Thirty First Sunday in Ordinary Time

Father Shawn Hughes

November 4, 2018


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

How’s Your  Love Life?  Spiritually speaking

Our First Reading and Gospel features what the ancient Israelites referred to as the shema: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord your God is Lord alone.” It is a wonderful examination of conscience for each of us this morning? Is God the one Lord of my life? Who or what are his rivals for my attention, for my ultimate concern? Or, to turn the question around: Does absolutely everything in my life belong to God?

A reflection I was reading on this gospel started by asking the question I asked at the beginning of my homily…it really took me aback.  It asked:  “How’s your love life?…spiritually speaking, that is! How’s your love life?

The two great commandments today, don’t ask what do you know about the Lord? or what have you decided about the Lord?…these commandments are asking “Do you love the Lord?”…with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, all your strength… AND… BIG AND… and does your love of the Lord show in your love of self and neighbour?

How can we measure how much we love God? How can we know? We all love God to some extent – otherwise we wouldn’t be here right now.  But how much? How mature is our love for God?

In light of today’s Gospel, I ask you again: how’s your love life?

Many of you will remember growing up and learning the brief prayer called An Act of Love. It gets right to the heart of the matter as to what really counts as love in God’s eyes:

O my God, I love you above all things, with my whole heart and soul, because you are all-good and worthy of all love. I love my neighbour as myself for the love of you. I forgive all who have injured me, and I ask pardon of all whom I have injured.  Amen.

These three sentences challenge us to think about real love in a way the world around us doesn’t!

We love God because He is all Good.

Because He is all Good he is worthy of all love.

We love our neighbour and ourselves out of love for God.

We forgive all who have injured us…no matter what.

We ask pardon for all whom we have injured.

Jesus made it very clear many times in the Gospels, and in the Lord’s Prayer, that we show our love for Him in how we treat other people, and that He will forgive us as much as we forgive them.

St. Teresa of Avila, the great mystic from sixteenth-century Spain, said about this Gospel:

“We cannot know whether or not we love God, although there are strong indications for recognizing that we do love Him; but we can know whether we love our neighbour. And be certain that the more advanced you see you are in love for your neighbour, the more advanced you will be in the love of God; [and] to repay us for our love of neighbour,  God will in a thousand ways increase the love we have for him.”

Love of neighbour reveals our love of God.

Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta shows the same kind of common sense saying: “We are commanded to love God and our neighbour equally, on the same level. There is no difference. Love for our neighbor must be equal to our love for God. We don’t have to search for opportunities; we have them twenty-four hours a day with those around us. How is it that we do not see and we miss these opportunities?”

There is a strict logic at work here. When you really love someone, you tend to love, as well, what they love. Well, what does God love? He loves everything and everyone that he has made. So, if you want to love God, and you find this move difficult because God seems so distant, love everyone you come across for the sake of God.

When we obey God’s command to love our neighbours, in little things or in big things, we actually increase the intensity of God’s presence in the world – because we reveal his love to others.  Think how much better the world is because Mother Teresa lived in it.  Her love of the poorest of the poor increased the intensity of God’s presence in the world.

We are called to love and live in that way.

God’s idea of love doesn’t come from our feelings, that is to say, from our natural likes and dislikes, but rather from our will in our desire to please God.

This is indeed love of others for God’s sake without thinking about what we might get in return. In addition, we are called to love those who might not seem particularly loveable, as well as our enemies.

When the notion of loving our enemies seems like too tall an order in a world saturated with conflict, consider that, as St. Paul said, Christ died for us to reconcile us to God while we were His enemies (Rom 5:10)…while we were still sinners.   Christ’s love for us on this earth was modeled on humility and selflessness. He was born in a manger and died on a cross in the ultimate act of love!

As our Lord instructed His Apostles the night before His Passion, we are to “love one another, as I have loved you…by this shall all men know that you are my disciples” (John 13:34-35). He meant for us to love each other…warts and all!  That doesn’t mean we are called to like each other.  We may not want to be in the same room. It means we don’t wish them any harm.  It means we are willing to pray for God’s Blessing upon them and do whatever we can to ensure they receive God’s Blessing.

It is a tall order.

This gospel calls us to look at those we resent or are bitter towards; those who have to get the last word; or have to be right about everything;  those who we envy for their talents, intelligence, skills; those that we covet their success or their possessions.  Jealousy, envy and resentment can take a huge spiritual toll on us.   Healing and love begin by spending time in prayer especially for those who have harmed us or we have harmed.

This week we need to ask ourselves:  How’s my love life?  Spiritually speaking.    Are we showing others Jesus in our lives by our actions?  By how we think about them, By how we act with them? Are we letting Him work through us?

Most of the times what drives us most crazy is each other! God invites us to live in a world of peace.  And he gives us the grace, his strength, in the sacraments to do that.  We need to remind ourselves that all the strength we need to  Love God and love neighbour is given in each of the Sacraments we have received.

The Act of Love prayer points the way to that world. St. Paul reminds us in his first letter to the Corinthians (1 Cor 13:7), the one you have heard read at many weddings, that love is patient, kind, gentle, unpretentious, not ambitious or self-seeking, and that it doesn’t bear grudges or rejoice in someone else’s misfortunes.

The more we can adopt that approach, with God’s help, the more we can live our lives as an act of love for Him and for each other.

O my God, I love you above all things, with my whole heart and soul, because you are all-good and worthy of all love. I love my neighbour as myself for the love of you. I forgive all who have injured me, and I ask pardon of all whom I have injured.  Amen.














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.