September 27, 2015

A HOMILY FOR THE TWENTY-SIXTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME- CYCLE“B”-9/27/15 – SMG

+ Pax et Bonum! Peace and goodness to you!

There are so many times in life when it is important to know who’s on what side. When we’re kids and we’re playing basketball, we used to distinguish the teams by playing shirts vs. skins. I don’t think they do that so much any more. But you can’t play basketball and not have some distinguishing feature between the two teams. You gotta be able to tell who’s on your team. It is much the same way when you walk into a store. You want to know who the people are in a store, who work for the store. If you can’t tell who works there, who do you ask for help? And there’s always those embarrassing times, when you ask someone in a store a question, and then you find out that they don’t work there. A name tag, a uniform, a badge, a vest, something is important to let you know who works there. In a store, there’s definitely a them and an us. And it’s good to know the difference. Finally, I really like to know the difference when priests and sisters are around. I know were all on the same team in the Church, but there are times when I really want to know who’s a priest, and who’s a sister, and who’s not? I went to Confession a few months ago, and the priest hearing Confessions was wearing a yellow polo shirt. I got in there, and I had to ask, Are you a priest? It also didn’t help that he looked like he was twelve-years-old.   If he had had a black shirt on, it would have helped. There are times when you want to know the sides.

Perhaps, it is this same desire “to know the sides” that lead young St. John to ask Jesus, in today’s Gospel, what to do with these people who were driving out demons in His name. John did not know these people who casting out demons. And John, who was so close to Jesus, and who was around for almost everything that went on, would have known most, if not all, of Jesus’ followers. So John asks Jesus, “What are we supposed to do?” Did Jesus want the Apostles to stop them? And Jesus says, “No.” And what follows is a powerful lesson the inclusiveness of the Church. Jesus says, “Whoever is not against us is for us.” Like the Pope this past week, today Jesus seems to be reminding us that we are all in this together, and that we should all be working together to build the Kingdom of God! When it comes to being Church, we are all in this together. Everybody has there role to play. Everybody is needed. In the Church, there is no “them” and “us”, but only “We!” We are to work together, different talents, different gifts, different parts of the world, but One Church! That inclusiveness, that young St. John is concerned about, perhaps even fearful of, seems to be welcomed and accepted by Jesus. And indeed, is what He calls us to today.

What seems to bother Jesus much more, and where He draws the line on being inclusive, is when it come to sin and leading others to sin. Jesus says “that it would be better for him who causes such sin, if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea!” It’s that serious! It is that big of a deal! In fact, Jesus says that is your hand, or your foot, or your eye, or anything is causing you to sin, cut it off. This is very powerful, dramatic language! Remember, the goal is to get all of us home to Heaven! That is goal number one! That is the most important thing! Serious sin, and leading others to serious sin, is directly counter to the work of the Church. That’s the real enemy. That the real problem.

And so we do strive to work together. We do strive to give everyone a new chance, again and again. And before we worry about rooting out sin from other people’s lives, let us worry about rooting out sin and evil from our own lives. As a Church we need to be constantly growing in holiness. All of us! But the Church can only be as holy as we are! Let us pray more then. Let us serve more. Let us learn more about our Faith. Let us obey the Commandment. Let us take the good to the next level. There’s so much to do. That’s what Pope Francis has been talking about all this week! And spending our time doing what we are supposed to do, may we have no time for sin in our each of our lives.

We are on the winning team! Let us support and take care of one another as we build the Kingdom!

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

St. Maria Goretti…               Pray for us !!!