Homily Fourteenth Sunday Year C: Doing the will of God

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Homily: Fourteenth Sunday Year C

Reading 1: To a people who are returning to Jerusalem from their exile in Babylon, their initial reaction is disheartening. The city is in total destruction. It would be the feeling you would have if you came back home to find that your home has burned to the ground. You would not be in a state of joy but sadness.

Yet God says to the people to rejoice and exult and not to mourn. Why? God was going to restore the city to an even greater glory than it formerly enjoyed.  We know that God fulfilled his promise. Not only the city but the Temple was restored and became more beautiful than before.

This Jerusalem is a symbol of both the Church and of the heavenly Kingdom that we are called to be a part of. The old Jerusalem was a symbol of the Old Covenant and the old people of God. The Church is the New Jerusalem established by Christ through his death and resurrection. We are the new people of God chosen by him to live in the new Kingdom. But the Church is a foreshadowing of the final and eternal Jerusalem. It is where God’s elect will live in eternal glory with him.

The key is that God is doing something that is beyond us, but it is for us. “As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you.” In God we find our security and comfort.

Reading 2: Paul was confronting those who came to the Galatians after him and said the people must first be circumcised before being baptized. This left the impression that following the Mosaic Law would save a person and not baptism. Paul insisted that it was the death and resurrection of Jesus which has brought eternal salvation.

It is baptism not circumcision that saves us, once we enter into that mystery of Jesus’ death and resurrection. That is why Paul glorified in the cross. Again, it is the work of God and not of human being which brings salvation.

For us baptism is the sign of the new Covenant and of the new people. As we sign ourselves with the sign of the cross we are reminding ourselves that we bear the marks of Jesus. By his wounds we have been saved and made a new people. We wear a cross, we place the cross in our homes so that we can remind ourselves of and embrace what God has done for us.

Gospel: The most important statement in the reading is the last: Rejoice that your names are written in the book of life. After all is said and done, after our life comes to an end, what matters is doing the will of God and being in the will of God, so that we may be with him forever in glory.

Jesus had sent the seventy-two disciples to proclaim the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick. Some people responded, others did not. The most important thing was not the response of people, but the disciples doing the will of God. Yes, they saw the power of God in their ministry, but that was not the primary reason they were sent. Did they do what they were sent to do?

The same mission has been given to us who have been baptized and confirmed. We have a prophetic mission, namely, to spread the word of God and to share the message of truth, which is God’s love in the gift of salvation, manifested through and in the name of Jesus.

The urgency is greater today than it was in the day of Jesus. It is not results that will make the difference, but our faithful response to God’s call to each of us in our own state of life. While the disciples focused on the effects of their ministry, Jesus focused on the obedience to the plan of God for them. What do we focus on?

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