February 12, 2017

A HOMILY FOR THE SIXTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME –  CYCLE “A” –  2/12/17  –  SMG

+ Pax et Bonum!   Peace and goodness to you this day!

You know that we live in a great country, when you start looking around at all the choices that we have!  Have you ever counted up all the things that we have to choose from every day?  Let’s start out with TV.  Have you seen how many channels there are on TV?  When I was a kid, we got three channels!  Now, there are hundreds of channels on TV.  And I don’t even know what most of them are.  Another area where we have all kinds of choices is when we go out to eat.  Today, you can find about anything you want to eat at any time!  You want some Indian food, you can go to an Indian restaurant, you don’t have to go to India.  You want Chinese, you don’t have to go to China.  You want Italian, you come to the Rectory and I’ll cook it for you!  Even when you pick a restaurant, then you get to go through their menu, and you have to pick exactly what you want, from all the things that they offer.  A few years ago, I took a friend of mine to an Italian restaurant, and after a few minutes looking at the menu, the waitress came over and asked if we had decided.  And he said, “Yes, I think I’ll have the pasta.”  80 percent of that menu was pasta!  I wanted to die!  That’s like going to Kentucky Fried Chicken and saying, “I’ll have the chicken.”  But you know what I’ve decided is the place that has the most choices?  I used to think that it was the cereal aisle at the grocery store.  But no!  Sherwin Williams has the most choices!  Have you bought paint, lately?  Today, when you buy paint, you’d better know exactly what you want before you go in, because if you don’t know, you’re going to be in there for a long time!  They have like a billion choices!  And it isn’t just about color either, you gotta know the finish, you gotta know the coverage, you gotta know if you want your wall to show finger prints or not.  That’s a lot a choice!  And we love our choices, our options.  It’s one of the things that makes our country great!

As we come to Mass this morning, all of our readings today are also talking to us about our choices.  These readings remind us that we are given many options every day.  And we get reminded of how important it is to make good choices, and how much we need to rely on the Wisdom of God, to help us do so.  Notice, First Corinthians says the Wisdom of God, and NOT the wisdom of this age.  If we have the Wisdom of God, we always keep our eyes and our hearts set on Heaven.   The Wisdom of God makes us desire a deeper relationship with Him, and it inspires us to keep the Commandments and put our trust in Him!

As Christians, and as children of God, we are given a radical freedom to choose that we call our Free Will.  Every minute of every day we can choose to listen and obey, or to turn away.  By giving us this freedom, God isn’t trying to set us up to fail.  He’s trusting us enough to count on us to choose, out of our love and commitment to Him, to do the right thing.  This choice is what real love is all about.  Maybe we need to reflect on this, this week, as we come up on Valentine’s Day.  You can’t make anybody love you.  And God certainly isn’t going to make us love Him!  Love has to be freely chosen.  That’s why, Jesus says, “If you love me, you’ll keep the Commandments!”  Clear back to Adam and Eve, we’ve been given the choice!  And just like with them, giving us Free Will leaves open the possibility that we might also go our own way.  It’s our choice.  We have those choices thousands of times every day!  Am I going to tell the truth or not?  Am I going to honor my vows, my promises, my word, or not?  Am I going to love and take care of others, more than myself, or not?  Am I going to make God and God’s ways the priority in my life, or not?  We don’t just choose Christ once or twice in our lives, like at our Baptisms and Confirmations, we choose Christ thousands of times every day, when we choose to do the right thing, because of our love for Him!

That’s why today in Gospel, Jesus chooses some of the Ten Commandment, and then show us that it never enough to simply fulfil the Commandment.  It’s not enough to simply not kill someone, or to never cheat on our spouse, or to not get a divorce,  or to not take a false oath.  Those Commandment have many ramifications!  Jesus calls us to go far beyond what the literal law is saying, and to live out the Commandments in love and compassion.  We are to go far beyond the justice of the law.  We are to live the Commandments in love and with love, and with all compassion!  Let’s us choose to that, this week in our lives!

+  May God bless us all, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…                                                           AMEN !!!

St. Maria Goretti…                      Pray for us !!!