Sixteenth 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.  This week a good deal of the inspiration came from Father John Bartunek the author of The Better Part.


   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



The gospel we have just heard forces us to ask ourselves the question:  “Is my relationship with God a sector of my life or is it the source of my life?

If it’s a sector.. that’s good. God’s in our lives. But if it’s the source of all of that we think and do in this world that is much much better .  That is Christ’s message in this famous passage of the better apart from Luke’s gospel, chapter 10. Martha and Mary are having a dinner party for Jesus and his 12 apostles. Mary is sitting at Jesus’ feet, following his words, conversing with him. Martha is in the kitchen working hard, fussing, sweating away. And she is getting a little ticked off that her sister is not helping. She finally is fed up with it, ….storms in to the living room and says…. all right Jesus tell my sister to get up and give me a hand

Jesus turns towards her and says…And we all should hear our own names in place of Martha’s…“Martha, Martha you are worried and distracted about many things but only one thing is necessary, Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”

This passage summarizes the entire Christian journey that each one of us is called to make.


This journey has three main phases.


The first phase of our Christian life is everything that happens before God becomes a real person for us. At some point in our lives even though we may be going to Mass, maybe even studying the Scriptures and the catechism God is not fully real to us but at some point, God became a real person for us or you wouldn’t be sitting here at Mass today.  He no longer is an abstract idea, not just a historical figure but a real person. When that happens this great adventure of faith…that we are all on with the Lord…began.


In that first stage God is working in our lives in hidden ways.  Even though we don’t know him yet, our search for meaning, our search for  purpose, our search for the deeper thing …is real and God is at work planting seeds. Then when He invades our lives, when He becomes a real person for us the seeds start to grow and our experiences start to bear fruit.


The second phase is when God is in the house.  Like in the Gospel today.    When God becomes real, and we begin a personal relationship with him, he gets in our house/our heart we start to organize our life around him. Martha is already in the second phase of the journey. God is a sector of her life. God is in the house. Jesus is there. She’s working for him. She’s doing things for him. She wants to help build his kingdom. She wants to be with him. But she is still worried and anxious… distracted.


Then there is the third stage where God is no longer a sector of our life.  In the third stage our relationship with the Lord becomes the centre and source of our lives. That is where Mary is. She’s at the feet of Jesus. Living from his Word. Not just doing things for the Lord but living from the word of the Lord. And that is where we all want to go. That is where Jesus wants to lead all of us. Why????  Because he knows that that is where we find the true joy that we yearn for and can’t find anywhere else. Not joy and happiness that depends on circumstances…which is truly only pleasure…it comes and it goes…but the joy that doesn’t go away because it is anchored in eternity.

We are on this earth because we are meant to have an impact. We are meant to bear the fruit of the gospel in our lives. We are meant to make a difference with God’s grace…to change our environment that we find ourselves in.  To bring those we encounter a little closer to the Lord.


And we can’t do that without God’s grace. We can make a lot of noise but we can’t make anything that lasts forever. So, when we live from God; when he is the source of all we do…then we really become fruitful. We make a difference.

Many of you will have seen the movie The Passion of the Christ. The actor who played Jesus, Jim Caviezel, is a man of real faith.  Before this movie began shooting, he made a promise to God that he would never go before the cameras without receiving Holy Communion.   His prayer was that he wanted everyone who saw the film not to see him but to see Jesus. So, the day when they were filming the Last Supper scene, he wasn’t able to go to Mass so he asked one of the priests who was on the set to bring him Holy Communion. So, Father Bill brought the Blessed Sacrament in the small pyx and gave Jim Caviezel Holy Communion.

So, they started working on the Last Supper scene. It was a very difficult scene to film because Jesus had to be gentle but he also had to be firm and strong because the apostles were scared. And they had to convey that Jesus was also suffering because he knew what was coming but he had to be strong at the same time as being gentle. So, they kept shooting it. Over and over again.  And they couldn’t seem to get it right. So, after many shots…people were getting  impatient and more and more frustrated.


So finally, Jim Caviezel, knowing that Father Bill was still there on the set, and knowing that he still had our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament with him:  He yelled out,  “I want Father Bill to come and stand right in front of me.”  Mel Gibson, the director, who also was getting quite frustrated and impatient said to do whatever he wanted.  So, Father Bill came and stood in front of him, just out of the shot.


Jim Caviezel wanted him there because he wanted the Eucharist close… he wanted God to be close. Because he wasn’t getting it right. So, they started to film again. And they got it right. And everything started to click…That’s what happens when we live from God.


…when he is so close to us that he is the source of all we do. Things start to click.  Our potential. Our gifts. Our talents. Start to flourish in ways we never thought or imagined.


We only develop that intimacy with the Lord in our prayer, in our time spent with him…when we invite him into our house.


A prayer I would like to suggest that is very effective in placing us in the third stage of the Christian Journey is what is called the Examen.

At the end of our day, it only takes five minutes or so, review the entire day in your mind…Let it roll like a movie….allow the Holy Spirit to place on your heart the events of the day. Those which were experienced as good, are blessings, give thanks for them. Those which were experienced as struggles ask for help with and those which may have been sinful ask for forgiveness.  If we do this on a regular basis, day in day out, we become very aware that 95% of our day are blessings, that God is very present in our days.  If we don’t do it …Fallen human nature being what it is…We will focus on the 5%.. the negative…And it will take over and we will think our day was all struggle and sin.


God is very much present to us in our everyday blessings.  Our gratitude acknowledges that and we have an abiding peace.


Jesus says to me in this gospel…and I would hazard to say he says it to many of us…so, I would encourage you to put your own name in…To me he says:  “Shawn, Shawn  you are worried and distracted about many things but only one thing is necessary, Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”

“Is my relationship with God a sector of my life or is it the source of my life?


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.