Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Times

Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time


Homilies are never the creative act of one person.  Thus, in posting these homilies on St. Mary’s Cathedral’s website I would like to state first and foremost that there will be little original in the following. My homilies are a result of my prayer, reading and study as it pertains to the particular gospel of the week. Thus, I beg, borrow and steal from the wisdom of those who have gone before me and together with the Holy Spirit acting in my own prayer considering the needs of our particular parish community here at St. Mary’s, a homily appears by the weekend. If there is something that edifies you I can take no credit for it. ‘Tis the result of the work of the Holy Spirit and those from whom I have gleaned wisdom over time. If there is something that you might wish to discuss I am always available and would welcome any opportunity to speak about the Scriptures and/or the Spiritual Life.

God bless you.

Father Shawn

August 14, 2016

Father Shawn Hughes

(A little bit shorter homily this week…due to my cold.)

Jesus makes some shocking statements in today’s gospel.

  1. Jesus tells his disciples that he’s come to set the earth on fire;
  2. that he must undergo a baptism that in anticipation has him in anguish:
  3. and that he is not going to establish peace on the earth, but rather division. …..

even family members will be divided against each other.

These versus reflect the struggles and challenges of the Christian communities of Luke’s time. Many expected following Christ would be untroubled and peaceful; however, it had become clear that fidelity to the Christian mission frequently resulted in painful conflicts and divisions even in the same families.

Luke wants them to know that Jesus anticipated difficulties for his followers: Jesus’ own baptism by fire; his own Passion and Death, faces him at the end of his journey to Jerusalem. His community would not be based on blood relationships but on hearing God’s word and acting on it. And so there would be conflicts in the families of believers…many would hear the word of God but not act on it.

Many Christians today, many of us, face conflicts, both internal and external in the church. The conflict usually comes from those who have heard the Word of God but have chosen not to act on it.  The same can be true for many of us who come every weekend. Do we come here expecting to be transformed?  Do we expect the Word of God to change us?  The Alpha Course we will be holding in the fall is aimed at having such a personal relationship with Jesus that His Word grips us…transforms us.

May we take Jesus’ dose of realism to heart and put into practice fidelity to the kingdom which he demands.  As St. James’ says “Do not just be hearers of the Word of God but be doers of the word of God.

We are not alone in this struggle.  The author of the letter to the Hebrews, our second reading today, says we are surrounded by a cloud of unseen witnesses who give us encouragement and assistance during our race which is our life.  We are not alone!  The saints…Jesus Himself  have run the race before us – He cleared the way and removed the obstacles.  He knows what the race is like.  He has suffered and struggled too.  He stands among the unseen witnesses as our greatest supporter, always ready through our worthy reception of the sacraments to give us strength, hope and courage to face the challenges ahead.

Imagine if everyone who heard the word of God actually acted on it…the world would be completely changed…  we would all be striving to be more humble, more patient,  more peaceful, gentler, more forgiving,  more pure of mind and heart…striving to find the face of God in each person we encounter and unwilling to visit injustice or unkindness on anyone…

This is the fire to which Jesus is referring…burning passion to not only be hearers but doers of the Word of God.



The Chief medical Health Officer of Kingston has ordered that Masks must be worn at all places we gather indoors. That includes us here at the cathedral. We can’t supply everyone with a mask so please come with one. We would have a limited supply available for a loonie at the entrance of the cathedral.
Please read and observe the six key principles outlined below.

1) The key principle is that we come to Mass to worship God. Out of justice and exercising the virtue of religion we must give God what is God’s due. That quite simply is worship, adoration and praise. Thus, the absolute essentials of Mass will be included so that the Sacramental praise of God will take place and we will be exposed to one another for as brief a time as possible.

2) The second key principle is that the health and safety of parishioners, staff and clergy here at St. Mary’s are essential and require our utmost concern and attention. Therefore, the dispensation from the obligation to come to Sunday Mass by Archbishop Mulhall continues to be in effect. Those who are sick, elderly or have other critical health concerns should not come at this time. However, that is left to your discretion. Should you make the choice to come, knowing the risks, you are most welcome.

3) The underlying principle of all of our restrictions in isolating, physically distancing, wearing masks etc. is the common good as we live out the Lord’s commission to “love one another.” We are to care for each other and at this time we are called to be as prudent and careful as we can to protect the health of everyone else and ourselves.
4) The principle for the next few weeks will be brevity. The received scientific wisdom is that the virus spreads within groups who spend a prolonged period of time together. Therefore, we will be reducing the Mass to the bare essentials.
5) Singing is considered more dangerous than speaking so you are asked to please not sing at all throughout the Mass. I will not be singing either.
6) If you have any sickness, are elderly or have a critical illness you should remain at home. The dispensation from the obligation to come to Mass continues through this time of 30% capacity. Of course, if you choose to come you will not be turned away. We will continue to live- stream the Masses until we are back to a more normal arrangement.

The Chief medical Health Officer has ordered that Masks must be worn at all places we gather indoors. That includes us here at the cathedral. We can’t supply everyone with a mask so please come with one. We would have a limited supply available for a loonie at the entrance of the cathedral.
We will pray a shorter Penitential Rite.
The Gloria will be said not sung. There is to be no singing by the congregation during the Mass. Only by a cantor or as we have today a physically distanced choir in the choir loft…3 metres apart.
We will only have one reading followed by the Psalm
The second reading will be omitted.
The choir will sing the Alleluia on Sundays. During the week it will be omitted. Please do not join in.
The Gospel.
A very brief (3-4 minute) homily will follow.
The Creed will not be prayed.
There will be no petitions. Please prepare your own petitions and offer them in your heart during the Mass.
There will be no procession of the gifts.
There will be no regular collections at this time in the Masses. It will happen later. Ushers will be at the doors to receive your offering as you leave.
The Eucharistic Prayer will be prayed. This is the Most Important Part of the Mass.
The Our Father
Sign of Peace. This is a time when we won’t shake hands. Please do not wave to each other or give the two finger sign of peace. Neither of these reflect what is the intention here…You are recognizing the presence of God in the other person and praying they know God’s peace. The most appropriate gesture is a slight bow or nod of the head to the other person. You have seen me do this at the sign of peace to all of you at every Sunday Liturgy.
Please be seated.
Then the ushers will direct you to the place where you will receive Holy Communion. Please do not leave your pew until an usher has indicated you should do so.
Another usher will be close to the Communion Station to receive your Sunday Offering.
When it is your turn to receive Holy Communion. You will stand 6 feet away on the red line. The person distributing Holy Communion will say “The Body of Christ”. You will say “Amen”. Then move forward within arms length and receive the Host. Once you have received go straight out the nearest exit and make your Thanksgiving on your way home.
Aisles 1 & 5 will come forward to receive Holy Communion and leave by the side doors.
Aisles 2, 3 & 4 will go to the back to receive Holy Communion.
Aisle 2 will exit by the exit closest to the rectory.
Aisle 3 will exit out the centre door which you came in
Aisle 4 will exit out the door by the washrooms.
You are strongly encouraged to receive Holy Communion in the hand. Receiving on the tongue endangers the person giving Holy Communion and yourself, the person receiving Holy Communion. If you wish to insist on receiving on the tongue please wait until the very end as the person giving Holy Communion should sanitize their hands after each communicant. The usher will pass you by and will come back to you after everyone else has received. Please don’t leave your pew until that has taken place.