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Sunday, July 14, 2019

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


First Reading – Deuteronomy 30:10-14 ©
Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 68(69):14,17, 30-31, 33-34, 36-37 ©
Second Reading – Colossians 1:15-20 ©
Gospel Acclamation – John 10:27
Alternative Acclamation – John 6:63, 68
The Gospel According to Luke 10:25 – 37 ©


(NJB)


Be mindful. Consider the readings fro today.

God will not test or challenge us in ways that we are not prepared to handle. God has made us capable of rising to the demands of conscience.

The law, such as it is, is written in keeping with the will of God, this is true insofar as it promotes love and kindness, mercy and forbearance.

The law is the way, and the way is meant to keep us well, holiness is not its objective, except insofar as holiness is a byproduct of the loving heart.

 The law is written in our hearts, listen and you can hear the voice of God preaching on it there, speaking to you from your heart.

Listen! God will speak to you of the way.

Be mindful!

God has made us free and will not intervene in our lives, either to help us or to deter us.

Do not look to God for help in this world.

God, the creator of the universe; God will not help you. You must help yourself, and rely on you family, your friends and your neighbors. You must rely on the stranger to help you.

God has given you the strength to persevere any hardship. God has given you hope to lead you through them. God has given you the freedom to do anything, or to do nothing at all.

If your family and friends have turned against you; look to yourself and ask yourself why.

The psalmist is right, God desires praise and worship more than animal sacrifices, but both of those things are next to nothing compared to God’s desire for justice and compassion, for love and for mercy.

Remember this. Remember what the desire of God’s heart is, God desires patience and kindness, listen for the call to echoing in the chamber of your own heart.

Be mindful of what the Apostle teaches.

He sees in Jesus the image of the unseen God, God the creator of the universe, the unknowable, the un-nameable God.

The Apostle tells us what the writers of John’s Gospel affirm, that all things were created in Christ, the Word of God, who Jesus is a reflection of.

All things redound to God in the end, all things are created through God and made for God’s purposes; all principalities and all powers, all of the poor, all of the alienated and all of those who suffer too.

God does not appoint the prices and powers of the world, God does not lift them up or take them down, God does not assign suffering to any, but God purposes all things to God’s will.

God holds all things together in unity.

The sheep do not choose the shepherd, but rather, it is the shepherd who chooses the sheep.

God in whom all that is comes to be, it is to God that everything belongs, the shepherd is God, the creator of the universe.

There is just the one shepherd; and just the one sheepfold.

Listen for the voice of the shepherd, and do not trouble yourself with how the shepherd speaks to you, in what language, in what text. It is not your concern how the shepherd speaks to your sister or your brother, to your neighbors or the stranger. The shepherd is speaking to them to, and they are listening as they are able (or willing).

Everyone that is, everyone without exception walks with God, God walks with everyone, there is no other way. Do not trouble yourself if you do not understand the journey another person is on, God is guiding them, as God is guiding you.

If you resist, God will be patient, God will wait. God will wait for you as God waits for everyone. God will wait for you because God loves you, as Jesus showed us, the good shepherd, they are love, and love is patient, just as love is kind.

Have faith.

God will not lose a single one of us. Neither will any one of us lose God.

God is with us.

Be mindful!

It is easy to go astray.

Consider the early church and how it went astray, consider how it deviated from the teaching of Jesus. At the very beginning they deviated from the teaching of Jesus and the lived experience of the way which he taught.

Think of Saint Peter, who would have us believe that he follows Jesus because Jesus has the secret message of eternal life, as if this were the purpose of the gospel, as if believing that Jesus is the “Holy One of God” is the key to life.

The writers of John’s Gospel would ask us to believe that God parcels out access to Jesus, and to the truth, to the reality of life everlasting, allowing some to come to it, while refusing others.

None of this scheme is true.

Here is the gospel, the really good news; God loves you, and you are saved.

You are not saved for anything that you have done, you did not earn it, you are saved because God loves you.

The promise of salvation is not that you will be spared from suffering and torment in hell, or that when you are judged God will forgive you.

God has already forgiven you. You have already been judged and found worthy. The fact that you are is the evidence of it.

 You are already saved.

God has prepared you, and everyone for eternal life.

Believe it!

Let the goodness of God’s promise flow through you now, and start living this life as if it you believed God’s promise were true.

This is the essence of faith.

We are not called to believe in the idea that Jesus is this or that, or called to believe that Jesus is the Holy One of God, we are called to act on the principles of his faith, to live lives of charity and service to each other, we are called to follow the way.

Be mindful!

Today’s gospel calls on us to examine the depths of our conscience.

Consider this exchange between Jesus and the lawyer.

Jesus’ interlocutor asks him what he must do to gain eternal life.

This man; a lawyer, was looking to gain possession of something beyond himself, looking to acquire it through some deed, some set of action, perhaps through a “way” of life, or perhaps even simply by thinking about things in the “right” way, having the “right” beliefs, or the “right” doctrine.

Jesus does not answer his question directly.

He does not tell him what he must do to have “eternal” life. He directs the lawyer to summarize his understanding of the law. The lawyer knows what Jesus is looking for, and he recites the Shema, which formed the core of Jesus’ teaching from the beginning of his ministry and throughout; teaching that the way is to love God above all things, and to love your neighbor as yourself.

