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24th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C Homily

24th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Exodus 32:7-11, 13-14
1 Timothy 1:12-17
Luke 15:1-32
September 15, 2013

The Israelites had become “depraved.”  How?  Because they had ‘turned aside from the way God had pointed out to them.’

Through Moses God had been teaching the people how to act but while Moses was on the mountain with God, the people carved and worshiped a golden calf, thus breaking the command against idolatry.

God refers to the people as “stiff-necked”.  God has been generously in leading the Israelites out of Egypt and feeding them with the manna.  Yet, they fail to change their ways.  So God prepares to strike them down but relents because of Moses’ intercession.

In telling the parable of the prodigal son, Jesus teaches us that God does not want to destroy us.  God knows we sin but God wants to forgive us.

Jesus is the ultimate teacher.  Jesus teaches us about God’s mercy so we can have hope.  Jesus teaches us what the commandments really mean for us like when he tells us that when we hear the commandment to not kill, that we should even be angry with others.  Jesus raises the bar but he does so with love and compassion, making sure we know of God’s mercy when we fail.

Jesus teaches in various ways.  Jesus teaches us who he is, in part, by performing miracles, revealing God’s power at work through him.  Jesus preaches on what it means to be a disciple.  Jesus uses parables to help us see our faith in real life.  Jesus teaches us what the commandments really mean for us.

While Jesus is the ultimate teacher, he knows we will not understand everything he teaches so he sends us the Holy Spirit to bring us gifts of knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.

Jesus is the best teacher but he isn’t our only teacher.  Who else do we learn about our faith from?

Now, when we hear the word “teacher” the first thing that might come to mind is school teachers or religion teachers.  However, our first teachers really are our parents.  As little children, we learn by example and correction from our parents but our parents’ role in our teaching does not end when we go off to school.  The church states clearly that the primary teacher of children is their parents.

Parents teach by example and by being involved in their children’s education.

However, parents are not to be the only teachers.  We rely on professionally trained teachers to do much of the teaching.  I am called to teach in the way I preach, breaking open the scriptures and making them relevant for us today.  We have our parish school teachers.  We have our parish catechists for our Family Based Religious Ed.  We have our sacramental prep coordinator.  We have youth group coordinators.  We have our Vacation Bible School and Children’s Liturgy of the Word volunteers.  Many people are involved in the religious education of our children.  We take the responsibility of educating our children very seriously.

It is important for our children to learn about their faith.  In this world, we never learn all there is to know about our faith.  While there is no point when we know it all, we do have a sacrament that marks when we come to awareness of faith.  It’s the Sacrament of Confirmation.  We call it a sacrament of maturity but we don’t mean maturity to say that we know it all.  Rather, maturity refers to us as individuals developing a sense of faith for ourselves.

In November, we will be celebrating the Sacrament of Confirmation with the other parishes in our region.  We have nineteen youth who are now beginning formal preparation for Confirmation.   Today we ask them to make a pledge, along with their parents, to commit themselves to the preparation work so now I invite Rich Rasmussen who runs our religious education and sacramental preparation programs to come up as we call our candidates forth.

 

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