Sunday: 26 TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME Date: September 25, 2011 Year: A The readings: [Ezek. 18:25-8; Phil. 2:1-11; Mt. 21:28-32] The message: Perfect obedience to the will of God. Prepared by: CATHOLIC DOORS MINISTRY Total words: 1759
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Welcome to today's celebration of the Holy Mass on the Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time. How please the Lord God must be to see the presence of some many of His faithful children. Why are we gathered here today? It is because we are spiritually hungry for the Word of God. In obedience to God's righteousness, we have chosen to attend the service of the Holy Mass so that we may participate in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist and receive the richness of the knowledge and understanding that comes from the Word of God. May God bless us all abundantly for our spiritual perseverance.
During today's First Reading from the Book of Ezekiel, [Ezek. 18:25-8] we learned that those who turn away from their wickedness by doing what is lawful and right, they will be saved. At the same time, those who were previously saved and who have turned away from their righteousness to commit sins, they will die for it. This is a very powerful message. It opposes the belief of many... that as long as they have faith in Christ, they will be saved! "As a body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead." [Jas. 2:26] So death will come upon all those who do not bear fruit, who do not shine in the world, who do not live their faith by the power of the Holy Spirit.
It is easy to point the fingers to others for the sake of arguing. It is easy for a person to accuse God of being unfair. Things do not go one's way and so God is blamed for it. The Lord God is unchanging in His ways. "His work is perfect, and all His ways are just. A faithful God, without deceit, just and upright is He." [Deut. 32:4]
When God separated Himself from His chosen people during the days of the Old Testament, He did not break the Old Covenant of the Law. It was the people who broke it through their disobedience, by rejecting the Lord God and His righteous ways. In the same way, when God separates Himself today from His children who live in disobedience, He is not breaking His New Covenant of grace. It is His children who are rejecting His righteous ways through the purifying Holy Spirit in the Most Holy Name of Jesus. God loves everyone - but He does not love their sins!
During today's Second Reading, [Phil. 2:1-11] we heard that when we are of one mind, having the same love as Christ, there is encouragement in Christ. We find consolation during our tribulations. We share in the Spirit. We have compassion and sympathy for others. Our joy is complete in Christ.
Being of one spiritual mind, we seek the Will of God in all things. When we are spiritually minded, we are free of selfish ambition or conceit. In complete humility, we regard others as better than we are. We do not seek our self-interest but rather the interest of the whole Church for the spiritual growth of each of its individual members.
The goal of every faithful Christian is to enjoy the same mind that was in Jesus Christ. Although the fullness of God dwelled in Him bodily, [Col. 1:19, 2:9], Jesus did not consider Himself equal to God when He came on earth. He took the exact human likeness of each and everyone of us, in soul, spirit and body. [1 Thes. 5:23] Just like you and I, Jesus had a physical body of flesh and blood.
Having taken human form in the image of man, He humbled Himself and obeyed His Heavenly Father until the end - even death on the cross. That my brothers and sisters is perfect obedience. That is perfect obedience to the Divine Will of God!
Having obeyed God the Father to the end, Jesus was raised above all and given the name that is above every name, the Name of Jesus. Because of the greatness of the mystery of God that is found in the Most Holy Name of Jesus, whenever His Name is mentioned, every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth. Every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Because of this specific Bible passage, [Phil. 2:10] many of the faithful insist that at the moment of the Consecration of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ during the celebration of the Holy Mass, in reverence to the arrival of the Real Presence of the Lord Jesus, all should kneel in momentary adoration versus standing up.
"Whoever says, 'I have come to know Jesus,' but does not obey His commandments, is a liar, and in such a person the truth does not exist; but whoever obeys His word, truly in this person the love of God has reached perfection. By this we may be sure that we are in Him: whoever says, 'I abide in Him,' ought to walk just as He walked." [1 Jn. 1:3-6]
During today's reading from the Gospel of Matthew, [Mt. 21:28-32] we heard Jesus tell the story of the man who had two sons. The father asked one of his sons to go and work in the vineyard. His son said that he would not go but he changed his mind and he went. The second son said that he would go but he did not go. This holy reading from the Scriptures echoes the first reading that I just finished reviewing. Some turn away from their righteousness to do evil while some turn from their evil ways to do righteousness.
