Homily: Sunday 20 October
Sunday 20 October 2019
Archbishop Peter A Comensoli
The image of Moses from our first reading today is dramatic. In the Israelite’s battle with Amalek, the perennial enemy of God’s People, it is God’s chosen leader, with arms outstretched, who sustains Joshua and his fighters. Yet, without the support of Aaron and Hur, Moses would have wilted, and the battle would have been lost.
Let’s not get caught up in the rather violent Old Testament manner in which God achieved his goal through Moses. What I find significant is that Moses did not do it on his own. There is something vitally important in the supporting role of Aaron and Hur. They played their part – they did their bit – in helping to bring about God’s victory. Israel won the day because they worked together to achieve God’s purpose.
There is something of this same ‘joint effort approach’ is the parable that Jesus taught. While it was the woman who persisted in seeing justice done, the reluctant judge eventually worked with her to bring about a just outcome. Again, without someone in a vital supporting role, God’s hoped-for result may not have happened.
This ‘joint effort approach’ – this ‘doing it together’ – in co-operating with God’s plan can sometimes be hidden behind the up-front leader. Think of the great Salvadorian saint, Oscar Romero. He was the Archbishop of Sal Salvador, who was murdered in 1980 for his strong stand against the tyranny inflicted on the people of El Salvador. He was a modern-day leader in the line of Moses, standing before his people, defending them in the name of Jesus. But his martyrdom was supported by countless other un-named Christians who stood with him against the government sponsored persecutions. Whenever you look at the lives of our great leader saints, there is inevitable others by their side, who have worked and died with them to bring the saving strength of Jesus into the lives of others.
Our parishes best flourish as communities of Christ’s disciples when there is common and connected work being done. As our children are prepared for the sacraments, a team of catechists and teachers are enlivening the faith life of their parents. As Mass is celebrated for us who can get here on Sunday, the Eucharist is made available to the sick and housebound by a dedicated group of Ministers. As a parish considers how to move forward in faith, hope and love, groups like SVdP, Couples for Christ (or whatever groups you might have) bring tremendous stores of goodness and committed service to the mission.
In any community of God’s People – including your community – the work of salvation is best carried out by way of a ‘joint effort approach’. This is not the Parish Priest’s parish; nor is it the laity’s parish. This is God’s parish, and it is only in the lives and gifts that God has brought together in you – and then working together – that it will flourish. This is God’s way for us.
It’s not about a bunch of individuals doing their own thing for God. It is about us, together, as the one Body of Christ, each with a role to play, but no one unconnected to each other. Finding where each of us belongs in this Body, encouraging each other to make use of our gifts, and cooperating with each other in our common task, is the way in which the light of Christ will come to shine brightly.