December 10, 2023
The gospel is a situation where James and John forget the ultimate promise. Jesus is doing the will of God. He's going to Jerusalem. Now that really means he's going knowing he will be killed and dying there.

Homily given at Christian Brothers College High School, Town and Country, Missouri. Readings for Today. Listen to our other homilies.

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The Joy of the Law


This first reading is really an interesting one. It is a return from exile, and so the people that are coming back have had little or no exposure to the Jewish law at all because they’ve been in exile in Babylon.

But they come back, they’re excited because they’re able to return to their ancestral home, and for the occasion they decide to read and interpret the law, the Torah, for the people who have not heard it. And it’s an amazing experience as they hear the law of God, and as they hear it explained to them, and as they get a sense of what they’ve been missing in their life, what kinds of things have not been present to them in terms of their heritage, of their faith. And they’re overcome with joy.

They’re so joyful at this that they begin to weep because they realize what they have lost and what they have found. It’s not always easy to appreciate the law. It is not always easy to appreciate that God gives us a gift in telling us what it means to be human, how to live, what to do, what kind of attitude to have, how to worship, how to forgive, how to order every aspect of our life in a way where it is in union with what God knows is best for us.

We need to ask ourselves today to what degree do we hear and understand what it is that God has asked of us. Now the good news is that Jesus has helped us because He’s taken the entire law and the prophets and the Gospels and everything else you would want to know about how to live according to God’s way, and reduced it to two things that we need to remember. We need always to love God and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Let us ask the Lord today for the grace to do so.

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