Short homily for Wednesday, 13 June 2012
Feast Day of St Anthony of Padua
1 Kings 18:20–39; Matthew 5:17–19
Jesus said, "I have not come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come to fulfill them."
We too often forget we live in a world that is in rebellion against God. There are untold ways people try to by-pass or change the law of God and its witness through his prophets. There are even some traditions claiming to be Christian which say that Jesus fulfilled the law for us so that we do not have to worry about it. It is a mercy –– because he loves us –– that God has given his law and sent his prophets. In this world that ultimately leads to death,God wants us to know the way of life.
It can seem there is a great inequity: only one true prophet of God for every 450 prophets of Baal –– and there are "prophets of Baal" in our our world today. The name has changed to something else: Freedom, Tolerance, Choice, Success, Pleasure.... But like the prophets of Baal long ago, these "gods" cannot deliver what they promise.
Yet God always provides a witness to the Truth for those who will hear.... Elijah knew that truth is not proven by majority opinion. Jesus says that truth is to be followed to its completion. He modeled that, and then gives us his Spirit so that his law –– his very character –– can transform our lives.
Today we celebrate St Anthony of Padua, who was mighty for the Truth in the late 12th / early 13th centuries. His message was Jesus –– the ultimate expression of Truth. We remember him today for his great witness to the Kingdom of heaven.
We today are privileged to be part of the Church.... a Church that teaches us to obey the commandments in spite of a culture that seems more impressed with the many prophets of "Baal" that scream their empty words.
Let us be people who believe in the Jesus Christ who said he was the Truth (standing against all who say there is no absolute truth). Let us be people who want to obey the commands, knowing they lead us to life (in contrast to the many people who think "authority" and "obedience" are stifling and even deadly). Let us be people who seek to be great, not in the eyes of this world, but in the Kingdom of heaven. We are here to follow Jesus –– the Jesus who completes the smallest part of a letter of the law in order to lead us into the very fullness of God.