CACINA

Homily at Holy Trinity Parish February 28, 2016 the 3rd Sunday of Lent

Posted in Called, christian, Faith, homily, inspirational, religion, scripture by Fr Joe R on February 28, 2016

Second Chances

Posted in Called, christian, ethics, Faith, homily, inspirational, religion, Word by Rev. Martha on February 27, 2016

Homily 2-28-16 3rd Sunday Lent year C Ex 3:1-15, Ps 103,1Cor 10:1-12, Luke 13 1-9

The action generally starts on Sunday with the Gospel, but today we have a sort of “pre-game show” in Exodus. All too often Moses gets billed as the “Giver of the Law”, a title which seriously underestimates him as a major player.  We have to go back to his amateur days for some background.

Moses was the Hebrew baby set afloat in a basket in the reeds on the edge of the Nile River.  Pharaoh had decreed that all Hebrew boy babies must be killed, fearing that the Hebrews (the Israelites) would join with an enemy to attack Egypt.  We would say, “This Pharaoh was a wall-guy, not a bridge builder.”

Baby Moses was indeed saved, and adopted as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. Fast forward about 30-40 years.  One day he was visiting the Hebrews and saw an Egyptian “striking”, or depending on how you translate it, “killing” a Hebrew man.  His motives are not entirely clear, but Moses killed the Egyptian and hid the body in the sand.  But Pharaoh got word of it, and Moses had to flee to the land of Midian, west of Egypt, across the Red Sea.   There he married the daughter of Jethro, and settled down, tending the flocks of his father-in law.  He led the flock to Mount Sinai.  There he saw that “burning bush” and the world changed.

You know the story. God pulled no punches with him.  God said,” I know of the suffering of my people in Egypt.  I have come to rescue them. I will give them a spacious land, fertile and rich in resources.  I will send you to Pharaoh to lead them out of Egypt.”

Don’t think for a minute that Moses said, “Oh goody!!” For a guy who described himself as slow of speech, he was quick to point out 4 reasons why he wasn’t the man for the job. “Who am I that I should go?” he modestly asks, meaning he just isn’t qualified for leadership.  God simply responds, “I will be with you”.

Then Moses insists that the people don’t know God, and will not believe it. He says, “They will ask, ‘What is the name of this God of our fathers’; what shall I tell them?”  He’s trying to say, “Uh, God, it’s not like you and I are on a first name basis.  I’m not so sure I believe this either.”   But God responds,   “I am who I am.   Tell the Israelites, ‘I AM sent you.’”  I’m not sure that satisfied Moses, but it’s given theologians something to struggle with for hundreds of years.  Perhaps the cleverness of it is that it is un-translatable.

But even that doesn’t stop Moses; he continues to object. “Suppose the elders won’t listen to me.  Even if I convince the people, the leaders won’t buy it.”  Now God gives Moses the power to turn his staff into a snake, make his hand appear white with leprosy, and turn river water into blood.  God is pressing him hard to take on this job.

Finally, Moses says, “I am not eloquent; I am slow of speech.” God has heard enough excuses; it’s time to act.  He reminds Moses that he gives the power of speech.   So Moses went to Egypt, the Israelites believed him, and the people of God were freed from slavery.

Do you find it amazing that God would use a murderer and fugitive, a doubter, someone who stinks of sheep, a man who makes excuses to God, and one who lacks the verbal skills and charisma to lead people? I was an employment counselor for 13 years; I took great care to match people well to jobs.  But God?  God sees things in people we don’t see, and God provides all that is lacking.  God is a God who takes us, with all our faults, our failures, our lacking, our negativity, our hesitancy, our violence and our ignorance – and loves us and offers us forgiveness and 2nd chances.  In this season of Lent, we are called to the Great I Am, as the old time preachers would sing, “Just as I am.”

