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Sunday, July 26, 2020

A Homily - The Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)


Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 118(119):57, 72, 76-77, 127-130 ©
Second Reading – Romans 8:28-30 ©
Gospel Acclamation – John 5:15
Alternative Acclamation – Matthew 11:25
The Gospel According to Matthew 13:44 - 52 ©

(NJB)

The Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)


Be mindful when you read the sacred text, there is a great deal of propaganda and untruth in it. Sometimes there are outright lies, not merely misinterpretation of history, or the mythologization of narrative, but deliberate prevarication.

This text from the Book First book of Kings is propaganda, but not the worse sort.

Consider this:

It is well known that Solomon was actually a despot. He enslaved his people and broke their backs with labor. Because of his malign rule the kingdom of David fell apart in the generation following him dividing into two.

Solomon was not the wisest and he was not the richest. He was a spoiled child who ascended to a throne and abused it, misusing his power and authority, squandering his wealth, and treating the people unjustly.

Know this: The reading speaks the truth on one point, when it says that discernment and wisdom are more valuable than gold and riches it is echoing the voice of God that speaks in the heart of everyone.

Pay attention to the psalmist! Shake the scriptures free from lies.

We are free in the world and the world itself is free, God does not intervene in our affairs and the future has not been determined.

Have faith in the mercy of God, for even though the future is not set, God’s mercy has no bounds.

Follow the teaching of God, live a life of justice and humility. Judge the decrees of men and determine for yourself what their worth is.

If you are looking for salvation, turn around; salvation has already found you.

God is equally good to all people, because God loves all people, the good and the bad alike, the lawful and the unlawful alike.

Know this!

God is not responsible for your suffering; you are.

Taking peace in God’s refuge merely makes enduring the suffering of the world easier, following God’s command means that you live your life in a way which strives to reduce the suffering of others.

Protect yourself from the proud and the dishonest, from other criminals, but love them as God loves them; love them because they are God’s children, they are your sister’s and brother’s.

The consolation that will come from God; will not come in this life.

Do not make the mistake of believing that the good things or the bad things that you experience, or that are experienced by others come in some way at the direction of God, the creator of the Universe.

God does not involve God’s self in human affairs. When people claim to be favored by God, they are lying, first to themselves, then to everyone else.

Be mindful.

God’s law isd simple, love thy neighbor, any other decree must be in synchrony with this, and written as a foot note to it. A law is just, only insofar as it is merciful and demonstrates compassion.

Those who fear God, do not understand God, if they are speaking to you of the fear of God, they are communicating their doubt and mistrust of God. Either that or they are pretenders, claiming to speak for God when they do not, and asking you to fear them.

If you strive for righteousness and justice, do so in the knowledge that you will fall short of the mark. Have mercy on those who also fall short.

Be wary of your own pride, especially when you assume a special place because you proclaim to love God, because you go around telling people that you follow God’s ways.

This is the statute of God: Love, love your neighbor as yourself, serve God in serving them.

Do not look to God to prevent you from breaking the law, God has made you free, God promises to love you in your errors.

Know this!

Love is better than gold.

If you hate deception, hate first the deception that lies within yourself.

God; the creator of the universe, God is light, and God is warmth, God is a God of love. Love God in return and demonstrate that love through the care you have for your sisters and brothers, your neighbor and the stranger in your midst.

Give thanks to God for being made a vessel of love, capable of receiving love and capable of sharing it.

Consider the words of the apostle and remember; we are all created in the divine image.

Remember this as well; we are all children of God.

Each of us carries a seed of the Word within us, and where God is, God is there fully.

Each of us were called from the beginning of time. When we were called, we were called as we are; sinful and compromised, but in a state of becoming.

We were called to be justified.

God does not merely co-operate with those who love God, God co-operates with all of those whom God loves, and God, the creator of the universe, God loves everyone.

Know this:

There is no condition on the friendship Jesus offers to the children of God; we are friends because God loves us, our friendship to Jesus comes from the superabundance of love that Jesus bore toward all human beings, not the love of a lord but the love of a friend and brother.

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

The way of Jesus is not a long con, it is not a bait and switch, it is a simple teaching that cannot be controlled or owned by any one group of people.

Consider the Gospel reading for today.

The authors of Matthew’s Gospel should have stopped there writing with the good news, the really good news as it was presented in the first two examples of what the God’s garden is like.

It is the most priceless thing, it is to be guarded, protected, invested in, like a field with a hidden treasure or a pearl of great value.

God’s garden is like a fisherman’s net, full of a great and diverse quantity of fish, none of which are set aside for destruction.

Every fish will encounter God’s fire, the drying heat, the broiling pan, every person will encounter the fire as well, but know this, in scripture, fire is always an image of our encounter with God.

Every fish will be kissed by the flame of the Holy Spirit, everything and everyone it touches will be changed.

God’s fire may be like a blazing furnace, but the fire refines, rather than destroys.

The refining process may be painful, there may be weeping, but after the tears there will be joy.


First Reading – 1 Kings 3:5, 7-12 ©

Solomon Chooses the Gift of Wisdom

The Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream and said, ‘Ask what you would like me to give you.’ Solomon replied, ‘O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in succession to David my father. But I am a very young man, unskilled in leadership. Your servant finds himself in the midst of this people of yours that you have chosen, a people so many its number cannot be counted or reckoned. Give your servant a heart to understand how to discern between good and evil, for who could govern this people of yours that is so great?’ It pleased the Lord that Solomon should have asked for this. ‘Since you have asked for this’ the Lord said ‘and not asked for long life for yourself or riches or the lives of your enemies, but have asked for a discerning judgement for yourself, here and now I do what you ask. I give you a heart wise and shrewd as none before you has had and none will have after you.’


Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 118(119):57, 72, 76-77, 127-130 ©

Lord, how I love your law!

My part, I have resolved, O Lord,
  is to obey your word.
The law from your mouth means more to me
  than silver and gold.

Lord, how I love your law!

Let your love be ready to console me
  by your promise to your servant.
Let your love come and I shall live
  for your law is my delight.

Lord, how I love your law!

That is why I love your commands
  more than finest gold,
why I rule my life by your precepts,
  and hate false ways.

Lord, how I love your law!

Your will is wonderful indeed;
  therefore I obey it.
The unfolding of your word gives light
  and teaches the simple.

Lord, how I love your law!


Second Reading – Romans 8:28-30 ©

Those He Called, He Justified

We know that by turning everything to their good, God co-operates with all those who love him, with all those he has called according to his purpose. They are the ones he chose specially long ago and intended to become true images of his Son, so that his Son might be the eldest of many brothers. He called those he intended for this; those he called he justified, and with those he justified he shared his glory.


Gospel Acclamation – John 5:15

Alleluia, alleluia!

I call you friends, says the Lord,
because I have made known to you
everything I have learnt from my Father.

Alleluia!

Alternative 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.kingdom.

Alleluia!


The Gospel According to Matthew 13:44 - 52 ©

He Sells Everything He Owns and Buys the Field

Jesus said to the crowds, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field which someone has found; he hides it again, goes off happy, sells everything he owns and buys the field.

‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls; when he finds one of great value he goes and sells everything he owns and buys it.

‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea that brings in a haul of all kinds. When it is full, the fishermen haul it ashore; then, sitting down, they collect the good ones in a basket and throw away those that are no use. This is how it will be at the end of time: the angels will appear and separate the wicked from the just to throw them into the blazing furnace where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.
‘Have you understood all this?’ They said, ‘Yes.’ And he said to them, ‘Well then, every scribe who becomes a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out from his storeroom things both new and old.’


The Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

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