HOMILY: 26TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME 2020
One evening, the whole family went out to dinner at a local restaurant. Everyone got a menu including youngest Aimee, who was 6 years old. Since the conversation was an ‘adult’ one, Aimee sat there ignored. When the waitress took their orders, she came to Aimee last. “What would you like to eat, little girl?” she asked. Aimee answered, “I will have a hamburger, French fries and a large coke”. “No”, said her mother. “She will have just a small meal. The waitress looked at Aimee and asked, “Would you like catsup or mustard on your hamburger”? She said, “Catsup with some fried onions on top please. Thank you very much”. As the waitress walked away to place the order, Aimee turned toward her family and said, “You know what? She thinks I’m real”.
We are now on the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time. The theme for our celebration is virtue of obedience. The first step towards the virtue of obedience is listening. The first reading says Hear now O Israel! There are many instances that they ignored the prophets because they thought God is just a fiction. The root of obedience is the Latin word which means “to hear”. Obedience is first of all to listen to the ear of your heart. This is the very reason we are constantly encouraged to read the bible because it is an opportunity to allow God to speak to us. This is also the main reason attending mass is a must to remind us that God is real. Apparently, few people are interested about mass and bible is set aside because God is not real. We cannot see Him and feel His presence in our life. Besides, His words seemed to be unreal. Heaven and hell are just mere teachings of the Church and not actually proven to be true. Why should we obey Him or listen to Him in the first place.
Obedience requires humility. In the second reading, Saint Paul reminds us that although Jesus was in the form of God but He did not regard equality with God. Rather He humbled Himself and took the form of a human and became obedient to the point of death. Jesus as man knew that He is nothing before God. He listens attentively God’s words and obeys humbly His precepts because it is life for Him. Humility is to recognize that we are nothing before God. It is when we realize nothingness before God that we will begin to listen and fulfill His will in us. When we think, we are self sufficient; we will no need of God in our life.
Obedience brings us change of heart. The gospel tells us two types of people namely the Pharisees and sinners. The Pharisees are lawmakers and sinners are branded as lawbreakers. However, Jesus praised the sinners because they came to realize their situation while Pharisees thought that they are already perfect because of their obedience to the law. First things first so to speak. When we follow Jesus, the very first fruit should be a realization how sinful we are. This is what we call change of heart. Observing strictly church commandments are good but something is lacking when we cannot even acknowledge that we are sinners. Attending mass, receiving Holy Communion and supporting the needs of the church are good practices but we need to go to confession because it tells us how sinful we are and we need to purify our hearts. Obedience to God starts from our hearts and external practices must be the fruit of change of heart.