So now to the Gospel, where Jesus is talking about the news of the day with the people. They want Jesus to tell them that people have been killed by Pilate because they were sinful, and workers were killed when a tower fell because they were guilty.  The people feel safer if guilt is assigned to “them”.  But Jesus says those who are dead are NOT guiltier than anyone else and then he turns it back to those pointing the finger of blame, “If you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!”  Then he tells them a parable about a fig tree which produces no figs.  The owner says, “Cut it down; it’s a waste of time and dirt!”  But the gardener begs for one short year to make it productive.

We don’t have to look too far to see this is another instance of 2nd chances, and God is again urgently pressing us to act.  Jesus’ message of repentance is directed to all, not just a select few, and Luke is clear that fruit – aka visible change of behavior – is expected.  We must develop a sense that our actions really are significant and we are responsible for feeding others in both a concrete and symbolic sense.  We, as individuals and as The Church, should be the very symbol of divine plenty, and not be fruitless in our faith.

St. Paul in our 2nd reading reminds us of the history of Israel, and the tragedies of God’s people who desired evil things, who grumbled, who became self-righteous, and who serve as a warning for us. Jesus’ call to us, in all generations, is on the edge between mercy and judgment; and judgment is never canceled but merely postponed.  This short delay is the time for repentance, reorganization of our thought processes, new awareness, new behavior, change, and action – life lived out loud in obedience to the will of God.

Homily February 28, 2016 The 3rd Sunday of Lent

Posted in Called, christian, Christianity, church events, Faith, homily, inspirational, politics, religion, scripture, Spirit by Fr Joe R on February 24, 2016

lent 3One of the marvels of our time is the instant sharing of news and events throughout the world. It almost seems simultaneous and even live and in our living rooms. When I was younger I remember the marvel of seeing Queen Elizabeth of England crowned with only a five hour delay as the film was flown to Canada and transmitted. Today with satellites we can see things live as they happen. In Jesus’ time, news traveled by word of mouth and was slow but people paid no less notice to it. So, in the gospel, when Jesus asked about the Galileans who were slaughtered in Jerusalem and had their blood mixed with the sacrifices in Jerusalem, the people were familiar with it. Also the falling of the tower and killing of eighteen people at Siloam was also known to them. lent 3bHowever, remember in the view of the times, bad things happened to people who did bad or evil things. Jesus, as we heard, immediately rejected the notion that bad things happening were a punishment from God. Asking why does God allow this is the wrong question. The question is how we relate to God and how we adapt to things when they do not necessarily go our way. God doesn’t choose people who are sinners or who are worse off than other sand then punishes them with something bad. He asks if the 18 under the tower were worse than everyone else. He said, of course not, prosperity, wealth, happiness and the good things in life are not rewards for doing the right thing. Those things have nothing to do with virtue. What we are and our humanness come from God and prepares and leaves us to do the right things in life. In all our live, we have the time and chances to do and be right in relationship to God’s world and his call to be with him. How we live and love and relate and give of our time and selves to others determines what will be for us when our life ends.

Christ continues the discussion with the parable of the fig tree. The point of the parable is what good is a fruit tree if it gives no fruit? Jesus is the loving, carilent 3ang gardener who asks for more time for the tree to develop and grow fruit. Surely, Jesus himself is in His death and Resurrection extending to us the time to grow and to produce fruit in the lives we live. Each day is a gift and an extension to love and share and relate as Jesus called us to do. If we are to truly live, we need to put aside what is wrong and sinful and turns our backs to God. Lent is the perfect time to begin or continue and to renew ourselves to love and relating. The fig tree becomes for us a sign that we have a little time to make our selves better and healthier Christians.

