Homily Twenty-six Sunday Year B The way of the Lord or our way

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Homily Twenty-six Sunday Year B

 

Reading 1: The invitation and the source of the action is the Lord. It is God who pours forth his Spirit upon others. God’s Spirit as with Moses and signs and wonders followed. Those signs and wonders did not point to Moses but to God. The background of the reading was at this point of leading the people from Egypt to the Promised Land Moses was feeling the burden of the task. People were demanding more and more from Moses.

 

So when Moses complained to God, God said for him to choose seventy-two elders to receive the same empowering Spirit. The Spirit came upon them and they prophesied. They spoke the word of God to the people. The fact that two were not in the physical company of the others did not prevent God from fulfilling his plan.

 

The issue was not God’s plan, but human beings wanting to be in control of God’s plan; others trying to determine and direct things according to their desires and expectations. But God shows that he is not limited by human expectations. Moses could realize that it was God who empowered the two to prophesy. Joshua, at the time, could not see this.

 

Moses says something very prophetic and correct. “Would that the Lord might bestow his Spirit on all and that all would prophesy.” This message appears in other parts of the Scripture. Joel prophesied that in the end time God would p or out his Spirit upon all mankind. On Pentecost Sunday, this happened. Baptism and Confirmation are the moments in each of our lives that we have received the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. In Baptism we were anointed with the Oil of Chrism and told we share in the life of Christ as priest, prophet and king. In Confirmation we were told that we are to witness about Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit. One of the gifts we received was the gift of prophesy.

 

Gospel: The first part of the Gospel connects us to the first reading. The two disciples were judging from human standards not from God. They were acting out of jealousy, out of a sense of control like Joshua.  Jesus identifies the truth. God is not limited to any exclusive club, but chooses to work in and through people we would not imagine. What is the message. Signs and wonders done in the name of Jesus that bear good fruit are of God.

 

Jesus then moves into the focus of his own preaching and ministry. He has been sent to call people to repentance and conversion. To do this, Jesus says that we must recognize the seriousness of sin and the consequences of sin. Then, we are called to realize the radical attitude we must take toward sin. It is not that Jesus wants us to literally cut off our hands. Rather, he wants us to recognize the eternal consequences of sin, alienation from God eternally.

 

Many times we do not think of eternal consequences of our sinful actions. We remain in the state of sin. Jesus is not advocating the decapitation of our limbs, but separation from sin through real repentance. As much as we revolt against the thought of severing a limb because of sin, we should be more horrified at the reality of eternity without God because of unrepentant sin.

 

There is a sense of immediacy. Do it now, Jesus is saying. Our eternal salvation is never to taken lightly. It is a gift from God, not something I deserve. To be indifferent to this gift is to say to God he is not that important in our life; to say that the death of Jesus is not that important to me.

 

Reading 2: What is the sin that James is referring to in his Letter? It is injustice and wrongdoing towards others for self-profit. Like any other sin it is the betterment of self at the detriment of others. To be rich is not the sin. To have means is not a sin. How did we obtain it? How do we use it? That is the issue. To obtain it unjustly or in a manner that deprives another what is due to them is sinful. To hoard it for self, when others are in dire need is sinful. 

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