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Saturday, March 17, 2018

Homily 2018-08-17 19th Saturday in Ordinary Time Year II

READINGS: Ezekiel 18:1-10, 13b, 30-32; Psalm 51; Matthew 19:13-15
In the first reading, God spoke through Ezekiel and said: Why should you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies. Return and live! This shows the Heart of God: he does not want people to die. Death spoken here is not physical death but separation from God. God has always planned that we live with him to have life. when I reject God, I separate myself from God which leads to death.
Life is living according to God’s will while Death happens when by rejecting God.
The first reading gives two examples:
  1. A man is righteous and lives according to God’s will. This man shall surely live.
  2. The son of this righteous man practices abominations. The son will surely die. His death is his own fault.
Life and death is a choice. God loves us so much, he respects our free will that if we reject life, he respects our decision.
Some people conclude that a merciful God will not send people to hell. This is true, God does not send people to hell. However, if I think that since God will not send me to hell, I can reject God by rejecting the life he planned for me, I send myself to hell! God does not send people to hell. People send themselves to hell by rejecting God and his invitation to live with him.
God said through Ezekiel, he does not want anyone to die. Therefore, life or death is OUR choice.
Do I choose life or do I choose death? This is my decision and no one can make it for me. In Ezekiel’s example, the righteous father cannot make the choice for his scoundrel son.
When we reject God, he honors our decision. God will not force himself into our lives if we reject him.
However, if we choose life, we come to God through Jesus Christ. How do I come to God? The Responsorial Psalm tells us, a humble, contrite heart, O God, you will not spurn. We come to God with a humble and repentant heart, one that turns to him. When we come to him in humility and trust, God will not turn us away.
As we see in the Gospel, children were brought to Jesus. They came to Jesus, waiting for him to lay his hands on them. But the disciples rebuked them. A parallel verse in Mark tells us, Jesus was indignant when the disciples rebuked the children. In the end, the children were able to come to Jesus because they waited for him despite the rebukes from the disciples of Jesus.
When we come to Jesus, we will also encounter hindrances and difficulties. The more we come closer to Jesus, the more difficult it will be. But Jesus wants us to come to him. In the Gospel, the children waited for Jesus to call them to him and they were not disappointed. Similarly, when we encounter difficulties as we come to Jesus, we stand our ground, trusting and waiting for him to call us.
Jesus will call us when we wait for him. He said in the Gospel of John, whoever comes to me will never go hungry. Whoever believes in me will never thirst. When we come to Jesus we will be satisfied. We will not be disappointed. The Psalms remind us, those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength. Those who trust in the Lord will not be put to shame.
In a few minutes, the bread and wine we offer will be the Body and Blood of Christ. Jesus is here. The letter to the Hebrews tells us to confidently come before the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace in time of need. Let us confidently come before the God who is with us. Let us confidently come to the God who gives life. This God calls us today. Come and we will not be disappointed.

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