Gift of Honor

(Homily for Ascension, Cycle C; Mother's Day 2016)

Message: By honoring our parents God gives long life and abundance. By honoring Jesus we receive an unlimited inheritance and life without end.

Happy Mother's Day. Today we honor our moms and pray for them - living and deceased.

You know that God gave ten commandments: three that refer to our relationship to God himself and seven to our neighbor. And who's the first neighbor in the list? I think you remember: Honor your father and mother. It comes with a promise that I will mention in a moment. First let's concentrate on that word "honor."

Honor your father and your mother. God knows, none of us have perfect parents. But he doesn't say honor your parents if they are perfect. He simply says, "Honor them." Honor can include many things: attention, esteem, recognition, credit, praise, care. It does not involve pretense, but it can require patience and pardon. We fallen human beings need to forgive one another, sometimes on a daily basis. The bottom line, though: Honor your father and your mother.

God wants you to honor your parents in order to give you something. As I said, this commandment comes with a promise: "Honor your father and mother so you may live long and it may go well with you." To those who honor their parents God promises a long life and prosperity.

Let me speak personally. At a certain point in my life I discovered the fuller meaning of this commandment. I started making a conscious effort to honor my parents, not only with gestures and words, but even my thoughts. Well, I may not live to a hundred, but I have made it almost to seventy which aint bad. And it looks like I should have more. Regarding prosperity, I'm a priest so I don't need that much. I do have a parish family and kind of adopted children in Peru. Sometimes I feel like the boy with a few loaves, but there often comes a multiplication - usually in the nick to time.

The work in Peru I named for my mom: the Mary Bloom Center. My mom was alive when we founded the Center. For almost 25 years it has brought blessings to children and families in an impoverished area. When we honor our parents, God blesses us and others.

A word for parents: You may not always feel so honorable, but you still insist on it - not for your sake, but for your child. By honoring one's parents a person receives blessings.

Your children want to honor you - and they do. When we surveyed young people on who in the parish had most impacted their faith, a few mentioned Fr. Bloom or Sister Barbara. But do you know who won hands down? Their dads and moms! I am glad of that. I want our young people to look up to their parents and to honor them. By doing so they will receive tremendous blessings.

Something similar applies to honoring Jesus. Unlike the rest of us, he merits unreserved honor. Today we celebrate his Ascension. When we honor Jesus, he lifts us up. That's why our first parish priority states: Lift up Jesus. Our Psalm says, "God mounts his throne to shouts of joy." That verse refers to Jesus lifted to the Father's right hand. St. Paul tells that the Father has "put all things beneath his feet." What can we not receive from Jesus? Abundance belongs to him. When we exalt him, he lifts us up.

By honoring our parents God gives long life and abundance. By honoring Jesus we receive an unlimited inheritance and life without end.

Along with Jesus one other person who deserves unalloyed honor. She brings together heaven and earth. Like Jesus God took her bodily into heaven. She is not God like Jesus. She is however the Mother of God: the Blessed Virgin Mary. As I was preparing this homily, I remembered a lovely poem. It comes from by the Filipino patriot and polymath, Dr. Josť Rizal:

To The Virgin Mary 

Mary, sweet peace and solace
Of pained mortals! Thou art the fount
Whence flows the stream of grace,
That makes our land fruitful.

From thy throne, from heaven high,
Hear my sorrowful cry!
And may thy veil with brilliant light
Protect my voice in rapid flight.

Thou art my Mother, Mary pure;
Thou be my guide on this angry sea.
If vice pursues me madly on the morrow, 
If death harasses me with agony: 
Come to my aid and ease my sorrow!  Amen


Spanish Version

From the Archives (Ascension Homilies - Year C):

2013: The Way He Opened
2010: Disappear vs. Leave
2007: Separation of Church and State
2004: Forgiveness - In His Name
2001: Submission to Jesus
1998: Jesus' Rule Vs. Cafeteria Catholicism

Complete List:

2015 (Year B): Disciple Makers Week 7: Be Part of the Story
2014 (Year A): Journey to Hope Week 7
2013 (Year C): The Way He Opened
2012 (Year B): He Took Prisoners Captive
2011 (Year A): The Personal Center
2010 (Year C): Disappear vs. Leave
2009 (Year B): What Good-Bye Means
2008 (Year A): Ascension Quotes
2007 (Year C): Separation of Church and State
2006 (Year B): Whoever Believes and is Baptized
2005 (Year A): There the Action Lies
2004 (Year C): Forgiveness - In His Name
2003 (Year B): What Does "He Ascended" Mean?
2002 (Year A): Finding the Way Home (Ascension & Mother's Day)
2001 (Year C): Submission to Jesus
2000 (Year B): Beyond the Secular Paradigm
1999 (Year A): A Wake Up Call
1998 (Year C): Jesus' Rule Vs. Cafeteria Catholicism

Other Homilies

Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C

Audio Files of Homilies (Simple Catholicism Blog)

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Fr. Brad's Homilies

Fr. Jim's Homilies

Fr. Michael White's Homilies ("messages")

Bulletin (St. Mary's Parish)

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MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru