Homily for June 12th, 2005.
Caution: Putting a Sunday homily on the Website is tricky business. All the viewer has is a written text. A homily, on the other hand, is "an oral event". It may not have been said or heard the way it was written. In addition, a roughly ten-minute homily is part of a roughly one-hour worship event in which God and God's people communicate with each other by means of ritual, symbol, song, proclamation, prayer. Not everything in these homilies is original. As a homilist, I rely on and at times borrow from other homilists and writers who are not properly mentioned in this format. I am often indebted to them.
Father William Marrevee, s.c.j.
11th Sunday Ordinary Time A
Struck by the opening line of today’s Gospel: “When Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Jesus is the incarnation of God’s compassion, of God’s tenderness. That is really an echo of what is already expressed in the first reading with the image of “I bore you on eagles’ wings… to bring you home…. you shall be my treasured possession”. All this made concrete in Christ’s dying for us (2 nd reading). In Christ’s estimation, in God’s estimation each one of us is worth dying for. It all indicates how treasured we are, how cherished we are in God’s eyes.
When we allow this compassion of God, this tenderness of God, embodied in Jesus, to touch us, to grace us, then we have indeed good reason to sing as we did in the psalm response: “We are his people, the sheep of his flock.” What a beautiful profession of faith that is! That is based on and inspired by God’s compassion, God’s tenderness for us. We may know ourselves graced by that, precious in God’s eyes.
We cannot keep that for ourselves; we are to be agents of that…. Hence the mission to which Jesus summons his apostles, us too. What sort of mission? It is expressed in today’s Gospel: “cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons.” Translated for today it means: improve the physical and material condition of the “lost” in our society, of the ones that fall through the cracks; raise the walking dead among us, cast out hatred, rivalry, and every other kind of demon from our families, from our communities, from our parish community, and from ourselves. When that happens, then we have good reason to exclaim with Jesus: “the Kingdom of God is among us”.
That is what makes us into agents of God’s compassion, of God’s tenderness in our world.
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