A Day in the Life of a Former Campus Priest at CUA, Now the Pastor of a GREAT Parish is Kensington CT.. ST. Paul Church
Friday, September 03, 2010
23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year C - 2010
May the peace of Christ Reign in our hearts…
In today’s homily I want to talk briefly about two things.
The first is this, today’s Gospel gives us the perfect occasion to reflect on how Catholics read the bible. If I were to say to you,
”I am so hungry I could eat a horse. “
What would you think?
Would you think you would see me running across a field with a knife and a fork in my hand chasing a horse ? No you would understand that I was really hungry. If I said to you I waited in line for centuries at the DMV You might think that I really waited in line for millions of years at the DMV,
but probably you would think that I waited a long time. Because we are from the same culture and understand each other it was easy for you to see that what I intended to say and the literal meaning of the words I spoke were different. Catholics read the bible trying to understand the intention of the writer what was the message the evangelist was trying to convey ? Many fundamentalists read and understand the bible according to literal meaning of the words. The Book of Genesis says the world was created in seven days.
We have archeological data that says it took million of years. Catholic trying to understand the intention of the author tend to think that the 7 days are referring to a process which was always guided by God but may have taken millions of years Many Fundamentalists say the bible says 7 days so it is 7 days period. That’s like thinking that I really was going to catch a horse and eat it with a knife and fork. There are moments when Jesus and others in the scriptures intended to use the literal meaning of the words to be the meaning of the message. For example when he said “Take this all of you and eat this is my body” We know that Jesus intended the literal meaning of the words because there are other places in the Gospel where he refers those very special words in a literal sense. The reason I bring this up is that In today’s Gospel Jesus says "If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Jesus does not want us to hate our family. He does cannot intend the literal meaning of the words, like I wasn’t going to really eat a horse. The ten commandments say honor your father and mother.
Hhow can you hate them and honor them at the same time?
Jesus uses the word hate to make the point that discipleship should even come before our family. Summing up my first thought then… When Catholics read the bible we ask ourselves what was author trying to say to us. What did he intend the us to understand what is the message ? When many fundamentalist read the bible they say it says seven so it means seven. He said hate so He means hate. Etc.
Obviously we and fundamentalists look at the Bible in very different lights. The second point I want to make is this.
Jesus makes it clear in this gospel that the cost of discipleship is great. Yes if we love ourselves more than God you won’t be free to be his disciple. If we can’t accept the cross in our lives we can’t be his disciples.
Therefore a willingness to suffer for love is part and parcel of being a disciple. If we love our possessions more than God we can’t be his disciples… The message of the Gospel is clear… discipleship is very demanding and if we only go half way we aren’t really disciples. Discipleship is an all or nothing proposition. We already have enough “catholics” in quotes who just go through the motions. Brothers and sisters the best way a husband can love his wife or a wife love her husband is to love God first and be holy. The best parents are those who love God and follow God’s will and because they do so can love their children like God loves them. The best way for me to be your priest is for me to be a holy priest a priest who wants to conform my life completely to God’s will. Simply put the Gospel is asking us today are we really willing to pay the cost of discipleship ?