Homily at Holy Trinity Parish the 2nd Sunday of Lent February 21, 2016

Posted in Called, christian, Christianity, church events, Faith, homily, religion, scripture, Spirit, Word by Fr Joe R on February 21, 2016

Homily for the 3rd Sunday in Lent, Year C (Feb 28)

Posted in Uncategorized by Fr. Ron Stephens on February 21, 2016

Homily for the Third Sunday in Lent, Year C  (Feb 28)

You may have noticed a pattern this Lent in the readings. Last week we had the preparatory story of Abram’s first encounter with God and today we have Moses’.  Next week we will jump to the prophet Joshua. It is as though we are taking a short memory tour through the Old Testament to better understand the Passion of Jesus in the context of Hebrew history. Similarly, this ties in with the Gospel reading today because Jesus is warning the Jewish people that unless they remember and repent, they will not enter the kingdom.

The Hebrew people were chosen by God to be the root from which would come the Savior of the world. And that root image is very appropriate today because Jesus talks about a fig tree that is not doing very well, using a similar imagery. The Hebrew people, as we saw last week, were, through the covenant of God to Abram, promised a new land, a new kingdom. Abram becomes Abraham, the father of this chosen people and through him, they number as the stars of heaven.  But the progeny of Abraham often forgot God. Indeed, the story of the Old Testament is the struggle to have the people remember who they were, what their heritage was, and what they owe to God. They often failed, and had to start again.

In today’s reading from Exodus, we get what might be called the second great chapter in the Hebrew story. Moses is chosen by God to be sent to the people of Israel. God comes in a most dramatic way – we saw shining faces last week as a result of God’s light. Today we see the same great light in the form of a burning bush. God has seen the sufferings of his people and wants to help. He also wants to complete his promise to them – the covenant which involves a Promised Land. We wonder why God chose men like Abram and Moses? Did he see the remarkableness of them even though they were just poor farmers? Or was it that they had a strong faith and belief in the one true in God. I think the latter.

When Moses was speaking to God he asked God’s name. Some of us may think that odd, but to name a thing is to know that person and in some way to have power over that person. Isn’t that one of the first things we do when we meet someone- introduce ourselves. And if a person doesn’t introduce themselves, we usually ask their name. I once read that Confucius said that the beginning of wisdom was to call things by their proper name. And Moses was looking for that wisdom.

But God doesn’t really give him a name, but more a state of being. There can be so much taken from the words God uses to name himself: “I am who I am.”  It can also be translated as it is in English translation Hebrew Scripture “I will be who I will be”.  While it is almost a riddle, there is a certain sense to it – for God is “existence”. Nothing exists without him.  At the same time, it is not a name that can give power to anyone, for God wields all the power.

God’s other names in the Old Testament are never spoken by the Hebrews, and they are usually some form of Lord. The Hebrews often speak of God’s name without naming.  In the psalm today, for example, we hear: “All that is within me, bless his holy name.”

In the second reading and the Gospel today both Paul and Jesus want us to remember. Without remembrance, without tradition, we will move away from the important things promised us and be too influenced by the world around us. For Paul, “Those things happened to [the Hebrews] to serve as an example” to us, and that is why we must remember the promises, the failures and the steadfast love that God had for us despite those failures.

In the Gospel, Jesus tells us a parable of a fig tree. This section of St. Luke only appears in his Gospel, so we know that it is very thematic and explains why Luke wrote his Gospel. More than the other writers Luke feels that his Gospel is a story of repentance and forgiveness of sin.  Even though Luke has just told us that God will judge us, he shows how God is patient and offers amp opportunity for us to change our ways and repent. If we do, we will be forgiven.

Just before he tells the parable we learn of two events or tragedies that happened. One was an act of human malevolence, the other an act of nature – both leading to the deaths of many people. The question posed is why does such tragedy happen to apparently good people, an ageless question which may never be adequately answered for us on earth. The crowd listening to Jesus asked if these people had sinned and brought about heir own tragedy as punishment. We should understand that this is not the case since Jesus always blessed the poor, the sick, the maimed, the prisoner. So Jesus does not impute sinfulness to these people. Jesus here does not get involved in this question with a direct answer. He states that the real point is that all people must learn to be penitent and trust in God’s saving grace, but that tragedy or happiness cannot be linked to this.

