A HOMILY FOR THE TWENTY-SIXTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME- CYCLE “A” 9/28/14 –SMG
+ Pax et Bonum! Peace and Goodness to you this day!
One of my favorite cousins is my cousin, James. James recently graduated from college and is out there starting life on his own. And like a lot of other young people in their mid to late-twenties, James loves video games. He says that they help him to relax. So James is always on the lookout for the newest, the latest, and the greatest video games. And so, last year James joined some online video game club or service, that lets you try out the newest video games and rate them, before they are made available to the general public. He loved this opportunity! He told our whole family all about it. Now, like a lot of things and groups online, this particular video game club had a lot of rules. And like a lot of us when we are in a hurry to join things online, my cousin James, just hit the agree button a couple of times, and started to download the service. Pretty simple, right? Well James had agreed to some pretty strict rules about copying and sharing the video game materials. So strict in fact, that a few months later, when he did try and copy and download some things from one of the games, the video game service cut him off, and he was banned for life. Now, I thought that was hysterical. What is banned for life in video game world? You hit the reset button and you come back to life again. Apparently, there is no reset button when it comes to breaking the rules in video game world. Banned for life means the same thing as it does in the real world. You’re done. You’re outta here. My poor cousin was devastated. He broke the rules of the organization, and he could no longer belong to the organization. Disobedience costs him his membership in the club.
Today, Jesus is asking us to consider what true obedience is. Today we are given another parable, this one about two brothers. One says he is going to obey his Father, and then doesn’t. And the other brother who says that he will not obey his Father, but then turns around and ends up doing exactly what the Father had asked him to do. Which brother is obedient? Jesus asks? Is it the one who said that he would be obedient? Or is it the one who actually did what the Father asked? Well, of course, we all know the answer to this one, the brother who is obedient is the one who actually did what his Father had asked him to do. Obedience, we are reminded, has got to be much more than just words. Obedience has to be lived out. We can’t just say that we are obedient. We can’t just pretend that we are obedient. We can’t lie and say we’re going to be obedient and then do whatever we want. We can’t hit the I AGREE button, and then not agree, not follow the rules that we said that we would agree.
Then, this Gospel goes on to conclude with some of the toughest words that you can find in the Bible. Remember, Jesus is addressing this parable to the chief priests and elders of the people. Jesus goes on to say, He goes on to tell them, that tax collectors and prostitutes, the two most despised groups of sinner back then, are both entering the Kingdom of Heaven before the religious leaders were. And as we hear these words today, we’ve got to have some sense of what a slap in the face that these words were for the chief priests and Jewish leadership. What Jesus is so radical, is so confrontational, that the chief priests and Jewish leaders must have thought they had misheard Jesus. It was one of those, “Did He really just say that?”
Today, Jesus is reminding us about true obedience. Do we pay lip service to what God is asking us to do? That’s not real obedience! You know, anybody can say ‘yes’. Anybody can hit I AGREE. But isn’t it really time for all of us to really become obedient to God and to God’s will? Obedience is not picking and choosing what we like and what we don’t like about Catholic Christianity. We do that at a cafeteria, not at Church. Obedience is conforming our lives to God’s will, and trusting that God’s rules and ways are so much better than our own. Today Jesus calls the Jewish religious leaders out for their disobedience and hard-heartedness. He shocks them. He challenges them. He rocks their world. As we hear these words today, are we humble enough to let God do the same thing for us today? We don’t have to obey God. We have free will. We have a choice. But if we’re going to call ourselves followers of Jesus Christ, then we’d very well better be fully aware of what that means, BEFORE we hit the I AGREE button.
+ God bless us this week, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN !!!
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us !!!