Homily Fifteenth Sunday Year C Put into action

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Homily: Fifteenth Sunday Year C

Reading 1: What was the great commandment for the Israelites? It was summed up in these words: There is no other God. God alone is our God. You shall love God with all your heart, mind and strength. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. They would recite this at least three times a day.  Moses here is reminding the people after one of their rebellious actions against God of the command of God which they previously said yes to. Even though they had sinned, they were invited to return to the Lord with all their heart and soul.

Once more Moses enjoins them to embrace and live what is already on their hearts and in their mouths. But to know something is not enough. To speak the truth is not enough. It must be acted on. How often we know what is right but do not do it? Paul calls this the law of sin within us. He says: I do what I don’t want to do and I don’t do what I want to do. Woe is me, I am a wretch, he says. Only in Jesus, who has saved me, do I have the grace to overcome this law of sin within.

If we were conscious of our relationship with God would we choose to sin? If a man or woman really loves their spouse, would either one be unfaithful even in the heart? Sin is the opposite of love. The reason the Israelites repeated the great Schema was to keep the Lord ever before them and to choose the way of the Lord, rather than offend the Lord through sin.

Reading 2: Paul talks about the centrality of Jesus as the God/Man. Without saying it directly, he is proclaiming that Jesus is truly God and Man. How does he say it in different ways? He is the first born of all creation, reflecting his humanity.  He is the image of the invisible God, reflecting his divinity.  Jesus said he who sees me sees the Father for the Father and I are one.

Being the first born of all creation, he is the pattern of all creation. All things were created for him, through him and in him. Yet He is God. He is before all things and all things are sustained in existence through him.

Do we hear the foundation of our Creed which we proclaim each Sunday? He is God. He is the beginning, the first-born of the dead through his resurrection. He is preeminent. In him all fullness dwells in him as God. Through his death and resurrection he has reconciled us to the Father, bringing peace and healing.

Gospel: The first thing we notice is this is another attempt to test Jesus and to discredit him as a teacher. The question is legitimate. What must I do to inherit eternal life? It is the same question another person, the rich young man, also asked Jesus.

In his response, Jesus quotes the great schema that Moses referred to in the first reading. Notice Jesus responded with a question. When the scribe answered correctly, Jesus responds with the words of Moses: Do this and you will live.

The man is not satisfied. He questioned Jesus further, not because he was really interested, but to justify himself. Jesus knows the animosity between the Jews and the Samaritans. He knows the ritual laws of purity and cleanness that the scribes would follow. So he chooses an illustration that will throw light on the law of legality and the law of love.

When the scribe affirms the truth of love, Jesus pushes him further by saying it is one thing to know the truth but it must be lived and acted on to make a difference. Do we go out of our comfort zone to help others or do we put barriers between ourselves and others? Do we just know what is right and wrong or do we act on what we know is true?

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