Sunday, October 04, 2015

Sunday word, 04 Oct 15

Jesus’ Partners
Twenty-seventh Sunday of the Year B (04 Oct 2015)
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
St. Paul proclaimed Jesus in every way possible. The mystery of marriage even allowed Paul to speak of Messiah Jesus. About the words of Genesis we heard—a man shall leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh—the Apostle said, I am speaking about Christ and about the church.1 Can we hear today’s scripture selections and let them help us welcome Jesus afresh? A way I think we can begins with convictions. Convictions, we may say, are starting points for anyone’s reasoning and acting. So with Jesus and the Pharisees.

The first conviction in the gospel selection is that both Pharisees and Jesus revered God’s word in scripture. A second: Jesus knew God’s desires in creation and in marriage. And: God’s desires in creation shape marriage. The starting point of the Pharisees was something lawful. The starting point for Jesus was God’s desires and intention from the beginning of creation. The two starters are starkly different.

God’s history with God’s people included the unexpected; God regularly reversed things: God brought down rulers from their thrones and exalted those of humble position2—beginning with Pharaoh and in all generations. Yet the Pharisees were not interested in God’s mysterious, loving ways. No interest God be first; no interest in God’s desires; no desire to walk in God’s ways: those and more scripture captured in a phrase, hardness of heart. Jesus, reader of human hearts, attacked the Pharisees for their hardheartedness.

The exchange between Jesus and the Pharisees is not about what is lawful but about God’s heart and God’s ongoing creating each moment. Jesus invites us to see ourselves as the centerpiece of God’s creation. Central to God’s creation shapes us to join our creator; to see each and everyone as heirs of God’s kingdom; to make choices that honor, protect and share the earth, “our common home.”3 Crisply: to partner with God.

The word in Genesis we translate as helper does not mean women are inferior to men. Genesis sought to express that God intended their equality: God took from the side of man what God fashioned into the partner for the man.

Personal differences as well as different functions do not erase equality. Consider leaders. Their functions give them greater responsibility. Leaders are equally human, too. Here both God’s desires and Jesus shine brightly. Our triune God desired in their eternity that the Second Person become a human being to save the human race.4 Jesus, leader to our salvation, leads us because his full humanity included experiencing death and the fear it causes each person.

Our creator became our equal to save us! Becoming our equal did not stop Jesus from being our creator. Becoming our equal allows each person to partner with Jesus. Next to Jesus’ Incarnation and redeeming us, becoming equal partner with Jesus is one of the greatest mysteries. Pondering that mystery in whichever state of living is ours welcomes Jesus afresh, renews our interest in God’s desires and graces us to walk more closely with Jesus.

In your daily 15 minutes with Jesus this week
  • Rest in our triune God.
  • Ask St. Paul and your patron saint to present you to Jesus.
  • Chat with him: praise Jesus for dying and rising for you; thank him for joining us completely in our human condition.
    Ask him for grace to walk more closely with him and to share his heart.
  • Close saying slowly the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus gave his prayer to shape us as partners with him and his saving work.

Link to this homily’s Spiritual Exercise

  1. Ephesians 5.32.
  2. Luke 1.52.
  3. Pope Francis’ phrase echoes through his encyclical, Laudato Si.
  4. Ignatius of Loyola, Spiritual Exercises [102].

No comments: