Queens Church Mass Companion

Join Queen of the Miraculous Medal Parish and Fr. Tim as he gives his weekly homilies breaking down Readings from the Old Testament, New Testament and applies it to our lives and culture.

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Wednesday Nov 15, 2023

Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Reading 1 - Wis 6:12-16
Reading 2 - 1 Thes 4:13-18
Gospel - Mt 25:1-13

Love your neighbor as yourself

Tuesday Oct 31, 2023

Tuesday Oct 31, 2023

Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Reading 1 - Ex 22:20-26
Reading 2 - 1 Thes 1:5c-10
Gospel - Mt 22:34-40

Wednesday Oct 25, 2023

Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Reading 1 - Is 45:1, 4-6
Reading 2 - 1 Thes 1:1-5b
Gospel - Mt 22:15-21

Wednesday Oct 11, 2023

Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary TimeReading 1 - Is 5:1-7Reading 2 - Phil 4:6-9Gospel - Mt 21:33-43

Wednesday Oct 11, 2023

Paying Forward Forgiveness

Thursday Sep 21, 2023

Thursday Sep 21, 2023

Last Sunday, this Sunday, next Sunday. Jesus gives us three different lessons in forgiveness and they all followed on the heels of his first prediction of his passion for recall a month ago in the Sunday mass. Jesus finally informed the Apostles who left everything to follow Him, where he was leading them, and it was to the cross at Calvary, where he would give his life for us, for our sins, that we might be forgiven for.
He might have the chance to live again and forever in a world that far surpasses this one. But as far as Jesus was concerned, his cross was the means by which we could be forgiven. But that was only half of his message. The other half was that we who have been forgiven should become forgiving that what we receive as a gift we should give as a gift.
It's in that context, then, these ongoing lessons about the need to be reconciled not only with God, but also with our fellow man that Peter comes and asks Jesus the question that commences our gospel today in the eighth chapter of Matthew, when he said Jesus, how often must I forgive my brother when he wrongs me? Peter offers to guess an answer to his own question.
He said, How about seven times? And as far as Peter is concerned, it's pretty generous and he feels pretty confident in his answer. Jewish life before, during and after Jesus life commanded that if you and another have a grievance, you are obliged to make three attempts to reconcile that grievance. Jesus himself referred to that same thing at the beginning of this chapter.
We heard it last Sunday when he said, If you and your brother have a problem, go to him privately before you tell everyone else. If that fails, bring two witnesses to referee your compromise. If even that fails, take it to the whole community. But even then, if they refuse, you treat them as you were the Gentile, the tax collector, which means love them anyway.
Don't hate just because someone is hating you. We have to love because we have been loved. We have to forgive because we have been forgiven. With that in mind, then these three attempts bound by the law to reconcile with one's brother. Peter has suggested in his mind something far more generous. He's taken the three times he's obliged to try to reconcile.
Multiply two by two, added one. That's his gas of seven. He feels it's more than generous. But as is often the case, Jesus treats the rock like a pebble. And he said, Peter, not 70 times, but 70 times, seven times. Now, in math, that's 490. Jesus is not saying, keep a ledger and keep clicking off all of their offenses.
Hoping and hoping and hoping that we get to 490. Once you compress the eject button and blast them out of your life. It was a play on words. Peter said seven. Jesus said seven times seven. It means without limit. God has a limit. This love and forgiveness for us because He loves us with reckless abandon. Reckless abandon. He always will.
With that in mind, we turn our attention to the parable of the King, who is settling his accounts. And this only says the debtor owes the King a quote unquote, huge amount. Other translations said it was 10,000 talents. That was a weight measure in Jesus time, but also a currency. Let's say for the sake of argument, it's $10 million.
He's penniless. He goes $10 million. He cannot afford to pay that debt, not even a fraction of it. So he begs the king's forgiveness and the king gives up freely because he knows he'll never see that money anyway. He just says it's a bad debt. Let's write it off. That man who just had this huge amounts, an intense sum of money forgiven, who is no longer going to prison, his wife is no longer going to be sold.
He should be grateful and he should pay forward what he cannot repay. And instead he who owed 10 million and then has it all written off, finds somebody who owes him 20 bucks and then he wants to strangle him and have him thrown into the prison. The king has no use for that, nor does Jesus. And that is why the man whose debt was just forgiven, who refused to forgive someone else a much smaller sum, finds himself tortured, not just thrown in the prison, but given to the torturers.
He's going to be beaten within inches of his life to teach him a lesson he should give to others what was so freely given to him. And therein lies the lesson for all of us. We do not earn God's forgiveness. We do not deserve God's forgiveness. We cannot repay God's forgiveness. We can pay it forward. Following the example of He who owes us nothing but has given us everything, we can pay forward the mercy that has been shown to us for forgiving other people, even if they continue to wrong us for giving them seven times, seven times, and then some, because that's how much God is willing to love and forgive us.

