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Homilies Ordinary Time

Saturday of the Twenty-seventh Week of Ordinary Time

Today’s readings

“Blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”

In today’s gospel reading, Jesus has just been given a great complement and he responds to it kind of brusquely, or at least it seems that way.  Earlier in this eleventh chapter of Luke, Jesus has taught the disciples to pray, teaching them what has become known as the Lord’s prayer.  Then there is the discourse on the need for persistence in prayer that we heard on Thursday.  Then a teaching on demons.  And now this.  From this point on in the chapter, Jesus will turn up the heat on the people’s prayer life.  Nothing less is effective.  Nothing else is acceptable.

And so we hear the same invitation: “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”  We have been taught how to pray.  We have been given tools in Scripture and in the Church.  So the question is, have we observed that teaching?  Has our prayer become persistent?  Is it the life blood of our relationships with God and others?  Does prayer sustain us in bad times and give us joy in good times?

Observing the word of God takes many forms.  Most likely, we think of the service we are called upon to help bring about a Godly kingdom on earth.  And that is important, make no mistake about it.  But that same word calls us to a vital relationship with our God, a relationship that raises the bar for all of our other relationships.  That relationship with God can be a blessing to us and to our world.  But we can only get there by prayer.  We have to make time for the one who always makes time for us.

“Blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”

Categories
Homilies Ordinary Time

Thursday of the Twelfth Week of Ordinary Time

Today’s readings

So today we learn that just because we call on the Lord, that doesn’t mean that the Lord is at our whim, someone we can summon in the same way as we press a button on the remote and the television comes to life. That’s what the whole nasty business with Abram and Sarai was about. Instead of trusting the Lord’s promises that God would make Abram the father of many nations, they took matters into their own hands and then were displeased at the result. That’s what happens when we forget to trust in God and instead trust in ourselves and in our own ability to do something clever.

The same is true for the scribes and Pharisees, and also for the wanna-be followers of Jesus. They might claim mighty deeds in Jesus’ name, but Jesus can see their hearts and knows that they are not really open to the fullness of the Gospel. Simply crying, “Lord, Lord” will not get them into the kingdom of heaven. If they’re not willing to set their house on the rock solid foundation of Christ, they will not stand, and they will fall apart with the first of the storms.

And so we disciples have to be careful about our relationship with Christ. It’s not something we can neglect and expect it to be deep and rich enough to lead us to eternal life. We have to be people of integrity, spiritual people who know who our Lord is and who are open to the fullness of his teaching. He teaches with authority, not as the scribes of old, nor as the so-called authorities of our time – like Oprah or Dr. Phil.  If we want teaching with authority, all we have to do is open the Bible, take some time in Adoration, or devote ourselves to prayer, and then fall in love all over again with our Lord who gave himself for our sakes so that we can all be one with him in the kingdom that has no end.