A HOMILY FOR THE TWENTY-SECOND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME-CYCLE”B”–8/30/15-SMG
+ Pax et Bonum! Peace and goodness to you this day!
It is the end of August and the height of cantaloupe growing season in Indiana. Did you know that Indiana is the third leading cantaloupe producing state in the country? We’re behind California and Arizona. Not only is cantaloupe cheaper and locally-grown in August, but in general, it tastes great and is better than any other time during the year. Cantaloupe lovers wait for this time of year, every year! Finding good cantaloupe at this time of year is supposed to be easy. And yet, we’ve had several different cantaloupes this summer at the Rectory, and I can’t seem to pick one out that is just right. Either it is still too green, and hard, and needs to ripen, or else it is way too ripe, and mushy, and brown, and past its prime. I can’t figure it out. I’ve tapped on them. I’ve smelled them. I’ve squeezed the cantaloupe. I’ve used every trick and old wife’s tale tradition that I can find, and still I’m not finding the perfect cantaloupe. And of course, what’s the problem with buying cantaloupe? The problem is that when the melon is in the rind, you can’t tell whether or not it is good on the inside. You can’t see inside. They don’t make an x-ray machine for cantaloupe! You can’t cut it open there in the store, and hand it back to them if you don’t like it. You have to buy it and take it home, cut it open and then find out if it’s any good. And there aren’t too many stores that will give you a money back guarantee on cantaloupe! Plus, they know you’re not going to bring it back. Who’s going to cut up a cantaloupe and then take the whole mess back to the grocery store? You can’t really tell until you cut it up.
Today, in our Gospel, Jesus runs into the Scribes and Pharisees again. And what’s the essential problem with the Scribes and Pharisees? Just like cantaloupe, you can’t tell the good ones from the bad ones from the outside! You see, the Scribes and the Pharisees looked good. They wore special robes and head pieces. Some of them wore special jewelry. They had long beautiful beards and they kept their fingernails clean and trimmed. Hey, that was a big deal back then. The Scribes and the Pharisees looked holy. And they put on a good show. And so, one day, when they complain about Jesus’ followers NOT obeying the Jewish law, and not washing their hands, every body believed them. Everybody said, “Oh yes, they look good, they look religious, so they must be right.” Right? But Jesus saw through them. Jesus looked at the Scribes and Pharisees, and He could see into their hearts, and He knew what terrible things laid inside some of those hearts and souls. That’s why Jesus isn’t nearly as worried about some little Jewish law that said that you should wash your hands, when the Scribes and Pharisees themselves have some pretty big, terrible things going on inside of them!
The Scribes and Pharisees remind us that religion and Faith are NOT a show. This is not about how good we look, or well we play the part. Believe me, on Judgment Day, God is not going to be concerned about how shiny your hair is, or how clean your fingernails are, or what brand of clothes you are wearing! God is going to be much more concerned with that list of things that come out of us as human beings. Evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance and folly, ALL come from inside of us. The Scribes and the Pharisees seemed to conveniently forget about these things. These are the things that will get you sent to Hell. It takes more than just NOT washing your hands!
So how are we doing? What if God looked inside of our hearts, what would He find there? Is there good or bad coming from within us? Are we worried about the right things? Or, like the Scribes and Pharisees, are we too playing games with religion? You know, we’ve all got just one lifetime to clean up and change all those things unpleasant things that come out of our hearts. May we continue to convert our hearts to Christ! May we root out of our hearts all selfishness and pride! May we strive every day to be authentically Catholic Christian! And May all the rest of our cantaloupes this summer, be perfect!
God bless us today, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN !!!
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us !!!