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Sunday, February 24, 2019

A Homily - The Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)


First Reading - 1 Samuel 26:2,7-9,11-13,22-23 ©
Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 102(103):1-4,8,10,12-13 ©
Second Reading - 1 Corinthians 15:45-49 ©
Gospel Acclamation – Acts 16:14
Alternative Acclamation – John 13:34
The Gospel of Luke 6:27-38 ©
(NJB)


This reading from Samuel is meant to tell us something about the piety of David. It makes a big to do out of the fact that David would not take the life of his king, even though the king was seeking his.

Do not be confused, this is piety, but it is not love.

There are many things happening in this text, many errors to correct, the first of which is to make sure that the reader does not confuse David’s lawfulness, his refusal to take the life of God’s “anointed” for the command that Jesus in the gospel reading that comes later; the command that we love our enemies.

David does not spare Saul out of love, but from a sense of duty. He may very well be motivated by superstition also, and he is almost certainly motivated by a desire to uphold the law with rigor, because he himself expected to be king after Saul.

A lawbreaker, someone who was himself guilty of regicide, would have had a hard time with that.

David does not want to establish the precedent that it is permissible to kill a king. Or he might find himself at the wrong end of his own spear in later years.

He was wise in this.

David’s piety is laudable, nevertheless, it is not love, it is calculating, shrewd and savvy, but it is not love.


Be mindful!

God does not appoint kings. God does not intervene in human affairs, God has made us free.

God does not reward the good or punish the wicked. These are the works and contrivances of people, do not confuse our doings with those of the divine.

Listen to psalmist:

Give thanks to God, the creator of the universe.

Give thanks for the peace of God’s blessing, the blessing of life, of freedom, of self-determination, and every other aspect of our being that allows us to be persons as we are.

Give thanks to those who are loving, be thankful for the peacemakers, and bless them as you are able.

Bless all of God’s children, as God does, love them all, both the good and the bad, the helpful and the harmful, the just and the unjust.

Remember this, God is not a king, nor a kingmaker. God is not a Lord.

God does not favor one group over another. God loves all of God’s children equally.

Be wary of the teaching of the apostles, they are often wrong, just as the disciples were wrong, misunderstanding Jesus and his teaching at every turn.

In the reading for today, from Corinthians the apostle presents a soliloquy from rank speculation, concerning matters that he knows nothing about.

It is has been great tragedy for the Church, and serious misfortune to people everywhere that these teachings came into the tradition.

Beyond expressing faith and hope that the spirit continues beyond the death of the body, which is good, there is nothing else that needs to be said on this subject.

We fall into error when we allow our philosophies to frame our understanding of events that are yet to come, but that none of us have seen.

Be mindful, be present, and know this.

God hear you, God is with you, Immanuel.

God knows you even as you know yourself, God knows you better.

Listen!

Forget the apocryphal imagery and the mythological symbolism associated with the “Son of Man.” Set aside the cryptic language that John presents regarding the glory of God; pretending to tell us in whom and how it appears.

Forget those things because they are irrelevant.

Know this:

To follow Christ is to walk in the path of love, to love one another.

To follow Jesus is to lead with love.

Be loving as Jesus was loving. Be caring, be merciful, be just.

Be prepared to risk everything for the sake of love, even your life.

In this way you will be true to Jesus, anyone who is a witness to it will bear witness to that truth.

This is the way and there is no other.

Faith (which is the trust we place in God); faith is not about words, it is about actions. Faith is trust, and it is rooted in love.

Faith is not ideology, it is not partisan, it is not dogmatic, it is not doctrinaire. Faith is not a legally binding agreement. Faith is not concerned with creeds, or secrets, or magic words.

Faith is trust in God, and it is rooted in our experience of love.

Jesus calls us to love, not in the ordinary sense, not in a way that you might expect; Jesus call on us to love radically.

Love your enemies, Jesus says. Love them!

Love them as God loves them. Love your enemies, no matter who they are, because like you, your enemies are children of God, they are brothers and sisters of Christ.

They are your brothers and sisters. God dwells in them as God dwells in you. Love them, because enmity is an illusion, it is a disease of the heart, love them and be good to them, because goodness is its own reward.

Be kind to one another, serve God through the service you give to your neighbors, to the stranger, even those who have done you harm.

