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Showing posts with label Malachi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Malachi. Show all posts

Sunday, February 2, 2020

A Homily - The Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Year A), The Presentation of the Lord


Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 23(24):7-10 ©
Second Reading – Hebrews 2:14-18 ©
Gospel Acclamation – Luke 2:32
The Gospel According to Luke - 2:22 – 40 ©

(NJB)

The Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Year A), The Presentation of the Lord


Remember this; when you study the myths that fill the scriptures:

God, the creator of the universe; God is not a lord, God is not a king. God does not come into the world at the head of an army.

The temple of God is not a building, it is the human heart.

God does not speak to us through intermediaries and priests, God speaks from the seat of conscience, and there is no other place to listen to God, the conscience of another man or woman, shared with you, cannot replace your own.

Have hope, both for yourself and for all people, God is working within each one of us, God intends to bring us all through the fire. God’s fire does not destroy, it refines, and there is not a single one of God’s children who is exempt from God’s plan.

We will all pass through the fire.

Know this!

All things and person have their being in God. God is the foundation of all that is. Without God there is nothing, and in nothing there is not even the possibility of something.

If you wish to climb the mountain to find God, that is fine, God is there.

God is in all places at all times and there is no place where God is not.

You will find God on the mountain, or turn to your neighbor and see God reflected in their eyes.

Look in the face of the stranger, see it, see them and behold the face of God, in that holy presence give thanks. 

Do not worry about your own holiness, or the holiness of any other person, we all run hot and cold.

Be mindful!

God loved you before creation, when there was only the possibility of you drifting in the latent currents of potentialities, God loved you then before all that you are existed, just as God loves all things and everyone; we are loved by God, and God has made us holy.

There is no vanity in emulating the love that God bears for all God’s children, rather we are command to do it, to approximate that love as best we can.

Look for God’s blessing in the service you provide to your neighbor, to your mother and father, to your sister and brother, find your justification in the quality and extent of the your mercy.

If you look for the God of Jacob, if you do not see God in Jacob you are only looking at an idol.

Listen!

God is not confined to the pages of a book or by the ink on a scroll, neither is God bounded by the history and mythology of a people. Look to those things for glimpses of God, and remembrances of past encounters, but if you seek the living God, you will have to look into the heart of living beings.

Remember this, return to the origins of our myths!

The first time we saw God, when the first parent walked with the creator, the world was a garden and that was paradise. In that place there was no talk of kings, or the glory of battle.

Let us return to that.

Listen!

Shun the false narratives and the irrational arguments.

Know that the spirit of God is the spirit of truth, and nothing false has a place in God’s house.

Consider the reading from Paul’s letter for today, it is replete with error.

This is not to say that Paul was dishonest when he wrote this missive, I do not believe that is the case, but you must understand that his view of the world, of the nature of reality, his understanding of that was fundamentally wrong.

Understand this, there is no devil!

There is no power I the universe other than God’s. We are not at war with the forces of darkness, everything is as God wills it.

Pau is telling the truth when he says that Jesus came to set us free from the fear of death, that is the good news in the resurrection, but this was not accomplished by magic or alchemy, such as Paul describes here, it did not happen on the cross.

Jesus was not a priest, and we were not saved by his blood, blood offerings have never accomplished anything for anyone, Jesus was not slaughtered like a sheep on the altar.
He did not atone for our sins through his death, we are accountable for ourselves.

The good news is this:

 God loves us, God has always loved us, and we were forgiven even before we sinned.

Jesus did not effectuate the atonement, either with his life or with his death, he came to announce that God had made us as one, we have been one with God since the beginning, Jesus came to instill that faith in us, the understanding that no power can tear us apart.

Consider the Gospel for today, read the narrative carefully.

It is mythology and propaganda, as such it is a deviation from the way, for the way is always found in the service of truth.

The gospel writers gave us narratives concerning the early life of Jesus that are works of fiction, and while their intention was to help spread the Good News, and while they were not acting with malice. Nevertheless, they subverted the real teaching of Jesus, and left the burgeoning movement exposed to human corruption.

