1 “Come, let us return to the Lord; for it is he who has torn, and he will heal us; he has struck down, and he will bind us up.
2 After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him.
3 Let us know, let us press on to know the Lord; his appearing is as sure as the dawn; he will come to us like the showers, like the spring rains that water the earth.”
The readings for the twenty-second Sunday in ordinary time cycle A can be found here.
“You are thinking as human beings do.” I was speaking to my oldest daughter about the Gospel. She has 12 years of Catholic School education under her belt and I thought she might have some insight into the idea of thinking as God thinks. She gave the correct answer. She said I don’t know.
So, I will tell you now; I don’t know either.
The scripture scholar will tell you that in these verses from Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus is speaking only to the disciples. There are 5 sayings of Jesus in this group of sayings, but the last one (28) has not been included in the readings for this Sunday. We will focus on the the first three sayings, which are a reminder of what it costs to be a disciple of Jesus.
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.
– Deuteronomy 6:5
The first saying requires the disciples to submit their will to God’s will. As Fr. Richard Rohr said, “Jesus did not say ‘Worship Me’. Jesus said ‘Follow Me.'”
The second saying requires the disciples to lose their lives to save their lives. As Fr. Richard Rohr says, “Anything less than death of the False Self is useless religion. The False Self must die for the True Self to live.” Fr. Basil Pennington O.S.C.O defines the false self as “made up of what I have, what I do, what people think of me.”
The third saying is a warning about gaining great wealth at the expense of God. As Fr. Richard Rohr says, “human life is about more than building boundaries, protecting identities, creating tribes and teaching impulse control. The very unfortunate result of this preoccupation with order, control, safety, pleasure, and certitude is that a high percentage of people never get to the contents of their own lives.”
Let me introduce you to Kay Daugherty. She said, “If you help one person out… Then your life is worth living.”
Kay is a retired nurse who started a mission in Green Bay, Wisconsin to help the poor. For me, she exemplifies the Gospel message of discipleship. She could have retired comfortably, and who wouldn’t want that? Instead, she organized a charity that helps poor folks across the world and locally. Kay put aside her security to follow Jesus. At a time when people try to enjoy what they have stored up for themselves after years of work, Kay found that enjoying life meant serving others.
If you take one thing away from this homily, it should be to love God with all your heart, soul and might. To do that we will have to think more as God does and less as human beings do. We should think more as Kay Daugherty does. I pray that we all can begin to deny our selves a little more every day to focus on the needs of those around us.