A HOMILY FOR THE TWENTY-THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – CYCLE “A” – 9/10/17 – SMG
+ Pax et Bonum! Peace and goodness to you this day!
Maybe you’ve seen the Walmart commercials that have been airing for the last month or so, that feature all kinds of different people pushing or carrying a chair. The commercial sticks out because in the background you hear the Youngblood’s classic song from the 1960’s “Get Together”. “Everybody get together, try to love one another, right now”. As the commercial goes on, you realize that everybody is taking their chair to a giant banquet table, that is covered with all kinds of delicious- looking food. It is food, that of course, Walmart hopes you will buy from them, for your coming together feast. The commercial is meant to be an effort to bring our country together, and to do something about the seemingly endless number of divisions that have so rocked and divided our country to its core, these past few years. This commercial is Walmart’s effort at making peace. Sure, they want to sell some groceries. But you’ve got to hand it to Walmart, or at least their advertising agency, that somebody realized that we need to be reminded that we can get a lot more done together, than what we can when we’re divided. There was a time when this important message would have come from the church, from all churches, that unity and peace were important. That we all need to get along, and that especially as Christians, we need to be peacemakers. At first, I was a little disappointed that Walmart had beat us, in the delivery of this message. And then I thought, more people go to Walmart on Sundays, then go to all the Christian churches combined. Maybe it was very appropriate for Walmart to send this message.
Well, today the Catholic Church strikes back. We come to Mass today, and our Gospel is challenging all of us to be peacemakers! In fact, it is giving us concrete examples of conflict resolution and keeping the unity among all God’s children. First of all, the Gospel reminds all of us that unity and working and living together in peace, is a real value. Not only can we get more accomplished, but we can better things for all of us, our whole world, when we work together and when we listen to one another. Especially as Catholic Christians, we have a real responsibility to be peacemakers, and to bring people together, not drive them farther apart.
How do we do this? We do this by listening. We do this by honestly trying to hear what one another are saying! And I’m not just talking racial dialogues, or socio-economic differences, or even our political differences! We need to be really listening in our families, in our marriages, in our friendships, in our neighborhoods, and yes, in even in our parishes. We need to be listening peacemakers across the board. But if we’re going to have any real authority to talk about peace and peace-making in bigger conflicts, then we as Church need to be serious about our peace-making in every aspect of own lives. We need to be better listeners. It’s hard to make peace with your mouth open.
Secondly, we need to be honest about the facts. You can’t make peace based upon lies. If you do, then it’s not real peace. The Church needs to be the voice of truth in the world today. So many times we settle for half-truths. A half-truth is still a half-a-lie. If we can’t be honest with one another, then we really don’t have much hope to real peace. That’s so important in marriage and family life! Do you know how many marriages would still be together, if one or both of the spouses just learned to tell the truth? It is also extremely important in all peace-making. Let us be witnesses to the truth!
Thirdly, all peace-making involves a certain amount of humility. It is very difficult to be a real peacemaker, and be selfish. By virtue of what peace-making is, we have to get out of ourselves, and our own little wants and desires, and seek a greater good, a living together in peace and harmony.
And maybe we most need to remember, that living together in peace, is a matter of Faith! We know that God loves peacemakers and will do just about anything to help them. We trust in God and God’s ways, and we know that love and peace, work a whole lot better than hatred and divisions. God always helps those who honestly seek true peace. God is on the side of all of us.
We don’t have to make commercials. We don’t have to all sit down a banquet feast together. We don’t even all have to shop at Walmart. But if we’re going to follow Jesus, then we’re going to have to at least try to be peacemakers. It’s not easy.
But make no mistake about it, how we love one another, how we treat one another, is at the very heart of who we are as faithful servants of the Lord. We need to get this right. We need to all be peace-makers!
+ May God bless us every day, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN !!!
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us !!!