Homily for the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A 2020
Tiempo de lectura aprox: 2 minutos, 13 segundos
God is Patient
There is a craving for a perfect church. A church in which every member keeps the Church Teachings to the letter. A church in which priests, bishops, nuns and the lay faithful are without any moral defects. A church in which we say the right things, speak only Latin, face the East for the Liturgy and segregate ourselves from the rest of mankind: especially those who commit abortion, are living in irregular marriages, are in same-sex-unions and are struggling morally.
There seems to be a growing intolerance for ‘the other’. The poor, the broken and sinners are gradually being locked out of this new church we are building. It is a church that we expect to be perfect. And we so hunger for this church that we forget the true Church that hangs on the cross, the Body of Christ; crucified between two sinners, with every member of His Body wounded, and to say the least smelling. It is the Church with outstretched arms, welcoming all.
The more we distance ourselves from Christ, and His broken Body, the less human we become and the less we care for the least of our brothers and sisters. Flannery O’Connor was right in saying that when tenderness is cut off from the source of all tenderness, the logical outcome is man’s inhumanity to man. In the same vein when our pursuit of holiness and perfection is cut off from the reality of the cross, the logical outcome is a culture of impatience and judgmentalism.
This was the case in a Catholic community where a same-sex couple attended Mass regularly. This couple had three beautiful children. On their arrival in the parish, the parishioners welcomed them warmly. But as soon as the caught wind of their same-sex relationship, many parishioners started to treat them with disdain. Some even went to the extent of bashing them with passages of the Catechism of the Catholic Church on homosexuality. It was simply awful.
But what these parishioners did not know was that the same-sex couple were just couple for legal purposes. Both took a private vow of chastity and had been practising chastity since they moved in together with their children. They had their struggles, which they honestly admitted. They also made a vow to bring up their children in the truth that marriage is between a man and a woman, which they are faithfully keeping. And they frequent the sacraments for strength and to grow in faith and love.
Unfortunately, in the eyes of parishioners they were already condemned. There was nothing good about them. This is the problem of being impatient; building a church that is everything except the Body of Christ broken for sinners. It is the problem of trying to weed the darnel out: those struggling morally, we end up as the Gospel relates pulling up good and faithful Catholics, like the same-sex couple. Christ cautioned us in Matthew 13:24-43 to allow both saints and sinners grow together. For there is hope that the worst of sinners can become a great saint.
Pope Benedict XVI once said, be careful of the temptation of impatience. For when we fall for it, we stop listening, discerning and become judgemental, closed-minded, and stand in the way of the possibility of God’s saving grace. But when we are patient, we listen, we reach out to those unlike us, and before long, our patience radiates the beauty of hope, and a people who were once in darkness, in sin, respond to Christ’s light, repent of their sin and follow Him.
Imagine what would have become of the New Testament if God had gotten rid of Saul who later became Saint Paul? Or do you think we would have had an apostle to the apostles, Mary Magdalene, if Christ had condemned her because she was living in sin? These questions point us to the wisdom of God’s patience. For God is patient with us because He wants us all to repent of our sins and accept Him as Lord and Saviour (2 Peter 3:9). And since we are made in His image, we are called to be patient as He is patient. For in patience He recreates and perfects us.
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