Sunday, June 8, 2008

Fr. James's Sunday Homily

Follow me

Matthew was among the most hated by the Jewish people. He was a Jew who collected taxes for the Romans. Not only was he considered a traitor; the Jews hated him because they believed him corrupt as well. Moreover, it was common practice for the tax collectors to commit all types of injustices against their own people as they lined their own pockets and curried favor with the Roman officials. No respectable Jew would have anything to do with Matthew.

Jesus was different. Jesus had not come to call the righteous; he came for sinners. Jesus knew that every saint has a past, and that every sinner has a future. Jesus came to Matthew and met him where he was: corrupt, sinful, and in need of redemption.

"As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post. He said to him, 'Follow me'. And he got up and followed him" (Matthew 9: 9).

What did Jesus want from Matthew? "Follow me." This is what Jesus wanted from Matthew. He did not tell Matthew to do anything else. He did not tell him to get his life in order and then to follow him. He simply said, "Follow me." Jesus singled out Matthew, and he poured out his unconditional love upon Matthew. Jesus showed Matthew how much he loved him; and what Jesus wanted from Matthew was his love. 'Follow me'.

Jesus enters our life too. He comes to us just the way we are, and he calls us to a new and better life. He shows us his unconditional love, and he invites us to love him in return. This is what Christianity is all about: Jesus loves me, and I love Jesus. It's that simple.

Every one of our daily acts must be an act of loving Jesus. We do the simple, small, ordinary things with extraordinary love. Getting up on time in the morning for love of Jesus. Going to work in the morning for love of Jesus. Being of good cheer for love of Jesus. Obeying our parents for love of Jesus. Being kind to one another for love of Jesus. Carrying out our daily responsibilities for love Jesus. This is how we show that we are true disciples of Jesus.

My dear friends, here is the antidote for any kind of boredom: to do everything that we do with a supernatural intention. Do everything as a way of showing our love for Jesus. Jesus loves us unconditionally. He wants us to love him unconditionally.

I know that all of this sounds beautiful and very simple. However, it is true that this kind of love is not always easy. We do not always love correctly, and we do not always love the way we should. When we do not love correctly, when we do not love the way that we should, this is called sin.

"What's wrong with the world?" a newspaper editorial once asked many years ago. G.K. Chesterton, the famous Catholic convert from England, wrote in reply, "I am." We are all sinners. We are all in need of redemption. We do not always love correctly. We do not love the way that we should.

"Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do" (Matthew 9: 12).

Our struggle is not only with the things that we do, but also with the things that we do not do. There are sins of commission and sins of omission. Sins of omission are those acts of love that have been left undone..." (Continued here)

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