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The 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
November 13, 2022

Watch this homily!

    Today, as we approach the end of another Church year, I find myself looking back to this time last year, reflecting on what has happened, and wondering whether much, if anything, has changed for the better. The cynic in me says, ‘not much.’ Our world still overflows with hostility and hatred; a cruel, unjust war broke out in Ukraine months ago and innocent people are dying daily; migrants and refugees, many of them children and babes in arms, die during their desperate pursuit of freedom and asylum; in our cities, homeless people hunker down in doorways and alleys; people are discriminated against because of race, gender, and sexual orientation; life in the womb is still considered by many to be expendable; the environment continues to be threatened and at great risk; rancor is rife in a nation hopelessly divided in the wake of an election in which fear, fake news, conspiracy theories and downright lies replaced the better angels of our nature. It’s hard, isn’t it, to see how our world is any better than it was a year ago? And it’s not just the world out there. We have our own personal failings to deal with, too, don’t we? The sins we daily commit against family members, friends, coworkers, sins against love, sins against justice.

     But that’s the cynic in me. The more hope-filled side of me is able to recognize – in our parish, certainly, if not in our world – some real strides we have made during this past year. In the wake of a killer pandemic that changed almost everything, we have held together as a parish: worshipping together each weekend, more in-person now than virtually (thank God!). And many of us participated this past spring in a revolutionary synodal process that brought us together in small groups where we prayed together, listened to each other’s hopes, fears, angers and frustrations, dreams, and listened to what the Holy Spirit was saying.

      And there’s more: this past year, we continued to reach out to hundreds upon hundreds of poor and homeless people through the Cathedral Kitchen, the Sunday morning breakfast, and the Solanus Casey Center; we welcomed refugee families from Afghanistan and the Ukraine; we advocated on behalf of the environment and affordable housing; and some of our wonderful high-school youth mentors have, week after week, lovingly and quietly walked with special needs kids in our Faith Friends ministry. That doesn’t begin to tell the story of all that has happened, but I think you’ll agree that it’s pretty promising.

     All of this to say that significant numbers of you have embraced the Gospel and immersed yourselves in the healing power of the sacraments, refusing to be ruled by pessimism, anger, or fear but, instead, becoming channels of love and mercy, signs of hope where hope is sometimes hard to find.

     The readings today, for all their alarming apocalyptic overtones and undertones – wars and insurrections, earthquakes, famines, plagues, and disturbing signs in the heavens – the readings brought words of hope. I think, for instance, of the powerful image in the reading from the Prophet Malachi of the dawning of the sun of justice with its healing rays. The dreaded Day of the Lord may be coming - the day when, as the prophet envisions it, the proud and the evildoers of the earth will be set on fire and burned like stubble - but for those who hold fast and who fear God, there will be mercy, and healing, and peace.

     And the prophetic words of Jesus in the passage from Luke’s gospel about the end times conclude on a note of blessed peace and final victory. “I myself will give you wisdom in speaking…not a hair of your head will be destroyed,” he says, and “by your perseverance you will secure your lives.” In other words, in spite of terrible things that daily happen in our world and will continue to happen, in spite of great angst and turmoil, in the end, justice and mercy will prevail for all who are faithful, all who strive to be faithful. So, my friends, there is hope, great hope, and we are part of that hope, living signs of it.

     At this and every Mass, after being nourished – and challenged – both by Word and Sacrament, we go forth from this holy place to the world out there that is also holy; our world which, for all its flaws, holds great promise; our world which, in the words of the poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins, “wears our smudge and shares our smell,” but is nonetheless “charged with God’s grandeur.” If only we have eyes to see!

Father Michael G. Ryan





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Seattle, Washington  98104
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