Wednesday Sep 06, 2023

Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary TimeReading 1 - Jer 20:7-9Reading 2 - Rom 12:1-2Gospel - Mt 16:21-27
Jeremiah and Peter, taken together, are an instruction for us. Why Jeremiah tried to quit. God did not accept the letter of resignation. Peter failed in the very first moments of his papacy, but Jesus did not ask for the keys back and no case with Jeremiah or Peter or anywhere else that we can find in the Good Book or in our Christian history.
Does God remove his will from someone just because they don't think they can do it? It may be left undone if they won't try, but he's not giving it to someone else. If he told Jeremiah before I put you and my mother's womb, I already decided your will, your work, and your fate in this world. Isn't that the same for all of us?
We all have a task that he has given us, and we may feel unwilling, unworthy to, sinful, to fearful, to young, to old. I don't have the right words. No one's going to listen to me. We can make all kinds of excuses, but we'll never be happy unless we try. And if we do try, God will do everything else.
Do we have to win now? We have to run. That's the message of the scriptures. We don't have to win the race. Jesus already did. He already won the war. We just have to wage the battle. And so if we fall down, we have to keep getting back up. One of our favorite quotes of Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
God calls upon us not to be successful, but to be faithful.

Wednesday Aug 30, 2023

Twenty First Sunday in Ordinary Time
Reading 1 - Is 22:19-23
Reading 2 - Rom 11:33-36
Gospel - Mt 16:13-20
Divine Authority over Sin - The Catholic Church and it's Mission of Mercy
In the sense of the gospel, this is Jesus towards the end of his ministry, getting ever closer to Jerusalem and to the cross and after all this time preaching, teaching and healing, he wants to take an opinion poll and find out, does any of this matter? Does anyone really believe that he is the son of God?
So he asked them, Who do the people say that I am? And there's all kinds of guesses. Then he asks Peter, Who do you say that I am? And Simon, son of John, says, You are the Christ, the son of the living God, the Christ. He said, That was a loaded phrase to say the Christ means that to Simon, the Son of John, who will be Peter.
He believes that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, the fulfillment of all the prophecies of the Hebrew Scriptures, the King of Kings, the Prince of Peace and a Savior, all wrapped up into one for Peter's profession of faith. He now receives a great reward, as Jesus said. Simon Son of John. I mean, to give you a name and a job.
Your name will be Peter Petrus, the boulder on which my church will be built on the firm Foundations for the Apostles. Then he gives them the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Eliakim was only given the keys to Hezekiah's Palace. Peter The keys to the Kingdom of Heaven and earth. Elijah Kim was told that whatever he opens, no one can close.
Whatever he closes. No one can open. Peter was told whatever you declare, bound on earth will be bound in heaven. Whatever you declare, loosed on earth will be loosed in heaven. And there is the link. 800 700 years before the coming of the Christ, God was already preparing us for the discussion that Peter and Jesus would have that gave rise to the church and gave the church its mission, its the mission of mercy.
And the church is still fulfilling that mission today, 21 centuries after Jesus had that conversation with Peter, their accessory to Philip II. Why? Because when Jesus gave Peter the keys, when he told him that he could lose things on Earth would be loosed in heaven. That meant to relieve people of their burdens. The Jews have been trying for centuries in vain to be forgiven by God for their sins.
But they couldn't. No amount of sacrifice was ever going to win them. Forgiveness of anything. They could atone. They could repent. But the sin was still on them until God sent his son and through him the church to actually remove from people the penalty for their offenses. And yet this was very controversial. So many times when Jesus performed a miracle, he didn't just tell the leper, you know, leprosy is gone.
He didn't just tell the blind person you can see again to the deaf, you can hear again. Instead, he told them, All too often your sins are forgiven. Well, that was blasphemy in the ears of his critics, the Pharisees. Jesus was only speaking the truth. He was healing their body and their spirit, both which were weighty afflictions. They held them down.
Now the same Jesus, who is exercising God's authority over sin, is giving that same power to Peter and through Him to the Church to reconcile sinners with God and with each other, to restore right relationship with God and with each other. That's the church's mission. And we continue to carry it out in countless ways each and every day.
It happens at the beginning of mass. We call to mind our sins and recite the penitential. Right. It happens over there in the penalty box and confession. Every time sinners repent and do penance for their sins. It happens in the anointing of the sick, where people send some forgiven, preparing their soul even for death and for eternity. It even happens in the annulment process where we bring healing and closure to broken relationships from our past.
The Church's Mission of Mercy. It's not just my job. It's been given to all of us to be reconciled. The church is a depository then, where we can bring and leave all of our sin, all of our faults, some of our failings, some of our grudges, all of our resentments, all of those things that are keeping us from truly living out God's will, according to God's Word, in doing His work in Jesus name, and for His glory.
And so then it's fired. And Eliakim is given a new job as Peter receives the keys and is given a new responsibility, let us take responsibility for what the Lord has entrusted to us that we who have been forgiven might become forgiving.