The authors of Luke’s gospel ask us to believe this narrative concerning Jesus: that he obeyed the “law,” following the forms of ritual and blood sacrifice that were proscribed in the books of his ancestors, ostensibly lending credibility to claims of Jesus’ holiness.

Jesus did not need this, he did not need these stories told about him to boost his image in the eyes of the people, these lies were a disservice to them and only helped to deliver the church into the hands of priests.

Jesus rejected the traditions that were not helpful to the people, to the poor, the marginalized and disenfranchised, he adhered to the prophetic tradition which insisted that God preferred acts of mercy over animal sacrifices.

Jesus taught us that the way was to be found in service; both in service God, the creator of the universe, and more importantly through the service we provide to one another, not in the fulfillment of corrupt rituals, blood-magic, and paying duties to the temple.

Jesus was not a magician, Jesus was not a supernatural being. Jesus was an ordinary man, who led an extraordinary life, and was killed for ordinary reasons: greed, jealousy and fear.

Jesus only merited the status of Christ insofar as Jesus led a life of service, which he did, serving his people to the bitter end.

We are all Christ, baptized or not, insofar as we follow the way of his example, we are anointed in our service, through our mercy, and by the pursuit of justice.

The mythologization of Jesus was a subversion of the way because it suggested that the ordinary service Jesus called us to, the service he exemplified, came from a place of supernatural power, it didn’t it came through the ordinary compassion of a human being.


First Reading – Malachi 3:1-4 ©

The Lord You Are Seeking Will Suddenly Enter His Temple

The Lord God says this: Look, I am going to send my messenger to prepare a way before me. And the Lord you are seeking will suddenly enter his Temple; and the angel of the covenant whom you are longing for, yes, he is coming, says the Lord of Hosts. Who will be able to resist the day of his coming? Who will remain standing when he appears? For he is like the refiner’s fire and the fullers’ alkali. He will take his seat as refiner and purifier; he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and then they will make the offering to the Lord as it should be made. The offering of Judah and Jerusalem will then be welcomed by the Lord as in former days, as in the years of old.



Who is the king of glory? He, the Lord, he is the king of glory.

O gates, lift high your heads;
  grow higher, ancient doors.
  Let him enter, the king of glory!

Who is the king of glory? He, the Lord, he is the king of glory.

Who is the king of glory?
  The Lord, the mighty, the valiant,
  the Lord, the valiant in war.

Who is the king of glory? He, the Lord, he is the king of glory.

O gates, lift high your heads;
  grow higher, ancient doors.
  Let him enter, the king of glory!

Who is the king of glory? He, the Lord, he is the king of glory.

Who is he, the king of glory?
  He, the Lord of armies,
  he is the king of glory.

Who is the king of glory? He, the Lord, he is the king of glory.


Second Reading – Hebrews 2:14-18 ©

He Took to Himself Descent from Abraham

Since all the children share the same blood and flesh, Christ too shared equally in it, so that by his death he could take away all the power of the devil, who had power over death, and set free all those who had been held in slavery all their lives by the fear of death. For it was not the angels that he took to himself; he took to himself descent from Abraham. It was essential that he should in this way become completely like his brothers so that he could be a compassionate and trustworthy high priest of God’s religion, able to atone for human sins. That is, because he has himself been through temptation he is able to help others who are tempted.



Alleluia, alleluia!

The light to enlighten the Gentiles
and give glory to Israel, your people.

Alleluia!


The Gospel According to Luke - 2:22 – 40 ©

My Eyes Have Seen Your Salvation

When the day came for them to be purified as laid down by the Law of Moses, the parents of Jesus took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, – observing what stands written in the Law of the Lord: Every first-born male must be consecrated to the Lord – and also to offer in sacrifice, in accordance with what is said in the Law of the Lord, a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.

