Homily September 20, 2015 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Today’s gospel has Jesus telling his disciple for the second time that he must suffer and die at the hands of the chief priests and scribes. The idea of suffering and an angry God is a notion that somehow became prevalent and the notion that suffering was very much a necessity for a christian the whole concept of redemption. Taking up one’s cross came to mean to suffer in some painful way to make up for our sinfulness. It became almost that Jesus came only to suffer and die. But then, what of his teaching and preaching, his love and his service and God’s mercy shown through him? God sent his son into the world to confirm his relationship and love for us, especially the lowly, the deprived, the ones who most needed his love. Love certainly involves sacrifice, as in giving of yourself to another you are sacrificing some of what you are and giving it to another. God in giving Jesus was giving his very son, love itself so fully, that the inevitable abuse of that love would lead to his suffering and death. Jesus knew the inevitability of his death, yet, he did not desire it or seek it out, but as we know, he accepted it for the carrying out of His father’s will and for the service of God’s love and mercy to all. While love ad mercy might at time lead to suffering and even death, god is not angry or vengeful but loving and merciful for all who reach out to him. Those who call out to him are the poor, the suffering, the marginalized. The self-sufficient don’t need God, wouldn’t recognize him if he reached out to him. In Jesus’ time the chief priest, the elders, the scribes were so self contained that they could not see God acting in their midst. Their eyes could not see.
A way to understand God’s love is to look at the love in marriage. The love is a giving, a sacrifice of self to become a we, one in a new union with love as the center and reason for life together. In sacrifice and love and giving, two grow and mature and live together in a new and different way. The joys out weigh the sorrows for the most part, but in the end, love holds it all together. Their relationship is steeled and strengthened through many good things and through the hard and bad things as well. So it is God’s love reaches out and shares itself with us in all things, God’s love never fails, unless we fail in our love for him.