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Homily for the 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Zechariah 9:9-10: Romans 8:9.11-13; Matthew 11 :25-30

Saint John Baptist de la Salle July 9, 2023

It is truly a joy to be able to share Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Jesus, with all of you. It even brings back memories of the time when I first received Holy Communion. One of the gifts that I received that day, at least one I liked best, was several comic books. Comic books, in those days, used to have advertisements on the back cover. One ad always caught my attention; it was a story about a guy on the beach, and someone kicking sand in his face, and calling him a 'ninety-pound weakling.' I barely weighed ninety pounds and I did not want that to happen to me, and I did not want anyone to think I was meek or weak in any way.

The words, meek and weak, are English words that rhyme, and many would consider them to mean the same thing, lacking in power. Or, at least, that being meek is the same thing as being weak. If you lack power, one has no choice but to be quiet, gentle, and submissive, and who wants to be like that? Yet our faith proclaims meekness to be a good thing. Indeed, the best image of God’s meekness can be found by simply looking up into the sky. The sun in our sky is our great blessing, simply because it stays so far away from us. Likewise, all people can only be themselves when our God, from whom we have all come, remains close but yet so far away. People who do not believe in God ask for proof of God’s existence. Unfortunately, what they are asking can never be granted. If we could prove that there is a God, it would not be God. Why not? When something is proven or explained, it becomes a part of our world. But the true meaning of the word God is what draws us forward, out of ourselves, beyond the world as it is today. Like the sun in the sky that is so far away, God makes living things grow. It seems that our country, the whole world around us, is coming apart. Is that something we can change? Who can say for certain?

There are people and countries who feel their strength and power is slipping away. Only those who know their strength, who know its source, can afford to be meek. Zechariah prophesied: 'See, your King shall come to you; a just savior is he, meek, and riding on an ass, on a colt, the foal of an ass.' Jesus, who we believe is the fulfillment of this prophecy, asks us to join him in meekness. 'Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart.' For those of us who believe in Jesus, meek does not mean weak, because the meekness of Jesus does not come from a lack of power. Far from it. There will always be worries and fears in our life, and in the world around us. The concerns that we have for ourselves and others will always fill us with some amount of strife. But we can strive for the good without abandoning meekness. At least we can have confidence in our faithful and merciful God who is always coming to be. Only those who fear that God has forsaken them need to give way to aggression. Meekness is not surrender. It is a strength that does not need to scream. Meekness is not a 'ninety-pound weakling.' Meekness is of God. Like the sun in the sky, God shines in sure love upon the good and the wicked.

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