Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Homily)
September 06, 2020 11:30 am · Father Sergio Muñoz Fita
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
This Sunday the Word of God reminds us of the duty of fraternal correction. It is a duty because, as the prophet Ezekiel tells us, God holds us responsible for our brethren. In the Gospel, Christ reminds us that, before discussing the faults of our neighbor with third parties, we must first address it privately with them, and if the time comes to have to involve more people, it is exclusively for the purpose of seeking the good of the person who has sinned or to protect the rest of the members of the community. That is to say, the Lord asks us that in this as in the other aspects of our lives we govern ourselves by charity. Saint Paul reminds us in the second reading that we owe nothing to anyone - except to love one another. We should never act out of animosity, impatience, pride, or resentment - only and always, charity.
What applies to us as individuals, has even more validity, if that is possible, with respect to the obligation of the Church to proclaim the Gospel and to show men the way to heaven. "It is a part of the Church's mission - we read in the Catechism of the Catholic Church – to pass moral judgments even in matters related to politics, whenever the fundamental rights of man or the salvation of souls requires it.” (CCE 2246). The Church has the obligation to point out good and evil because, as we have also heard today, the voice of God resounds in that of his Bride, the Church: “Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” In the Gospel of St Luke, we read: "He who listens to you listens to me" (Lk 10:16). Therefore, the Church receives the Word of God to be his voice in the world so that it can be heard by all peoples and of all history.
This country faces a defining moment for the future of the nation in the November elections. We must ask ourselves, both pastors and lay people - for we are all Church - who we are going to listen to, whose voices we are going to trust. In the readings we have just heard, we have the mandate of God, so that with charity we can show the difference between good and evil to those who are disoriented by the noise of the world, the media, and the multiple currents of opinion.
What we proclaim is Christian love and we cannot be ashamed of it. That is the best service we can offer our fellow men. Now, love is not an empty word. It has a content that does not lend itself to manipulation. Saint Paul told us today: love sums up the commandments of the old Covenant. It summarizes them, that is to say, it contains them, elevates them, purifies them, embellishes them; it does not eliminate or abolish them. There are moral absolutes; there are trees whose fruit we cannot eat no matter how palatable they may seem, because they do not lead to life but rather to death, temporary or eternal.
- When Saint Paul reminds us today of the command not to commit adultery and the Church speaks it in the world today, in defense of the sacredness of marriage formed exclusively by a man and a woman, it is preaching authentic love.
- When Saint Paul reminds us today of the command not to steal and the Church speaks it in the world today, calling for social justice, solidarity and subsidiarity for the small groups of our society, beginning with the family, it is preaching authentic love.
- When Saint Paul reminds us today of the sacred law not to kill and the Church speaks it in the world today, raising the flag of absolute respect for the life and dignity of the human person from conception to natural death, emphasizing the evil of abortion in any case, and on the red line that Catholics must not cross to support political choices, people or institutions, that promote it by action or by permission, it is preaching authentic love.
Today I simply want to invite you to listen to the Church and let our Mother enlighten you with her Magisterium when you exercise your right, which is also a moral obligation (CCE 2240), to vote. Listen to Her with your heart, trusting Her more than your own judgment or the siren songs of lobbies or politicians; believing, as Saint Ignatius writes in his Spiritual Exercises, that what I see as white is black if our Mother the Church teaches me so. "If today you hear his voice - in the voice of his Bride - harden not your hearts".
Over the next few days, we will be sending our parishioners, parts of our Bishop's document on Catholics in public life online. I invite you to read it little by little, slowly and in silence. Think about it. Let it illuminate your mind and touch your heart. And when the time comes to exercise your right and your moral obligation, after agreeing on earth about what we are to pray to our heavenly Father - a country where the sacred gifts of freedom, justice, family, and unborn children are always protected and cherished - may the Lord grant us what we have asked of Him.