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Showing posts with label Chistian. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chistian. Show all posts

Sunday, September 2, 2018

A Homily – Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23 ©

The Gospel According to Mark – 2018.09.02

The Way and Hypocrisy

The Gospels must always speak to us of the challenges we face in our time.

 We have to be mindful of this. The do tell something of the challenges the gospel writers faced in their own time, and that may be of interest to historians, but the intention of the sacred texts is to speak to us of our time.

In the case of the reading for today the Gospel speaks to us of a perennial problem of the church, like the hypocrisy of Church leadership.

The hierarchy today; priests and pastors, bishops and cardinals, they are often concerned with outward expressions of piety, with measureable matters of ritual purity, with creeds and codes, with canons and confessions, with the formula of faith rather than the living faith itself.

Jesus cared about the living faith, he cared about the real lives of real people. Everything Jesus did was subordinated to that.

We must do the same, we must have the same perspective, approach the world with the same spirit of generosity.

It is too often the case, and it is a problem that has plagued the church from the time that Jesus walked with the disciples.

Each and every one of us is a child of God, and God is present in the heart of all of God’s children. God is already present with the people, to the people, for the people the rituals that the church has organized for purification, they may have some social value, but if they are used to teach people that they are unworthy of the presence of God, then they are false teachings and they must be rejected. 

God is not concerned with outward displays of piety, because evil resides in the heart of the human being, and that is where sin is born, in our evil intentions.

You Put Aside the Commandment of God, to Cling to Human Traditions

The Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered round Jesus, and they noticed that some of his disciples were eating with unclean hands, that is, without washing them. For the Pharisees, and the Jews in general, follow the tradition of the elders and never eat without washing their arms as far as the elbow; and on returning from the market place they never eat without first sprinkling themselves. There are also many other observances which have been handed down to them concerning the washing of cups and pots and bronze dishes. So these Pharisees and scribes asked him, ‘Why do your disciples not respect the tradition of the elders but eat their food with unclean hands?’

 He answered, ‘It was of you hypocrites that Isaiah so rightly prophesied in this passage of scripture:

This people honours me only with lip-service,
while their hearts are far from me. The worship they offer me is worthless, the doctrines they teach are only human regulations.

You put aside the commandment of God to cling to human traditions.’ He called the people to him again and said, ‘Listen to me, all of you, and understand. Nothing that goes into a man from outside can make him unclean; it is the things that come out of a man that make him unclean. For it is from within, from men’s hearts, that evil intentions emerge: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, malice, deceit, indecency, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within and make a man unclean.’

22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Sunday, November 27, 2016

A Homily – The Gospel of Matthew 24:37 - 44 ©

The Gospel of the Day – 2016.11.27

The Son of Man

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘As it was in Noah’s day, so will it be when the Son of Man comes. For in those days before the Flood people were eating, drinking, taking wives, taking husbands, right up to the day Noah went into the ark, and they suspected nothing till the Flood came and swept all away. It will be like this when the Son of Man comes. Then of two men in the fields one is taken, one left; of two women at the millstone grinding, one is taken, one left.

  ‘So stay awake, because you do not know the day when your master is coming. You may be quite sure of this that if the householder had known at what time of the night the burglar would come, he would have stayed awake and would not have allowed anyone to break through the wall of his house. Therefore, you too must stand ready because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.’

The Unexpected Hour

The future history of the world has not been written.

Any suppositions about our future on earth is a guess. Some guesses are more informed than others, we can speak in terms of possibility and probability, but we cannot know anything about the days and nights to come.

There are thousands of ways in which the plans we have laid, or the hopes which we cherish can come undone; lightening will strike, a tornado will blow, a meteor will fall, a volcano explode. A person in the fullness of their life may trip, and fall, hit their head and die, leaving everything behind them without warning.

The promises we have received from God, they are not of this world. God has promised to bring an end to suffering, injustice, hunger, illness. We can believe in this promise, but those promises are not of this world. They are the promises of the next world, a world in which human beings are not subjected to the vicissitudes of the material condition, or the hungers of the flesh.

I cannot speak of that world. I have never seen it. No one living has. Our belief in a loving God, our hope in the words of the prophets, our trust in the Gospel, these allow us to believe that the better world is real. Anyone who pretends to know for certain, they are over stating their case, or lying outright.

What we have been taught is this, we can live out our present lives as if the reality of those promises were real. That is the secret of the Christian way. If we are just, and loving, and caring for one another, well then, we do not have to wait for the end of time. In those moments, God is with us. God is always with us, but in those moments we are working with God to bring about that other world. If we trust in the reality of the things we hope for, we make it easy to live our lives as if it were true. To the extent that fulfill the promise in our own lives, the presence of God is engendered among us. It is like inviting Jesus to have a seat at the table, he will have come. That is not the end, but a beginning.

1st Sunday of Advent

Sunday, March 13, 2016

A Homily – The Gospel of John 8:1-11 ©

The Gospel of the Day – 2016.03.13 (Sunday)

A Woman Accused

Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At daybreak he appeared in the Temple again; and as all the people came to him, he sat down and began to teach them.

  The scribes and Pharisees brought a woman along who had been caught committing adultery; and making her stand there in full view of everybody, they said to Jesus, ‘Master, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery, and Moses has ordered us in the Law to condemn women like this to death by stoning. What have you to say?’ They asked him this as a test, looking for something to use against him. But Jesus bent down and started writing on the ground with his finger. As they persisted with their question, he looked up and said, ‘If there is one of you who has not sinned, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.’ Then he bent down and wrote on the ground again. When they heard this they went away one by one, beginning with the eldest, until Jesus was left alone with the woman, who remained standing there. He looked up and said, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ ‘No one, sir’ she replied. ‘Neither do I condemn you,’ said Jesus ‘go away, and do not sin any more.’ (NJB)

The Sacrifice of Mercy

The sacrifice of mercy. That is what Jesus offers here. It is the only sacrifice desired by God; God creator of the universe.

There is little else to remark on in this narrative.

Jesus is at the Temple, he is in the place that is the center of cultic ritual for his people. His understanding of their tradition, is challenged by a group of Pharisees, who are his peers, and a group of scribes who are students of the sacred texts.

He is presented with a problem which is on its face a legal matter; how to deal with a woman who was caught in the act of adultery. Testimony was not given. A defense was not offered. A group had gathered; intent on killing her, intent on squeezing the breath out of her by placing large stones on her chest. A stoning in the tradition of the Hebrews.

It was the view of the crowd that they had a sacred obligation to fulfill; according to the laws of Moses. The adulteress must be put to death; to satisfy a sacred obligation, a human sacrifice in the temple precinct.

The Pharisees and Scribes wanted to test Jesus, and the crowd who gathered wanted the spectacle of a killing.

Jesus responds by offering the only thing that God desires, the only thing that anyone their had freely to give. He offers her mercy, and through her, the offer is given directly to God.

Do not read the story as if Jesus defeated the crowd. He passed the test, and thwarted the efforts of his opponents to trip him up; yes, that happened.

The crowd; the crowd he brought with him, into that sacred place beloved by God; the place of mercy, and compassion, a place of justice.

Jesus was the first to make the offering and one by one as the crowd dispersed, they left an offering of the same.

5th Sunday of Lent