Homily 2017-02-19

The Gospel by MT 5:38-48
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You are temples of the Holy Spirit!

The Spirt of God dwells in all of you, even in those who do evil, although the Spirit seems dormant in them. How could you say that? The apostle Paul reminds us of our true nature, so that we can stop doing evil and live according to God’s grace. The sun shines in our homes, but if your house is dirty, the glass will not allow the rays of the sun to shine through. In just the same way, when your heart is clean, the Spirit of God manifests more readily.

Sunday’s gospel spoke of revenge and of letting go. An eye for an eye is an imprisoning cycle that does not set us free, instead it makes us bitter, angry and resentful. Jesus gives us an answer: put your other cheek, forgive, let go, don’t sweat the small things that pass, instead look for those actions that last forever. Putting the other cheek does not mean that you are choosing to be a victim or that you will let people run all over you. There are times in which people come to my office for counseling. They speak about the injustices that they receive at home or at work. Sometimes my answer is: take it, put the other cheek. Learn from the experience and show them the true meaning of being a Christian. That’s what the saints did and, of course, that’s what Jesus did.

            However, there were times in which Jesus rebelled against his oppressors, he called them hypocrites, or he even escaped when they wanted to push him over the cliff. There are times in which the Christian thing to do is to stand up for your rights (with love and mercy, of course). There are times in which allowing the abuse is as sinful as perpetrating it. They will not know any better if you do not stop them and redirect them. So, then, how do I know the difference? How do I know when to put my cheek and allow people to say or do horrible things, and when should I stand up for myself and stop the abuse? This is where most of us fail, primarily because of lack of wisdom.

Some psychologists and scientists have come to the conclusion that people lack common sense. If people lack common sense, then we are in trouble as wisdom is far more elevated than common sense. Wisdom is what allows us to apply Jesus’ message into our daily lives. There are people who use a blanket approach (always turn the other cheek), but even Jesus or his disciples did not do that. They applied with wisdom each rule or discipline to every specific circumstance. The difference between Jesus and us is that we are lacking his wisdom. Not because he has not given it to us, or because he was different (he was the son of God), but because some of us are very volatile, easy reactors, easily disturbed by other people’s doings. Jesus has given us his Holy Spirit, so that being temples of God we can be perfect like the Father. He has given us the weapons and the Spirit to discern when we are to fight and when we are to hold our ground in peace and so turn the other cheek.

            Wisdom seems rare nowadays. In the past the elderly held the key to wisdom, but today’s generation refuses to listen to the elderly. In the past the priests and the monks were consulted for wisdom, today we look at them as if they were pathetic creatures with little knowledge of the real world. In the past books and lectures helped in choosing what to do, today people read less and choose on impulse and at times following ill advise.

            Today Jesus’ message is needed tremendously, but it is no longer offered to everyone. Jesus’ message is for those who want to be different; for those who are tired of the way people live their lives; for those who want a deeper understanding of the secrets of God. Jesus’ message is no longer bound to a church or to a priest; the message is free to those who have the thirst for knowledge and wisdom. Unfortunately, that thirst cannot be fake; it comes from a deep disappointment of what the world has to offer.

            Today, open your heart to God, the Father/Mother of all of us, and ask him for that wisdom. Search, the door will open (when the student is ready, the teacher will appear). I pray for all of you, that wisdom may reign in your hearts.

P.S. By the way, there are types of abuse that can never be tolerated or allowed, not even once and there should be Zero tolerance for them, like domestic violence, child abuse and elderly abuse, etc.   
Fr. Marc Angelo, PO Box 3414, Culver City, CA 90231

Mass every Sunday at 6:00pm at St. Mary’s in Palms 3647 Watseka Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90034-3914

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