32nd Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year B (2021): 1 Kgs 17:10-16; Hb 9:24-28; Mk 12:38-44

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Homily Notes for the 32nd Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year B (2021): 1 Kgs 17:10-16; Hb 9:24-28; Mk 12:38-44

·  This weekend we celebrate the gift and mission of Catholic Education in our province but also throughout the entire world. There is no set model as to how Catholic education unfolds around the world, and given the circumstances of that country the gift and mission it brings is often quite diverse and at times unfamiliar with our experience here in Alberta.

·  Take for example the experience my youngest brother had as a volunteer teacher at a small Catholic school in Nagasaki, Japan. Not even 1% of the Japanese population is Catholic and the vast majority of students who attend the few Catholic schools in Japan are not-baptized.

·  The parents who enroll their students there know that their children will learn in the Catholic tradition and my brother said it was among the most interesting experiences of his life to watch as the entire school would attend Mass, watching students genuflecting with precision and reciting the prayers of the Mass in perfect unison, knowing when to kneel, stand and sit, yet only a few students would come forward to receive Holy Communion since all others students were not baptized.

·  My brother shared with me that the families who attended this school were grateful that it existed, for they appreciated the values and virtues that their children acquired and the high-quality education they received.

·  This school was partially achieving its mission in offering education in the Catholic tradition regardless of the religious denomination or lack thereof of the students and their families, yet the teachers of that school also noted that their greatest achievement as teachers was when a student made the free choice to want to become Catholic, to be baptised and set on the path to be a follower of Christ and heir to the Kingdom of Heaven.

·  Among the most edifying realities I have seen in our Catholic school here in Canmore and elsewhere in the province is the way in which learning in the Catholic tradition instills values and virtues that will hopefully remain with our students all their lives. It is hopeful they will aid them not only in their learning and in how to treat their fellow students and others with love, respect and compassion, but to also equip them to face the great challenges of life in a spirit of faith and trust.

·  We heard today the stories of two widows, both of whom were faced with dire circumstances but who ultimately placed their trust in God that the Lord would provide in this life and the world to come.

·  It is hopeful that the virtues and values our students learn in our Catholic schools will help them to act like these two courageous woman did, one of whom was asked to trust that God would provide for her and her son if she was willing to show charity to a stranger, and another who freely gave our her wealth, what little it was, to the care of the Temple of God, teaching us that great virtue that God will provide for those who are detached from the things of this world that bring temporal happiness if we are willing to be concerned about the eternal happiness that in part comes from supporting the work of God on earth.

·  I have also been inspired by the mission of our Catholic school to instill in our students the sense of being a follower of Jesus. We believe as Catholics that the mission of our Church is ultimately to bring souls to heaven, continuing what Jesus commanded long ago to baptize all nations and await for the coming of his kingdom, where the Letter to the Hebrews reminds us we too can enter that heavenly Sanctuary, not made by human hands, that Jesus already dwells within.

·  More and more we see that in our Catholic schools in Alberta that many of our students are not-baptized or come from families where their lived experience of being Catholic is limited. It is a gift that we can welcome these children into our schools, because it reminds us of that great mission we have as Catholics to seek to invite those who have not been baptised or had little lived experience in the Church to hear the voice of Jesus who long ago said to some brothers by the Sea of Galilee “Come and Follow me.”

·  The gift and mission of publicly funded Catholic education in our province is one that we should not take for granted and should be willing to support with our prayers, vocal support and monetary means.

·   I would ask everyone here today to pray every day for Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Academy, for every student, teacher and staff member that Our Holy Mother watch over each of them and inspire them to seek the face of Jesus that is encountered in our school and to be continually inspired to follow Him as a disciple.