Bear with one another charitably and love your Children

Homily for the Seventeenth Sunday of Year B

by Fr. Tommy Lane

Earlier I explained that we interrupt our reading of Mark for six Sundays to read John 6 - the Eucharistic Chapter - and explained that the multiplication of the loaves and fish anticipates the miracle of the Eucharist

In August 1999 an article was published in Readers Digest commenting on the difficulties of parents. In the course of the article the author remarked that she still remembers a piece of advice she heard some years earlier which continues to inspire her to give her best to her children. It was given by Mother Teresa. Mother Teresa had given a speech about her work with the sick and dying and orphans in India. Afterwards, a member of the audience, who seemingly wanted to assist her in her great work, asked, “You have done so much to make the world a better place. What can we do?” Mother Teresa smiled and simply said, “Love your children.” Not pleased with her answer, the questioner was about to speak again when she raised her hand and said, “There are other things you can do, but that is the best. Love your children. Love your children as much as you can. That is the best.”

That is indeed beautiful and inspiring advice. Not only is it beautiful and inspiring advice for parents but for everyone because we are all called to love. You might ask, “How do we love?” There are many possible answers but one answer is given to us in our second reading today where Paul writes, “I…implore you to lead a life worthy of your vocation. Bear with one another charitably, in complete selflessness, gentleness and patience. Do all you can to preserve the unity of the Spirit by the peace that binds you together.” (Eph 4:1-3) Paul implores us to lead a life worthy of our vocation. Our vocation is to love. That is the vocation of a Christian.

In the words of Paul I could say, “Lead a life worthy of being a parent, a wife or husband, a son or daughter.” A good parent, or spouse or child is one who builds up and gives encouragement. Parents give money to their children but good parents give their children something more. What do good parents give their children more than parents do? The following (edited version of the original whose author I do not know, (If you know please e-mail me so that I can acknowledge) gives some of the answer:

If children live with criticism,
They learn to condemn.

If children live with hostility,
They learn to fight.

If children live with ridicule,
They learn to be shy.

If children live with shame,
They learn to feel guilty

On the other hand when we uplift and encourage children we help them for life:

If children live with tolerance,
They learn to be patient.

If children live with encouragement,
They learn confidence.

If children live with praise,
They learn to appreciate.

If children live with fairness,
They learn justice.

If children live with security,
They learn to have faith.

If children live with approval,
They learn to like themselves.

If children live with acceptance and friendship,
They learn to find love in the world.

That advice is also beautiful, not only useful for parents, but useful for everyone in all of our dealings with others:

If we encourage people, we will boost their confidence.
If we praise people they will be more appreciative.
If we treat people fairly they will experience justice.
If we approve of people they will not feel inferior.
If we accept people and are friendly with them, they will be loving.

Paul says, “Bear with one another charitably” (Eph 4:2), in other words, love each other. Is everything we do done to love and help others? Or do we sometimes try to put other people down and hurt and injure them by what we say, or by our attitude? Some years ago someone described a country parish in a way that I have not forgotten just as the writer in the Readers Digest did not forget the advice for parents. The definition of a rural parish in Ireland that I heard is this, “We have the faith but we’re no angels.” In various different parishes around the country you would hear about dreadful hurtful things being said at public meetings. Sometimes you would even get the impression that some people don’t enjoy a public meeting if there is no quarrel. We have to solve problems but inciting quarrels is not the way of love, not the way of a Christian. Our second reading states, “I…implore you to lead a life worthy of your vocation. Bear with one another charitably, in complete selflessness, gentleness and patience. Do all you can to preserve the unity of the Spirit by the peace that binds you together.” (Eph 4:1-3)

If we encourage people, we will boost their confidence.
If we praise people they will be more appreciative.
If we treat people fairly they will experience justice.
If we approve of people they will not feel inferior.
If we accept people and are friendly with them, they will be loving.

“I…implore you to lead a life worthy of your vocation. Bear with one another charitably, in complete selflessness, gentleness and patience. Do all you can to preserve the unity of the Spirit by the peace that binds you together.” (Eph 4:1-3)

Copyright © Fr. Tommy Lane 2013

This homily was delivered when I was engaged in parish ministry in Ireland before joining the faculty of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, Emmitsburg, Maryland.

More homilies for the Seventeenth Sunday Year B

Jesus expands our vision; our small vision vs. Jesus’ limitless vision

What the world offers us is puny but God offers us more than we can imagine

Related Homilies: Miracle at Juarez: Give to Jesus and he gives to us

Faith in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist and Eucharistic Miracles

Let Jesus Feast With You!

Alexandrina lived only on Jesus in the Eucharist for thirteen years

Jesus our Healer, healing through the Mass and sacraments

Pope John Paul II’s Letter on the Eucharist, Ecclesia de Eucharistia