13th Sunday In Ordinary Time
Fr. Mark Gatto
Preached: June 28, 2020
What can we learn from this pandemic lockdown? As people of Faith, as disciples of Jesus, we should reflect on everything happening in our world and in our lives with the eyes of Faith. We should examine what is happening to see what it can teach us. This pandemic perhaps has something to teach our world, our church, our parish, each one of us. It is not enough just to go through life without reflecting on its mystery and learning from all that happens.
For our world, perhaps we need to learn about the need to care for our environment.
Perhaps our country needs to learn about how to care for seniors in our nursing homes.
Perhaps we recognize that we are all connected and that we need to care for one another, especially the weakest and poorest among us.
For our church perhaps needs to learn how to support families and Catholics to develop a solid prayer life at home.
Perhaps we need to learn to develop a deeper appreciation and knowledge of the Bible.
Perhaps we need to learn how to reach out more to all members of our parish.
Each one of us needs to examine this time and reflect on what I might need to learn or what I could learn through this experience.
This need to learn and be reflective with everything happening in our lives, also applies to the Bible. If we read the Bible and only look for comfort, to confirm my own ideas, then it will lose its power. The Bible should challenge me, should unsettle me, should shake me up, it should change my way of seeing things.
Especially when we read the Gospels, when we look to Jesus, for he taught and acted in a way that turned things upside down. He disturbed the powerful, the authorities, the rich, the religious. The problem with us Christians at times is that I think I am holy if I do religious things or if I say prayers. Do we allow ourselves to be disturbed by Jesus as we read the Gospels?
Today’s Gospel can seem disturbing at first glance. “Whoever loves his father or mother more than me, whoever loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” “Whoever finds their life will lose it.” But, should not all of us want to care for our families and loved ones? Should not all of us want to be successful and prosperous? Should not all of us want a peaceful and comfortable and secure life?
Yes, but not at all costs.
If having a safe, comfortable, secure life for me and my family means ignoring injustice, ignoring the poor, ignoring those in need.
If having a safe, comfortable, secure life for me and my family means ignoring the reality of racism, ignoring the need to make changes within society, church and my own life.
If having a safe, comfortable, secure life for me and my family means being willing to cheat or oppress others. Then, Jesus is clear that there are times when we need to die to a safe, comfortable, secure life. Sometimes I need to allow my life to be disturbed for the sake of something greater for our world, our community.
Jesus himself was ready to let go of everything, including his life, for the sake of truth, goodness, our salvation. Many others through history have fought for justice, to assist those excluded from society, often at great cost, much sacrifice, even at the cost of their life.
Take time to reflect on this pandemic and what you can learn from this, how it may call you to change something in your life?
In the same way, when you read the Bible, especially the Gospels, read it in a way that is ready to be challenged, to be disturbed. Let the radical Gospel message of Jesus shake you up and even lead you to change how you live, to change how you see others.
We are reading the Bible most honestly and most truthfully when it is disturbing our comfort.