps 46:2-3, 5-6, 8-9; 1Cor 3:9C-11, 16-17; Jn 2:13-22

We are all nourished by the Church, which is the Body of Christ in time. The Psalmist encourages us to not fear, because God is near; he is always present to help us. He is our strength. St. Paul reminds us that the Church is built on the foundation who is Jesus. Each of us is a temple of God, and each of us is called to holiness. The example of Jesus in today's gospel inspires us to be zealous about the works of God, even when it is difficult or counter-cultural. The disciples believed in the words Jesus had spoken.

Athletes at any level know that teamwork is essential to success on the sports field. Supporting one's teammates and covering for them when they are making a difficult play in the game is what leads to success for everyone. A supportive fan base inspires players on the field to give it their all in the contest. In his message for the 53rd World Day of Prayer for Vocations, Pope Francis states that "vocations are born within the Church," that "vocations are grown within the Church," and "vocations are sustained by the Church." All of us in the Church have a role to play in supporting vocations. We are called to pray for those who are discerning vocations, and we need to pray for our priests and religious men and women that they would persevere on the sports field of life. We are called to cheer them on to victory! We also are called to pray for our own vocation – that we would have the grace and courage to choose wisely our path in life, and once chosen that we would have the grace of perseverance.

Questions to keep in mind for your congregation as you prepare your homily are:

"Am I a good team player in the Church?"

"Do I seek to build up the Church by my thoughts, words, and actions?"


Thursday, November 10 (Memorial of Saint Leo the Great)

Phlm 7-20; Ps 146:7, 8-9A, 9BC-10; Lk 17:20-25

Paul urges Philemon to do what is proper out of love. So too, God does not force us to do good, but invites us to do good voluntarily out of love. The psalmist provides the good news that the Lord sets captives free and loves the just. Jesus reminds us that the Kingdom of God is among us.

Philosophers teach us that we always choose what we think is good for us. Unfortunately, because of original sin and our fallen human nature we often choose what harms us and others instead. We call that sin, and it can enslave us to disordered passions. It prevents me from being truly free to become the person God has created me to be. The Good News of Jesus Christ is that he has come to free us from enslavement; the Kingdom of God is in our midst! Pope Francis has called us during this Jubilee Year of Mercy to recognize that God freely offers us his mercy to make us happy, healthy, and whole. My vocation is a response to that mercy, that presence of Jesus Christ who is in our midst. It is by responding that I become truly great. God's mercy calls each of us to use our gifts and abilities in service to others. How will you respond?

Questions to keep in mind for your congregation as you prepare your homily are:

"Where do I need God's merciful love to free me?"

"Do I live believing that God is in my midst calling me to something greater?"


Friday, November 11 (Memorial of Saint Martin of Tours)

2Jn 4-9; Ps 119:1, 2, 10, 11, 17, 18; Lk 17:26-37

God calls us to love one another. The psalmist declares blessed those who seek God with all of their heart. Jesus invites us to lose our life for his sake, and thus truly find it.

Today the Church celebrates the feast day of St. Martin of Tours. There is a famous account of Martin seeing a beggar lying in the cold with little to wear. Martin the gallant soldier takes his regal cloak and slices it in two with his sword, giving half to the beggar to keep him warm. Although ridiculed by those around him for his act of kindness, Martin later has a vision of Jesus wearing that same cloak, and proudly reporting to the angels and saints who surround him, "see how Martin helped me." Jesus is in need all around us, how do we respond? In losing his life to Jesus Martin found the greatest joy imaginable. While God calls all of us to serve the poor and those in need, he calls some of us, like St. Martin, to give our lives in a vocation of service to the Church. The joy St. Martin experienced in knowing he had served Christ is the same joy we are invited to experience in giving our lives to the Lord. How is he calling you to serve?

Questions to keep in mind for your congregation as you prepare your homily are:

"How is God asking me to love in my life?"

"Do I seek God with all of my heart?" 


Saturday, November 12 (Memorial of Saint Josaphat)

3Jn 5-8; Ps 112:1-2, 3-4, 5-6; Lk 18:1-8

Our love is seen in the way we treat others, even strangers. The psalmist reminds us that it goes well for the one who is generous. Jesus tells us of the necessity to pray without ceasing when we are in need. God will respond with justice for those who do so.

The story is told of Mother Teresa who used to beg for food for the poor. A baker, who became angry at her request, spit at her. She calmly wiped herself with a handkerchief, and responded, "That was for me. Now what will you give to the poor?" Ashamed and stunned, the baker gave her the bread. Even more so will we receive when we humbly approach God with a generous heart. When we are generous for the sake of others, God is even more generous with us. When our prayer is, "Lord, give me what I need to do your will, to follow my vocation, to serve your Church," we will never be disappointed.

Questions to keep in mind for your congregation as you prepare your homily are:

"What priority do I give to knowing or sustaining my vocation in my life of prayer?"

"Do I live my life as a believer?"