The son who promised to go and work in the vineyard, but he did not go, he broke his promise. He was no different than God's chosen people of the Old Testament who broke the Old Covenant. He was no different than the people within the Church today who break the new Covenant of God by turnings away from His righteous ways.
Jesus asked, "Which of the two did the will of his father?" Naturally, we all know that it is the one who obeyed. Do any of you know that some converts make better Catholics than Catholics who were admitted into the Church as infants? Do any of you want to know why? It is because, before they joined the Catholic faith, they studied and studied the Sacred Word of God that is found in the Holy Scriptures. They studied the writings of the early Church Fathers. They did years of research to prove to themselves beyond any doubt, that what the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church teaches, it is the One and only Truth. How many Catholics can we count that have made as much effort to learn about the Will of God and His true Church? Is it not true that many Catholics take their religious belief for granted, slacking off here and there?
How many Catholics literally take the Word of God? Let me tell you a true story that I read a few years ago about a man who had a real bad reputation. While in prison, he found the Lord Jesus in his life. Upon his release, he headed to his small town to settle down, got on his knees and apologized to his mother for all the wrong that he had done to her. Then, he found himself a good girlfriend and moved in with her.
On the following Sunday, he got up early in the morning so he could attend a Christian service. During the sermon, the preacher was kicking up a storm while speaking of the sin of fornication. Hearing the tone of the voice of the preacher, the new convert said to himself, "Boy, those dudes must be real bad sinners to have displeased the Lord God so much. I will never be a fornicator like them."
After the service, he went to introduce himself and congratulated the preacher for his excellent sermon. Having done so, he asked the preacher, "By the way, what is a fornicator?" Having been told that it is one who lives in a common-law relationship, the new convert rushed home, packed his girlfriend's baggages and literally threw her out of the house. He did not want to have to face God for having lived the life of a fornicator.
Now, I ask, how many of us would have done the same thing, especially knowing that common-law relationships are offensive to the eyes of God? Such a sin totally disregards the sacredness that God has placed within the marriage.
Jesus asked, "Which of the two did the will of his father?" I ask who is doing the will of the Father, "Is it the fornicator?" "Is it those who take birth control pills contrary to the teachings of the Holy Catholic Church?" "Is it those who approve of abortions?" "Is it those who approve of same sex marriage?" "Is it those who approve of all the filth that is found on their television, allowing their children to watch sex, violence, foul language, day after day?" "Is it those who constantly use the Most Holy Name of Jesus in vain?" And I can continue with this list as you are all aware.
Now, what about those who years ago, consecrated their lives to the Sacred Heart of Jesus or to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and who have fallen from their righteousness since then? What about those who are rejecting the teachings of the Holy Catholic Church, the Catechism and the Holy Bible on the matter of the Kingdom of God that has arrived on earth and that is to come? Are they going to continue to reject the Real Presence of Jesus in the Holy Tabernacle in hope of the Antichrist, a secular messianism? (Catechism # 676)
Do these souls expect to be rewarded for their sinful lives? Perfect obedience to the Divine Will of God is to give oneself completely, one hundred percent, without exception as Jesus gave Himself in perfect obedience to the Heavenly Father, to the point of death, even death on the cross.
My brothers and sisters, this week, let us take the time to reflect on all what has been mentioned. Let us ask ourselves, "Am I in complete obedience to the Will of God?"
"The Lord says this: 'You object, O House of Israel! You say, 'The way of the Lord is unfair,' Hear now, O house of Israel: Is my way unfair? Is it not your ways that are unfair?
When the righteous turn away from their righteousness and commit iniquity, they shall die for it; for the iniquity that they have committed they shall die.
Again, when the wicked turn away from the wickedness they have committed and do what is lawful and right, they shall save their life. Because they considered and turned away from all the transgressions that they had committed, they shall surely live; they shall not die." [Ez. 18:25-8]
"If there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interest of others.
Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death - even death on a cross.
Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." [Phil. 2:1-11]
"When Jesus entered the temple, the chief priests and elders of the people came to him as he was teaching, and challenged his authority. So Jesus asked them this question. 'What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, 'Son, go and work in the vineyard today.' He answered, 'I will not'; but later he changed his mind and went. The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, 'I go, sir'; but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?' They said, 'The first.'
Jesus said to them, 'Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him." [Mt. 21:28-32]