Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time Homily Transcript
>>Cheerful readings this morning for you all, on sin and fire in Gehenna and what not. But, let’s try to focus on sin but why focusing on sin can actually be something that gives us joy and hope.
I know we don’t like to talk about sin and in fact the last time I was on Mercy Home I talked about sin. So, you’re going to think I’m the “fire and brimstone” priest here for you all.
But, look at this last line in our first reading – what Moses says:
“Would that all the people… Were prophets.”
Would that all the people be prophets. What was the goal or the task of a prophet? A prophet doesn’t just foretell the future. The prophet speaks on behalf of God. Calls things out, particularly injustices, particularly sin. So a prophet is one that recognizes sin and calls it out for the salvation of the people.
So, this isn’t about making us feel bad and full of shame and heaviness and darkness, but to help us. Because sin is something, sometimes that is out of our control that’s going on in the depths of our heart. We’re not aware of it. But the second we can see it, it can come to the light then we can ask God for His mercy and His grace to heal that sin and we can begin to live our lives in greater freedom, peace, and joy.
That’s why Jesus says: look don’t stop people who are prophesizing and doing good deeds even though they might not be specifically in my name, because they’re doing something good.
That is deep in their soul is a good source, is a wellspring, and they’re acting out of this goodness. Just like people who can be Christians on the surface and Catholics. You know, go to mass every Sunday and we pray our rosary every day – can be full of sin. Anger and bitterness and hatred and whatnot.
So, what you see on the surface isn’t necessarily indicative of what’s going on in the depths of our soul. That’s also, by the way, why saint James in our second reading says: this silver, this gold it’s corroding. It’s corrupting.
So, sin. It’s for us, for when we pray at times in our life to think about what are our sins? What is the thing that has got us snared? Bring us down? Are we aware of it? If not, ask God to shine the light. Because all of us have sins.
I had the privilege last summer to make a 30-day retreat. Ah, if you’re not familiar with this – this is called a long retreat according to the spiritual exercise of Saint Ignatius of Loyola. 30 days of silence. I didn’t lose my mind and I wasn’t doing something crazy. But, it’s great grace to spend 30 days in silence praying with the Lord.
But the first part of the retreat, Ignatius – for about 10 or 11 days – has the retreaten pray with sin. For 10 or 11 days you’re just thinking about sin. And he actually has this great meditation of hell where you picture yourself in hell and you imagine the fires of hell.
Now why? Is it to make you feel bad? No. It’s to make you see what are those things that could potentially bring you to hell. What are those sins in your life. And then, the more we see the sins the more we see what we truly desire. That is heaven. We desire to be God. We desire to be God’s beloved sons and daughters.
And so, praying with our sins and having the Lord tell us: look get rid of that sin, cut off your leg if it’s causing you to sin. Pluck out your eye. Allows us to see, what do we need to do to live in freedom.
Ask God, brothers and sisters, to come into your sins and the depths of your heart. Free you from that and then you can walk in light as again, God’s precious sons and daughters.
Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48
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