Saturday, February 11, 2017

Yes, it's from my archives but it is a Homily for this weekend's readings!

You say yes, I say no.
You say stop and I say go go go, oh no.
You say goodbye and I say hello
Hello hello
I don't know why you say goodbye, I say hello!!!

Another classic from the Beatles; whose 50th anniversary of their 1st appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show we just celebrated!

Yep, you indeed may say yes, I may say no.  My yes might not mean yes, and your no might not mean no.  We are called upon to say yes and no dozens of times throughout the day!  Sometimes it is appropriate to say yes; other times it is appropriate to say no.  And if truth be told, many times we just say, I don't know!

As people of faith, we are called to let our Yes mean yes and our No mean no!!!

Today St. Matthew's Gospel records the teachings of Jesus which are not either/or but yes/and.  Jesus announces to the crowds that He is the yes/and; the One who came not to abolish the law but rather to fulfill the law.  Now we know that the law, based on the 10 Commandments, also contained some 613 laws found in the Torah.  Many of our Christian brothers and sisters still believe, to this day, that Jesus and the teachings of the New Testament abolish Old Testament things.  While we may no longer follow all of the 613 laws, Jesus clearly takes several of the Ten Commandments and expands them.  Why?  Because Jesus wants his followers, both then and now, and that means you and me, to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.  He says so right here in the Gospel.  So Jesus teaches us about not killing and the judgment upon those that kill.  But wait, here comes a yes/and statement: who ever is angry with his brother is liable to judgment.  And brother here means anyone, everyone.  Can we pause here and ask, have I been really angry with anyone or everyone?  Has my anger lingered, has my anger grown even angrier?  We need to answer and address this because Jesus wants us to enter the Kingdom of Heaven!

Jesus teaches us not to call our brother "Raga" meaning idiot or imbecile or numbskull!!  Heck, Jesus even says don't call another a fool.  Have we ever been so angry, so mad so offended, and maybe even so hurt, that we could call our brother, anyone or everyone, a choice name or two.  Jesus says stop it; stop it!  Instead, before you come to the altar with your gift, stop, go to your brother and be reconciled.  Practice a little forgiveness.  And since this is another yes/and teaching, Jesus says avoid this behavior from the outset!

Jesus, knowing his followers and us today addresses next adultery.  He acknowledges that adultery is indeed sinful but again Jesus says yes/and by stating lust alone is adultery.  It is in the heart where we sin and fall short.  And again, Jesus reminds us to cut out or throw away that which would prevent us from entering the Kingdom of Heaven.  Again with his teaching on divorce and lying and swearing, Jesus applies the yes/and of the old law and the fulfillment of His teachings to help us on our journey to the Kingdom of Heaven.

In our 1st reading from Sirach we are challenged: if you choose, you can keep the Commandments, they will save you.  Jesus teaches us too, yes, follow the Commandments and follow me too, and my teachings and my teaching authority which resides in Holy Mother Church!  And we can recall these words from Sirach as well: before man is life & death, good & evil, whichever he chooses will be given him!!!

There is our homework this week!  The Word of God clearly tells us all that we must cooperate with God's plan and the teachings of His Son!  Can we in the week ahead reread this Gospel and the Old Testament reading from Sirach?  And when we do, ask ourselves, in a spirit of faithfulness and prayer, am I a yes/and Christian?  Do I love God's commands and do I follow them?  Do I follow Jesus who fulfills and does not abolish?  Do I understand that the fullness of truth in the Catholic Church, her teaching office, is a help to the promise of eternal life?  Can I truly accept and love those teachings of Christ and His Church that the world soundly rejects, like being Pro-Life, against evil forms of artificial birth control, euthanasia, and same-sex marriage, all the while being loving and kind, seeing the dignity, value and worth in every human being? 

Jesus says at the end of this Gospel: Let your Yes mean Yes and your No mean No.

May we respond generously, even radically, with a resounding Yes to Jesus, His teachings and His Church, and to life and good!  And may we respond with a resounding no to sin and to death and evil!

You say yes (to Christ Jesus), I say no (to sin), you say goodbye (to evil) and I say hello ( to the Kingdom of Heaven)!!!

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