15 Aug Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Times
Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Homilies are never the creative act of one person. Thus, in posting these homilies on St. Mary’s Cathedral’s website I would like to state first and foremost that there will be little original in the following. My homilies are a result of my prayer, reading and study as it pertains to the particular gospel of the week. Thus, I beg, borrow and steal from the wisdom of those who have gone before me and together with the Holy Spirit acting in my own prayer considering the needs of our particular parish community here at St. Mary’s, a homily appears by the weekend. If there is something that edifies you I can take no credit for it. ‘Tis the result of the work of the Holy Spirit and those from whom I have gleaned wisdom over time. If there is something that you might wish to discuss I am always available and would welcome any opportunity to speak about the Scriptures and/or the Spiritual Life.
God bless you.
August 14, 2016
Father Shawn Hughes
(A little bit shorter homily this week…due to my cold.)
Jesus makes some shocking statements in today’s gospel.
- Jesus tells his disciples that he’s come to set the earth on fire;
- that he must undergo a baptism that in anticipation has him in anguish:
- and that he is not going to establish peace on the earth, but rather division. …..
even family members will be divided against each other.
These versus reflect the struggles and challenges of the Christian communities of Luke’s time. Many expected following Christ would be untroubled and peaceful; however, it had become clear that fidelity to the Christian mission frequently resulted in painful conflicts and divisions even in the same families.
Luke wants them to know that Jesus anticipated difficulties for his followers: Jesus’ own baptism by fire; his own Passion and Death, faces him at the end of his journey to Jerusalem. His community would not be based on blood relationships but on hearing God’s word and acting on it. And so there would be conflicts in the families of believers…many would hear the word of God but not act on it.
Many Christians today, many of us, face conflicts, both internal and external in the church. The conflict usually comes from those who have heard the Word of God but have chosen not to act on it. The same can be true for many of us who come every weekend. Do we come here expecting to be transformed? Do we expect the Word of God to change us? The Alpha Course we will be holding in the fall is aimed at having such a personal relationship with Jesus that His Word grips us…transforms us.
May we take Jesus’ dose of realism to heart and put into practice fidelity to the kingdom which he demands. As St. James’ says “Do not just be hearers of the Word of God but be doers of the word of God.
We are not alone in this struggle. The author of the letter to the Hebrews, our second reading today, says we are surrounded by a cloud of unseen witnesses who give us encouragement and assistance during our race which is our life. We are not alone! The saints…Jesus Himself have run the race before us – He cleared the way and removed the obstacles. He knows what the race is like. He has suffered and struggled too. He stands among the unseen witnesses as our greatest supporter, always ready through our worthy reception of the sacraments to give us strength, hope and courage to face the challenges ahead.
Imagine if everyone who heard the word of God actually acted on it…the world would be completely changed… we would all be striving to be more humble, more patient, more peaceful, gentler, more forgiving, more pure of mind and heart…striving to find the face of God in each person we encounter and unwilling to visit injustice or unkindness on anyone…
This is the fire to which Jesus is referring…burning passion to not only be hearers but doers of the Word of God.