Homily for the 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time, ©, February 17th, 2019:
The anchor of our faith is the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. That is what the Roman Catholic Church teaches. It is Jesus Christ who is our only Savior. He is the Son of God and the Son of Mary. He is human and He is divine. It is Jesus’s Resurrection from the dead that makes Him completely unique. Jesus’s salvation is bound up in His resurrection from the dead. Jesus’s apostles and disciples preached Jesus dead and resurrected from the dead. Only one man has come back from the dead and that is Jesus Christ. Salvation is bound up in Him and Him alone. That’s the saving gospel message. Those who place their faith in Jesus will rise.
St. Paul writes that to the Corinthian Christians. St. Paul argues this because there are some Corinthians who do not believe in resurrection from the dead. St. Paul says if the dead are not resurrected, then neither was Christ resurrected. St. Paul says this is absurd. He argues that our resurrection hinges on Christ’s resurrection. If those who have died have no hope of resurrection, then we are truly hopeless. St. Paul argues that if we have only this life, we are doomed to despair and absurdity. That’s why St. Paul says the Corinthian theory of no resurrection is nothing but a dead end. Our resurrection stands or falls on Christ’s resurrection. St. Paul criticizes the Corinthians who do not believe in the resurrection for falling away from the gospel truth in a way that breaks with Apostolic preaching and tradition. Remember last week when St. Paul said that he handed on to the Corinthians what he also received, the teaching of Church tradition in accordance with the Scriptures. If Corinthians do not believe in resurrection, they are breaking up the faith. St. Paul says their message of resurrection has value only if it is true. There is no other alternative for St. Paul. He sums up his argument by asserting that Jesus Christ has been raised from the dead and He is the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. So that’s the message. That is why we’re here to praise and worship Jesus Christ. He has risen from the dead. No one else has, yet. But we will if we have faith in Him and His Resurrection. This is important because St. Paul sets up an either-or argument. Either we are filled with hope because of Jesus’s Resurrection or filled with disillusion and hopelessness if He has not.
It is at this point that we can see some of the either-or in the other readings today. Jeremiah prophesies that the one who turns his heart away from the Lord is cursed, like a barren bush in the desert. But the one who trusts in the Lord is like a fruitful tree whose leaves stay green even during the drought. In persecution/drought, it still yields fruit. Psalm One says the man who delights in the law of the Lord is constant, and fruitful. But the wicked will be driven away by the wind. They will perish. And Jesus Himself uses the same argument. Jesus says the rich will be woeful someday. They have put their trust in human beings instead of the Son of Man. They have been flattered falsely and have been deluded. Rather, Jesus says the people who are poor, hungry, are weeping and are hated because of Him will one day rejoice. The Kingdom of Heaven will be theirs.
It is an either-or choice for you and me. But Jesus warns us that if we choose Him, to live in Him now, we will be persecuted now by false prophets and those who enjoy their false prophecies. But there will be an end. That end will be in happiness for us who have placed our faith in Jesus Christ. That end will be resurrection. And that is the best reason to stay strong in your faith in Jesus Christ in this church and her traditional teachings which extend all the way back to Jesus Christ Himself.
February 12, 2017
October 23, 2016
October 2, 2016