Homily September 20th, 2023

Wednesday of the 24th week in Ordinary Time – Option 1 – Lk 7:31-35

Although it’s not part of what we just heard, Luke gives a beautiful introduction to today’s Gospel in verses 29 and 30, as he says that “All the people who listened, including the tax collectors, and who were baptized with the baptism of John, acknowledged the righteousness of God; but the Pharisees and scholars of the law, who were not baptized by him, rejected the plan of God for themselves.” Although Jesus is speaking to the crowds en masse, it’s clear that this parable, in which He compares the different ways in which He and John the Baptist called the people of Israel to conversion, is meant particularly for those who “rejected the plan of God for themselves.” John’s austere discipline and preaching drew many, as did Christ’s more overtly joyful and sociable tone, but, in the end, there are some who refuse to be drawn by either: they simply sit on the sidelines, rejecting both one and the other. Rather than convert, they criticize, and those who don’t want to convert will always be able to find something to criticize. A sincere Christian looks at things the other way around: once, during an interview, Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta was asked, “Mother, what needs to change in the church?” Clearly the interviewer was hoping for an answer regarding doctrine or dogma. Instead, the saint simply replied, “You and me.” “You and me.” Criticize, or convert. There is no middle ground, since the path to salvation and the battle for our souls doesn’t let us sit on the sidelines.

We should also note that the Gospel ends with a rather cryptic phrase: “But wisdom is vindicated by all her children.” On one hand, this could be taken to mean that the children of the light are able to recognize God’s presence no matter what disguise He takes. Those who followed John the Baptist saw God in the austere penance; those who found Him in Christ saw God in the joy and the miracles.

However, others have suggested it means that God’s wisdom is seen in the changed lives of those who follow Him. All His children, and not just some of them, live differently; they make the Gospel concrete, and this is true for every single sincere follower of Christ. It’s not the critics who have the last say; complain as they might, in the end, it is the results that show who is in the right, and who is in the wrong. Grace and perseverance can’t be faked. We could complain all we want about things and people and the way things are done, but if in the end all we do is end up miserable and losing our vocations, then we see quite clearly that all we’ve really done is isolate ourselves from grace, and from the Source of Grace. 

            Today, let us pray for the grace, through the intercession of Mary, Cause of Our Joy and Comfort in our Sadness, to follow Christ without reserve, knowing that God desires us to follow Him at every moment of our lives.



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