Now in Jerusalem there was a man named Simeon. He was an upright and devout man; he looked forward to Israel’s comforting and the Holy Spirit rested on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death until he had set eyes on the Christ of the Lord. Prompted by the Spirit he came to the Temple and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the Law required, he took him into his arms and blessed God; and he said:

‘Now, Master, you can let your servant go in peace, just as you promised; because my eyes have seen the salvation which you have prepared for all the nations to see, a light to enlighten the pagans and the glory of your people Israel.’

As the child’s father and mother stood there wondering at the things that were being said about him, Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, ‘You see this child: he is destined for the fall and for the rising of many in Israel, destined to be a sign that is rejected – and a sword will pierce your own soul too – so that the secret thoughts of many may be laid bare.’

There was a prophetess also, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was well on in years. Her days of girlhood over, she had been married for seven years before becoming a widow. She was now eighty-four years old and never left the Temple, serving God night and day with fasting and prayer. She came by just at that moment and began to praise God; and she spoke of the child to all who looked forward to the deliverance of Jerusalem.

When they had done everything the Law of the Lord required, they went back to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. Meanwhile the child grew to maturity, and he was filled with wisdom; and God’s favour was with him.


The Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Year A), The Presentation of the Lord

Sunday, November 17, 2019

A Homily - Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)


First Reading – Malachi 3:19-20 ©
Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 97(98):5-9 ©
Second Reading - 2 Thessalonians 3:7-12 ©
Gospel Acclamation – Luke 21:36
Alternative Acclamation – Luke 21:28
The Gospel According to Luke 21.5 - 19 ©


Listen!

One thing is not the same as another. There is good and there is evil and the difference between these two things matters.

While it is true that God loves us no matter what we do, and it is true that the creator of the universe has promised to right all wrongs; the fulfillment of those promises takes place in eternity. While that plan is in place, nevertheless, we must still live with the consequences of our actions in the world.

Mind yourself, and your ambitions, your relationships with your family and with your neighbors, with the stranger in your company, even with your adversary.

Do good and avoid evil.

Heal the sick and do not cause suffering. Feed the hungry, clothe the naked. House the homeless.

Love mercy and seek justice all the days of your life.

Contemplate the ways of the loving God, and emulate them.

This is the way that Jesus instructed us in, nothing is more important.

Be mindful!

It is right and good to praise God the creator, because creation is miraculous, and its scope beyond human comprehension.
But know this!

God does not grant victories. God has no enemies; in God, within whom all things exist and have their being, there is no conflict.

It is not God’s justice that is shown in the machinations of human beings, it is human justice, and when human justice approximates the justice of God, justice appears hand in hand with mercy, and that is good.

God is kind and faithful to all people without exception.

God’s power is everywhere, animating the voices that give God praise, as well as those who doubt and cry out against God’s ways.

If you are an instrument of justice, judge fairly, judge kindly, remembering that God is love.

Remember this, and feed the people.

Do not treat food as a wage.

Give to the hungry, this is the way that Jesus taught us.

Consider the words of Saint Paul and know that they can only apply in times of great scarcity, when the whole community is in need, and the food that is available must go to those who are tasked with the survival of the community itself, to those for whom sustenance is necessary, because without their labor the community would perish.

Then and only then can Saint Paul’s rule apply.

In times of abundance do not refuse to feed anyone, even the miscreant and the sloucher.

Be mindful, weigh the text of Scripture carefully. There are many places where error has crept in and the teachings of Jesus have been subverted to the shortsightedness of human beings.

God, the creator of the universe made us, God made our world and the universe free. God does not interfere or intervene in our lives and our choices. The only futures we can predict are those that flow naturally from their antecedents, from the choices we are making in the present.

Pay no attention to those who use fear to shape their faith, or yours.

They are liars.

God wills that you live a life without fear, and the things that flow from fear; hate, anger, greed, and violence.

Consider the Gospel for today:

Jesus did not utter these words. They were penned by the gospel writers, written years after the temple in Jerusalem had been destroyed, years after the war with Rome that led to its destruction, and years after they were expelled from Roman occupied Palestine.

Jesus was not a fortuneteller, he did not predict the future.

