Homily - 26th Sunday Ordinary - Fr Francis Afu

28 September 2020 

Homily for the Twenty Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

 

Tiempo de lectura aprox: 2 minutos, 18 segundos

We Have One Father

A few years ago, there was a refugee family in one of Sydney’s suburbs. Living near the refugee family were three Australian-born families. One of the families was Catholic. They were regulars at Mass. But they were very hostile to the refugee family. They literally would not have anything to do with the refugee family. Another of the Australian-born families was a professed atheist. They were very militant in their atheistic world view, and critical of Islam.

Unfortunately, the refugee family was Muslim. At first, the atheistic family struggled with the refugee family living in proximity. But after thinking better of refugees, they decided to reach out to the refugee family. First, they paid the refugee family a visit. Later they invited them in for a meal. One of the fascinating outcomes of their out-reach to the refugee family is the children of both families built a mutually beneficial relationship. They built a bond of love.

Reading the Gospel reading today from Matthew 21:28-32, one can only ask which of the Australian-born families did what God was asking of them in relation to the refugee family. The atheistic family! Like the tax-collectors and the prostitutes, this family might have lived lives that said no to God. However, when they thought better of the reality before them, they changed their minds, and God’s will was done. They may not have known the concept of God’s will, but their actions revealed God’s will and made way for the Kingdom of God to come and reign.

That seems to be the point of the parable in today’s Gospel reading. Jesus might have been saying to the chief priests and the elders of the people, it is not good enough to bear the titles. The titles and the office call for a total change of heart and mind to reflect the demands of the office. As chief priests and elders of the people, their office demanded they should listen to God and accept His plan even when it appears contrary to their expectations of the Messiah.

Today, this Gospel has a deeper implication for all of us who call ourselves Catholics. Being baptised and carrying around with us our baptism certificates is not all there is in being a Catholic. Our lives and attitude have to be baptised too. We have to reflect the character of our baptism in the way and manner we live and relate with the people the Lord brings our way. We have to be able to see and treat every human being as a brother, a sister of our One Father – God.

To segregate ourselves from others because of their colour, tribe, race, nationality, religion etc does not reflect the effect of the waters of baptism. By baptism, we are summoned, as Pope Francis in his message for the 106 World Day of Migrant and Refugees reminded us, ‘to make the effort to know and understand others’. It is by knowing others that we come understand them, appreciate their uniqueness, harness their gifts and talents, and our lives are enriched.

Refugees and migrants are not just some numbers, some free loaders – trying to take over our land, our jobs, and suck our economy dry. They are people with faces like us. They are our brothers and sisters; many of whom have been washed by the same waters of baptism. Besides, it is the same blood that runs in our veins that runs in theirs. And if we truly believed that God is Our Father, then we should willingly embrace them. For they are also children of God and called to be heirs of the Kingdom. This is the implication of Jesus’ parable in the Gospel.

Jesus is calling it. He is calling us to walk the walk, and not just talk the talk. He wants us to be Christians not just by name, but in heart and mind. For when we fail to do that, we will become obstacles in the way of the Kingdom of God just as the chief priests and the elders were. However, when we accept His call, we will become like the tax-collectors and the prostitutes, who even though they were public sinners, made their way to the Kingdom of God. And more importantly, they made the way for others to experience the reign of God’s Kingdom.

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