The parable of the fig tree follows. On the surface, it is an attempt to show how the Hebrew people were like that fig tree. They had stopped producing. The owner of the fig tree wanted to cut it down, but the gardener asked for patience. Here perhaps we can see the gardener as one of God’s prophets pleading for time for his people to repent. God relents and gives the time. So once again, God is judge, but God shows patience ad mercy. The point, however, is still that we must repent.

And so, that is what Lent is about each year.  It jogs our memory. It forces us to look at our own lives, to see if we have been true to the covenant God has made with us, to see if we have been grateful for the redemptive grace we are given, and if not, to repent. So here we are in the third week of Lent, remembering the Hebrew story, remembering the Christ story and looking at our own lives. There is still time. God is patient with us. Let us change our ways and be ready to rise with Jesus again on that glorious Easter which is just a few weeks away.

And this is the Good News I offer you today in patience and hope. God bless.

Ronald Stephens

Bishop of Holy Trinity Diocese and St. Andrew’s Cathedral Parish

The Catholic Apostolic Church in North America (CACINA)

[Volume 3 (Luke) of Bishop Ron’s homilies, one for every Sunday and Feast from the last Cycle C, is available from amazon.com for $9.99 – “Teaching the Church Year”]

Homily 2nd Sunday of Lent February 21, 2016

Posted in Called, christian, ecclesiology, Faith, homily, inspirational, religion, scripture, Spirit, Word by Fr Joe R on February 17, 2016

lent 2Today’s first reading is an account of God’s covenant with Abram that he would have descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and that the would have their own land to live on. That Abram or Abraham was such a key figure, we often forget that he is seen as a key figure in Jewish, Muslim and Christian faiths. God’s revelation was for all even though for many centuries it was focused on the Jews who worshiped only one God. The split between Abram and his two sons is one that still is omnipresent in the split between Jews and Muslims today. Yet from God’s covenant with Abraham, God has chosen to give us his special gift of love and redemption, Jesus Christ. During lent, we are once again being lent 2creminded of Jesus and that gift and journey. Once again we are being reminded as we see in Paul’s letter today, that it is so easy to concern ourselves with the here and now with comfort and convenience and forget the ultimate of the life of love and presence with God in the future. Unfortunately, history proves how humanity can fail and can sin in everyone’s life. None of us are perfect in our faith or in who we are. The act of taking Peter, James and John up that mountain was something Jesus did to share intimacy with them and that time became a moment of faith for them. Let us remember Jesus was a man, probably a remarkable one in many ways, but as God he was working to love and teach as a man to persuade and lead by faith to his Father. lent 2aUltimately he knew his journey led to Jerusalem, he knew the consequences of his outspokenness, yet still in his own love and obedience he continued on to do His Father’s will.
For us, we to have received the Father’s call. Each of us is unique and obviously know and love God in our own relationship which keeps on our own path to the Father. But we all have in common that we can become too self centered and perhaps misstep. Temptation and convenience can sometimes make us lose perspective. Let us take these days to pray and work so that our work and choices are always the right thing to do to advance our love and the love of God.

Homily for the 2nd Sunday in Lent, Year C (Feb 21)

Posted in Uncategorized by Fr. Ron Stephens on February 14, 2016

Homily for the Second Sunday in Lent, Year C  (Feb 21)

It may seem surprising to some that the story of the Transfiguration comes during Lent. The reason why is that this story in Luke comes right after the first prediction of the suffering and death of Jesus. Luke has juxtaposed those two moments because the death of Jesus will not negate the glorification of Jesus. They will work in tandem for our salvation. And those are the two themes we draw together during our Lenten journey.

The story of the Transfiguration is told in other Gospels as well, so I would like to concentrate on what Luke brings to this story. First of all, Luke is very aware of some parallels in the Old Testament between Jesus and Moses going up to the mountain and what happens to them there. Moses is, in fact, present at both events. When Moses on Sinai first talked to God, his face shone, and similarly we have a shining of Jesus’ face at the beginning of Luke’s rendition.

