In the Collect for this Sunday’s celebration of the Mass we pray, “O God, from whom all good things come, grant that we, who call on you in our need, may at your prompting discern what is right, and by your guidance do it.” This prayer presents to us three truths:
God is creator and source of all that is good. God created us in his own image and likeness, allowing us to share in his inner life (TOB 2:4).
As his beloved sons and daughters in need of redemption, we call out to God for help in our need (TOB 4:1).
The Holy Spirit “prompts” us to discern what is right, and our human will is strengthened by God’s grace to do the Father’s will.
All good things come from God. When we consider being created by God in his own image and likeness, we are moved to ask two fundamental questions that guided the writings of Pope Saint John Paul II: Who are we? and How are we to live? To the first question, Who are we? We can respond. We are created, fallen and redeemed. We are God’s beloved sons and daughters called in our very nature from the very beginning to live in union with him. To the second question, How are we to live? We can respond. By God’s grace we are to live in harmony with the Triune God in this life so that we can live with him in the next.
We can call out to God in our need. We are in need of redemption because of our fallen nature. God responded to this need with a plan for redemption when the original sin entered the world. The first evidence of God’s response is expressed in the “Protoevangelium” [first gospel] of Genesis 3:15 presented in the first reading where God says, “And I will put enmity between you [the serpent] and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” St. Irenaeus views this text as a foreshadowing of the Gospel, which is Jesus’ victory over Satan. Genesis 3:15 gives us hope in God’s promise of redemption. Saint John Paul II signals that we are in need of redemption because “we are all participants in the history of human sinfulness, both by original sin we have inherited and by the personal sins we commit” (TOB 4:4). The good news is that we are called to participate in the redemption won by Christ’s life, death and resurrection.
We are prompted by God to do what is right. The second reading from Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians beautifully expresses the power of God through Jesus Christ to redeem us from sin and death. St. Paul assures us that “the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus…so that the grace bestowed in abundance on more and more people may cause the thanksgiving to overflow for the glory of God” (2 Corinthians 4:14-15). In calling out to God in our need, we trust that the grace bestowed in abundance empowers us to follow God’s will and give glory to God. This trust affords us hope in the power of God to renew us day by day.
The Gospel proclaims that whoever follows the will of God is united to Christ. “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother” (Mark 3:35). As disciples of Jesus Christ, we have the fundamental belief that God is the giver of all that is good. “Man, male and female, appears at the beginning as the man of original innocence-before original sin-and then as the one who has lost this innocence by breaking the original covenant with his creator” (TOB 26:4).
Our participation in the celebration of the Mass plunges us into an ever-renewed communion with others and with God. We are immersed into the victory over sin and death that we share in Christ. The Holy Spirit empowers us to live in God’s love where we are willing to share in the salvific work of Christ, becoming his hands and feet as we bring hope to others where we live and work.
To download a PDF version of this homily, click here: 10th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year B
Fr. Martin Schaefer was ordained a priest in 1992 for the Diocese of Winona, MN. He has served as pastor of parishes until 2013. Since then he has been serving as Vice-Rector and Dean of Formation at Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary in Winona, MN. Fr. Martin has attended Certification courses at TOBI and the TOB & Priestly Identity retreat.