Homily Sunday October 31st
The LORD is our God, the LORD alone, “the Lord our God is one Lord”; “the Lord our God, the Lord is one”; “the Lord is our God, the Lord is one.” The Shema is the root belief of a God-fearing person. A God-fearing person does not fear to love. Even death is not an obstacle to love for one who has faith. Through reasoning, we can logically surmise that if God exists, then there must be one God. Not only that but there must be only one God who had no beginning. God must be the one God who created all that exists out of nothing. Nothing is non-existence, which is always outside of God. Where there is no existence, there is no being. God is pure and actual being. God is eternal having no beginning and no end. But we know through our physical senses that we have an apparent beginning at conception and an ending in death. Our belief and understanding of God can be approached with our physical senses and our intellect. Belief in God requires a leap of faith. How can we take this leap of faith? Only with the help of God Himself. We would be in the dark if God had not revealed Himself to enlighten us. Why did God create us only to see us fall and then reveal Himself to us? Because He loves us so much that He made us in His image. We are creatures with rational souls, intellect, and the ability to choose. All choices amount to the decision to love or not to love; to be true to our created image or untrue to it; to acknowledge God or deny Him. When we deny Him, we deny ourselves. This saying is trustworthy:
If we have died with him
we shall also live with him;
if we persevere
we shall also reign with him.
But if we deny him
he will deny us.
If we are unfaithful
he remains faithful,
for he cannot deny himself. (2 Ti 2:11-13)
The greatest sign of God’s love is that He came into His own created world to live and die for His people. That is how we know that God loves us. He gives us the sign. “An evil and unfaithful generation seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it except the sign of Jonah the prophet…” (Mt 12:39) The “sign” of Jonah is interpreted in two ways in the New Testament: His experience of three days and nights in the fish is a “type” of the experience of the Son of Man (Mt 12:39–40), and the Ninevites’ reaction to the preaching of Jonah is contrasted with the failure of Jesus’ generation to obey the preaching of one who is “greater than Jonah” (Mt 12:41–42; Lk 11:29–32). Jonah was only able to complete his divine mission with divine aid. At first, Jonah ran away from God. He faced his death and was compelled, but not forced, to turn back to God to beg for life. Jonah was given life and did God’s will, but then he got angry over God’s mercy to a nation of His enemies who repented. Jonah is resentful and would rather die than see enemies forgiven even though they repent. Jonah preferred death despite repentance and reconciliation. Jonah knew God is merciful, and he resented it. That’s why God is the only just judge because many are jealous and resent His mercy for all who repent. Only by receiving the grace and mercy of God is anyone able to have mercy and love to offer. Jesus obediently surrendered to death to give the world access to healing, life-giving grace, and reconciliation. Something greater than Jonah is here now and always will be. God’s power is made perfect in our weakness so that in our weakness the strength of God is seen on the Cross of Christ. (cf. 2 Cor 12:9)
You are my witnesses—oracle of the LORD—
my servant whom I have chosen
To know and believe in me
and understand that I am he.
Before me no god was formed,
and after me there shall be none.
I, I am the LORD;
there is no savior but me.
It is I who declared, who saved,
who announced, not some strange god among you;
You are my witnesses—oracle of the LORD.
I am God,
yes, from eternity I am he;
There is none who can deliver from my hand:
I act and who can cancel it? (Is 43:10-13)
All the naysayers and disbelievers in the world cannot cancel the Sign of the Cross. “For since in the wisdom of God the world did not come to know God through wisdom, it was the will of God through the foolishness of the proclamation to save those who have faith. For Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.” (1 Cor 1:21-25)