Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Father Shawn J. Hughes


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

In today’s second reading, taken from St. Paul’s Letter to the Galatians we heard one of the greatest verses in the entire Bible.

“May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ”  (Galatians 6:14).

It expresses the heart of the Christian faith in such a few words…reminding us that the cross is at the heart of the Christian message.  If we are tempted to boast in our wealth or intelligence or accomplishments or position or talents…If we are tempted even to boast in moral or religious superiority, we are pursuing a path that leads nowhere.  The cross destroys all such worldly boasting and focuses our eyes upon Jesus, whose self-sacrificial loving  discloses the foundational truth of the Scriptures; the truth of God’s Love for us. As St. John’s Gospel so eloquently states:  “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.  (John 3:16)  In his letter to the Romans St. Paul says God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.”( Romans 5:8.)  Thus, St. Ignatius of Loyola could start all his prayers with the affirmation:  “I am a sinner.”  Followed immediately by a second affirmation: “ But, I am a loved sinner.”  And it is said that tears would start to run down his face in the realization of the depth of God’s love for him.

Ultimately that is what each of us need to come to realize.  Each one of us needs to come to the core realisation that if  I were the only person on the face of the earth, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity would have been sent by the Father to become Man so that he could suffer and die for me.  Thus, we can join St. Paul in saying “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ”  (Galatians 6:14).

Intelligence, wealth, accomplishments, power, position, talents…at their core are all gifts,  something we have been given not something we can take credit for…and therefore something that produces gratitude and duty…not self-centred boasting.

Boasting in the cross of Jesus Christ is really not boasting at all.  In this context boasting becomes worship.  Boasting becomes praise. Those who looked at the Crucified One in Ancient times saw a human who suffered the most excruciating form of torturous execution to which anyone could possibly be subjected.  We look at the Cross and we see Love.

As we focus our attention on the cross, we give true honour to our Crucified Lord only by becoming conformed to him, only by entering self sacrificially into our relationships with others.  Sacrificing our egos and intentionally being more patient with others, more forgiving, less judgmental,…self sacrificially loving.  Truly to boast in the cross is to put our own lives on the line in acts of service…self sacrificial love… expecting nothing in return.  Such thoughts, words and actions declare truly that we boast in the cross,  we boast in the revelation of God’s love.

A very simple homily this weekend…the foundational truths are very simple…and usually the most difficult to live…Also, a very simple homework assignment…Take a few prayerful moments some time this week and hold or gaze upon a crucifix and prayerfully reflect…This is how much God loves me…And let gratitude well up in your heart and then pray…“Oh Jesus.  May my heart become like yours.”

“May I never boast except in the cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ.”