Homily Twenty-sixth Sunday Year A Do the will of God

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Homily Twenty-sixth Sunday Year A


Reading 1: This reading is a parallel to last Sunday’s first reading. Today, God gives an example of application of the prophetic word: “My ways are not your ways. My thoughts are not your thoughts. Today’s reading needs to be seen in the context of the covenant relationship between God and his people--God and each individual.


Even though a person lives a virtuous life, if he falls into serious sins, remains unrepentant and physically dies unrepentant and alienated from God, he will be spiritually dead eternally. From a human perspective this is unfair. But God is merely in justice confirming the decision of the heart at the moment of death.


On the other hand, if a sinful person repents, turns back to God sincerely and then physically dies, being in right relationship with God at the moment of death, he will be eternally with God.


We cannot begin to comprehend the reality of sin in relationship to God. Nor can we comprehend the reality of mercy in the face of our sinfulness. If God would render strict justice, without any mercy, there would be no hope for us. Without his loving mercy his justice would be everlasting alienation for us.


Seen in this light, is God being unfair or are we being unfair, wanting mercy when we refused it during our life time? At the moment of death, it is the time for judgment and justice.


Gospel: As the first reading compares two persons’ response to God’s covenanted love differently, so Jesus uses a similar comparison. It centers on embracing or not embracing the will of God in one’s life. While the one son externally agreed to do the will of the Father, in reality he refused to follow through. The other son initially and verbally refused, but later repented and did what the Father wanted or expected.


Jesus’ applies the comparison to the self-righteous among the chosen people, namely some of the religious leaders, who refused to accept him as the one sent from the Father as Messiah, even though they heard his teachings, confirmed by signs and wonders.  In contrast, he points to public sinners, who were looked down upon by the self-righteous, even when the former repented and turned back to God.


Are we like the elder son, who externally go through the motions of relationship with God, but internally we are living a sinful life? Or are we the one, who though have sinned, have repented and now are trying to live in relationship with God, trying to love as God calls us to love, trying to be obedient to the will of God even in difficult situations?


In both examples, physical death with eventually and inevitably occurr. Will we die in the grace-life of God or will we die alienated by choice from God? In each case will the judgment of God be unfair or will our choice be the real decider?


In his First Letter, St. Peter says that Jesus delays his second coming to give us a chance to repent, but we cannot presume on his mercy.  And as James says while it is day we should act for the night will surely come.


Reading 2: Because of our covenant relationship with God, entered in and sealed in the water of Baptism, we are called to live a different way of life. The key is “have among you the same attitude that is also in Christ Jesus.” What is this attitude? We are called to embrace obediently and freely the will of the Father, even if it means the cross in our life.


The cross comes in many forms, but it is to be approached out of love of God. Jesus was so in love with the Father that he said “yes” in all things. Paul identifies this love that we should have. “Do nothing out of selfishness or pride; but regard others as more important, looking to the greater good of others.” It is a service of love. Living this way, embracing our daily crosses this way, will enable us to die in the embrace of the Father like Jesus. The Father, in turn, will raise us up to eternal glory with him.

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