Deacon Ken’s Homily
Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Homily)
I read these readings several times one evening hoping for some “enlightenment” from God. I’ve got to tell you nothing was coming! Crickets is the word I hear floating around these days. I thought “Maybe I’ll just rest a while like Jesus and His Apostles did after their long week of preaching and healing.” I turned on the television to a Western Movie. The name of the movie was “Silverado”. It’s the story of four good guys, who mix it up with an evil sheriff and his evil deputies. Of course, the sheriff is protecting the evil rancher who illegally acquired one of the good guys’ family’s farm. The rancher’s men have kidnapped the nephew of two of the good guys, and the nephew is being held at the ranch. The big finale of the movie is that the good guys join forces to rescue the boy and then rid the town of the evil rancher, evil sheriff and evil deputies. It is a classic good guy versus bad guy, good versus evil movie.
The next day, I’m back to the readings and I discover there’s a bit of Silverado going on here. Picture this: God and Jeremiah are teaming up to confront the elders of the church, who are not acting responsibly? towards those God has given them. For sure, the elders know what they are supposed to do and how they are supposed to act, but many want to be seen and treated as dignitaries. They walk around with “Holier than Thou attitudes.” They impose strict rules on those they are supposed to lead, but they don’t follow those same rules themselves. If you listen closely, you can almost hear Jeremiah, in a west Texas drawl say: “Boys, you’ve scattered the sheep, I’m going to have to run you out of town.”
Then, along comes Jesus and his apostles in the Gospel. They are the good guys who travel from town to town, village to village doing good works and preaching the gospel? They’re running sin and evil out of town. Jesus rebukes an evil spirit on a naked man in a cemetery and the evil spirit leaves the man. A woman touches the hem of His garment and is healed from years of hemorrhages. A little girl is not dead, but asleep after Jesus tells her “Little girl, I say arise!” Jesus is “the” good shepherd, the righteous shoot of David, and He and his apostles will do what is right and just, and because of them many will be saved. Today, you and I are living our own Silverado. We are called to rid our towns and villages of sin and evil. We do this by our actions when we: show love to the unloved. feed the hungry. fight injustice and prejudices. share the love of Jesus with others. All the while we have to guard ourselves that we are never anything more than a humble servant of God.
From time to time, we need to rest and look inward to see where we are in the grand scheme of things. Picture a sliding scale with the icon of a weed on one end and seeds on the other. Somewhere between the weeds and the seeds we find ourselves. Though we start out as weeds, we should always strive too constantly plant seeds that lead to the Good Shepherd. We trust God, and have faith that even in our weaknesses God will seek us out whether we are near or far from him. In his great love and mercy, God has sent us a good shepherd who will provide for us now and forever if we but turn to him. Good versus evil. It’s all around us. We see it every day. If we but pay attention to the shepherd, He will teach us many things and He will bring us together one people, gathered in love. And then, at the end of our days The Good Shepherd will ride His white horse into town and say to us: “Well done my good and faithful servant enter into the joy of your master.”
Deacon Ken Stewart
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