God’s Healing Role in the Rebuilding of the Church, Wednesday of the 25th Week in Ordinary Time (I), September 25, 2013

Fr. Roger J. Landry
St. Bernadette Parish, Fall River, MA
Wednesday of the 25th Week in Ordinary Time, Year I
September 25, 2013
Ezra 9:5-9, Tob 13:2-4.7-8, Lk 9:1-6

To listen to an audio recording of today’s homily please click here: 

 

The following points were attempted in the homily:

  • As we continue to ponder the rebuilding of the Temple of Jerusalem after the exile and apply it to the rebuilding (resurrection) of Jesus the True Temple, to the constant reconstruction of the Temple of the family of the Church, and each of us as a temple of the Holy Spirit, today we see that that rebuilding project is first and foremost the work of God.
  • Ezra tells us in the first reading that after all of Israel’s sins led to their being delivered up, the mercy of the Lord came to them, leaving a remnant, giving them a stake in his holy placed, relieving them of their servitude, turning even the will of the pagan kings of Persia toward them, and giving them new life by raising again the house of God and restoring its ruins. As we read yesterday, the Israelites of course needed to collaborate in this work by sacrificing their possessions and a lot of their elbow grease for this building project, but the work was principally God’s.
  • We see the same primacy of God’s action in the Gospel today as Jesus sends out the apostles to rebuild the People of God. He sent them out with nothing for the journey precisely so that they would be able to preach by their witness, and not just by their words, the God is provident, that he cares for all our needs, that if he cares for the birds of the sky and the grass of the field he will care so much more for us.
  • It’s also important for us to grasp that Jesus sent them out to “proclaim the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” Preaching and healing went together because just as much as God wanted to heal the wounds of the Israelites after the exile he wanted to address the sufferings of the people, transfiguring their wounds such that they could enter the Kingdom. Pope Francis, in his interview with Jesuit journals on September 19, mentioned this connection between preaching and healing. “I see clearly,” the Pope declared in the interview, “that the thing the Church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful; it needs nearness, proximity. I see the Church as a field hospital after battle. … You have to heal his wounds. Then we can talk about everything else. Heal the wounds. Heal the wounds.” For people to be open to the proclamation of the Gospel, they have to have their wounds addressed. The Church is meant to be a family of Good Samaritans, who take responsibility for each other, who wash, clean and raise others up. This is the way we show that the Kingdom of God has really come, because we convey the presence, the love and the mercy of the King. It’s by allowing God’s mercy to shine through us that God continues to build up the Church in every age.

The readings for today’s Mass were: 

Reading 1
EZR 9:5-9

At the time of the evening sacrifice, I, Ezra, rose in my wretchedness,
and with cloak and mantle torn I fell on my knees,
stretching out my hands to the LORD, my God.I said: “My God, I am too ashamed and confounded to raise my face to you,
O my God, for our wicked deeds are heaped up above our heads
and our guilt reaches up to heaven.
From the time of our fathers even to this day
great has been our guilt,
and for our wicked deeds we have been delivered up,
we and our kings and our priests,
to the will of the kings of foreign lands,
to the sword, to captivity, to pillage, and to disgrace,
as is the case today.

“And now, but a short time ago, mercy came to us from the LORD, our God,
who left us a remnant and gave us a stake in his holy place;
thus our God has brightened our eyes
and given us relief in our servitude.
For slaves we are, but in our servitude our God has not abandoned us;
rather, he has turned the good will
of the kings of Persia toward us.
Thus he has given us new life
to raise again the house of our God and restore its ruins,
and has granted us a fence in Judah and Jerusalem.”

Responsorial Psalm
TB 13:2, 3-4A, 4BEFGHN, 7-8

R. (1b) Blessed be God, who lives for ever.
He scourges and then has mercy;
he casts down to the depths of the nether world,
and he brings up from the great abyss.
No one can escape his hand.
R. Blessed be God, who lives for ever.
Praise him, you children of Israel, before the Gentiles,
for though he has scattered you among them,
he has shown you his greatness even there.
R. Blessed be God, who lives for ever.
So now consider what he has done for you,
and praise him with full voice.
Bless the Lord of righteousness,
and exalt the King of ages.
R. Blessed be God, who lives for ever.
In the land of my exile I praise him
and show his power and majesty to a sinful nation.
R. Blessed be God, who lives for ever.
Bless the Lord, all you his chosen ones,
and may all of you praise his majesty.
Celebrate days of gladness, and give him praise.
R. Blessed be God, who lives for ever.

Gospel
LK 9:1-6

Jesus summoned the Twelve and gave them power and authority
over all demons and to cure diseases,
and he sent them to proclaim the Kingdom of God
and to heal the sick.
He said to them, “Take nothing for the journey,
neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money,
and let no one take a second tunic.
Whatever house you enter, stay there and leave from there.
And as for those who do not welcome you,
when you leave that town,
shake the dust from your feet in testimony against them.”
Then they set out and went from village to village
proclaiming the good news and curing diseases everywhere.