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Sunday, February 17, 2019

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


First Reading - Jeremiah 17:5-8 ©
Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 1:1-4,6 ©
Second Reading - 1 Corinthians 15:12,16-20 ©
Gospel Acclamation – Matthew 11:25
The Gospel of Luke 6:17, 20-26 ©
(NJB)


Be mindful!

The prophet was mistaken.

God, the creator of the Universe; God has made creation and all who dwell in it free.

God knows the things we do and God knows our reasons for doing it. God understands our experience even as we understand it ourselves, and God, being God the infinite and the eternal, God does not sit in judgement like a human handing out rewards and punishments.

Do not look to God to give you things.

Do not look to God to take punish your adversaries, God does not prefer you to them, or any one person over another, God loves all people equally. Look to your-self, to you own means to build strong communities, communities of sharing, communities of love, communities that are just and merciful.

Be mindful.

The psalmist was also mistaken.

To be wise and good is wise and good.

There is no reward for the pursuit of wisdom and goodness in this world; other than wisdom and goodness.

Some who are good will prosper, some who are not will prosper. This is the truth.

So is it true that some of the wicked will suffer, but not all, and some who are good will suffer with them.

This is the nature of reality, just as it was expressed in Ecclesiastes, God makes the rain to fall on the just and unjust alike.

Understand this.

A person who has lived a good life is not unqualifiedly good, just as a person who has lived a wicked life is not unqualifiedly wicked.

In every person there is the potential for change and conversion; for a turning toward or a turning away from justice and goodness, and the divine.

A person can change at any time.

God, the creator of the universe, God has provided for the same destiny for each and every one of God’s children, to slip the bondage of the world, to be with God in eternity.

This is human destiny. It is difficult for many Christians to accept this, but it is the way.

Be mindful.

The Apostle has a deep liking for circular arguments. The reading from Saint Paul begins in this circular way. He insists that Christ must be raised from the dead or his faith, and the faith of Christians everywhere is in vain, because the faith of Christians everywhere is not in vain, he says that we must believe that there is a resurrection, the risen of Christ is the proof of it.

This is not a rational argument, as such it is a disservice to the Word of God, the divine Logos, whose name means reason.

Set the introduction of this argument aside, because it has no bearing on the main point of the passage.

The main point is this:

The Apostle believed that sin and death enter the world at a single point in time, followed by another singularity which brings sin and death to an end.

Adam causes the fall, Christ cause its restoration.

The scope of their work is equal, at the least. More importantly, the scope of Adam’s failure cannot exceed the scope of Christ’s accomplishment, because the scope of Adam’s work is necessarily finite, while the scope of Christ’s work is intrinsically infinite.

This argument is entirely rational, and as such is completely faithful to spirit of the Word.   

Be mindful.

The teachings of Jesus cannot be treated like a shell game, though they often are, they have been since the beginning, as Matthew’s Gospel illustrates.

The cause of this is human error, it is unfortunate and yet predictable.

The way of Jesus is not a long con, neither is it a bait and switch, The way is a simple teaching that cannot be controlled or owned by any one person or group of people.

Be mindful of the second paragraph in today’s reading there is truth in it, but the first paragraph is a lie.

God, the creator of the universe, God has hidden nothing. God does not seek to obfuscate anything. The truth is in the open, it is there for anyone to see.

The wise and the powerful, the learned and the clever, the weak and the meek, everyone has access to the same truth, to the knowledge of God, of justice, of hope and love. We know this because God dwells within each and every one of us.

Who are the wise and powerful, who are the learned and the clever, who are the faithful and childlike? In every generation you will see a new group labeling the preceding generation as out of touch, blind, privileged, in the dark and corrupt.

It is an endless cycle, the ignorant accusing the ignorant of being ignorant, changing the players but never changing the game, and the truth remains the same; love justice, be merciful, do good, serve God. Serve God through the loving service you provide to one another: to your family, to your friend, to your neighbor, to the stranger, even to your enemy.

Just because a person may be wise and powerful, learned and clever, or a child of the church, does not mean they recognize the truth when they see it, or act upon it when they do.

It is not your station in society, it is not how other people regard you, it is not the titles you have earned, or the ways that you have been marginalized that give us the tell on how you will fulfill the calling to follow Jesus if and when you do.

What matters is what is in your heart, what matters is your willingness to trust in the content of your hope, and if you are able to extend your hopes beyond yourself so that they include every person you encounter; fair or foul, good or ill.

Listen to Gospel, to the teachings of Jesus, he will show us the way. This is a prescription for good living.

Do not be mistaken, happiness does not lie in poverty, but the poor have an easier time finding it, because the wealthy walk through the world with a divided heart, seeking to guard their possessions from threats, from threats both real and imagined.

