26 September 2009

How does the Lord judge us?

This is lazy posting, I know, but here's a homily I gave a few weeks back.

Su Wk 22 Yr B

Suppose a woman murders her husband. She is questioned by the police, charged and eventually brought to trial. During the case, however, she is released and set free due to a technicality. She is not guilty and it would be wrong for us to judge her guilty and yet, before Christ she may well be guilty. Christ does not judge using human law but rather the law which is written upon our hearts. If you like, he uses the Ten Commandments and he has given them to us through the prophet Moses. The book of Deuteronomy teaches us to “take notice of the laws” in order that we may have life.

When we gather for the Eucharist, the great prayer of thanksgiving, we are blessed with Jesus coming amongst us in a particular way when he gives us His Body and Blood. This absolute gift is, for us, both the source and summit of life. It is that which feeds us and that from which we are able to feed those whom we meet. As we present ourselves before the Lord I wonder how often we are fully present to Him. Have we properly prepared before Mass? Have we come to this Eucharist with our heart and soul, or have we come merely from obligation.

Many times we may be like those Pharisees and Scribes whom we hear about in the Gospel. We observe the rules, we come to Mass and we think we are doing all that is required of us. We can be guilty of empty religiosity, here in body but not in spirit. Do we sit in judgment of those who do not come to Mass? Perhaps we are jealous of them, or consider them to be unworthy. Are we the ones who ask Jesus why others do not “respect the tradition of the elders”?

Sometimes we can be guilty of placing unreasonable burdens upon ourselves too. We judge ourselves harshly when we have been unable to get to Mass, or we miss our prayers, or we have failed to help the orphan or the widow, those in need.

When we cannot join someone for a celebration, we say “I’ll be there in Spirit”. We want them to know that whilst we cannot physically be present, we wish them well and if it were possible we would be there. We want them to feel the love that we have for them. We wish them to know the thoughts of our hearts.

If you are thinking that I am saying it is okay to miss Mass, or not to say your prayers, or even to leave orphans and widows to their own devices, then I have failed to crack open the Word today. All of these are important, but they are not important in and of themselves. They are important because they show us a loving and forgiving Father. They bring us to God. He has given his law not to restrict but rather to lead us, to lead us to Him. And the path to God is nothing less than a heart filled with love.

When we see Him as He really is, then we will know our hearts beat to the rhythm of love. If the woman who has murdered her husband is repentant, then like the thief who hangs upon the cross, she will be with Jesus in His kingdom, most especially if she’s been to Confession, like all good Catholics.

It is the Holy Spirit who instructs the hearts of the faithful, and it is to him whom we cry out: Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and enkindle in them the fire of your love.

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