July 26th, Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Introduction

Today Christ tells us the importance of both keeping the faith, the pearl of great price, and spreading it others. We are to be his missionaries to save a needy world in body and soul. Lets confess any ways we fail in living faith as gentle love.

Homily

I never tire repeating the story of the Prince and the Swallow. A prince’s gold statue overlooks a city. One day a swallow resting on him was amazed to see a tear in his eye. “Why are you crying?”, he said. “Because I see misery in my city”, the Prince said. “Please swallow”, he said, “pluck the gold from my body, give it to poor families”. It was late in the year and the swallow should be flying to warm climes, but he stayed, feeding the poor with the prince’s gold. Then too late to go south he nestled into the space of the prince’s heart and died. The city lords seeing the tarnished prince, pulled him down to erect a mall. He and the bird in his heart finished on the scrap heap.

That’s the gospel story. Our prince is Christ who stripped himself of glory to save and feed us in the desert of a fallen world. We are the pearl of great price he cast off his golden clothes for. He suffered and died, ending up on the scrap heap of the cross, to bring us, spiritually poor and lost, the food and clothes of life and faith. Loving us and crying over our misery he come down from heaven and he still feeds us with the bread of life and his Word. And all of us his followers are called to be like that swallow, serving this Prince. For we face the same choice as Him, to stay aloof before people’s needs or get our hands dirty. Like the swallow we can fly to our own interests or help Christ save others. The latter choice means sacrifice, but there’s no humane Christian love without some death to self.

That’s the deep meaning of the gospel. We must be prepared to sell everything to gain the pearl, our faith, our happiness for this world and the next. We can spend another week in self-giving Christian love or self-serving worldliness. But if we choose the giving Christian way we’re never alone. He’s with us, feeding us with his body, sharing our joys, weeping our tears, suffering our pain, applauding our accomplishments. For we’re his family. And God’s prince who divested himself of glory for our sake begs us to be his hands to all in need. Like the swallow it may cost us but it’ll be worth it. For loving and serving others and Christ we’ll fulfil our humanity, the purpose of our existence, we’ll gain what purely worldly pursuits can’t give. We’ll do much good, the reason why we’re here and help incarnate God in our fallen beautiful material world. And that must be done in the flesh as well as the spirit, don’t believe those who’d divide the two. .

Our Prince Christ teaches us to serve people in body too. He went around healing what the pharisees saw as the dregs of society. We must help people in the same undiscriminatory way. Good standards of living for all are important; he said I came that you might have life to the full. So we should set aside some earthly ambitions and pleasures to bring the poor some of what we enjoy. Christian love is going down like Christ into the squalor, violence and suffering of our world to redeem and feed it. Its being Christ’s hands of both charity and spiritual nourishment. For as that swallow helping the prince, He needs our hands and heart to save the world in body and soul. Sure this may lead to us to be cast on the scrap heap by the world. But our reward will be immense. For the cold world of which Satan is Lord fades to dust at last, but to Christ, the Prince of love, belongs the kingdom, the power and the glory forever and ever. amen. So as Christ’s swallows as it were, distributing his golden legacy of faith, truth and charity to a needy world, we profess our faith.

Prayers of the Faithful

For our Pope and all church leaders, may they be Christ’s hands helping the world to fullness of material and spiritual life..

For our civic leaders that they may not concentrate on their own worldly progress and glory, but serve the needs of the people they serve, especially the poor and underprivileged…

For our wonderful youth that like the swallow in the story they may be the healing hands of Christ to all those around them in faith and love, and so rest at last in his heart in heaven..

For ourselves that in our homes we may be the special caring hands and heart of Christ to our spouse and children so that like Christ they may grow in age and grace before God and men..

For the sick, the aged, the lonely, the oppressed and the neglected in our families and society that through our love and care the may know the love of God..

For the dead whose faith is know to God alone, that through our prayers, a great act of charity on their behalf, because in the next world they cannot always help themselves, they may come to the fullness of life and eternal glory..

And we ask all these prayers through Christ our prince of love and care forever and ever, amen.

Reflection

You may know the story of the Cure of Ars. He came to the town as parish priest and found the church in ruins and the congregation gone. But gradually, attracted by his life of prayer and goodness, people restored the church and came back to mass, baptism, weddings etc. Not only that but his holiness became so legendary millions flocked to him from all over the world for renewed faith. We can be like that in some way, lights of faith and love to others. Lets ask Mary to help us in this..Hail Mary.

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