Father Valan Arockiaswamy

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Close Dear Audience,
For better understanding of the spiritual message behind this homily I kindly remind you to first read and contemplate the biblical texts before reading or listening to my preaching - a human reflection on the Word of God!

Twenty Seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time (Year B)

Oct 3, 2021 Views 317 Listen 1 Downloads 0
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First Reading

A reading from the Book of Genesis (2:18-24)

The Lord God said: "It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a suitable partner for him." So the Lord God formed out of the ground various wild animals and various birds of the air, and he brought them to the man to see what he would call them; whatever the man called each of them would be its name. The man gave names to all the cattle, all the birds of the air, and all wild animals; but none proved to be the suitable partner for the man. So the Lord cast a deep sleep on the man, and while he was asleep, he took out one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. The Lord God then built up into a woman the rib that he had taken from the man. When he brought her to the man, the man said: "This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called "woman", for out of "man" this one has been taken." That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one flesh.

(P) The word of the Lord.
(R) Thanks be to God.

Responsorial Psalm

Psalms of David (128:1-2, 3, 4-5, 6)

(R) May the Lord bless us all the days of our lives.

Blessed are you who fear the Lord, who walks in his ways! For you shall eat the fruit of your handiwork; blessed shall you be, and favored. (R)

Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the recesses of your home; your children like olive plants around your table. (R)

Behold, thus is the man blessed who fears the Lord. The Lord bless you from Zion: may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life. (R)

May you see your children's children. Peace be upon Israel! (R)

Second Reading

A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Hebrews (2:9-11)

Brothers and sisters: He "for a little while" was made "lower than the angels", that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting that He, for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to the glory, should make the leader to their salvation perfect through suffering. He who consecrates and those who are being consecrated all have one origin. Therefore, He is not ashamed to call them "brothers".

(P) The word of the Lord.
(R) Thanks be to God.


A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark (10:2-16)

The Pharisees approached Jesus and asked, "Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?" They were testing him. He said to them in reply, "What did Moses command you?" They replied, "Moses permitted a husband to write a bill of divorce and dismiss her." But Jesus told them, "Because of the hardness of your hearts he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate." In the house the disciples again questioned Jesus about this. He said to them, "Whoever divorce his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery."

And people were bringing children to him that he might touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them, "Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of Gold belongs to such of these. Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it." Then he embraced them and blessed them, placing his hands on them.

(P) The Gospel of the Lord.
(R) Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.


One day a boy walking down the streets saw a sign outside the front door of a pet shop which read, "Puppies for sale". He went into the shop and asked the shop owner, "How much does a puppy cost?" The lady replied, "A puppy costs somewhere between $100 and $500". The boy looking a bit disappointed exclaimed, "One hundred to five hundred dollars! I have only fifty dollars. Could I take a look at them anyway?" "Of course, maybe we can work something out", said the lady. The boy was very happy to see so many cute puppies but was attracted to one which was limping. The boy asked, "What's wrong with that puppy?" The lady told the boy that the limping puppy was not for sale because she didn't have a hip socket and would always limp. "I am afraid she'll be crippled for life. She is never going to be able to run and play with you like the other puppies", she added.

The boy became excited and said, "Well, that's the puppy I want. I cannot walk or run so well myself because I have a bad leg." After this the boy rolled up his pants and showed his crippled leg supported by a metal brace. Then, looking at the puppy the boy said, "I guess she'll need a lot of love and help. And I, at least, can understand her. But could I pay for her a little at a time?" "Here, take her", said the lady, "I know you'll give her a good home. And just forget about the money."

To a certain extent the boy's own experience of lameness enables him to understand and help the lame puppy. In like manner, today's second reading tells us that Jesus Christ, by embracing our human nature and experiencing the temptations, weaknesses and hardships of human life has become the perfect person to help us along the way of pursuing peace and salvation. But to understand the whole text we need to know the intent of the writer and the circumstances at the time of his writing.

As we know a large portion of the New Testament of the Bible consists of "letters". Some of them are called general letters - letters addressed to all people, these include the letters of Peter, James and John. Some were written to churches and others to individuals to handle specific problems in a community and most of these are by Paul. But we do not know for sure who the author of the Letter to the Hebrews is, nor do we know to which church it was addressed. However, it is believed to have been written to exhort Jewish Christians to persevere in the face of suffering and persecution. During that time, the threat to their faith in Christ came from the Roman Emperor, Domitian, who forced them to burn incense as a sign of acknowledging and proclaiming him as God, and those who refused to obey his command were tortured and executed.

Fearing for their lives, many Christians returned to Judaism which was quite tolerated by the Romans. Therefore, in an effort to bolster the faith of these Christians, the author of the letter wrote affirming the Person of Christ and his role as mediator between God and humanity, and the necessity of an enduring faith in him. Today's second reading is a part of that exhortation.

He says, "Brothers and sisters: He (Jesus) "for a little while" was made "lower than the angels", that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. The Jewish Christians probably looked at Jesus as lower than the angels and, that was how they perceived Him. So the writer had to remind them that Jesus was made a little lower than the angels only for a time. For a while Jesus took on flesh and blood. During His short time on earth, He taught and healed people. He went through all kinds of suffering like any other human being. He fulfilled all of God's laws and plans including tasting death. Yet He was above the angels. He was God before His human incarnation. He was fully God and fully human. Everything comes from Him, exists for Him and ends up in Him. So the writer admonished them not to fear those who persecute them but believe in God's love and protection.

Finally, the writer says, even though they sinned in their thoughts, words and actions, "He (Jesus) is not ashamed to call them "brothers". Jesus called them, brothers and sisters, because all had been consecrated or made holy by his death and resurrection, and members of His family.

Like the original recipients of the letter, I believe there are times we are also in need of companionship, encouragement, support and comfort. Whenever we encounter hardships, challenges, difficulties and temptations we turn to our families and friends which is a great blessing indeed. God Himself saw the need of companionship. From the Book of Genesis (2:18-24) we read in today's first reading, "The Lord God said: It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a suitable partner for him." God saw that man was alone. The angels were above him. The animals and birds were below him. There was no one with whom he could relate or commune. So God created a woman from the man's side, and gave them to each other. In bringing man and woman together, God established the family for all time.

But we know human relationships are not perfect. We break relationships. We separate and get divorced. Our loved ones are not always able to give us the help we need. But there is someone who is always with us; someone who is always able to help and comfort us; someone even better than our family members or closest friends, someone whom we can turn to, that is, our Lord Jesus Christ. He came into this world just like us. He gave Himself fully and completely into our human condition, except sin, and has made us holy by His death and resurrection, and members of His family.

That's why, even though, often times, we choose to disobey Him and sin against Him, He is not ashamed of us. He rather calls us brothers and sisters. This is a great comfort. He loves us so much as His family that, seated at the right hand of God the Father today, He prays all the time for us, and waits and hopes that we may turn unto Him gladly with true repentance and live.

Let us try to be faithful companions to one another. Let us come together to share our stories and listen to one other. Let us help one another to ease our pain and suffering. Let us not be afraid to support one another. Let us not fear hardships, difficulties and persecutions instead stand tall holding our faith. Above all, let us rely on God's strength and not our own, to guide and protect us from all hurt, harm and danger.

(P) Amen.

God Bless You!

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