A HOMILY FOR THE TWENTY-THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – CYCLE “C” – 9/8/19 – SMG
+ Pax et Bonum! Peace and goodness to you this day!
We know why we do many things. Most of our reasons are straight-forward and practical answers to our needs and issues, while we live in this world. For example, we take a shower, because our bodies get dirty, and produce bacteria, and to keep us from stinking. You ever sit next to somebody at work or at school who stinks? We don’t want to be that person. We eat breakfast, to energize and nourish our bodies. We can skip breakfast, but doctors tell us that that first meal after we wake up, is extremely important for firing up our bodies and keeping us moving all day long. We trim our fingernails once in a while, because we don’t want to look like the “living dead”, and have you ever tried to scratch your eye, when you have long fingernails? It’s a very dangerous thing! We brush and floss our teeth, because we don’t want our mouths and our breath to smell like the garbage on a hot summer day. We know why we do all these things. And probably, the people we live with, and work with, and go to school with, are very grateful that we recognize these things, and do something about them.
We all have responsibilities that are important. We have work expectations, and family obligations, and organizations that we support, and people who depend on us. We all try and fulfill our duties properly. This is part of living a good Christian life. We’ve got to take care of things. We’ve got to cover our responsibilities. We’ve got to all do our part to help out.
Certainly, there are times when we could all give more or do more, and maybe there are even sometimes when it would be best to give a little less. But we feel committed to doing what is asked of us, and when we do these things, we feel like we’ve done what we should, like we’ve done what God has asked of us!
In our Gospel today, Jesus tells us that this is NOT enough. Simply fulfilling what is required of us as a parent, as a child, as an employee, as a committee chairperson, or neighbor, is NOT the essence of discipleship.
Did you hear what Jesus said in our Gospel today? “If any one comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his or her own life, he CANNOT be my disciple. Whoever does NOT carry his or her own Cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.” This passage isn’t about all our responsibilities. This Gospel text is about our primary job while we are in this world: Discipleship! We are to be good disciples of Jesus Christ!
The powerful force of a passage like this, is, that it refocuses our being in our every day world! Jesus’s words today are meant to shake us up! Do they? So let’s let them! According to Jesus Himself, what is discipleship?
Discipleship is NOT one more hobby or extracurricular activity. Discipleship is WHY we do What we do, mindful of the costs it brings! Let me repeat that, “Discipleship is WHY we do What we do, mindful of the costs it brings.” Wow! Is this not the perfect reading for the Ministry Fair?
Let me assure you, God picked these readings out for us this weekend. Not me, not the Liturgy Committee, not the National Catholic Conference of Bishops, not the Vatican, the Lord did this. Now, are we going to listen? What Jesus is commanding is that we prioritize Him as the source of our life, and as its ultimate end. The Discipleship that Jesus calls us to, makes our love for Him the ordering principle of everything else that we do. It is why we do, what we do! Everything! Our prayer, our service, our community building, our religious education, our outreach to the poor, our buildings, EVERYTHING! For without Him, nothing else matters.
+ May God bless us all as we strive to be good disciples! Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us !!!