Homily for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time
We’ve all heard it from our older relatives. “In my day we had to walk uphill to school, in the snow, with no shoes on our feet.” My dad was raised on a mountainside in Bluefield, West Virginia. He told me that story. He had to walk down a mountain, across the street, go four or five blocks down the road, and then climb another mountain to get to his school, sometimes in the snow. His walk to school and back home again was no joke.
Susie and I had a Scuba diving instructor named Lenny, who used to tell us that to get back and forth to school and home, he had to snorkel upstream both ways with no fins on his feet. In our lives, on our way to salvation, we too will have to climb our mountains and swim upstream to get to our destination which is Heaven. In today’s Gospel, Jesus is travelling his uphill to Calvary, to a place he really doesn’t want to go. He asks God: “If at all possible, let this cup pass by me.” Jesus is going to a place where he will taste death, and where he will have to swim against the stream of deceit, lies, jealousy and envy. Jesus knows that at the end of his journey, there will be victory!
You and I are called to be servants. Just as in his priestly life Jesus was to be a servant for all, and through his suffering He would redeem the world: Jesus provided the example of the values of Christian living. You and I share in that Priesthood. We are called by God to live a life well lived: A meaningful life of faith, hope and charity. The path is narrow. As we walk, we are either walking towards Jesus, or away from him. There is no middle ground. As they walked, Jesus tries to make the disciples understand, what the will of God is for him. The disciples haven’t a clue what Jesus is trying to tell them. They’re too busy figuring who is the greatest after Jesus. They think he will be a King of a mighty army and that Jesus will deliver them from their adversaries, but they are wrong. Soon they will discover that Jesus is not a King in this world, nor does he have a mighty army. Soon they will discover the true cost of discipleship. Soon they will discover that the cross is Jesus’ total commitment to the will of the Father and discipleship comes with great cost. To be a disciple one has to die to them self and live for others. It is hard to understand for sure, but it is an absolute necessity to make it to heaven.
Like the disciples, we are journeying to Jerusalem, where victory will prevail. And as we are journeying and serving others along the way, the rewards will come. The streams and mountains will slowly fade from sight. We will get a glimpse of heaven, to sustain us on our way. Peace will rule the day. Peace, where the works of Justice and the effects of Charity bring tranquility to order. Peace or Disorder, Tranquility or chaos, walking to, or away from Jesus First or last, which will it be?
Today, may we choose peace in this life that we may have endless joy in the life to come.
Wis 2:12, 17-20
The wicked say:
Let us beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us; he sets himself against our doings, reproaches us for transgressions of the law and charges us with violations of our training. Let us see whether his words be true; let us find out what will happen to him. For if the just one be the son of God, God will defend him and deliver him from the hand of his foes. With revilement and torture let us put the just one to the test that we may have proof of his gentleness and try his patience. Let us condemn him to a shameful death; for according to his own words, God will take care of him.
Where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every foul practice. But the wisdom from above is first of all pure, then peaceable, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without inconstancy or insincerity. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for those who cultivate peace. Where do the wars and where do the conflicts among you come from? Is it not from your passions that make war within your members? You covet but do not possess. You kill and envy but you cannot obtain; you fight and wage war. You do not possess because you do not ask. You ask but do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.