A Homily – The Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

First Reading – Ezekiel 18:25-28 ©

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 24(25):4-9 ©

Second Reading – Philippians 2:1-11 ©

Gospel Acclamation – John 14:23

Alternative Acclamation – John 10:27

The Gospel According to Matthew 21:28 – 32 ©

(NJB)

The Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Be mindful of the teachings of the prophet.

As much as we might wish it to be so, divine justice is not an analog of human justice, even when human justice is being represented at its best.

The goodness or wickedness of a human being is not based on the sum of their actions, as if you could measure their merit or weigh them in a scale. The relative values of good and evil are considered in relation to a person’s disposition and orientation to those values.

No human can judge the ultimate value, in terms of good and evil, of any person deeds, including their own. The things we do go out from us and take on a life of their own. Good intentions have harmful consequences, and evil deeds have good ones. This is one of the great mysteries. The things a person does in their life continue to shape the world long after they are gone; what matters in terms of merit or culpability is the intention that motivates the action and the reflection that follows.

Consider the words of the psalmist.

Lift up your spirit and give your life to God, the creator of the universe, to God who has given you everything.

Do not expect God to take sides with you in any conflict, because God loves all of God’s children equally. God does not discriminate. God does not pick favorites.

If you ask God to punish the faithless and the promise breakers, you must know that you are asking God to punish you—yourself.

Pray for wisdom and guidance, knowing that God desires for you be well, but God has made you and all of creation free, God will not intervene in the course of your life.

God is merciful, and God has allowed for your existence even knowing of all your crimes; Giod has known these since the beginning of time. God will forgive you for them but God will not forget them.

Remember; all the ways of God are kindness and mercy.

Walk humbly, love justice, act with mercy and compassion. This is the way of faith, which is trust in the Good News; the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

God is not concerned with glory. Jesus is not interested in having a name above all other names. Jesus is not a price or a king, he was our friend and brother.

Do not worry about bending the knee, just confess the truth that God is love, reflecting the love of God in your own life, in all the things you do.

Love fosters love, but there is always love and God is always with you.

Be mindful of this: the grace of God is not transactional.

Everyone who is, everyone without exception, follows in the way God has set for them, there is no other way. Do not trouble yourself if you do not understand the journey that another person is on, God is guiding them, just as God is guiding you.

If you resist, God will be patient.

If you delay God will wait, as God waits for everyone out of a superabundance of patience, kindness and love.

Believe!

God will not lose a single one of us; none of us will be lost to God. God is with us and there is no place where God is not.

Consider the gospel reading for today, it is a piece of pure politics.

The writers of Matthew’s gospel are making a direct appeal to the remnants of John’s followers, which is a recurring theme in Matthew, who would have us believe that John and Jesus were cousins.

The writers of Matthew are doing everything they can to bring John’s followers into the way, into the new church, both by convincing them that Jesus was the heir to John’s ministry, and by convincing the new church to accept the outcasts, to bring them in and not treat them as outsiders.

The words in the Gospel appear to be directed to the chief priests and elders of the temple, as well as the rabbinical authorities who were the leaders of the synagogues outside of Judea, but at the time Matthew’s gospel is being written they temple had been destroyed and the Jews had been scattered.

In reality these words are being addressed to the leaders of the new church, telling them to make room for the outsider, for the tax collector and the prostitute and the Children of Israel who were fleeing Judea in exile, those remnants of the people looking for safety and comfort in a new home.

First Reading – Ezekiel 18:25-28 ©

When the Sinner Renounces Sin, He Shall Certainly Live

The word of the Lord was addressed to me as follows: ‘You object, “What the Lord does is unjust.” Listen, you House of Israel: is what I do unjust? Is it not what you do that is unjust? When the upright man renounces his integrity to commit sin and dies because of this, he dies because of the evil that he himself has committed. When the sinner renounces sin to become law-abiding and honest, he deserves to live. He has chosen to renounce all his previous sins; he shall certainly live; he shall not die.’

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 24(25):4-9 ©

Remember your mercy, Lord.

Lord, make me know your ways.

  Lord, teach me your paths.

Make me walk in your truth, and teach me:

  for you are God my saviour.

Remember your mercy, Lord.

Remember your mercy, Lord,

  and the love you have shown from of old.

Do not remember the sins of my youth.

  In your love remember me,

  because of your goodness, O Lord.

Remember your mercy, Lord.

The Lord is good and upright.

  He shows the path to those who stray,

He guides the humble in the right path,

  He teaches his way to the poor.

Remember your mercy, Lord.

Second Reading – Philippians 2:1-11 ©

Be United in Your Love

If our life in Christ means anything to you, if love can persuade at all, or the Spirit that we have in common, or any tenderness and sympathy, then be united in your convictions and united in your love, with a common purpose and a common mind. That is the one thing which would make me completely happy. There must be no competition among you, no conceit; but everybody is to be self-effacing. Always consider the other person to be better than yourself, so that nobody thinks of his own interests first but everybody thinks of other people’s interests instead. In your minds you must be the same as Christ Jesus:

His state was divine, yet he did not cling to his equality with God but emptied himself to assume the condition of a slave, and became as men are; and being as all men are, he was humbler yet, even to accepting death, death on a cross.

But God raised him high and gave him the name which is above all other names so that all beings in the heavens, on earth and in the underworld, should bend the knee at the name of Jesus and that every tongue should acclaim Jesus Christ as Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Gospel Acclamation – John 14:23

Alleluia, alleluia!

If anyone loves me he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we shall come to him.

Alleluia!

Alternative Acclamation – John 10:27

Alleluia, alleluia!

The sheep that belong to me listen to my voice, says the Lord, I know them and they follow me.

Alleluia!

The Gospel According to Matthew 21:28 – 32 ©

Tax Collectors and Prostitutes Are Entering the Kingdom of God Before You

Jesus said to the chief priests and elders of the people, ‘What is your opinion? A man had two sons. He went and said to the first, “My boy, you go and work in the vineyard today.” He answered, “I will not go,” but afterwards thought better of it and went. The man then went and said the same thing to the second who answered, “Certainly, sir,” but did not go. Which of the two did the father’s will?’ ‘The first’ they said. Jesus said to them, ‘I tell you solemnly, tax collectors and prostitutes are making their way into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you, a pattern of true righteousness, but you did not believe him, and yet the tax collectors and prostitutes did. Even after seeing that, you refused to think better of it and believe in him.’

The Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)