Homily: Twenty-third Sunday Year A Obedience to the Word of God

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Homily: Twenty-third Sunday Year A


Reading 1: What is the issue of this reading? It is obedience 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.


The people of Israel had turned away from God. The prophet was sent by God to expose their sin and to call them to repentance and conversion. 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.


Because of our relationship with God, we need to do what he tells us to do. “When you hear me say something to you in your heart.”


Gospel: Notice what the Lord is saying to us. How do you deal with someone who has sinned against you? With someone who has hurt you by saying things which are not true? Our natural, normal reaction, because of our sinful nature, is revenge, retaliation, hate, or un-forgiveness.  But what did Jesus say it should be for one who is his follower?  It is forgiveness and reconciliation on your part.  And we do it in love and obedience to God.


Yes, we are to bring to light what was done for the sake of healing and reconciliation. If the other doesn’t want to be reconciled, then forgive, love and let the other be. You can’t change the other, but we can change ourselves and not allow the sin of the other to lead me to sin or leave me in sin.


This is the call of being a disciple of Jesus. He is calling us into a new way of life. Only with my relationship with Jesus are we able to seek to be like this. Our fallen, human nature wants to act in one way, but as sons and daughters of God, we are called to act differently, to act from our spiritual, redeemed nature. For we are a new creation as a result of the death and resurrection of Jesus.


The first reading reminded us what will happen, if we are not obedient to God’s word in correcting others. Here, we are reminded of our solidarity with one another in the Body of Christ. Jesus concludes by emphasizing the reality of being members of the community of believers. Not only are we to pray individually but also as a group with the realization that God is present in our midst.

Reading 2: This reading gives us the underlying attitude which we must have in sharing the word of God with another or in dealing with hurts to us caused by others. It is not to be said in judgment or condemnation, but in love. This is the debt we owe to one another. God has loved us unconditionally. We owe to others the same love. Why? We are brothers and sisters in the Lord.


In reality, we can never pay back our debt of love to God. But we can show our desire to repay love with love by the way we treat one another, especially, in the area of forgiveness.  As others have hurt us, so we have hurt others. We can’t change those past hurts. But we can choose not to become embittered by hurt and instead to become free by forgiveness and love.


The first reading reminds us to be obedient to the word of God by acting on it. The Gospel reminds us to forgive as God has forgiven us. The second reading reminds us that all must be done in love. 

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