Homilette for Friday, August 7, 2009

Friday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time

(Deuteronomy 4: 32-40; Matthew 16:24-28)

Aboard the ship Arbella just before landing in Boston harbor, Governor John Winthrop told the Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony that they must be like a ¨city on a hill¨ for the world to see and imitate. Of course, Governor Winthrop was making a reference to Jesus´ Sermon on the Mount, but his words also echo Moses´ in the reading from Deuteronomy today.

Moses reminds the Israelites of God´s special interest in them. God has led them from captivity in Egypt to freedom. He has carefully weeded them of their vices and made them into His holy people. Now, Moses says, the people must respond to the Lord´s particular kindness to them by keeping His laws and statutes. In this way they will give testimony to the world of God´s own righteousness.

We should consider ourselves every bit as chosen as the Puritans and the Israelites. God has called us by name in Baptism and fed us with the body and blood of His son in the Eucharist. We show our closeness to God by heeding the words that Jesus speaks in the gospel. Rather than complain and reject the crosses that burden our lives, we are to accept them in imitation of Jesus who bore a much more formidable one. In doing so, we not only become a model for the world to follow; we also gain the fullness of happiness that our hearts desire.