Getting More than you bargained for: Homily for Sunday, October 29, 2017

Readings for Today

There are moments when we think we are asking about one thing, and we get an answer to the question that we did not expect.  Today’s gospel is just one such occasion. The question asked of Jesus concerns the greatest commandment.  Namely, we should love the Lord our God with everything we have.  But what the person asking the question did not expect was to be given the second commandment.  We are also to love our neighbors as ourselves.

Sometimes then we get more than we have bargained for.  We cannot say we love God if in fact, we do not love our neighbor.  We must see the connection.  And we learn this connection is both the type of love that is action, and the type of love that is forgiveness.  Be careful what you ask Jesus.  You might just get an answer you were not expecting.

Getting more than you bargained for: Homily for Sunday, October 29, 2017

Readings for Today

There are moments when we think we are asking about one thing, and we get an answer to the question that we did not expect.  Today’s gospel is just one such occasion. The question asked of Jesus concerns the greatest commandment.  Namely, we should love the Lord our God with everything we have.  But what the person asking the question did not expect was to be given the second commandment.  We are also to love our neighbors as ourselves.

When Jesus identifies the second commandment, he makes the first commandment clearer.  If we are to love God with all we have, we must love our neighbors as ourselves. Loving God means loving neighbor. We cannot say we love God if we do not love our neighbor.  So when you ask Jesus a question, be careful.  You too might get more in the answer than you bargained for.

 

Jesus meant EVERYBODY: Homily for Monday, October 9, 2017

Readings for Today

I want a loophole.  I want to exclude some people from being my neighbor.  Some people might hurt me.  Some people might take advantage of me.  Why must I love them? Why must I include them in my list of neighbors? These are not easy questions.  But this gospel today is radical.  It is tough.  When Jesus tells us to love our neighbor, and then tells this story, he means everybody is our neighbor.  We have to love everybody.

And this is not easy.  Because I do not want to love everybody.  I want to love those people who are easy to love.  I do not want to love the stranger.  I do not want to love the prisoner.  And if I can suggest they are unworthy of love, then all the better.  If I can say they are lazy, or mean, or evil, then I can feel better not loving them.  But that misses the answer given by Jesus.  Loving our neighbor means loving everyone.

Love Neighbor: Homily for Saturday, August 26, 2017

To listen to the entire homily, click here.

Readings for today

Which commandment is the greatest? That was yesterday’s question.  Remember the answer.  Not just the greatest commandment, but Jesus mentioned the second greatest commandment too.  Today it is clear why Jesus felt compelled to say this.  He discusses the difference between the knowledge of the law, which the Pharisees have, and the application of that knowledge, which they do not have.

Too often this is applied to mean Jesus did not care about the Law.  That was not the case.  Jesus says other times that he has come to fulfill the Law and the Prophets, not do away with them.  So just what does he mean?  He clarifies by his words and actions the purpose of the Law.  The Law is always meant to bring a person closer to God.  So to preach is not just about knowing the Law, but helping others to understand it, to apply it, to live it.  And, it is about accompanying others when they fall, and seeking their forgiveness and understanding when we fall.

Greatest: Homily for Friday, August 25, 2017

To hear the entire homily, click here.

Readings for Today

Teachers, at least good teachers, get asked a lot of questions.  Some they like.  Questions that challenge, or demonstrate insight, or seek clarity or understanding.  Others are not so pleasant.  “Will this be on the test?” probably ranks among the least favorite, although the student who comes back after missing a day of school to ask, “Did we do anything yesterday?” is pretty annoying too.

Why did the man ask Jesus about which commandment was greatest? Why wouldn’t a scholar of the law already know the answer? Perhaps because the question was not really a question at all.  It was an attempt to trip Jesus up by giving an answer that could get Jesus into trouble. But the result was an answer that makes it quite easy to develop a guide for Christian life.  Love God.  Love neighbor.

Daily Prayer for Thursday, June 29, 2017

Act of Charity

O my God, I love you above all things, with my whole heart and soul, because you are all-good and worthy of all my love.  I love my neighbor as myself for the love of you.  I forgive all who have injured me and ask pardon of all of whom I have injured.  Amen.