Saturday, February 22, 2014

02-23-2014 -- 7th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

February 23, 2014 - 7th Sunday, Ordinary Time, Year A
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church


No revenge. No hatred. Only love.

Saint Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians, says,
“You are the temple of God.”
I am the temple of God.

And the temple of God is holy.
If I am the temple of God then I am holy.
If you are the temple of God then you are holy.

The Spirit of God dwells in the temple.
The Spirit of God dwells in you.
The Spirit of God dwells in me.

Notice please, it is not: You can become holy.

No. The temple is holy.
You are the temple. You are holy.

Because you are holy, I am called to love you and respect you.
No revenge. No hatred. Only love.

But our culture constantly encourages us to treat each other as adversaries. We are encouraged to be competitors.

Our political system, our sports, games shows, most reality TV and even our classrooms have challengers who compete against each other to win, or to be first, or to come out on top.

Using phrases like “going for the kill” or “destroying the opposition” is just a step away from Jesus’ examples in the Gospel.
An eye for an eye is revenge.
Violence brings more violence brings more violence.

It’s a vicious cycle of drugs, bullying, gangs, school shootings, mall shootings, chants of hatred, plots of revenge.

No revenge. No hatred. Only love.

Loving those who love you and hating those who hate you is predictable and boring. Everyone can do that.

But a holy temple of God where the Spirit dwells can do more.
We can do better.

Turning the cheek and walking away
requires courage and inner strength.

Being pressed into service and going beyond
what is needed requires courage and inner strength.

It’s easy to hold a grudge. It’s easy to plot revenge.
It’s easy to hate and withhold forgiveness.

It’s hard to walk away. It’s hard to forgive. It’s hard to love.

Discipleship requires a new way of acting.

Walking away requires a relationship with Jesus
that few of us have.

Forgiving is an act of faith that requires us
to put our trust in the Lord.

We may not be capable of such heroism today.

But that’s no reason to live lives filled with a desire for revenge,
to have hearts filled with hatred.

Can we begin by identifying why we want revenge,
why we cannot forgive, why we bear hatred in our hearts?

Can we bring this to the Lord in prayer and ask for conversion.

Then, can we try to walk away from revenge and begin
to work on forgiving and learning to smile away the anger
and irritations of daily life?

What Jesus is asking for is challenging. We need his help.

Only with Jesus’ help we can begin saying no to revenge
and yes to holiness.

Only with Jesus’ help we can begin saying no to hatred
and yes to forgiveness and love.

Jesus is calling for us to change our hearts
and so change our lives.

Turn the other cheek, go the extra mile, love our enemies.

I am the temple. I am holy.
The Spirit of God dwells in me.

You are the temple. You are holy.
The Spirit of God dwells in you.


No revenge. No hatred. Only love.

1 comment:

  1. Of course, all of your homilies are good, Father Rusty, but this one is, I think, especially beautiful. Thank you for reminding us that we can do better. Thank you for reminding me that forgiveness is an act of trusting in Jesus.

    ReplyDelete