Tuesday Aug 22, 2023

Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Reading 1 - Is 56:1, 6-7
Reading 2 - Rom 11:13-15, 29-32
Gospel - Mt 15:21-28
The Catholic Church is truly intended to be a house of prayer for all nations, for all peoples. That's why Catholic means universal. That's why we have a Catholic Church in every country. That's why we have the mass in every language so that we can continue to fulfill that mission, to spread the gospel to new audiences that so desperately need those miracles, just like the Canaanite woman The key for us is to be welcoming of those people who are welcome here. As the opening song said old and young, saint and sinner, rich and poor. We're all one in the eyes of God. We are all sinners in need of salvation. And Jesus, that Good Shepherd wants to gather all of us as lambs into his arms. But we're living in a time in history where people only want to talk about the things that separate us. The things we disagree about, the things that divide us. That's modern day Pharisees that instead of finding ways to bring us together, we're finding ways to build walls to keep people further and further apart. But Jesus is the bridge. He's the bridge between heaven and earth. He's the bridge between darkness and light, death and new life. And so let us persevere and persist in our faith in him, just like that Canaanite woman. So that that same son of David. Why pity on us all.

Monday Aug 14, 2023

Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Reading 1 - 1 Kgs 19:9a, 11-13a
Reading 2 - Rom 9:1-5
Gospel - Mt 14:22-33
And the readings for this 19th Sunday. In ordinary time, Elijah goes up the mountain, Jesus goes up the mountain. Then they go for very different reasons. Those journeys up the mountain happened a thousand years apart. Elijah went up the mountain while he was waiting to die. He was praying that the Lord would take his life because he'd had it after 40 years, being a prophet, preaching to people that were stiff necked and hardened of heart, that would not listen, would not learn, would not repent, it would not return to covenant faithfulness.
He'd had enough. He prayed that the Lord would take his life before he was murdered by the King Ahab and his Queen Jezebel, who in the previous chapter had said, Elijah, we will follow you to the ends of the Earth, if only to silence you by taking your life. In the previous chapter in the first Book of Kings, Elijah served up a big embarrassment for the King and Queen.
They had been worshiping a pagan deity named Baal, and they'd been trying to force all the citizens of Israel to do the same. And in First Kings 18, there was a great showdown on Mount Carmel and it was 450 against one in the sight of the king and the queen. There were 450 pagan priests and magicians representing that pagan deity below.
And on the other side there was only Elijah to represent the one true God. But because there is only one God, the odds were still very much in Elijah's favor. Both sets built an altar and on it placed an animal that was slaughtered, waiting to see which God would consume the sacrifice. And the priests of Baal got to go first and they spent hours trying to conjure up bail to set a fire and consume the meat of that sacrifice.
As the day grew in tonight, nothing happened. And the first book of kings tells us why? Because no one was listening. A God who doesn't exist cannot answer your prayers or receive your sacrifice. It even got to the point where the priests of Baal were slashing themselves with swords, slashing each other with swords, hoping the shedding of blood might bring forth their battle.
And yet nothing happened. The failure of 450. And then it was Elijah's turn. And to make sure that if the sacrifice was consumed, it can only be of a heavenly origin. He told his attendants to douse that animal, the altar and the ground around it seven times in water. And yet, as soon as he clasped his hands together to pray to the one true God.
Not only was the animal consumed, the altar was consumed, and so too the stones and the land around it. And thus it was the 450 priests were slaughtered. And then it happened. Jezebel turned their sights on Elijah and said, We're coming for you. He fled for 40 days, and by the end of it, he was exhausted. Elijah didn't think he could take one more step, one more breath.
I'm going to die anyway, he thought. Better God kill me than them. But that is when the Lord stepped in and intervened and said, Go up the mountain. Go up my mountain. Mount Horeb, the mountain of God. I'll speak to you there. The Lord didn't tell him how. The Lord didn't tell him when Elijah just had to wait and trust in the Lord.
