A HOMILY FOR THE TWENTY-SEVENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – CYCLE “B” – 10/4/15
+ Pax et Bonum! Peace and goodness to you this day!
A few years ago, I had a very important conversation with one of the younger members of our Parish family. His parents had asked me to talk to the Third Grader, because he had developed a pretty bad habit of lying. He lied about his school work. He lied about getting his chores done. He lied about fighting with his brothers and sisters. He lied about things at home. In fact, he had told his grandparents who lived out East, that his parents were getting a divorce. His parent’s were not getting a divorce. They were however contemplating the murder of their third-grade child. And that’s why they called me. So the little deceiver came into my office, and we started out by having a talk about the Ten Commandments, and especially, the Eighth Commandment, “Thou Shall Not Bear False Witness Against Your Neighbor”. I didn’t feel like that was really hitting home, so next I moved to a conversation about the truth being real, and about lies not being real. I asked him if it wasn’t better to know what exactly happened, what was real, rather than to not know what really happened, what wasn’t real. I even threw in a little Star Wars, that wasn’t it better for Luke Skywalker to know that Darth Vader was his father, than to not to know the truth. I was pretty proud of myself. Then I followed up with, isn’t always better to know the truth, than to believe a lie, to believe what is not true? How can we live together in this world, if we everyone was lying, if nobody was telling the truth? Finally, I asked him, if he liked to be lied to? And if he didn’t like to be lied to, why would lie to others, especially others that he cared about? I thought I had made a good case for telling the truth. He sat there for a minute, and then he says, “Father, I thought you were going to tell me that I would go to Hell if I keep lying. And nobody wants to go to Hell.” “And that too!” I said. “That too!” Why do we, as adults, make kids so much harder and more complex than they really are?
Today, we hear Jesus’ teaching on divorce. And these are very important words. But I gotta believe that these words today are about a whole lot more than just marriage and divorce. Today, God calls all of us to mean what we say, and to say what we mean. We are to speak the truth! When we make a promise, whether that promise is to love another for the rest of their lives, or that promise is to God in our Baptismal promises, or even when that promise is to a neighbor, or a friend, or a business partner, we are to be honest and be true to our word. We must be witnesses to the truth! At all times! We know that everything that Jesus Christ was about, was the truth. Then, isn’t it that much more important for all of us as Jesus’ followers, to be bearers of the truth. St. Paul says that we are to tell the truth always with great love and charity. Is that the way that we live? Do we tell the truth? Do we honor our promises, our oaths, our commitments, and our vows?
We know, you and I both, that there are many, many in the world today who do not tell the truth. We also know that they get away with it everyday. People do break their marriage vows. People do cheat on their taxes. People are not honest with their employers. Politicians lie. Great athletes lie. Rock stars lie. Movie stars lie. Sometimes religious people, even religious leaders, lie. In fact, sometimes it can seem like everybody lies. That, by the way, is a lie! Everybody does not lie. People of honesty and integrity do NOT lie. They stick with the truth. And so must we, IF we want to stick with Christ! We can’t be like everybody else!
This Gospel text concludes with Jesus’ admiration for children. Could it be that most children know more about telling the truth, than most adults do? Usually, when you’re talking to kids, you are going to get more of the truth than you ever wanted to hear. You should hear the things that your kids tell Fr. Travis and I. Most kids are very honest. Sometimes, maybe too honest. And maybe that’s exactly what Jesus liked best about them, and why today He is telling all of us as adults, that if we can’t accept the Kingdom of God like a child, then we will not enter it. Let us heed these words! Let us be people of the truth. And let us live up to all the promises and commitments that we make!
+ May God bless us today, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN !!!
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us !!!