Jesus tells the man that if he does this he will have life, true life in the here and now.

Jesus teaches that the fullness of life is found in the Shema.

The lawyer acts confused, and so Jesus illustrates his point in the narrative that follows. The parable that has come to be known as that of the “Good Samaritan.”

He tells the story about a man who is suffering and near death. Two people pass him on the road. They ignore him and offer no help. One of the men is a priest and the other is a man of a notable tribe, a Levite.

The both ignore the man’s suffering, the reason is not given, but it has been commonly understood that the reason is that both the priest and the Levite feared something. Perhaps they feared violence, or they might have feared coming in contact with his wounds, the blood from which would have defiled them and placed them in a state of ritual impurity. Whatever the case may be; they feared something and did not help him.

They were unable to see his suffering reflected in themselves.

Down the road comes a man of Samaria. The Samaritan stops and tends to the wounded man, and then he provides for his recovery.

The man from Samaria has no connection to the unfortunate one, but he acts on his behalf anyway. It is likely that he was also afraid, but that he set aside his fear in order to serve the good.

The kindness of the Samaritan is the essence of life, while the fear of the priest and Levite is the road to death.

This is a teaching for the ages.

It is constant human struggle, a struggle between hope and fear that will never leave us.

It is a struggle that each of us must find a way to overcome, when we do we will be in the way.


First Reading – Deuteronomy 30:10-14 ©

The Law is not Beyond Your Strength or Beyond Your Reach

Moses said to the people: ‘Obey the voice of the Lord your God, keeping those commandments and laws of his that are written in the Book of this Law, and you shall return to the Lord your God with all your heart and soul.

‘For this Law that I enjoin on you today is not beyond your strength or beyond your reach. It is not in heaven, so that you need to wonder, “Who will go up to heaven for us and bring it down to us, so that we may hear it and keep it?” Nor is it beyond the seas, so that you need to wonder, “Who will cross the seas for us and bring it back to us, so that we may hear it and keep it?” No, the Word is very near to you, it is in your mouth and in your heart for your observance.’


Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 68(69):14,17, 30-31, 33-34, 36-37 ©

Seek the Lord, you who are poor, and your hearts will revive

This is my prayer to you,
  my prayer for your favour.
In your great love, answer me, O God,
  with your help that never fails:
Lord, answer, for your love is kind;
  in your compassion, turn towards me.

Seek the Lord, you who are poor, and your hearts will revive

As for me in my poverty and pain
  let your help, O God, lift me up.
I will praise God’s name with a song;
  I will glorify him with thanksgiving.

Seek the Lord, you who are poor, and your hearts will revive

The poor when they see it will be glad
  and God-seeking hearts will revive;
for the Lord listens to the needy
  and does not spurn his servants in their chains.

Seek the Lord, you who are poor, and your hearts will revive

For God will bring help to Zion
  and rebuild the cities of Judah
  and men shall dwell there in possession.
The sons of his servants shall inherit it;
  those who love his name shall dwell there.

Seek the Lord, you who are poor, and your hearts will revive


Second Reading – Colossians 1:15-20 ©

All Things Were Created Through Christ and for Christ

Christ Jesus is the image of the unseen God and the first-born of all creation, for in him were created all things in heaven and on earth:

Everything visible and everything invisible, Thrones, Dominations, Sovereignties, Powers –
all things were created through him and for him.

Before anything was created, he existed, and he holds all things in unity.

Now the Church is his body, he is its head.

As he is the Beginning, he was first to be born from the dead, so that he should be first in every way; because God wanted all perfection to be found in him and all things to be reconciled through him and for him, everything in heaven and everything on earth, when he made peace by his death on the cross.


Gospel Acclamation – John 10:27

Alleluia, alleluia!

The sheep that belong to me listen to my voice,
says the Lord,
I know them and they follow me.

Alleluia!


Alternative Acclamation – John 6:63, 68

Alleluia, alleluia!

Your words are spirit, Lord, and they are life;
you have the message of eternal life.

Alleluia!


The Gospel According to Luke 10:25 – 37 ©

The Good Samaritan

There was a lawyer who, to disconcert Jesus, stood up and said to him, ‘Master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ He said to him, ‘What is written in the Law? What do you read there?’ He replied, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself.’ ‘You have answered right,’ said Jesus ‘do this and life is yours.’

  But the man was anxious to justify himself and said to Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbour?’ Jesus replied, ‘A man was once on his way down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell into the hands of brigands; they took all he had, beat him and then made off, leaving him half dead. Now a priest happened to be travelling down the same road, but when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. In the same way a Levite who came to the place saw him, and passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan traveller who came upon him was moved with compassion when he saw him. He went up and bandaged his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them. He then lifted him on to his own mount, carried him to the inn and looked after him. Next day, he took out two denarii and handed them to the innkeeper. “Look after him,” he said “and on my way back I will make good any extra expense you have.” Which of these three, do you think, proved himself a neighbour to the man who fell into the brigands‘ hands?’ ‘The one who took pity on him’ he replied. Jesus said to him, ‘Go, and do the same yourself.’


15th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

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