Homily for the Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time (B), Sunday, September 9, 2018:
Isaiah 35:4-7; Psalm 146:6-7, 8-9, 9-10; James 2:1-5, and Mark 7:31-37
By Father Scott Karnik
God shows no favorites. He has no distinctions. God’s salvation is universal. He offers His Son’s salvation to everyone. God grants universal salvation to every repentant sinner, rich or poor, Jew or Gentile, or Samaritan. God is impartial to us and our status in His Church is equal. So therefore, God calls all to life, and even favors the poor, orphans, and widows, to make them rich in faith. So therefore, the Church must reflect God’s actions and love in its structure. Partiality is an unjust judgment. It contradicts God’s judgment. The majority of the first converts to the Christian faith were poor. God makes them heirs of eternal life instead of beneficiaries of material riches. Partiality is based exclusively on material appearance, which often belies the interior character. In St. James’s reading he says “Listen,” (hear with thoughtful attention), my beloved brothers and sisters. Did not God choose those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that He promised to those who love Him?(James 2:5). So therefore, a Church which shows no partiality is united and reflects God’s love, which infinite and impartial. That is point number one and St. James makes it well.
Point number two is that we can know God’s real presence by its effects. Isaiah 35 shows some of them. God comes with vindication. To vindicate means “to set free, deliver: to protect from attack or encroachment.” And who does God come to with vindication? It is “…to those whose hearts are frightened:…(Isaiah 35:4). And God comes with “divine recompense (Isaiah 35: 4). Recompense means “to give compensation to: repay.” “Then will the eyes of the blind be opened, the ears of the deaf be cleared; then will the lame leap like a stag, then the tongue of the mute will sing(Isaiah 35:5-6). Then the psalm reading tells more about this God and His loving presence with us. This God “…keeps faith forever, secures justice for the oppressed, gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets captives free. The Lord gives sight to the blind; the Lord raises up those who were bowed down. The Lord loves the just; the Lord protects strangers. The fatherless and the widow the Lord sustains but the way of the wicked He thwarts”(Psalm 146:6-10). The singer of this psalm encourages his hearers to trust in God alone and not mere mortals. If Israel relies on God alone, its happiness is assured. God has created everything. And God’s creation includes governance of all people. God’s faithful and powerful care makes an environment fit for human beings and maintains society in justice and peace. And God does one more thing. God expresses His kingship in the favor He shows to the oppressed and to those who rely exclusively on Him. Zion’s God will reign forever.
In St. Mark’s gospel, he highlights Jesus’s supernatural healings to show His divinity. But Jesus desires secrecy. Jesus wants both Jews and Gentiles to accept His identity and messiahship on His terms, not their own. Jesus heals miraculously both Jew and Gentile. But Jesus also suffers and shows His messiahship in His death on the Cross for our salvation. Jesus serves and suffers. So must we. It is incomplete to do good deeds and not attend church. It is incomplete to attend church but not serve those in need.
February 12, 2017
October 23, 2016
October 2, 2016