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Continuity of Life with Jesus - Weekday Homily Video

Continuity of Life with Jesus - Weekday Homily Video

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If you like showdowns, today’s readings are right up your alley. First, from the Book of Kings, we have the prophet Elijah asking all the people, “How long will you straddle the issue?” The issue being: worship of the true God versus worship of the pagan god, Baal. The point being: they couldn’t worship both.



Imagine if Fr. Boby got up and asked us a similar question … that’s what it was like for those people. And, as we heard, Elijah was outnumbered (450 to 1) by the competition—the prophets who directed people to worship a pagan god. Yet he believed to the point where he challenged them to call on their god as he called on his.

We see the result. The god Baal was seen to be false, and the God of Elijah was able to overcome natural law and bring fire upon the water-soaked and immersed sacrifice. And so, the people of Israel were convinced.


Jewish Law and Jesus' Teaching


Then, there is the recurring showdown between Jesus and the scribes and the Pharisees. In this case, it has to do with the role of the Jewish law, the Torah, and whether it will still apply in light of Jesus’ teaching … not to mention the role of the scribes and Pharisees in relation to Jesus.

If you think back in time to childhood, I’m sure we’d remember when it seemed like there were endless rules to follow, and for the most part, we followed them. As we’ve grown older, there is an understanding of why we need those rules in society and within families. Part of this understanding involves an appreciation for order and justice. We also seek continuity in our laws or rules.

It's in this way that we can understand an honest wonderment for the scribes and Pharisees of how they would integrate the Torah with Jesus’ teaching. In fact, in a parallel way, the Church of Jesus Christ today looks for continuity and integrity with the Scriptures and Tradition of the Church as well, whether as it relates to the sacraments, ecclesial governance, or ethical and moral matters of today in our personal and professional lives.

Both the people of today’s gospel and we are reminded of two key realities: first, Jesus teaches with Divine authority. The Son of God is communicating the will of God the Father; there is no higher authority.




Second, Jesus has come to fulfill the Jewish law and Scriptures, not to abolish them. In other words, his life, death, and resurrection is God’s promise delivered. In the Gospel of Matthew, the word fulfill pertains to Jesus bringing what was prophesied in the law and the Scriptures to reality.

Jesus is also the fulfillment in the sense that He teaches us about the type of life we are called to live. This involves not just following the law and knowing Scripture but reflecting upon its purpose and growing in virtue and holiness of life.

Jesus is calling us to move beyond the scribes and Pharisees and their ideologies that persist today as well as our current temptations. Jesus is calling us to have the certitude and courage of the faith of Elijah by recognizing the authority of Jesus and his teachings.

The way we grow in being more like Jesus is to both know and live His way. May we seek to both know and love the way of Jesus with our families every day.

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About Father David Marcham

Reverend David S. Marcham is the Vice Postulator for the Cause of Venerable Patrick Peyton, and Director of the Father Peyton Guild, whose members pray for Father Peyton’s beatification and spread his message of the importance of Family Prayer. Prior to becoming a seminarian, Father David was a physical therapist and clinical instructor, serving hospital inpatients and outpatients throughout the greater Boston area for eleven years. In 1998 he heard the call to priesthood and was ordained in the Archdiocese of Boston in 2005. Father David grew up in Quincy, MA, and has fond memories of playing soccer, tennis and running track. You’re never without a friend when Father David is around, as he welcomes everyone into his circle with a smile on his face!