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Homily for Ninth Sunday March 5-6, 2011

posted Mar 6, 2011, 11:28 AM by fathermark@stmaryshuntingburg.org

9th Sunday of the Year

St. Mary's, Huntingburg

March 5-6, 2011



            "He's all talk and no action."

"Actions speak louder than words."

"If you're gonna talk the talk ... you've gotta walk the walk."

"You gotta practice what you preach."


            The devout Jews at the time of Jesus took literally what Moses says today in our first reading, from the Old Testament Book of Deuteronomy:

"Take these words of mine into your heart and soul. Bind them at your wrist as a sign; and let them be a pendant on your forehead."

And so, during their time of prayer, devout Jews wore two little leather pouches ... called phylacteries ... one tied around their forehead and the other tied around their left wrist ... each pouch containing four Scripture verses, including the verse that is considered at the heart of Jewish belief, from the Book of Deuteronomy, chapter 6:

"Hear, O  Israel! The Lord, our God, is God alone!

Therefore, you shall love the Lord, our God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength."

And these little pouches strapped to their forehead and arm were a visible reminder of their commitment to love the Lord, the God of Israel above all else.


            You may recall from another Gospel story that Jesus criticized the Pharisees for wearing bigger, more elaborate, and fancier phylacteries to show the world that they were really, really faithful  Jews.

The Pharisees wore huge phylacteries, with fancy tassels, to show that they were really serious about their love for God.


            But Jesus' criticism wasn't a fashion statement.

Jesus was saying "You're wearing the words, but you're not putting them into practice."

On your wrist and on your forehead, for all the world to see, is your profession of your love of God ... but what you're really loving is yourself ... by trying to draw all that attention to yourself.

Rather than giving God the praise ... you're seeking it for yourselves.

Rather seeking His plan ... you're following your own.

The words are plastered to your head and your arm ... but you aren't living it.


            "All talk and no action."

People talkin' the talk ... but not walkin' the walk ...."

People who are speakin the words ... while their actions are really tellin' the truth of it.


            Well, now that we've looked at those silly Pharisees, let's look a little closer to home.

In today's Gospel, Jesus warns:

"Not everyone who says to me 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven."

"Not everyone who says to me 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven ... but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven."


            In the course of this Mass today, you and I are going to say "Lord" dozens of times:

"Lord, have mercy."

"I believe in Jesus Christ our Lord.

"Lord, hear our prayer."

"Lord, I am not worthy."

I will say: "The Lord be with you."

Many of the prayers that I say end with "... through Christ our Lord" ....

... to which you will say "Amen."


            Now, sayin' "Lord, Lord" is pretty easy ... but livin' your life like he really is the Lord of your life is quite another thing.

If you're gonna  say that "Jesus is Lord" ... why, then, you have to live like the Lord wants you to live.

If you pray to "Jesus the Lord" ... then you have to trust that the Lord's "got it covered."

If you're gonna call out "Lord, Lord" ... then you have to follow in his footsteps.


            But if it's true for those Pharisees, it's no less true for us:

Actions speak louder than words.

Talk is cheap.

If we're gonna talk the talk, we gotta walk the walk.


            The good news is this:

The Lord always follows up on his word.

His actions speak louder than his words.

The Lord says that he loves us ... and he does ... and on the Cross, he proved it.

The Lord says he'll answer our prayers ... and he does ... not always just like we want ... but always better than we could imagine.

The Lord says that he is with us always ... and he is ... he's "got it covered" ... he's "got our back" ... he's worthy of our trust.


            And so, if we really believe that Jesus is the Lord ... and aren't just saying it with our lips ...

If Jesus is our Lord ... then we have nothing to fear ... no reason to be anxious about ... nothing to worry about.

The rains can come ... the winds can blow ... the flood waters can rise ...  but we're standing on rock ... we have confidence that our rock is the Lord ... and our Lord always "walks the talk."

Come hell or high water, we have nothing to fear ... if Jesus is really our Lord ... and "Lord" is not just an empty word on our lips.