Luke also positions it much like he positioned Jesus’ baptism. After he was baptized, but before he went off into the desert, God’s voice declared who Jesus was. Here, after he speaks about his passion to come, but before he starts on the journey to Jerusalem, God again speaks and reiterates that Jesus is His Son. Luke’s transfiguration is a sign to the three apostles that Jesus, who just told them he would have to go to Jerusalem to die, must be obeyed, and it would be to his eventual glory.

What else does Luke add to this familiar story? First of all, Jesus goes up to the mountain to pray. Mountains have always been symbolic of a place closer to God. It is when Jesus is praying that the transfiguration takes place, and in Luke, there are many mentions of Jesus having such a prayer life. We saw it at his baptism and a number of times while he was teaching and he had to get away from the crowds to pray.

Secondly, only in Luke do we find out what Jesus and the two prophets were talking about. Our translation says: [they] were speaking of his exodus, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.” Jesus is discussing this with Moses who represents the law and Elijah who represents the prophets, symbolically showing that the Law and the Prophets both predict the Messiah and his suffering. The term that is used to tell us what they are talking about is “exodus” and we know from our Bible history what a loaded term that is for Jews. An exodus is a leaving, literally, and Jesus will be leaving by dying, but in doing so will accomplish what the Biblical exodus did, which is to save God’s people.

When we get back to the Apostles, we note that they were very sleepy. It seems they tended to fall asleep a lot when Jesus is praying, doesn’t it?  This time, though,  they stayed awake to see the transfiguration taking place. Peter’s reaction in which he wanted to mark the spot with some sort of memorial is interrupted by a cloud and a voice of God. Clouding is a Biblical way of saying that God was approaching because no one could withstand the brightness of God. What God says: This is my Son, my chosen. Listen to him,” is a confirmation for Jesus that he is following the will of God, that what he will do has the backing of the Law and the Prophets, and that his disciples must obey him on the way to Jerusalem, even if they felt he was doing something wrong. Jesus was to be heard because he was the culmination of the Law and the Prophets; everything which had gone before would now be revealed.

In Luke’s account, Jesus and the Apostles hear the same words but they have different meanings for each. For Jesus, it is a confirmation that God wants him to take the way of the cross. For the Apostles, it was a mystic experience, but as we will see in the next few weeks, they have not yet put all the pieces together, and while they know they must “listen to” Jesus, on direct order from God, they are not yet clear about what they are listening for. It will not be till after “Lent”, till they experience the resurrection, that they will be able to piece it together and understand it.

The first reading does not seem to have a clear connection to the Transfiguration but is another example of God talking to a human. Abram’s clear recognition of God, his ability to really “hear” God, justifies him, and God is able to promise that his descendants will be the chosen people and they will inherit the land. It is out of this initial covenant or contract that we can look at the completion of that contract with Jesus himself.

St. Paul to the Philippians today looks back with new understanding now of all that has happened with the Cross of Christ. He has put all the puzzle pieces together and realizes what the death of Christ has meant in salvation history. We are lesser beings but because of the Savior, Jesus Christ, we can be “conformed to the body of his glory.” It is through the cross that we have achieved a part in Jesus’ glory, which is God’s glory.

So it is fitting then that the Transfiguration be read to us during what is usually a penitential period of the church year. We get a glimpse of the final Easter glory while we know that to get there we have to go through the passion and the cross.

And that is often true in our lives as well. We can align our sufferings, our fears, our disappointments with those that Christ knew were coming to him, but if we remain faithful, we, too, can convert those into something glorious. That may not be until we have died and are with God, but often we get glimpses of it when our sufferings and things we don’t understand bring us to something better in this life as well.

This Lent, let us try to realize the great mystery and sadness of the Passion and the greater glory and joy of the Resurrection, and may we experience a few transfigurations of our own as we make the journey to our final rewards. All we need to do is listen to him!

