HOMILY FOR THE SEVENTH SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME
Bishop Rene Henry Gracida
As we celebrate your mysteries, O Lord,
with the observance that is your due,
we humbly ask you,
that what we offer to your majesty
may profit us for salvation.
Through Christ our Lord,
I am confident that you recognize that prayer as the Offertory Prayer of the Holy Sacrifice of this Mass that we are offering to God the Father through his Son,
What is it that we offer “to the majesty of the Father?”
Certainly, what you place in the collection plate is a visible symbol of what you are offering to the Father in the celebration of this Mass. And what does it symbolize?
It stands for, it represents, it symbolizes you. you body and soul, whom he created out of love,
to know him, to love him, to serve him and to be with him forever in the life to come.
Your presence at this Mass tells the Father that you do love him and that your coming to participate in this Holy Sacrifice is evidence of that love,
Your presence tells the Father that you have heard His Son and that whatever sacrifices you have made in your life since you last participated in a celebration of Mass you offer and join with the sacrifice of his Son which is the essential element of this Mass.
The words of Saint Paul in the First Reading
“…everything belongs to you…
the world, or life or death,
or the present or the future;
all belong to you,
and you to Christ,
Christ to God (the Father).”
give you some idea of what you bring to this Mass when YOU bring YOURSELF to this Mass.
Ah, but then the words of our Lord Jesus Christ at the end of today’s Gospel reading come as a shock:
“So, be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
How, on earth, is it possible for any human being to be perfect “even as your heavenly Father is perfect”?
Do not think that Jesus is asking you, directing you, expecting you to become perfect in the same way his Father is perfect.
That is impossible.
What Jesus is asking of us is that we STRIVE TO BE HOLY BY BEING ALL THAT GOD MADE US TO BE.
If we do that, we will become perfect as the Father is perfect: He is perfect in His being and we will be perfect in our being.
His being is pure spirit,
our being is to be human,
body and spirit.
We are called to be perfectly human !!!
We can become perfectly human because God made us in his image !!!
This means that God gave us an intellect so that we can know things and a will so that we can choose among the things we know, doing good and avoiding evil. God gives us through the gift to us of the Holy Spirit the power to love and to do good and avoid evil.
To be perfectly human, as God made us and redeemed us through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross,
is to strive, out of love, to do good and avoid evil.
But as St. Paul,bemoaned in the seventh chapter of his Epistle to the Romans, the material side of us is frequently at war with the spiritual side of us.
However in the eighth chapter of that same Epistle, St.Paul tells us:
“But you are not in the flesh, you are in the Spirit, if the Spirit of God really dwells in you. Any one who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although your bodies are dead because of sin, your spirits are alive because of righteousness”
In the second reading Saint Paul reminded us that we are the temples of God, and the Holy Spirit dwells in us. So it is possible for us to strive for holiness with the help of the Holy Spirit in spite of the drag our bodies sometimes inflict on us.
As I am frequently remind you, if the Holy Spirit is to help you, you must listen to the Holy Spirit and listening to the Holy Spirit means hearing the Holy Spirit.
Turn off the radio, put down the iPhone, take off the ear plugs, put away the iPad, turn off the television, Throughout the day make sure that you have periods of silence.
Then, if you hear the voice of the Holy Spirit listen to what the Holy Spirit is telling you and respond through prayer,
The most perfect way to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit and to listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying is through adoration of Christ in the Eucharist, you will hear the wee voice of the Holy Spirit urging you to love your family, love your neighbor, love your enemies, love your life,
love your God.
Each time you do that you are striving to be more perfect as Jesus Christ has urged you and you are being perfectly human.
In the name of the Father and of the Son
and of the Holy Spirit.