Friday, August 12, 2022

Homilies

Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M.
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Proclaiming Justice

Homily for Saturday in the Fifteenth Week of Ordinary Time

St. Matthew’s Gospel uses more quotations from the Hebrew Scriptures than all of the other gospels put together. The passage that we proclaim today uses a lengthy quotation from the prophet Isaiah. These verses are the beginning of what we know of today as the First Suffering Servant Song. One line in particular caught my attention today. “He will proclaim justice to the Gentiles.” Both the first reading from the prophet Micah and the beginning of today’s passage from the Gospel of St. Matthew speak of unjust situations.

The prophet Micah describes a common practice of the wealthy in Judah. They cheated families of land legally theirs through their birthright. In effect they were violating two of the Lord’s commandments handed down through Moses on Mount Sinai. “Thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s goods,” and “Thou shall not steal.” Those who were victimized suffered lower social status and lost out on economic opportunities. This directly contravened God’s original purpose in dividing the land of Israel into parcels and giving every family a portion of land.

The Gospel passage that we read opens with Jesus’ realization that the Pharisees were plotting to put him to death. Using the words from Isaiah, St. Matthew tells us that Jesus did not speak out against them; instead, he left quietly and continued to heal those who followed him. In this fashion, St. Matthew reveals that he has come to believe that Jesus is the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy. He is the chosen servant.

God has not given us a parcel of land. Instead, God has promised us a place in the Kingdom of Heaven. So often the world tries to rob us of our inheritance. It does this by tempting us to abandon our path to holiness for temporary gratification; this, too, is opposition to Christ. Just as the Pharisees plotted against Jesus, the world is still endeavors to extinguish the light that Jesus brought into the world.

We have been called to holiness. Jesus asks us to refrain from tedious plots and ways of the world. Instead, he invites us to communion with him and his Church. Jesus will restore justice and triumph over whatever threatens our inheritance to the kingdom when he returns.

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