And this is the Good News I pray for you each day. God bless.

Ronald Stephens

Bishop of Holy Trinity Diocese and St. Andrew’s Cathedral Parish

The Catholic Apostolic Church in North America (CACINA)

[Volume 3 (Luke) of Bishop Ron’s homilies, one for every Sunday and Feast from the last Cycle C, is available from amazon.com for $9.99 – “Teaching the Church Year”]

Homily for 1st Sunday of Lent February 14, 2016

Posted in Called, christian, Christianity, church events, Faith, homily, inspirational, religion, scripture, Spirit, Word by Fr Joe R on February 11, 2016

lent 1cThe tradition of lent developed early in the church in a twofold manner, as a forty day fast preparation for Easter and and time of preparing catechumens for baptism. Vatican II focused lent on Baptism and the need for communal conversion. Tied in with that of course is the work of the Spirit, given everyone at baptism and the same Spirit that led Jesus to the desert for his forty day fast. This became a time renew ourselves by once again turning away from sin and the negative attractions of this world. While each of us needs lent 1atime to meditate and be alone with God. The Spirit leads forward to reach out to a world crying out for God, seeking reason and understanding in a world which leaves so many questions unanswered especially in regard to humanity’s action against itself.

God’s love is in the world, but that love can only be found in those who actively seek to love. Communal conversion calls for the entire community to hear and believe the good news of God’s love and embrace of all. Jesus Christ was a human being, a man who lived like any other. He had thoughts, desires, temptations like any other human. He had likes and lent 1bdislikes, he loved and was loved as we all are. What set Him apart was the fact that he was divine, having come to bring God’s forgiveness to all humanity and exhibit the love he has for all of His creation. So, Lent is not meant to be a negative, foreboding time, but a period of renewing and seeking out God’s love and sharing it with all our sisters and brothers to follow Jesus. This we can do with a word, or by an act or some kindness given simply because a person needs the help. What we do for the poor, the hungry, the homeless, or someone in need, we do it to Jesus himself. His Spirit is not just confined to those we know and live with, but is present wherever and with whomever the Spirit chooses to be. Not only do we bring Christ to others by our actions, but Christ comes to us through those whom we ourselves touch. So as we begin lent, let us be aware that it is a time of conversion and growth of ourselves and our community.

Homily for the 1st Sunday in Lent, Year C (Feb 14)

Posted in Uncategorized by Fr. Ron Stephens on February 7, 2016

Homily for the First Sunday in Lent, Year C  (Feb 14)

What is it about human beings that they tend to forget what has been done for them and go back to their old ways so easily. How hard it is to keep alive the memory of horrific events like the Holocaust so that we won’t repeat them. How easy it is to forget the good someone has done us with the least offense that occurs or when provoked.

The Hebrews kept forgetting God. They kept forgetting how God had called them together as a nation, favored them and saved them. Within 40 years of the event of the Exodus the people had forgotten what God had done, were busy grumbling over the poor conditions they faced, even forgetting the promises God had made to them if they remained faithful.

So it is not unreasonable that Moses over and over again tries to bring his people back to God. In today’s reading, the people are being prepared for entrance into the land they had been promised but many of them did not know the stories of their past, especially the way God chose them and rescued them. So Moses in his role as teacher and prophet once again goes through the story of their salvation and tells them that they must repeat this story each time they make a sacrifice or bring gifts to the altar so that they never forget again.

In stark contrast to this story of the Hebrew’s forgetfulness of God and his laws, Jesus never forgets even in the direst of circumstances, when he is half starving and deprived. The devil tempts him to forget, tempts him to sins of pride and power and arrogance, but Jesus does not succumb.

The devil tempts Jesus to use his divinity for personal gain. Knowing that he was starving after fasting 40 days, he tempts him to turn stones into bread.  Then he attempted to get Jesus to turn away from God in order to achieve personal power. Satan asks Jesus to worship him. Finally, he asks Jesus to prove his divinity by jumping off a building and allowing angels to catch and protect him, thus showing everyone he was a god himself.

