Friday, August 12, 2022

Homilies

Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M.
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We All Need to Repent

Homily for Tuesday of the 15th week in Ordinary Time

We are used to the prophets reproaching the children of Israel for their lack of faith and for forsaking their covenant relationship with God. It is fair to say that we are also used to Jesus being the embodiment of compassion and mercy when he is interacting with others. So, it might be just a little bit upsetting to find that while Isaiah is comforting the Israelites, Jesus is reproaching them, specifically the citizens of Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum.

Though the source of the words of comfort and the words of reproach might be reversed from what we are used to, the messages are essentially the same as we have received time and time again. Put your trust in God. At this point in Israel’s history, God had warned them not to make any alliances with the Canaanites. The temptation to do so was great because Israel was being threatened by Assyria on their northern border. Sadly, eventually King Ahaz did enter into an alliance bringing Isaiah’s prophecy to life.

The words of reproach that we hear from Jesus today reflect his frustration that the people in these towns still failed to put their faith in him. He had spent many days, taught many people, healed the sick and infirm, but they refused to learn the lesson that God’s love calls for them to repent and put away their hurtful ways.

Our own temptation might be to disregard the content of these two readings since they are directed at specific individuals and places. We cannot make that mistake. We are all called to repentance. One can know all there is to know about the Scriptures and how they were written and how they are to be interpreted; but if they do not lead us to repentance, all that knowledge is in vain. Each day we hear the Word of God; each day we are called to repentance. Our celebration of the daily Eucharist offers us the opportunity for reconciliation with our God. Let us hope we never make the same mistake that King Ahaz and the people of Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum made when they passed up the opportunity to repent.

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