Homily for Sunday, 6 March 2011
9th Sunday: Dt 11:18, 26-28, 32. Rm 3:21-25, 28. Mt 7:21-27.
This Sunday Christ is asking us to let Him live in us rather than just putting in the effort on our own to try and love well on earth. We can't do it on our own.
The Jews of the time of Jesus reckoned that they had learnt enough from God. In that sense they were the people who said “Lord, Lord” a lot (as referred to at the beginning of the Gospel today). The whole of the Old Testament for example comes from them (there were even more Jewish 'scriptures'). So the fact that this 'religion teacher' from Nazareth (Jesus) was taking steps forward and adding to their faith, was somewhat heretical to them. In that sense, they wanted to 'build their house' in the way that they had learnt and on the foundations that they had already put in place. We know now that Christ is a very firm foundation (the rock), whereas following a way of life that gives too much importance to what human-beings have discovered and achieved up to now, would be like building a house on 'sand'. The fact that mankind has achieved many good things is a gift of God but we should avoid letting those achievements make us proud or letting them become our gods. The mundane achievements are the unreliable foundation! We should humbly accept that it's on Christ himself that we should found our lives. In fact we should let Him be our builder! We'll keep working at our lives but under his guidance. He's the master builder!
The first reading has Moses asking his people to take his words seriously and bear them in their hearts and like a pendant on their foreheads (Dt 11:18). The second has St. Paul telling them in Rome, that even though the following of the Old Testament hadn't made the Jews a people of perfect love, they had been redeemed by Jesus (expiated). The very mistake that they made (condemning Jesus) is what opened the door for the marvel that will save them. It's the marvel that will save us… if we're willing to go through that door! We won't stop building but we'll let the master builder be our guide in building. It's relevant that in psalm 127 (which the Jews of the Old Testament recited) it says this: 'If the Lord doesn't build the house, then the workers rest at night in vain… 2 It is vain for you to rise early and put off your rest at night, to eat bread earned by hard toil-- all this God gives to his beloved in sleep.'
One might think that the M.S. has taken away any missionary roll of spreading the Good News, but it hasn't. I don't preach as before but there are many ways of communicating. Writing E-mails is just a small one, and it's not for us all to do, but sometimes one communicates a lot just by a smile on his face (a genuine one) because people may start wondering 'why is that guy happy?' and perhaps that guy may get the chance to answer!
In a way you could say that the M.S. has been good for me, because it has made me less 'proud' (less haughty). I'm obviously less capable of doing many things that I used to be able to do, so I often have to ask people for help rather than giving help. But in that sense I have to be more humble and it's humility that opens the door for Christ. By the way, Lent begins this Wednesday. It's the humble people that appreciate that they need Christ. He becomes more the foundation on which they will build their lives.
So it's good for me to be on this road to M.S. (remember the Gospel story of the meeting on the road to Emmaus (Lk 24:13-35)). We’ve been expiated (second reading)! Hopefully we'll all recognize him in the breaking of the bread!