CACINA

Homily for the 8th Sunday in Ordinary Time , Year A 2014

Posted in christian, Christianity, church events, ecclesiology, ethics, inspirational, religion by Fr. Ron Stephens on February 23, 2014

Homily for the 8th Sunday in Ordinary Time , Year A  2014

Any one of you who has ever had anything to do with AA or ALANON will recognize the saying “one day at a time”. Well Jesus’ take on this is “…[D]o not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will bring troubles of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Similar advice – given 2000 years ago.  Yet our tendency is to worry and fret and project into the future, usually with a worse-case scenario. Jesus spends a good deal of time today trying to convince us that all we need is an attitude of “striving for the kingdom of God”, and striving to be righteous. These are the things in the last three Sundays Jesus has been describing to us in his teaching. So today’s readings are a fitting conclusion to all the things we have talked about in the last few weeks.  Today is the last day of Ordinary Time until after Easter season, and what we get is a look back at the issues and directives and suggestions that Jesus has been giving to us. A kind of Cliff notes review.

So let’s begin.

One of the things we talked about was the goodness of God, the compassion, the mercy of the Creator. We noted that many of us think of the Hebrew Covenant God as strict, vindictive and cruel, but we saw that instead God was actually, in the culture of that time, a merciful, loving and forgiving God. In today’s First Reading from Isaiah, we have a very short reading which serves to point out the all-encompassing love between a parent and a child as a metaphor for the all-consuming love of God to God’s creatures. The beautiful image of the nursing mother protecting her child with compassion is how we should see God, Isaiah says. Then, the beautiful, awe inspiring line: Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. And in fulfillment of that promise, God sent a Son to free us from our sins and faults.

The psalm today puts into words what should be our response to this wonderful knowledge that God will never forget us: “He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall never be shaken.” God is worthy of our trust and that should be one of the most freeing things in our lives.

Now in St. Paul we review the concept that we are not to judge people – it is not our position to judge, it is God’s, and God will not judge or punish until the time of our death or when Jesus comes again. Then God “will bring light to the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart.”  Then God will let everyone know the truth. But even then, Paul is not trying to scare people or lay a guilt trip. Paul says that each one will receive commendation from God. Paul is seeing the glass as half full, not half empty. It is a positive approach to our final judgements.

Lastly, in the Gospel Jesus continues to show us how we strive to be perfect as the heavenly Father is perfect. In the context of this reading, Jesus is asking us to choose the one whom we wish to serve. The obvious answer is, of course, God, but Jesus explains why we have to make that choice. The image he uses is the choice between God and wealth. Jesus sees our need to become wealthier and wealthier as an addiction that makes us servile to it. Wealth will be our master; it will control us. But Jesus says that you can’t serve two masters, and he gives good reasons why you can’t.  You will end up hating one or the other and devoting all your time to the other.

But it isn’t enough for Jesus to say, then choose God over money, but he makes a case that all transitory things are just that – they fade and die away. God, the One you should serve, takes care of all the needs of all creatures. Seeking after wealth, in the form of money, drink and clothes will never last, and in fact, Jesus says they are not even needed. God will provide. He asks us to look to nature and see if God doesn’t take care of all those needs. And if God takes care of the needs of creatures like little birds, how much more will God take care of the needs of the created humans, loved so dearly.

Then Jesus gives us the positive spin which would mean much more to the poor peasants of Jesus’ time. You have value! You shouldn’t worry! God will always take care of you.

The Gentiles or non-Jews who don’t know God, do worry about all these things, but we have a heavenly Parent – like the nursing mother in Isaiah – who will take care of our basic needs.

And how will God do that? Is this just romantic pondering while thousands actually do go hungry around the world today! That is where I think we come in. As members of Christ’s body, we continue the work of the Lord. We are Jesus’ hands here on earth. We feed the poor, give drink to the thirsty and clothe the naked just because we know that it is righteous to do so, as we read a few weeks ago and that we need to continue God’s work on earth. That is why it is so important that as a community, as the Body of Christ, we continue to do the work of God who is within us through our Eucharist.

This explains so many things – why we have trust in God, why we spurn getting addicting to anything outside of God that could take the place of God, why we need to to charitable works, and why we need not judge other people.

And this is the review of the Good News we have been reading during this Ordinary Time , and it is truly good for us to recall it!

Bishop Ron Stephens

Auxiliary Bishop of Holy Trinity Diocese

Of the Catholic Apostolic Church in North America (CACINA)

Pastor of St. Andrew’s Parish in Warrenton, VA

[You can purchase a complete Cycle A of Bishop Ron’s homilies, 75 of them, from amazon.com for $9.99 – Teaching the Church Year”]

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