-Last week's homily is available by email: frete@saint-Albert.org
-This Sunday's scriptures are available at USCCB.org >
-I am presiding at 12:30 Mass on Sunday
Jesus On Loving Neighborliness
In our multi-cultural world we are often pushed to the "one God" political correctness. We try to make all the religions of the world to be fundamentally about the same thing..."there's only one God, afterall". As Christians we can be challenged to wonder "what was or is the impact of Jesus?"
Today's gospel is an experience of this wondering and an answer to it. Jesus gives us the greatest commandment for religious followers and he seems to be just quoting the Hebrew Scriptures....love God(Deut 6) and your neighbor as yourself(Lev 19). So, nothing new with Jesus?! Right? ,Wrong.
Rule #1: Jesus is not a prophet teaching about God's commands to love, he IS the God who commands AND loves. In fact Jesus re-defines and models what it means to "love" - give self away unto death. That is news and it is new.
Rule #2: Hidden in Jesus' use of the word "neighbor" is another revolutionary bit of news: your neighbor is "everyone" near you (not just your kinsman or fellow Israelite of Leviticus law that he cites). It gets bigger and better becuase as we come to discover, our neighbor (one who is near you) in distress is not cursed, to be feared, or ignored but IS Jesus Himself (Mt 25.... "the least of these are ME"). Now, with this piece of startling news, re-read Rule #1.
Jesus is not your grandmother's Rabbi. He is not only teacher but TEACHING, not just revealing but REVELATION! This is NEW, in fact it is NEWS, in fact it is GOOD NEWS and that's why we call it the life changing Gospel. Does Jesus make enough difference in your religious life?
Get into the ring! How this works...
This is easy! Each week on Thursday I post my homily idea...my main focus for preaching this coming Sunday. What I am hoping for is a reaction from people in the pews. Does my "focus" connect with your daily life, faith, and experience? Or not? Either affirm the direction I am going in (by giving me an example from your life) or challenge me, ask for clarification! Questions are the best! Reaction rather than reflection is what I'm looking for here. Don't be afraid, get in the ring. Ole!