This coming Sunday (6 September 2020) is the 14th Sunday after Pentecost in the Extraordinary Form. The following is a homily by Father Valentine Young, OFM, who died on 17 January 2020. We received permission to post these homilies, as well as to correct “grammatical errors, etc.” To learn more about Father Valentine, scroll to the bottom of the page. These homilies were all delivered sometime between 2013 and 2020.
Homily • 14th Sunday after Pentecost
NE OF THE HARDEST—if not the hardest—thing that Jesus told us to do is contained in these words of today’s Gospel: “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his justice and all these things shall be added unto you.” In perhaps plainer and more ordinary English, Our Lord Jesus Christ is telling us to put God first in our lives. If we do that, everything else will be taken care of.
Hardest Commandment: I say this is the hardest thing that Jesus has told us to do. It is (relatively speaking) easier to observe the commandments and to refrain from sinning in general than it is really to put our trust in God. We might say we do—and we might even try to do so. But then there is always that urge to step in there and see what we can do, in case God doesn’t come through. I don’t think Jesus could have used a better example than birds flying around to prove his point.
Birds: Just think of the birds, the simplest, un-prettiest and least desirable of any of them. It makes no difference. You see them flying around from place to place, apparently stopping here or there for food or water. Do you think any of them are ever worried about where they are going to find their next food or water? I’m not a bird-psychologist, but I am rather sure the answer is no. I know nothing about the life span of a bird, but apparently they live as long as God intended them to live, at least under ordinary circumstances. Now don’t you wish you could live like that? We might not include the flying part.
First Suggestion: I’ll offer only two suggestions although I’m sure there could be more. One is that it is very important to live and enjoy what God has given you here and now. Remember: in the LORD’S PRAYER, Jesus did not tell us to pray for next year’s bread, but for today’s bread or sustenance. If things are going fine for you now, why ruin it by looking ahead at some uncertain event in the future?
Second Suggestion: The second suggestion is to be aware of the foolishness of worry. If worry did any good, I would advise you to do it—but it is wasted time and energy. Worry is usually best handled by accepting the fact that you can only do what God makes it possible for you to do; and so when it comes to other people and what they do (even if they be close relatives), little good is done by worrying about them. Pray for them, certainly. But don’t let that time of prayer become a time of worry. I’ll bet that most people, including myself, have suffered more from things that never happened than from things that actually did happen. Giving up our happiness by suffering for things that never did or will happen is an awful price to pay for the loss of our happiness.
Being Thankful: Today we are being especially thankful for the fact that the Latin mass has been celebrated here at ALL SAINTS CATHOLIC CHURCH for ten years. I think most credit should go to Monsignor Schulte. To speak a bit philosophically, I would say he was the prime mover. Also thanks to our Bishop—especially for his presence today and encouragement throughout the years. I think I can say that (for many of us) we were like birds flying here and there before we finally found our nesting place. Maybe at times we didn’t have too much confidence. All we can say is that our heavenly Father was looking out for us. And we are grateful to our present pastor, Father Matthew Cushing. Thanks to our visiting choir members who helped to enhance the singing for today. Saint Francis of Assisi used to say that the birds praised God just by their flying around. We as “trusting birds” are hopefully praising God by our presence here today at this Mass.