23 thg 7, 2017

Homily for Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A (July 23,2017)


Let The Master Have His Last Say
(see Mt 13:24-30)

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

From time immemorial, humanity has been familiar with dualism appearing in many and different forms.  Dualism means the belief in two factors that go sometimes hand in hand, but other times head-on.

In eastern philosophy, yin and yang, or the negative and the positive, are the two basic elements that govern the universe.  Oriental medicine in general could be seen as the art of making a good balance between yin and yang in one person’s physical, emotional and spiritual life in order to keep them in good health. 

Western wisdom gets interested in man’s body and soul, mind and heart, matter and spirit.  Contrary to people in the east, those in the west have tried to get rid of one element in favor of the other.  As the result of this exclusive mentality, the western part of the world has gained fast successful development in science and technology, but it also suffers from endless conflict between the two opposite factors.

Both the east and the west, however, have to face the scary dualism in their moral life: the Good and the Evil.

The Good symbolizes people’s beautiful dreams about a successful career and happy life.  The Evil, on the contrary, represents bad luck, suffering, and death.

Where did the Good and the Evil come from? 

Some maintain that they are products of the two opposite powers that rule over the world: Lord Good and Lord Evil.  Good and Evil have been engaged in an endless power dispute that has ended up in causing humanity countless problems.

Others, many of whom are Christians, believe that the Lord God and Creator made all things, humanity included, good, simply because God by His very nature is good.  Unfortunately, the Evil One had caused everything to turn upside down by tempting man to sin against God.  Sin, therefore, is the cause of all forms of suffering of which death is the most frightening.

Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior in the Gospel story of the co-existence of the wheat and the weeds clearly tells us the following truths:

1.     There are both good people, the wheat, and bad people, the weeds, living together in society;

2.     Good people are children of God Who always sows good seeds of love, peace and compassion

3.     Bad people are weeds sowed by the devil, the enemy of the Master of the field, as seeds of hatred, jealousy, division and death

Facing this sad reality, good people get angry with bad people and want to get rid of them.  This is how people of extremist and fundamentalist position have reacted to all forms of evil in the world by taking violent and bloody measures.  Unfortunately, this eye for eye and tooth for tooth solution has added more fuel to the fire, and so done more harm than good.  

The Gospel, on the contrary, tells Christians to be patient and wait for the due time of the Lord God, the harvest time, the Last Judgment, when absolute justice will be done to all people, both good and bad.

These details eventually reveal to us the very important Christian faith that the Lord God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and also our Father in heaven, is the Master of the universe, the Almighty Lord of humanity.  God alone created the world and He saw it good.  God also created the human race and saw them very good.  It was the devil who sowed evil seeds into the world and into the hearts of people.  It was the devil who tempted man and caused him to sin against God’s love.  Sin has caused man to be separated from God, the very source of love, peace and life.  Sin has also caused man to be separated from his neighbor, inciting them to point an accusing finger at each other.  Sin has distorted the once beautiful image of God in man.

Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior wants us to calm down and spend time looking deep into our hearts to question ourselves, to examine our conscience and acknowledge the truth that for all forms of evil in society we are surely responsible, either in thoughts, in words or in deeds.

Only when we admit that we, too, are sinful and that we need God’s mercy and forgiveness, can we take part in the saving mission of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior Who will come one day in glory to separate wheat from weeds, sheep from goats, children of God from children of Evil.

This humble admission of sin will help us at the same time to loudly proclaim to all people the Good News of God’s love and salvation, and courageously denounce all forms of injustices, violations of human dignity and rights.

We have to fight fearlessly for our integral identity as salt of the earth, light of the world and yeast mixed in wheat flour in order to serve the common good of people. Amen.     
      
Fr. Francis Nguyen Van Nhut, O.P.

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