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Twenty Sixth Sunday In Ordinary Time Homily From CONGREGATIO PRO CLERICIS :This Sunday

September 24, 2011

Twenty Sixth Sunday In Ordinary Time

Citations of

Ez 18,25-28:

 Ph 2,1-11:

Mt 21,28-32:

Our actions follow us! It is this dramatic and fascinating reality that strongly emerges from this Sunday’s readings. It is dramatic because the personal liability for what we have done cannot be cancelled, whilst, at the same time, our actions represent what we could rightly describe as life’s drama. It is fascinating because our actions demonstrate, in a very special way, man’s greatness and his uniqueness as the only free creature. In a cultural context that tends to level out differences and reduce man to ‘one of the living beings on earth’, it is necessary to courageously ask ourselves: ‘Am I the result of biological development? Am I, my thoughts and actions, just the fruits of a complex chemical reaction?’ Science pretends to dominate reality, claiming to be the only key to read the human phenomenon. It would like to reduce man to the single outcome of a mere chemical reaction and so not recognise man’s liberty, paradoxically making us a slave to a ‘biological mechanism’ reducing us to a functional being that is, more or less, just like a machine. On the other hand, the Holy Scriptures reminds us of man’s responsibilities: ‘When a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, he shall die for it; for the iniquity he has committed he shall die’ (Ex 18:26) Human actions are not neutral and indifferent. They determine our lives and they can determine our ‘death to grace’. Such an appeal to personal responsibility, far from evoking apocalyptic or threatening tones, if nothing else, shows the passion that God the Father has for the liberty of His sons. The Lord doesn’t want slaves that serve Him but sons that freely love Him, not with words but with deeds and with our entire existence. This fact emerges in the question that Jesus poses to the high priests and elders of the people: ‘What do you think?’ (Mt 21:28) Which is to say: you judge this situation yourselves. Experience how my teaching extraordinarily corresponds to human reasoning and to a man’s heart. The parable, used by the Lord, is very effective as it doesn’t speak of masters and slaves but of men and sons! ‘A man had two sons’ (Mt 21:28) which indicates that the filial relationship is fed by the fulfilment of the Father’s Will and it appears primarily in our deeds and actions. The Lord’s interlocutors recognised that the first son fulfilled the Father’s Will even though he had said, ‘I will not; but afterward he repented and went’ (Mt 21:29). In that ‘repentance’ we find all the strength and beauty of the meeting between Grace and liberty and between understanding God’s will and carrying it out. In these actions man fully expresses himself. Man becomes more human, more like a son, realistically responsible and therefore adult in his own actions in a rational way. For this reason and in this direction, Paul, the Apostle, can affirm: ‘Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but also for those of others. Have in you the same attitude that is also in Christ Jesus.’ (Phil 2:3-5) St Paul invites us to that essential radicalism that must always characterise the Lord’s disciples who recognise the importance of free and reasoned human actions, whilst at the same time, they also see the fragility of created liberty and therefore the indispensability of Grace. May the Blessed Virgin Mary, that welcoming and active woman, sustain us. With her, who more than any other creature had fulfilled God’s Will, we can say our ‘YES’ to the Father who invites us to the vine yard to do an effective work that becomes a collaboration with the Divine Work of Salvation for us and all our brothers.

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