Sunday, August 23, 2020
HOMILY: 21ST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME 2020
One Sunday morning, a mother went in to wake her son and tell him it was time to get ready for church, to which he replied, "I'm not going." "Why not?" she asked, I'll give you two good reasons," he said. "One, they don't like me, and two, I don't like them." His mother replied, "I'll give YOU two good reasons why you SHOULD go to church. One, you're 50 years old, and two, you're the pastor of this church!
We are now on the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time. The theme for our celebration is “The Church We Love”. The Church we love is the people of God. The gospel we proclaimed is called Peter’s confession of faith. Peter exactly described that Jesus is indeed the Messiah. From this revelation, the birth of the Church Jesus wished to establish came into reality. On this rock, I will build my church. Be reminded once again about the basic truth that the Church does not refer first of all to the place of assembly but it refers first of all to the fellowship of the people of God. The gospel means that Peter is destined to become the first head of the Church from whom the Messiah will gather together His believers. It’s so sad that nowadays all throughout the world, we have beautiful and magnificent church structures but with dwindling congregation. Parishes around the world are emptying, aging, sleeping and dying. It doesn’t need to be this way. It is a sense of urgency that we certainly need divine renovation. It is not about maintaining the building but doing mission to the people. We have to do more than just celebrating sacraments. We have to do search and rescue for the people of God.
The Church we love is firmly founded on the wisdom of God. Saint Paul in his Letter to the Romans said, “O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! The wisdom of God is entirely different from the wisdom of the world, God said, “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”. The world says, shoot your enemies and love only those who love you”. God said, give until you have nothing to give; the world says, give only to those who give you”. Perfect happiness and eternal life is found in the kingdom of God, the world says, eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow you will die”. The pillars of the Church are solidly founded on the wisdom of God. Believers of Christ must be lovers of wisdom. It is different from intelligence. The later is proper to mankind which is understanding things of this world but wisdom is beyond human reach, it exclusively belonged to God. Lovers of wisdom must teach, preach and practice them in our life. This is our mandate.
This Church we love listens to faithful. The first reading which is taken from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah is a story of thrusting out Shebna as a treasurer in the palace during the reign of King Hezekiah of Judah being replaced by Eliakim. Yahweh was greatly disgusted by Shebna’s pride and arrogance whom He thought not worthy for the royal position. Pride is self will. As a priest, I always see to it to listen to the people. Vox populi, vox dei, the voice of the people is the voice of God. This is humility, listening to the voice of the people is doing the will of God. We are the church. We have to listen to one another for the good of the community.