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9/30/18 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Deacon Tony

Deacon Tony Conti

Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 137

  • Our second reading from St. James questions how we might achieve our gains in life… “Behold, the wages you withheld from the workers who harvested your fields are crying aloud…”
  • How we live our lives matters
  • How we achieve our goals in life is far more important than what we might achieve…
  • St. James is reiterating the wisdom in the old saying: “It’s not whether you win or lose… It’s how you play the game.”
  • We live in a society and a nation so fixated on winning… that we’ve often forgotten that the end can never justify the means
  • Many people go through life without every reflecting upon their lives… without ever seriously considering what really matters in the long run
  • Our value system needs to be the bedrock for how we live our lives
  • And as Christians, our value system needs to be rooted in the life and teachings of Christ…
  • Without a solid value system we become captive to the world’s whims…
  • Jesus gave us a value system that can be summarized in one overarching commandment in the Gospel of John (13:34) – “I give you a new commandment, love one another.  As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.”
  • Following that commandment would change the world
  • Our responsorial psalm today says: “The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
  • Can we find joy in the way we’re living our lives?
  • Can we appreciate that by living Jesus’ teachings we will have a fuller more meaningful life?
  • I had a math teacher in junior high… Whenever we asked him how our grades looked – He would always tell us: “Don’t worry – You’ll get what’s coming to you.”
  • I’ve found that life works that way too
  • When our intentions are pure and honestthings usually work out for the best, but when our intentions are flawedthings usually go south sooner or later
  • Right always wins in the end… It often takes a little longer than we might like… But love always wins
  • Faith like love is not just a gift... it’s also a decision we make...
  • A decision to trust in God when everyone and everything around us is telling us otherwise...
  • Trusting that things will work out if we remain true to what we know to be right…
  • It’s a dogged determination to stay the course despite the obstacles, trusting that God has a plan for us… A plan that is intended for our good…
  • Trust is the key… We must first trust before we can let go of our self-sufficiency to allow God to enter more fully into our lives…
  • True faith must be based upon trust, not certitude
  • Certitude negates mystery… and without mystery… there is no God
  • From today’s Gospel: “There is no one who performs a mighty deed in My name
    who can at the same time speak ill of Me.  For whoever is not against us is for us.
  • We know of the many selfless works that the Catholic Church performs around the world… But there are also a multitude of non-Christians and other Christian denominations in the world spreading the love of God through similar acts of charity and goodness
  • What Jesus is pointing out in this Gospel passage is that we’re all on the same team...
  • At the end of the day we are all one human race sharing the same planet
  • We are all made in the image and likeness of the one true God…
  • We can disagree with someone’s politics, their religious beliefs… We can disagree on so many fronts.... but it doesn’t follow that we should hate them, or shun them, or judge them…...
  • That should be a bridge too far for us... Yet how often do we make that leap each day...
  • It’s far too easy to divide... it takes discipline and work to love... perhaps this is the narrow gate that Jesus refers to in the Gospel of Matthew... 
  • Jesus goes on in today’s gospel: “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.”
  • People look to us for example… What type of example are we setting?
  • What type of values are we promoting by the way we live our lives?
  • Are we taking shortcuts and bending the rules for the sake of gain?
  • It’s the little things that count
  • For example, when we begin to bend the truth for our own purposes… it becomes a little easier to bend it a little more, the next time, and the next time… until one day, we’re no longer able to even recognize the truth…
  • It’s a slippery slope once we begin to lose our moral compass
  • Jesus goes on in today’s Gospel… “If your hand or your foot, causes you to sin, cut it off… If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out…”
  • What Jesus is trying to convey to us is that we all have weaknesses that can cause us to fall in life…
  • This doesn’t make us bad… it makes us human
  • We’re not called to hide them, or be ashamed of them, or to deny them…
  • We’re called to try (as best we can) to avoid allowing them to get the better of us… and to believe with all of our being that God loves us despite them…
  • Sister Joan Chittister wrote: “The way we live ripples across time, touching people we never see, changing places we never went, singing a sound that never ends.  To see the individual life as insignificant is to dismiss the meaning of life itself.  As long as I live and breathe, who and what I am shakes the universe to its ankles…  What we think countsWhat we do changes things.”  (In Search of Belief; Pg. 198)


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