Thursday, March 10, 2016

Homily at Holy Spirit Catholic Community, 5th Sunday of Lent C, March 13 ,2016 by Beverly Bingle RCWP

Today's Gospel is not about adultery.
It's about how to judge.
Jesus' message is not that we should not judge
but that we must make considered moral decisions
when we do judge.
We must form opinions through wise and careful discernment,
with reason and common sense
and most of all, with heart.
It's about good judgment and bad judgment,
about judging others and judging ourselves.
It's about merciful forgiveness.
The scribes and Pharisees are all riled up…
at the woman… and at Jesus.
And he puts the brakes on their anger
and their self-righteousness at her
and their wily attempts to use her to trap him.
He stops and considers.
Then he gives them a response
that reminds them of a passage in Deuteronomy
about casting the first stone.
They think about it
and change their minds about stoning the woman
and they leave off their attempt to trap him.
Tuesday is primary election day here in Ohio,
and we all have some judging to do.
How will we decide
about whether to vote for or against a tax increase?
How will we decide
about who to nominate to run in November
for County Commissioner or District Court or U.S. Senator…
or President?
Jesus has a lot to say about how to judge.
In this Gospel passage, Jesus says,
"Let the one among you who is without sin
be the first to throw a stone.”
In Matthew's Sermon on the Mount
he teaches to “stop judging.”
Earlier in John's Gospel, in Chapter 5,
he teaches that what makes a judgment just
is first to listen to the facts and opinions and witnesses
and then to follow God's will, not our own.
That doesn't mean we are to imitate the terrorists in the Middle East
who murder people who don't agree with them
and claim to be Muslims doing God's will.
Nor does it mean we are to imitate
the demagogues in our own country
who denigrate people who disagree with them
and claim to be Christians doing God's will.
The Presidential race has been headline news for months,
accusations from all sides
tweeted around like sparrows on steroids.
But we have to judge.
It's our responsibility as human beings and as citizens…
and it's our responsibility as Christians.
We are called to exercise faithful citizenship,
to enter into a process of conscientious discernment
for justice and the common good.
In our discernment process
we are blessed with the long tradition
of the principles we call Catholic Social Teaching,
yardsticks to help us judge rightly,
all based on the right and dignity of the human person.
So we listen to how each candidate talks
about the economics and law and policy
that affect human rights and human dignity.
We listen for the impact that candidates' ideas have
on the common good and the well-being of all,
whether they will help or harm the poor and vulnerable.
We listen to what they say
to find out if their policies will protect human rights.
We pay attention to whether a candidate's platform on the economy
will serve people,
and not the other way around.
We want to see that they respect basic rights to productive work,
to decent and fair wages, to unionize, to a safe workplace.
And we look at candidate positions
to see if they reflect the fact
that we are our brothers' and sisters' keepers,
one human family regardless of national, racial, ethnic,
economic, religious, gender, or ideological differences.
We check out each candidate's policies
on caring for our common home.
And then, this coming Tuesday, and again in November,
we will judge.
We'll make serious choices,
keeping in mind that every person is precious,
that people are more important than things,
and that the measure of our society
and of our own soul
is whether we choose to threaten or to enhance
the life and dignity of every human person
and the earth we call home.
Glory be to God, this is a holy business we're about!

Holy Spirit Catholic Community
Saturdays at 4:30 p.m./Sundays at 5:30 p.m.
Holy Thursday, March 24, 5:30 p.m.
Holy Saturday, March 26, 5:30 p.m.
at 3925 West Central Avenue (Washington Church)

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