14th Sunday of Ordinary Time Cycle C

Peace to This Household

Joke: A Jewish Rabbi and a Catholic Priest met at the town's annual 4th of July picnic. Old friends, they began their usual banter. "This baked ham is really delicious," the priest teased the rabbi. "You really ought to try it. I know it's against your religion, but I can't understand why such a wonderful food should be forbidden! You don't know what you're missing. You just haven't lived until you've tried Mrs. Hall's prized Virginia Baked Ham. Tell me, Rabbi, when are you going to break down and try it?" Rabbi looked at the priest with a big smile, and said, "At your wedding.”

In today’s Gospel, Jesus appointed seventy-two others, beside the twelve apostles, to go ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit saying, “Into whatever house you enter, first say, 'Peace to this household.'” The Lord Jesus continues saying, “If a peaceful person lives there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you.” What does it mean “a peaceful person” if it’s not a person of peace as biblical scholars defined? If that house has all the people living in it as people of peace, then the peace of the Lord will remain. The question is: How can it be that each and everyone in a family a person of peace so the peace of the Lord remains? Is it possible that each one of us, through the virtue of our Baptism, bring peace to others?

It is not only about going to Mass, saying many prayers and rosaries, and doing many good things to others, but it is what Saint Paul reminds Galatians community and to each and every one of us, reported in today’s second reading saying, “For neither does circumcision mean anything, nor does uncircumcision, but only a new creation.” What is a new creation if it’s not whoever is in Christ just as Saint Paul said in his writing? (2 Cor 5:17) Saint Paul also continues in today’s second reading saying, “Peace and mercy be to all who follow this rule and to the Israel of God.” What is this rule if it’s not what reported in Psalm 125 saying, “Do good Lord, to the good, to those who are upright of heart” (125:4). This rule, then, is to those who are upright of heart, the Lord will do good to them, or rather, peace & mercy of the Lord will be with them, and they will become the new creation. So, to be a person of peace, one needs to become a new creation. How are we able to become a new creation so to share that peace with others, especially to our loved ones?

Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta shared many inspired stories that she encountered in her ministry. One of the stories she shared was about a visitation to this household, or rather, to visit an elderly man living in a poor dark house himself. In her visitation, Mother Teresa asked the man if it’s okay for her to clean his house since it was dark and dusty. The elderly man gave her permission to clean. In cleaning up, she found a lamp covered with dirt. She said to him that why he didn’t use the lamp to light up the house. The man responded that nobody would come to visit him, what was the point to light up the house. Mother Teresa then said to him that if she sent her sisters to come to clean up his house, would he light up the lamp? The elderly man agreed to that. Mother Teresa began to send her sisters to come to help him to clean up his house. He lighted the lamp and the house filled with light and became brighter. Two years later, he felt sick and before he died, he asked the sisters to deliver his message to Mother Teresa saying, “The light that Mother Teresa lighted in his life still burning, even though it’s small, but in that darkness of loneliness, the light that she started was precious and still burning.”

Just as Mother Teresa brought light to dispel the darkness of a life of a lonely and elderly man, have you and I ever brought light to anyone, including to our loved one(s)? Just as her kind deeds done to the elderly man that helped him find the meaning of life, have you and I ever done any kind deeds to others? Have our kind deeds to them brought light to dispel any darkness of loneliness, addiction of any form, or any darkness of envy and jealousy? Have you and I ever found peace in our own self? Or how would we become a person of peace? If you and I are a peaceful person, how can we share that peace with our loved ones living in the same roof? How would we bring that peace to share at work, in our own community, and in this society? Decision is yours.


Weekend Homilies 2019

Homilies by Fr. Joseph Nguyen

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