Homily Twenty-Third Sunday Year A

By 9:25 AM


Homily for Twenty-Third Sunday Year A

First Reading: What is the main issue of the first reading? We are called to be obedient to God in all things, even in regards to one another. But this obedience is based on a relationship. God appointed the prophet as a watchman for the community, a sentry, to stand guard and to warn the community when an enemy was approaching.  The prophet was called to speak the word of God, no matter how hard or unpleasant it was.

In this case, the attack was from within not from outside. The enemy was within the community.  The people had turned away from God, choosing not to follow the way of the Lord.  The prophet was sent by God to expose their sin and to call them to repentance and conversion. It wasn’t his role to force them to change but to point out their sin. He was to act on the word of Go by responding to it in his own life and d by speaking out.  If the prophet failed to do this, he would suffer the same consequences as the people: die in their sins. If he did what God commanded, he would be spared because of his obedience to God.

Obedience to God above all things, even rejection by others, was the most important way of remaining in relationship with God.

Second Reading: To owe someone a debt is to have a responsibility to that person, to incur an obligation. The second reading gives us the motivation for responding to God’s word in obedience. It is love. Though the word given to the prophet was a difficult word, he was to speak it, not in condemnation nor judgement, but in love.
“Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another.” Because of Jesus’ love for us expressed by his death on the cross, we too are bound to express that same love for one another.

Gospel: The Gospel reveals God’s word to us in dealing with people whose sinful ways are destroying themselves and hurting others. What is the Lord saying to us?  He is dealing with a reality of life. Human life lived in a family or community is not easy or perfect. Conflicts and disagreements will arise.  How should we deal with someone who has sinned against us? The learned human way is revenge, retaliation, hate, and  non-forgiveness. But, we know that this is not the way of the Lord. The Lord’s word to us is, out of obedience and love, we need to forgive and seek to be reconciled.  Jesus adds another factor. We must forgive from our heart.

If the other doesn’t want to be reconcile or to forgive, then we are to seek help from others to try to become reconciled. If still the person refuses, then we are to let that person be. We did all we could. Like the prophet in the first reading, I am not responsible to change the other but to do what God called me to do. If I don’t, then I allow the sin of the other to lead me to sin or leave me in sin.

God is calling us to a new way of life as a missionary disciple. Only because of my relationship with Jesus am I able to be obedient in love. Our fallen human nature wants us to act in one way, but as sons and daughters of God, we are called to act differently out of our spiritually, redeemed nature.  

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