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19th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C – Homily

19th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Wisdom 18:6-9
Psalm 33:1, 12, 18-19, 20-22
Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-19
Luke 12:32-48

Last week we saw Jesus’ reaction to the man who asks him to tell his brother to share the inheritance.  Jesus wasn’t interested in talking about inheritance.  Jesus told the parable of the rich man with a bountiful harvest who kept it for himself.

Last week I talked about this in the context of greed.  The man was building up his wealth but, while he seemed to enjoy being wealthy, there is one other thing we might consider.

Was the man afraid?  Afraid that the coming years might bring a severe drought so he just wants to be prepared (It happened in Egypt)?  Today this might come into play with retirement planning.  We need to plan for retirement but when is it good planning vs. greed?

Our need for food, water, clothing, and a home are all real.  That’s why Jesus tells us to feed the hungry and clothe the naked. There are people who have real reason to fear having their most basic needs meant.

Jesus tells us “Do not be afraid any longer.”  He knows what fears the people have and He wants to help.

While Jesus knows these things are important, they are not the greatest treasure we can have.

The greatest treasure we can have in this world is faith.  As Hebrews reads, “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.”

We hope for love.  We will know the fullness of God’s love when we make it Heaven but while we can hope to make it to Heaven, we cannot see Heaven.  We cannot see God in the same way that we see earthly things.

What Jesus shows us gives us hope of better things to come.  Having this hope, we can have the patience to wait for the Kingdom.

We see this in Abraham.  God promised Abraham an “inheritance” in the Promised Land.  Abraham immediately went as commanded even when he didn’t know what would be coming because he trusted God.

Likewise, after David, the Israelites waited a thousand years for the new messiah in Jesus.  As they waited, many turned away to earthly treasures or false gods.  Yet, many others kept the faith in hope.

Having hope can be a challenge.  We might suffer severe illness, loss of job or other financial crisis, the injury of a loved one, a devastating divorce.  Through it all, Jesus is with us.  Jesus may not whisk away our problems but He is with us through it all.  Jesus knows what it is like to suffer.

When we suffer, hope can be hard to see.  When we don’t get immediate results, we might want to take matters into our own hands.  We might wonder why God allows such things.  We don’t have all the answers.

Sometimes people say when they get to Heaven, they are going to have a lot of questions for God.  I wonder if, when we get to Heaven, if we will even care about the answers.  We will be with God.  What more can we ask for?

What I have said today up to this point could be interpreted as saying that everyone gets into Heaven.  That must be our hope but Hell is a real possibility.

To be in Heaven requires us to make choices that are in accord with God’s will.  It starts in Baptism and it isn’t easy.  That’s why we need the Eucharist.  The Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Jesus

The reality is we can fall short.  We call it sin but even in sin hope is possible, not because we can undo our sin.  Rather, hope is still possible because Jesus died so that our sins might be forgiven.  We need to be humble enough to admit our sins, to truly do our best to change.

Putting effort in means coming to church.  Putting effort in means working to learn more about faith.  For children this means our faith formation classes on Sunday.  For our youth, it means youth group but it does not end with them.  Even as adults we have much to learn.

In the coming months I plan to offer some adult faith enrichment sessions.  If you can’t make them, maybe you can listen to some of the CDs we have in back.  Maybe you can spend some time reading the Bible.  If nothing else, keep coming to Mass because our faith is a treasure worth the effort.

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