Fr. Fedor's Homily Notes

16th Sunday of the Year – July 22, 2018

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Jeremiah 23: 1-6 Ephesians 2: 13-18 Mark 6: 30-34

 

How can I know God? What reveals the reality of God to us? After all, so many either deny God or simply ignore God in their lives.

 

Often the presence of God is thought to be found in some sort of power, or powerful action. Perhaps God is sought in a cure or in the favorable solution to a problem. It is a solution to a difficulty that is overcome according to our perspective or desire. These things, and many like them, might appear to us as ideal and make God evident to us in a pleasing and acceptable way. But if this does not happen, then the conclusion is that there is no God or God, in someway, hates me.

 

This simply is not so. If we would like an important insight into what reveals God to the world, it can be found in the thought shared by Saint Paul that we heard today. Paul is writing to the Christian community in the ancient city of Ephesus (in modern-day Turkey). This community is made up of believers in Jesus Christ, some of whom are from a Jewish background and tradition and others were non-Jewish or Gentile in their origin.

 

Paul makes clear a simple fact about the Christian faith. It Is to be understood, he communicates, that the ultimate sacrifice of the God-man Jesus Christ on our behalf reveals the gift of total love of God that the cross represents. Barriers between Jew and non-Jew were torn down. The barriers which we erect between persons for whatever reason have been removed. All of creation, all persons in creation, have been reconciled to God and share in the redeeming action of Jesus Christ. It is up to us, however, to recognize, to accept and to live the opportunity of this reconciliation with God.

 

What reveals to us the presence and reality of God more than anything else is the unity of all persons as redeemed children of a loving God as well as the genuine peace among all persons that would result. Is such peace absent in our world? Is such peace absent in our lives? The absence of that peace arises from a lack of effort to bring together, to unite, all persons on the basis of all being common children of our loving God and Father.

 

Jeremiah, the Old Testament prophet, berated the kings, the leaders of his time, because their selfish attitudes and actions, their self-indulgence and neglect of their responsibilities, led to failure as leaders and to the exile of the people. Jeremiah’s vision was of a true leader who would come forth to unite peoples and bring peace.

 

It is Jesus Christ who fits the vision of Jeremiah, and Jesus Christ who is presented to us today in a truly human situation representing how it is that God enters into our lives. Despite his personal exhaustion, despite the exhaustion of the Apostles after their mission, Jesus was moved by the very human emotion of compassion for those who pursued his presence and hungered for his word. Thus, he proceeded to speak to them, to proclaim the Gospel message of the unity and peace God intends for all of creation.

 

It is for unity and peace that we hunger. It is for unity and peace that we pray week after week as Church. Yet it is also for unity and peace that we must earnestly work, making every effort on our part, in our words and in our action, to overcome the barriers we establish, as well as the division and discord that arise from selfishness and self-indulgence. It is the achievement of unity and peace that we must guide the decisions we follow and the choices we make. In achieving a true unity and peace in our lives and with whomever is part of our lives, as well as a true unity and peace in our country and in our world that will be revealed the truth and the reality of our good and gracious God.