The 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time – The Homily
Consider the judge in today’s parable. Most people see the judge as a metaphor God. Our prayers are not answered and we pray again and again and again until God is finally worn down by our incessant intercession and He finally caves in and gives us what we want. Then we call this “God’s timing.”
Is that the way you really see God? Seriously?
The judge is not a metaphor for God. God is not even one of the characters in the parable. The judge is actually a metaphor for a person or a situation or a sin or something that challenges you either on a spiritual or on a human level.
Reconfiguration – God is not avoiding you nor ignoring your pleas. God has something for you to accomplish but he also needs to be at a higher level. God will not let valuable resources lie dormant. You need to grow. God also knows that as you grow spiritually, the powers of darkness will see you as a greater threat. “Great levels – greater devils.” Thus God knows exactly how much formation needs to occur and is also aware of what the ideal timeframe is for his plan to be carried out for your own improvement. As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17). The same can apply to God allowing the difficulty or the person or situation to personally challenge you.
First question: Ask God – “What are you doing? What are you trying to teach me?”
Resources – This kind of formation is not easy. So let’s next consider the First Old Testament Reading from Exodus. God does not expect you to grow in your faith alone. It is important that you consider what other resources and other people are around you. Second point, ask God “Who are my Aaron and my Hur? Where and what and who are the resources and blessings that you have placed at my disposal at this time in my spiritual formation?
Second Set of Questions: Ask God: Who is my Aaron? Where is my Hur? Where and what and who are the resources and blessing that you have placed at my disposal at this phase of my spiritual formation?
Recovery – Once you have recognized and received and appropriated the resources, you begin to recover. The Lord begins to experience a sense of consolation. This is not only for your benefit however. You receive this so that, with your experience, you can help others in the future who are in the same situation you were in previously. In his 2nd Letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul’s writes that God, “comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” (2 Corinthians 1:4)
Third Set of Questions: Where has God used difficulties, mistakes, failures in my past to console others? Where is God possibly calling me now and to whom?
Resolve – Some things in this world simply do not come without a long, hard slog. Years ago, I was speaking with a waiter from Belfast. I asked him to sit down and spend a few minutes with us and explain the entire situation in Northern Ireland to us Americans. In the end I asked him what could be done about this seemingly intractable situation. He said, “Frankly, I think that peace in Ireland will only come with prayer.” The search for world peace….it might take years. It will take a great deal of faith.
Faith is belief. Faith is also conviction in something bigger than yourself. Faith is also trust in a relationship with someone who can support you. Faith is also persistence.
Fourth Set of Questions: Is there as situation in my life that will require a long-term perspective? What is the conversation I need to have with God in prayer about this?
Let me close with a prayer attributed to St. Mother Teresa. The version of this prayer was found written on the wall in her home for children in Calcutta
People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God….
…it was never between you and them anyway.
Audio version of the homily is here: