Homily for Thursday of the 28th Week in Ordinary Time
Time and again we have seen in scripture Jesus calling out the scribes and Pharisees for their hypocrisy. Our Gospel passage for this morning is no different. It is one of the more serious reprimands that Jesus gives to the leaders of the Jewish community though. He was telling them that they were no different from those who came before them. When God sent prophets to guide the people of Israel on His behalf, they were rejected and often killed. And we know that would be the same fate for Jesus.
Jesus warned the Pharisees of what was to come if they continued to resist listening to the wisdom of God. These Pharisees were quite familiar with the wisdom of God because they understood the Hebrew Scriptures like no one else. And because of that, these words of Jesus should have caused them to pause and reflect on their own lives and how they were failing to lead the Jewish community to what was most important. Yet, the Pharisees lacked the openness to hear the words of Jesus, they lacked the receptivity of heart that was needed to heed His warning. Instead, they continued to harden their hearts toward Jesus, toward the very one who was sent to save them.
The message that Jesus speaks in our Gospel isn’t just for the Pharisees, though. It is also the message that He speaks to us. Are our hearts open to receive the words of Jesus? Are we open to the wisdom of God, to the Holy Spirit, leading us to a deeper encounter with the Lord? Do we allow the Lord to call us out for the times that we have failed to live as we should? He does that out of love because He wants us to be brought to fullness of life, to dwell with Him and the Father for all Eternity.
The good news is that we don’t have to make the same mistakes that the Pharisees made. Why? Because Jesus gave us His Church so that we have full access to the wisdom of God. He gave us the Sacraments to pour out the power of His grace in our hearts to lead us to deeper relationship with Him, to participate in that fullness of life already in the here and now, to turn away from sin, and to live in the way that the Father calls us to live.
So today, let’s ask the Holy Spirit to lead us in self-reflection: are we faithful to Jesus through our fidelity to His Church? Are we being those disciples that we are called to be? If the answer to that question for us is “not always,” may we ask the Holy Spirit to lead us and to give us the gift of docility to the wisdom of God that we might respond to the promptings of the Lord and be open to receive His Word.
Photo: Mohamed Nohassi on Unsplash. Used under Unsplash license.