Deacon Steven Johnson’s Homily
July 8, 2021
Homily for the 14th Week of Ordinary Time, Thursday, 7-8-21, Year B
Readings: 1st Gn 44:18-21, 23b-29; 45:1-5, 2nd Gospel Mt 10:7-15
Theme: Saving Lives Free of Charge
Many times, I find myself examining some good thing that happened to me. I ask myself, “Why did this happen to me?” I did not do anything to deserve it, but I needed it nonetheless. It was such a gift and at a time when I needed a lift up. As I discern this good thing that happened to me, I realize that something in my past was the impetus for this to happen now. I could not see it then, or even imagine that this thing in the past was meant to lift me up now. In the end, I can only wonder in amazement at the reality of God’s plan for me, for all of us.
God has a way of planning things in advance to protect those who believe and trust in Him. For Jacob and his fledgling tribe, God, in His providence, sets up Joseph years in advance to be the savior of his own family. Through the sinful act of the brothers toward Joseph (selling him to the Egyptians out of jealousy), God provided a saving act of love back to them through Joseph years later, something they did not deserve. God, in His loving plan, allowed Joseph not to be killed as his brothers wanted, but to be sold into Egypt with the idea that he would be the savior to his brothers and father years later. It was Joseph who had wisely saved grain from past bountiful harvests for times of famine and drought. Joseph, showing mercy for his family, provided life-giving food to his brothers who were unworthy to receive it. The mercy and love that Joseph had for his brothers is an image, a foreshadowing of Christ’s saving grace on the cross for all of us. We come to Jesus, starving for food from heaven and are given it out of love and mercy, who are also unworthy to receive it. God does not destroy but saves, many times, through the actions of our brothers, sisters, or neighbors.
These merciful gifts and graces we all experience have a root somewhere in our past, something long ago that brought that grace to fulfilment now. And when we examine these catalyst moments in our past, we often find that it was a person, inspired by God, at no cost to us, free of charge, who set things in motion. The old saying, “The best things in life are free.” is so true in God’s plan for us.
It should remind us that our service to God, and thus to our friends, family, and neighbors, should never come at a cost to them. We should offer our holy inspirations, evangelizing, and especially service to God, without cost. This does not preclude people from offering donations in some way to help those who help them. For Christ says, “The laborer deserves his keep.” But it does preclude us, who work in service to God, not to ask or expect payment in any way, or to use the “laborer’s keep” as a profit to build up earthly wealth. Remember, when it comes to saving lives, “Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.”
So, let God act through you for someone today so they might receive graces tomorrow.