This is the expectation of God.

This is the way of Jesus, who prayed to God on behalf of those who tortured and murdered him, he prayed that they be forgiven, even as he was dying on the cross.

Be compassionate, do not let your imagination fail you in considering the countless ways which you can find to be loving to one another.

Do not judge so that you will not be judged, or pardon so that you will be pardoned, or give so that you will receive a reward. Love is not transactional.

Pardon because you have been pardoned, set your judgement aside as God has done for you already, give so that you may share your reward.

This is the love that Jesus calls us to.


First reading – 1 Samuel 26:2,7-9,11-13,22-23 ©

Do Not Lift Your Hand Against the Lord's Anointed

Saul set off and went down to the wilderness of Ziph, accompanied by three thousand men chosen from Israel to search for David in the wilderness of Ziph.

In the dark David and Abishai made their way towards the force, where they found Saul lying asleep inside the camp, his spear stuck in the ground beside his head, with Abner and the troops lying round him.

Then Abishai said to David, ‘Today God has put your enemy in your power; so now let me pin him to the ground with his own spear. Just one stroke! I will not need to strike him twice.’ David answered Abishai, ‘Do not kill him, for who can lift his hand against the Lord’s anointed and be without guilt? The Lord forbid that I should raise my hand against the Lord’s anointed! But now take the spear beside his head and the pitcher of water and let us go away.’ David took the spear and the pitcher of water from beside Saul’s head, and they made off. No one saw, no one knew, no one woke up; they were all asleep, for a deep sleep from the Lord had fallen on them.

David crossed to the other side and halted on the top of the mountain a long way off; there was a wide space between them. He called out, ‘Here is the king’s spear. Let one of the soldiers come across and take it. The Lord repays everyone for his uprightness and loyalty. Today the Lord put you in my power, but I would not raise my hand against the Lord’s anointed.’


Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 102(103):1-4,8,10,12-13 ©

The Lord is compassion and love.

My soul, give thanks to the Lord
  all my being, bless his holy name.
My soul, give thanks to the Lord
  and never forget all his blessings.

The Lord is compassion and love.

It is he who forgives all your guilt,
  who heals every one of your ills,
who redeems your life from the grave,
  who crowns you with love and compassion.

The Lord is compassion and love.

The Lord is compassion and love,
  slow to anger and rich in mercy.
He does not treat us according to our sins
  nor repay us according to our faults.

The Lord is compassion and love.

As far as the east is from the west
  so far does he remove our sins.
As a father has compassion on his sons,
  the Lord has pity on those who fear him.

The Lord is compassion and love.


Second Reading – 1 Corinthians 15:45-49 ©

The First Adam Became a Living Soul; the Last Adam, a Life-giving Spirit

The first man, Adam, as scripture says, became a living soul; but the last Adam has become a life-giving spirit. That is, first the one with the soul, not the spirit, and after that, the one with the spirit. The first man, being from the earth, is earthly by nature; the second man is from heaven. As this earthly man was, so are we on earth; and as the heavenly man is, so are we in heaven. And we, who have been modelled on the earthly man, will be modelled on the heavenly man.


Gospel Acclamation – Acts 16:14

Alleluia, alleluia!

Open our heart, O Lord,
to accept the words of your Son.

Alleluia!


Alternative Acclamation – John 13:34

Alleluia, alleluia!

I give you a new commandment:
love one another just as I have loved you,
says the Lord.

Alleluia!


The Gospel of Luke – 6:27-38 ©

Love your enemies

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘I say this to you who are listening: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who treat you badly. To the man who slaps you on one cheek, present the other cheek too; to the man who takes your cloak from you, do not refuse your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and do not ask for your property back from the man who robs you. Treat others as you would like them to treat you. If you love those who love you, what thanks can you expect? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what thanks can you expect? For even sinners do that much. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what thanks can you expect? Even sinners lend to sinners to get back the same amount. Instead, love your enemies and do good, and lend without any hope of return. You will have a great reward, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.

‘Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate. Do not judge, and you will not be judged yourselves; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned yourselves; grant pardon, and you will be pardoned. Give, and there will be gifts for you: a full measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will be poured into your lap; because the amount you measure out is the amount you will be given back.’


The Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

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