Whereas those in poverty bond with one another so that they may face the world together, providing for each other what the other lacks. They form a common purpose for the common good. This is the way that Jesus taught us to live, through such communitarianism we may cultivate the garden and therein find the path to paradise.

When you have known hunger, you will be satisfied with the simplest of morsels; a cup of water, a serving of broth, a piece of bread. Spiritual hunger belongs to the glutton, to those who have never experienced want or need. The proud and gluttonous will reject a bountiful table, and reject the companionship they might find there, if the meal has not been prepared to their “standards”, or if they perceive the company to be unclean.   

Be mindful of your sorrows, they will end. That much is certain, and they will be followed by joy, which too will pass. Neither sorrow nor joy are permanent.

If you are to take pride in anything, take pride in this; take pride when you are reviled for speaking the truth, hated for serving something greater than yourself. Take pride in those things, but do not let it lead you to vanity.

Be joyful in your service, good work is its own reward.

These are prescriptions for good living. This is the teaching of the Gospel.

Everything can change in a moment, there is nothing certain in the world. A rich person may lose everything they have, and a glutton can suddenly find themselves starving.

Remember God’s servant Job.

Mourning will follow laughter as the moon follows the sun.

Remember this when you are teaching.

Accolades are heaped on false prophets, they are often rewarded with wealth and fame, because the tell people what they want to hear.

When you see a preacher who has two houses, while one of their followers has none, a preacher who has two cars while some of their followers walk, who has two suits, while they minister to those with nothing; show me that preacher and I will show you a hustler, you will be looking at a con.


First Reading - Jeremiah 17:5-8 ©

A Blessing on the Man Who Puts His Trust in the Lord

The Lord says this:

‘A curse on the man who puts his trust in man, who relies on things of flesh, whose heart turns from the Lord.

He is like dry scrub in the wastelands: if good comes, he has no eyes for it, he settles in the parched places of the wilderness, a salt land, uninhabited.

‘A blessing on the man who puts his trust in the Lord, with the Lord for his hope.

He is like a tree by the waterside that thrusts its roots to the stream: when the heat comes it feels no alarm, its foliage stays green; it has no worries in a year of drought, and never ceases to bear fruit.’


Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 1:1-4,6 ©

Happy the man who has placed his trust in the Lord.

Happy indeed is the man
  who follows not the counsel of the wicked;
nor lingers in the way of sinners
  nor sits in the company of scorners,
but whose delight is the law of the Lord
  and who ponders his law day and night.

Happy the man who has placed his trust in the Lord.

He is like a tree that is planted
  beside the flowing waters,
that yields its fruit in due season
  and whose leaves shall never fade;
  and all that he does shall prosper.

Happy the man who has placed his trust in the Lord.

Not so are the wicked, not so!
For they like winnowed chaff
  shall be driven away by the wind:
for the Lord guards the way of the just
  but the way of the wicked leads to doom.

Happy the man who has placed his trust in the Lord.


Second Reading - 1 Corinthians 15:12,16-20 ©

If Christ Has Not Been Raised, You Are Still in Your Sins

If Christ raised from the dead is what has been preached, how can some of you be saying that there is no resurrection of the dead? For if the dead are not raised, Christ has not been raised, and if Christ has not been raised, you are still in your sins. And what is more serious, all who have died in Christ have perished. If our hope in Christ has been for this life only, we are the most unfortunate of all people.

But Christ has in fact been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of all who have fallen asleep.


Gospel Acclamation – Matthew 11:25

Alleluia, alleluia!

Blessed are you, Father,
Lord of heaven and earth,
for revealing the mysteries of the kingdom
to mere children.

Alleluia!


The Gospel of the Day - Luke 6:17,20-26 ©

Happy Are You Who Are Poor, Who Are Hungry, Who Weep

Jesus came down with the Twelve and stopped at a piece of level ground where there was a large gathering of his disciples with a great crowd of people from all parts of Judaea and from Jerusalem and from the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon. Then fixing his eyes on his disciples he said:

‘How happy are you who are poor: yours is the kingdom of God. Happy you who are hungry now: you shall be satisfied.

Happy you who weep now: you shall laugh.

Happy are you when people hate you, drive you out, abuse you, denounce your name as criminal, on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice when that day comes and dance for joy, for then your reward will be great in heaven. This was the way their ancestors treated the prophets.

‘But alas for you who are rich: you are having your consolation now.

Alas for you who have your fill now: you shall go hungry.

Alas for you who laugh now: you shall mourn and weep.

‘Alas for you when the world speaks well of you! This was the way their ancestors treated the false prophets.’

The Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

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