But Jesus will have none of it. He quotes Scripture back at the devil showing the devil how each of these things was wrong. He does not forget the Law as his people had so many times before him.

This humility on Jesus part, this taking on the form of humanity and living it fully is why St. Paul can say in Romans that we too cannot forget. We cannot forget what Jesus has done and who Jesus is. We confess to others what he has done and we believe it in our hearts, and the result of that is “justification.” We are saved by believing and confessing that Jesus is Lord.

How many of us forget in our daily lives the very thing that has given us the community called Christian and the saving grace that has allowed or sins and transgressions to be forgiven. Just as the Jews did nothing special to merit God choosing them, so we have not done anything to merit our salvation from God. So we must never forget.

Our psalm today which the devil quoted to Jesus is about God’s promise to save the one who believes: “The one who loves me, I will deliver”, God says; I will protect the one who knows my name. When he calls to me, I will answer him. I will be with him in trouble, I will rescue him and honor him.” How wonderful to know that if can constantly recall our being chosen by God, and believe in Jesus that we will merit such reward.

Of course, this is not always easy to do. Just as the Jews grumbled when they got into trouble or got hungry or tired, we tend to do the same things. We need to look at the larger picture, stay faithful, stay strong in our belief and we will be rewarded, our prayers will be answered, we will be protected.

This is the first Sunday in Lent, a time when we start to examine our past year in terms of how we have remembered our God and how we have professed what we believe. Lent is a time of reflection as we start with the awareness of our limits, the fact that will die and have to make a reckoning, and a chance to again get our spiritual houses in order. We do this yearly in order that we don’t forget, and this is the exact thing that Moses set up to help his own people not to forget as well.

And this is the Good News of our yearly recollection and remembrance.

Ronald Stephens

Bishop of Holy Trinity Diocese and St. Andrew’s Cathedral Parish

The Catholic Apostolic Church in North America (CACINA)

[Volume 3 (Luke) of Bishop Ron’s homilies, one for every Sunday and Feast from the last Cycle C, is available from amazon.com for $9.99 – “Teaching the Church Year”]

Homily for 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time February 7, 2016

Posted in Called, christian, Christianity, Communion, Eucharist, Faith, homily, inspirational, religion, Spirit by Fr Joe R on February 5, 2016

2-7-16aIn today’s readings, we see Isaiah, Paul, and Peter question their worthiness. Each in turn facing God or his work, questioned if they were indeed worthy to accomplish the task. Even at Eucharist, the church’s liturgy builds that doubt into reception of communion when we say “O Lord I am not worthy to receive you.” I think in all cases that it is a question that in the face of God, no one is adequate to simply stand straight on with him. However, is our perception and understanding of God correct? How often do we say God is Love. His love produced this world and also humanity in his image. This God like image in itself has made us unique and loved by God. 2-7-16bThat presence of God’s love within us proves that each and every human has a worth and value not able to be diminished by anyone. At times, human can have faults and can commit sin and negative acts, but God’s love remains and their human worth remains. History has proved that women and men have done many good and many bad things throughout history. How quick are we to judge others at times when in effect we should be judging ourselves?

How harsh and judgmental has humanity been through out the centuries? How judgmental are we of different races and cultures and insensitive to people of places that do not meet our particular standards. How quick are we to characterize judgments as the 2-7-16cWord of God or on the Bible? Jesus loved and forgave and said move on. How long must we go on realizing that it is not the law that saves but God’s love which is the real law and embraces us to be like Christ and his father. Who are we to judge or take offense when God himself forgives and embraces. If we can not forgive, then our worth demands us to seek and find God’s love and embrace it.

Truly then, none of us is worthy by ourselves. God within us is our worth and our life. Let us learn today and embrace God’s love and each other. Each of us is worthy with a call unique to each of us.