I Pity the Fool!

Ninth Sunday of Ordinary Time Cycle A

Dt 11:18, 26-28, 32 Psalm Ps 31:2-3, 3-4, 17, 25 Rom 3:21-25, 28 Mt 7:21-27

Active imagination gone wrong
“The A-Team” was a show about a bunch of soldiers who were on the run from the law who went about taking care of people in unjust situations. One of the hero’s of this show was Mr. T – A huge body-builder with a Mohawk who was always saying – “I Pity the Fool… and then went on to dispense some pithy wisdom.

I often encourage you to listen to the Scriptures with an active imagination, placing your self in the scene and watching the gospel unfold on the little TV set inside your brain. Taking my own advice I cracked open the scriptures this past week and listened to the Gospel, and the image that flashed across the scene was Mr. T (the guy with the Mohawk) playing the part of Jesus telling the parable saying “I pity the fool who builds his house on sand…” So with that visual image fixed firmly in our brains, let’s set about reflecting on today’s readings.

Blessing and Curse
Moses begins our readings today by inviting us to “Take these words of mine into your heart and soul”. What words are we to invite into our heart and soul? “I set before you here, this day, a blessing and a curse: a blessing for obeying the commandments of the LORD, your God, which I enjoin on you today; a curse if you do not obey the commandments of the LORD, your God”. Moses is inviting us to take the commandments of the Lord into our heart and a soul – If we do, we are accepting the blessing of God. If we don’t, we are rejecting the blessing of God (which is a curse). If we do nothing, we are rejecting the blessings of God.

The four kinds of law
Eternal Law – This is the way the universe is in God’s mind. It applies to everyone everywhere. An example of Eternal Law – Physics. Every truth reflects Eternal Law, because Christ is the Truth.

Natural Law – Do good and avoid evil. It is our ability to cooperate in Eternal Law. We recognize that there is an order in the universe, and we choose to cooperate with that order in the universe. Killing the innocent is a violation of the Natural Law.

Human Law – These are things that we make up to solve problems. People are getting killed when they drink too much alcohol and then drive – so don’t drink and drive.

Divine Law – This is the law of God that is set up to lead us to true freedom. It is revealed law (in the 10 commandments and in the Beatitudes) to guide us into an eternal relationship with God. Following the divine law is the choice that today’s readings call us to. We have divine law because we are created for eternity – but this is revealed to us.

It is this last law, Divine law that we are called to bring into our hearts and our souls today.

What does it mean to take the Law of God into our heart and soul?
Jesus answers this question in the Gospel when he says “Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.” In other words, We learn to listen to Christ in the Church and to carry out the will of the Father in the world. There is a natural synergy here; it is in the Church, in the Mass that we learn to listen to the Father and it is in the world that we learn to do the will of the Father.

The Church helps us to listen to Christ by feeding our Heart, Mind and Soul.
The Church feeds our hearts – by inviting us into the Body of Christ. It is in the Church, through our friends and neighbors in the pews, or over a doughnut that we have the opportunity to grow in relationship with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

The Church feeds our minds – with the Scriptures and the Catechism that give reasons for our faith. The challenge of Sacred Scripture, and the teachings of the Church causes us to stretch, to think and to grow.

The Church feeds our souls – with the Eucharist. It is here that our souls are fed, nourished and exposed to the intensity of the love of the Father. The Eucharist gives us the strength to endure our trials with the strength of Christ on the Cross. This is why we begin the Eucharistic prayer with the offertory, to enable us to offer up our struggles, anxieties and temptations with Christ on the Cross. The Altar is the Cross, it is here that Christ is sacrificed, and we enter more deeply into the love of God.

How do we do the will of the Father in the World?
Jesus addresses the problem of our Christian tendency to hear with our ears, but not to act in our souls. He delivers a stern warning to us when he says “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.” We need to examine our lives and answer the question seriously, am I doing the will of the Father in the world?
  • Do we come to Mass on Sunday and say “Lord, Lord!” and then Monday lie to our bosses, or our mothers, or our friends?
  • Do we come to Mass on Sunday and say “Lord, Lord!” and view pornography on the internet?
  • Do we come to Mass on Sunday to say “Lord, Lord!” and then campaign for political candidates who support abortion, or neglect of the poor and immigrants?
Jesus and Mr. T - I Pity the Fool!

If we do then we need to repent – to change our minds, to turn around and to begin anew! Let us not become hypocrites, but rather let us allow God to write His law on our hearts, so that throughout this week we can give authentic witness to the reality of God’s presence in our lives. Imagine that Mr. T is reading the Gospel today instead of Deacon Paul. Jesus is saying to us – I pity the Fool who comes to Mass, hears my words and refuses to act on them. Why would we come here and refuse to change? Why are we here if we are not here to listen to the Word of God in our hearts, and not act on them in the world this week?

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