Homily – September 27, 2020

XXVI Sunday in Ordinary Time
Year A

I’m not much of a hiker … in fact, for clarity let’s just say I don’t hike. But, this past Thursday I was invited to join some friends from North Adams with their family and others from my home parish on a hike to Stoney Ledge on Mt. Greylock. I will say this, the hike itself wasn’t that bad – 3 miles, gradual incline … but the incline was on the way back! What kind of a hike leaves the hard part for the end?! Since I am not a hiker, I am definitely glad I didn’t know the hard part was saved to the every end! But it did remind me of a few things … I was invited to this hike, and as you can imagine, when hiking it’s a lot of walking – and its not easy at times … I knew that going into this adventure. I knew that what was being asked of me was not unreasonable … It was fair …

The parable Jesus lays out for us today highlights these 2 points – invitation and work … The 2 sons … one is obedient, the other not. What does the father want – he wants them to share in life, his work … to be a part of what he has built … The obedient son may not like what is being asked of him … but he knows that it is not unreasonable … that in the end it is better to obey, to follow, because it will please the father and he will know that he did the right thing – something good even if it hurt his ego a bit. He knew that it was fair …The other son is far more deviant … he presents himself as faithful but perhaps that faithfulness is only on his terms …

God invites us to be a part of His own Divine life, to be a part of His mission, His work, His life … He invites us to holiness, to interior freedom … we forget that this invitation involves a sacrifice, humility, participation and obedience … and this is the hard part …

What exactly does all this mean? Sometimes we think that what the Lord asks of us, that which the Church teaches – that it’s too much, it’s unbelievable … it’s not fair. But what is fair – something or someone that is reasonable, right and just … We blame the Church, point fingers at those who uphold the Church’s integrity, tradition, morals and teaching … So often we can be like the 2nd son, presenting ourselves as faithful but unwilling to sacrifice, let go, and be humble – sometimes we can’t see past ourselves, politics, our own agenda or “values” … lack of devotions, moral integrity … this is the message of conversion – to see things differently … and sometimes all it takes is setting aside our own self-interest, our own egos … to accept the invitation, to learn something new … to sacrifice – to have the attitude of Christ who, lest we forget, was crucified on our behalf … it might just lead to the softening of our hearts, to a new perspective …

I may not like hiking … but I love the people who invited me … We may not like all that the Lord asks of us, we may not understand clearly the teachings and moral directives of the Catholic Church… but if we love God, if we present ourselves as faithful to Him – ought we then to listen to Him, be willing to sacrifice? Maybe then we will begin to see Him and the Church as fair … It might help us also to become fair – reasonable, right and just.

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