Deacon Steven Johnson’s Homily 10-27-22

Homily for the 30th Week of Ordinary Time, Thursday, 10-27-22, Year C
Readings: Eph 6:10-20; Ps 144:1b,2,9-10; Gospel Lk 13:31-35
Theme:  Persevere for the Lord’s Coming

“I will never agree with you on your version of Catholicism.” These words were texted to me on a post I put on Facebook about abortion. Part of my response was, “…it is not “my version of Catholicism.” It is God’s Church, the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ, the original and only Christian faith that holds the full deposit of the faith. It is the one Church from which all other Christian faiths stem. There is no interpretation or version that is different than what Christ taught and what God’s commandment (His Will) for us is.”

The intent of the texter in this case was one of good intent but spoken without a full understanding of the Catholic Faith and what is believed and taught by the Church and Magisterium. It is their version of the faith as they understand it through the lens of society, not that of Christ or His Church. The irony is that the “version of my Catholicism” they refer to is actually their version of what they think I believe, or what the Church teaches.

St. Paul warns us in today’s reading that we must be prepared for subtle and cunning attacks by the Devil, even those attacks using good, unwitting, and well-intended people to do his work. If we are not on constant guard, we can be tricked into straying from our faith as taught by Jesus Himself. Many of these arguments on social hot topics today appear on the surface to be sensible and understandable in light of current societal norms, but underneath they are the same lie they were 2,000 years ago.

Jesus points out this subtle and cunning work of the Devil in Luke’s passage today. The Jews were trying to convince Jesus that Herod wanted to kill Him so He would flee that place. Yet it was the Jews who really wanted to kill Jesus, and in no way were they going to let Herod do that. Jesus points out their hidden desire to kill Him by saying, “it is impossible that a prophet should die outside of Jerusalem.” We know that most all of the prophets before Jesus were killed by the Jews in or around Jerusalem. The same fate awaits Jesus, yet this is not a fate of Jewish intent but the will of God, that through Jesus’s death and resurrection, He will save all humanity, even those Jews who were trying to kill Him.

Jesus tells the Pharisees He must continue on His journey toward Jerusalem, teaching, healing, and revealing the Kingdom of God, and that when He finally reaches Jerusalem, those Pharisees will see Him again, and this time they will say, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” For many, this statement will hold true, but for the Pharisees and others, this statement will be empty praise with evil intent upon His entrance into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.

The meaning of this passage in Luke is that Jesus wants the Church amid persecution to wait perseveringly for the Lord’s coming.1 St. Paul reinforces Luke’s idea which is relevant today.

“Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the Devil. For our struggle is not with flesh and blood by with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens. Therefore, put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day and, having done everything, to hold your ground.” 

1 – St. Jerome Biblical Commentary – Gospel of Luke

Published by St. James, Belvidere

Saint James Catholic Church, Belvidere, IL