Homily for September 7, 2014: 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time: Fr. Jim Miller

Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time
September 7, 2014

Reading 1 EZ 33:7-9

Responsorial Psalm PS 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9

R/ If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Reading 2 ROM 13:8-10

Gospel MT 18:15-20

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We live in a world that has changed a lot in its outlook on life.   Growing up I found that a lot of decisions were between black and white with little grey area.   A lot of people would rather live in that world.   Today we have a more difficult time seeing the black and white because so much of life is portrayed as grey—you decide for yourself what is right or wrong!!   What is right for one person could be wrong for another!!   What does your conscience tell you?   Your conscience is your inner voice that helps you decide between right and wrong.   If your conscience is not correctly formed you will be misguided.   Even when your conscience is correctly formed if you consistently choose to ignore it the day comes when you have no qualms about committing the same evil act again.   It is with sadness that I view the Moslem Militant group called ISIL.   Who is forming the minds and consciences of these people to live without respect for the rights and views of other people.   Who of us have the possibility to confront them and tell them they are wrong without losing our life?   Would we be any better than them if we kill them like they are doing to anyone who disagrees with them?   Violence promotes more violence.  

What do we do with situations in our own country?   How do we teach young men to respect the right of a young woman to say no?   How do we protect young children from people who see them as objects to be used instead of beautiful innocent beings that teach us about the marvels of life as we teach them about goodness and right and wrong.

Ezekiel writes, “If I tell the wicked, ‘O wicked one, you shall surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade the wicked from his way, the wicked shall die for his guilt, but I will hold you responsible for his death. “  We have an obligation to speak out against sin but in order to be heard we have to do it gently and with love.   Before sharing with someone what we see as offensive to God we must first spend time in prayer.   We cannot control what someone will do with our information but our job is finished when we have warned them.

In any parish community there will be differences of opinion.   We do need to be respectful of differences.   I believe it is good that we have three Masses so people have some choice of time and some choice of style.   I truly like a Mass with good music because I often find that it lifts up my spirit and energizes me.   I also find a Mass without music to be very reflective for me.   There will be differences of opinion in how we care for our buildings and grounds and what will be our next priority.   I am concerned about our school buildings and know that we have a committee working on that issue.    There is wisdom in moving slowly and searching for guidance from the Archdiocese and a wide variety of people so that the decisions made will serve our community well for decades to come.   Matthew records Jesus saying, “Again, amen, I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father.  For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

I ask your prayers for our staff, Pastoral Council, Finance Council and the Bringing Christ to Life Renovation Committee.   My hope is that there can be a plan and a vision determined in three years and hopefully sooner.   Please pray for this vision and God’s Will be done.