And yet, when he was on that mountaintop, there was all kinds of calamity and catastrophe. There was a windstorm. There was a wild fire. There was an earthquake. Those things represent clear and present danger on solid ground. But on mountain peaks where it's already treacherous, how much more danger Elijah was subject to, and yet he continued to trust in the Lord.
He knew the word wasn't messaging him to the wind, where the fire or the earthquake. And it was only when all of that had died down. And he continued to wait and to trust and to pray and to listen that he heard the tiniest whisper. That immense and intense God who breathes stars out of his mouth, who could simply crush Elijah's eardrums with the real sound of his voice.
He chose to shrink it down and speak to this little man through the tiniest whisper. And if Elijah had not been listening, if he had not waited and trust in the Lord, he would have missed it. And yet they were words that he desperately needed to hear that turned his despair back into hopefulness because the Lord told him, Elijah, you can retire.
Let's begin your pension. You choose Elijah to succeed you as a prophet. But he also said they're not going to kill you. You do not need to die because they have this going to repent and his kingship will come to an end. Elijah, as we know in the next book of Kings, was taken up and to heaven. He didn't even die at all.
Taken up in heaven on a chariot, riding in a whirlwind so great was his reward for his faithfulness in the midst of everything going against him. That's Elijah's trip up the mountain. And now about Jesus. It's Matthew chapter 14. It's the middle of the chapter. The chapter began with the feeding of the 5000 men. Let's add the women and children.
Tens of thousands of people that day with five loaves and two fish, all served up by the blessed hands of Jesus, who took meager offerings and turned it into enough to fill the multitude. And they didn't just get a little nibble. They were full, and there were still 12 baskets left over. Jesus dismissed the crowds. He told the apostles to get in the boat and go to the other side of the lake.
And then he went up the mountain. Why? To pray. There was only two places on earth where Jesus felt close to God. His father, the temple in Jerusalem. That was God's house. But on mountaintops, he felt the gap had been closed between heaven and earth. Because for those 33 years that Jesus walked the Earth, he wasn't homesick. He was heaven sick.
How great was his desire to return to the father's house? And he didn't want to go alone. This shepherd came to gather as many lost, wounded and wandering lambs into his arms as possible, to carry us all to the promised land. But when Jesus was done giving thanks to God and talking with them about how they were going to fulfill the plan for our salvation, he comes back down the mountain and then he wants to go and meet the apostles who are headed to the other side.
But he doesn't need a boat and he doesn't take the long way around. Instead, Jesus cuts across the lake and he doesn't get wet because he has God in for him. All things are possible. True to form, though, the Apostles, even though they had seen so many mighty deeds, they didn't think this was a good thing. They were terrified.
That's a ghost and they wanted to get away from him. Jesus speaks words of comfort to them as well. Take courage. It is. I do not be afraid. But, Peter, that rock who so often behaves like a pebble, he decides to voice his doubts. Lord, if it is you tell me to come to you on the water, or it says, Come and Peter gets out of the boat.
And notice the difference. When Peter kept his eyes fixed on Jesus. He didn't get wet. But when Peter decided to take his eyes off the prize and started looking around and say, Oh, it's dark out here, man, I bet that water is pretty deep. These waves are taller than me, and that wind's going to blow me down. When he took his eyes off Jesus, that pebble began to sink like a stone that he needed the Lord to save him.
We all need the world to save us. And He has. And he does. And he will. Oh, you of little faith. Why did you doubt? Sometimes, like Elijah, we find ourselves unable to go on. Sometimes, like Peter, we find ourselves doubting God who owes us no proof and no explanation. He owes us nothing. But he's given us everything.
And we continue to listen and to wait on the word to keep his promises. We must listen for the tiny whisper. Even in the midst of all the noise and the distraction and the destruction of this world, all the stress and distress and anxiety. Jesus is still there, calming stormy seas, bringing us to safe harbors, telling us to live in fear instead of faithfulness.
Take courage. It is. I do not be afraid.


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