Homily for the Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

posted 26 Sept 2022, 01:17 by Parish Office

17 & 18/9/22 – Evangelii Gaudium Sunday

St Paul wrote to St Timothy: “My advice is, first of all, there should be prayers offered for everyone – petitions, intercessions and thanksgiving – and especially for kings and others in authority”. Just over a week ago we were surprised by the death of Queen Elizabeth II. On Thursdays I start my day off, and I briefly heard the news in the afternoon that the Queen was unwell and that the Royal Family were making their way to be at her side, and then, later in the day, when I had my evening meal, I discovered that she had died. And then there was also the news that we now, automatically, have a new king, Charles III. Banknotes, coins and stamps will need to be changed, and the national anthem changes to “God Save the King”.

We will all have different memories of Queen Elizabeth. One of the many good aspects of her reign has been her witness to her Christian faith. There’s an American website that can be quite critical of all sorts of things in the world, but when the Queen in her Christmas Message spoke about the support her faith was to her in her life, they were very impressed.

I’ve not seen much at all of all that has taken place over the last week, and what I have seen and heard has been though visiting a hospital ward where the TV is on; and obviously, when you are visiting someone and the TV is also on, you have to focus on what the person is saying, rather than switching off and listening to the TV. But it has been good to hear the importance of Christ’s Death and Resurrection being preached on national TV, and to a large audience. In some ways, the current time is an opportunity of grace for the nation.

That leads us nicely to the fact that today we celebrate Evangelii Gaudium Sunday, what used to be called Home Mission Sunday. Evangelii Gaudium, which means “the joy of the Gospel” is the title of a document Pope Francis produced a few years ago about evangelisation. The Church exists to evangelise. Our Lord Himself said, “Go, make disciples of all nations”. Whenever we come across something or someone amazing, we tell others about our encounter. Conversely, if we come across something or someone bad, we do the same. So, in theory, our faith, our encounter with the Lord, should be something we want to tell others about. But then, when we get beaten down by others we can find ourselves exercising a certain amount of “self-censorship”. It’s a bit like you’re a great football fan, and you’ve just come back from the match where they’ve scored a massive victory, but the

first friend you meet just can’t stand football and finds it completely and utterly boring. So, as a result, when you’re asked how your day has been, you say it’s fine, but don’t really mention the match. We can sometimes find the same thing with our faith. How we speak about it, and when, can be determined by the company we are with. And sometimes we witness to our faith indirectly, through how we act.

In the Gospel, Our Lord mentions a few things: honesty in financial matters, even down to the small details, treating God as God, not money as God, and, to add to it all, the need for us to be astute. If the children of this world can be so astute when it comes to how they deal with others, we should be similarly astute, and aspire to be astute, in how we deal with matters of salvation. The crafty steward was concerned about his livelihood and who would look after him. We need to be concerned primarily about our salvation and the salvation of those around us. So there may be times when we need to be a little bit “crafty” about it. Perhaps in the olden days, when fish and chip shops used to wrap food in newspaper, one idea might have been to use last week’s copies of The Universe or The Catholic Herald. There is still, of course, the option of “accidentally” leaving behind a prayer card in a public place, or encouraging people that they really should go to that funeral of a distant friend that is taking place in a Catholic church. The possibilities are endless, and your imagination is the limit. Of course, the Queen’s funeral itself may be a bit of indirect evangelisation for many, and we can pray that hearts may be touched, not only with appreciation for the good things the Queen did, but more importantly, for One who made it possible, the Most Holy Trinity.

So I’ve come full circle. As we pray for the repose of the soul of Queen Elizabeth II this coming Monday, let’s pray also for our nation, and just as the Queen found ways to express her Christian faith to the nation, may we also might find clever ways to do the same.