Fr Hugh Thomas CSsR was the celebrant for Mass during the #CCRNSW retreat weekend. You can learn a bit more about him here and here.
I include the notes from the Mass because so often the readings for the day amplify or underline themes that have been in the talks, as does the homily. To exclude them would be like serving a dinner without a quarter of the main ingredients.
The readings were taken from Saturday Week 1 in Ordinary Time, Year II, and the proper of the Mass was for Saturdays in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The first reading came from the Letter to the Hebrews beginning, 'The Word of God is alive and active'. The Psalm response was, 'Your Words Lord are Spirit and life'. The Gospel came from the section of St Mark where Jesus calls Levi to follow Him out of the customs house.
Fr Hugh Thomas
The Word of God is something alive and active. Jim has been giving us the Word of God this morning: Zechariah, Nehemiah, Haggai, Maccabees. The Catholic Charismatic Renewal has brought to us the importance of the Word of God; all of it is precious. Vatican II reminded us of the words of St Jerome, 'Ignorance of scripture is ignorance of Christ'. Is the Word of God still as important to you as in the first days of your baptism in the Spirit? We still need the Word of God every day.
We are all familiar with the Gospel scene. Levi (or Matthew) being a tax collector was despised by decent people. They considered tax collectors to be crooks, and hated them. There is a famous painting of this Gospel scene by Caravaggio. Pope Francis was inspired to take his motto as a bishop 'having mercy and choosing' from this painting, 'The Calling of St Matthew'. Jesus is pointing at him, and Matthew is looking up in amazement: 'Me??' Because of the mercy of God, and still He chose me.
There is some mud sticking around – we all have this – no one can pretend we haven't, and yet we are chosen. Of the billions of people in this world, how many of them know God? Of them, many may know God, but don't know Jesus as Son of God. We are so blessed and chosen. Are you better than them? No. Some of them might be more honourable than us. We are not deserving, yet by His grace he has taken pity on us, chose us, and says, 'Follow Me'.
Matthew invited all his mates to have a big meal with Jesus. What's He doing mixing with this crowd? 'The sick need Me'.
We are all sinners here. Now we've got to go out and spread the fire. It doesn't require a soapbox, but people down the street are in need. We ask Mary to help us receive His message and to live it so to set our city and state on fire.