God, the creator of the universe, God has not preordained anything.

Do not be deceived; these are the best words, the best advice for living in the way.

Do not be deceived.

Many will come and claim to be Jesus, or to speak for Jesus. Every generation has such pretenders.

Do not be deceived, do not deceive yourself!

The gospel writers were pretending to be Jesus when they put words in his mouth that he never spoke. They thought they were doing good. Most of those who pretend to be Jesus think they are doing something good, or at the least they think they are doing something necessary. The gospel writers were no different in this.

Do not be deceived, and do not be afraid.

The world will continue to be a violent and unsafe place. We live in a hard and dangerous world.

Have hope.

If you dedicate your life to challenging those in power, you must expect that the powerful will act against you.

If you should find yourself in court simply because you are working on behalf of the poor and the marginalized, do not worry about your defense.

Your actions will speak for themselves.

Speak truth at all times, including to the powerful, they need to hear it most of all.

Love mercy, seek justice and walk uprightly all the days of your life.


First Reading – Malachi 3:19-20 ©

For You the Sun of Righteousness Will Shine Out

The day is coming now, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and the evil-doers will be like stubble. The day that is coming is going to burn them up, says the Lord of Hosts, leaving them neither root nor stalk. But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness will shine out with healing in its rays.


Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 97(98):5-9 ©

The Lord comes to rule the peoples with fairness.

Sing psalms to the Lord with the harp
  with the sound of music.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
  acclaim the King, the Lord.

The Lord comes to rule the peoples with fairness.

Let the sea and all within it, thunder;
  the world, and all its peoples.
Let the rivers clap their hands
  and the hills ring out their joy
  at the presence of the Lord.

The Lord comes to rule the peoples with fairness.

For the Lord comes,
  he comes to rule the earth.
He will rule the world with justice
  and the peoples with fairness.

The Lord comes to rule the peoples with fairness.


Second Reading - 2 Thessalonians 3:7-12 ©

Do Not Let Anyone Have Food if He Refuses to Work

You know how you are supposed to imitate us: now we were not idle when we were with you, nor did we ever have our meals at anyone’s table without paying for them; no, we worked night and day, slaving and straining, so as not to be a burden on any of you. This was not because we had no right to be, but in order to make ourselves an example for you to follow.

We gave you a rule when we were with you: do not let anyone have any food if he refuses to do any work. Now we hear that there are some of you who are living in idleness, doing no work themselves but interfering with everyone else’s. In the Lord Jesus Christ, we order and call on people of this kind to go on quietly working and earning the food that they eat.


Gospel Acclamation – Luke 21:36

Alleluia, alleluia!

Stay awake, praying at all times
for the strength to stand with confidence
before the Son of Man.

Alleluia!

Alternative Acclamation – Luke 21:28

Alleluia, alleluia!

Stand erect, hold your heads high,
because your liberation is near at hand.

Alleluia!


The Gospel According to Luke 21.5 - 19 ©

The Destruction of the Temple Foretold…

When some were talking about the Temple, remarking how it was adorned with fine stonework and votive offerings, Jesus said, ‘All these things you are staring at now – the time will come when not a single stone will be left on another: everything will be destroyed.’ And they put to him this question: ‘Master,’ they said ‘when will this happen, then, and what sign will there be that this is about to take place?’

  ‘Take care not to be deceived,’ he said ‘because many will come using my name and saying, “I am he” and, “The time is near at hand.” Refuse to join them. And when you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened, for this is something that must happen but the end is not so soon.’ Then he said to them, ‘Nation will fight against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes and plagues and famines here and there; there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven.
  
‘But before all this happens, men will seize you and persecute you; they will hand you over to the synagogues and to imprisonment, and bring you before kings and governors because of my name – and that will be your opportunity to bear witness. Keep this carefully in mind: you are not to prepare your defence, because I myself shall give you an eloquence and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to resist or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relations and friends; and some of you will be put to death. You will be hated by all men on account of my name, but not a hair of your head will be lost. Your endurance will win you your lives.’


Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)