Deacon Steven Johnson’s Homily – 8-25-22

Homily for the 21st Week of Ordinary Time, Thursday, 8-25-22, Year C
Readings: 1 Cor 1:1-9; Ps 145:2-7; Gospel Mt 24:42-51
Optional Memorials: St. Louis, King of France, St. Joseph Calasanz, Priest
Theme: Be Prepared

The Boy Scouts’ motto is, “Be Prepared.” For any person who went through scouting in the older days, whether boy scouts or girl scouts, they know that it all boiled down to two things, building good character and being prepared for almost anything. In scouting, young people are taught how to be good people, good stewards of the earth, good helpers to their neighbors, and to be prepared for almost anything that can happen in life. The scouts helped to build character and skills to adapt to almost any situation with love, kindness, and knowledge. These were unchanging values and characteristics that made a scout who they are today.

Like the Scouts of old, God does the same thing for us through the prophets of old, His Son Jesus Christ, and the many saints and theologians of our past church history. These values and characteristics are unchanging, and they make the human person pleasing to God today.

But for many of us, we do not look at being prepared in our spiritual life the same way as we do our earthly life; yet our spiritual life is so much more important than our earthly life. Why are we not as prepared for life after death as we are for life on this earth? Mostly it comes down to short-sightedness. Many of us only understand what we can see, touch, and feel here on earth. Spirituality is something abstract to us, we cannot necessarily put a finger on it, point to a hard reality that exists in this world that confirms a belief. We have too much pride and not enough humility. We can think of ourselves as having advanced so far in human development that maybe we are our own God. We’ve decided for ourselves what God is like and we ignore the realities of the teachings from of old.

I hear it all the time. “You are out of touch.” “Your belief in something supernatural is not real or even relevant in today’s educated world.” “Who would be ignorant enough to actually have blind faith in anything? And if they actually say they believe in God, they make judgments about what His will should be to fit current societal norms.” Are these norms that they have attached to God, God’s norms? Many of us need to step back and think about that question.

The devil is a great deceiver. He convinces us in our minds that we know better than God, or that we can interpret God’s plan differently than what was originally taught by the prophets or even Christ Himself. He even convinces us to discount the thousands of saints, theologians, and scholars before us that upheld the original teachings of Christ with sound doctrine, refuting those who taught something different or more in line with current societal ideology.

There are many of us who have been lulled into thinking that religion, belief in God, or living out the teachings of Christ is irrelevant in today’s world. Many do not believe anymore or have adapted their belief in God and what His will is to what they think it should be. They have convinced themselves that they somehow know better than what the Bible, the prophets, or even Christ Himself taught. These same people believe that Christ’s teachings are fluid and changing with the times and norms of current society. Somehow, they have convinced themselves that God has provided them with new revelations on how to live out His will and ignore or change the teachings of the past. How far from the truth can they be? The Hebrew people, all through the book of Kings in the Old Testament, thought the same way and we know how that turned out for them time after time.

To be prepared is to allow ourselves to understand the complete teachings of salvation history as taught by the Church herself. To be prepared is to believe in the unchanging lessons of the Old and New Testaments, to believe what 2,000 years of saints and theologians before us argued and fought for. We must not be swayed by the thinking of the day. As said in the Letter to the Hebrews, “Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings.” (Heb 13:7-9)

Published by St. James, Belvidere

Saint James Catholic Church, Belvidere, IL