Homily for Wednesday, October 12, 2016
Wednesday in the 22nd Week after Pentecost
“You tithe mint and rue and herbs of all kinds,
and neglect justice and the love of God.”
Today’s gospel text is a call to authentic relationship with Jesus Christ. “Authentic” relationship with Jesus is not about rules and regulations – it’s not about tithing “mint and rue and herbs of all kinds” – but is about doing justice and loving God. To be sure, there are rules and regulations in the Church, as there are in any institution, and we are called to follow them as best we may. But it is important to keep in mind that the goal of these rules, the aim of our institution, is human health and wholeness, “justice and the love of God.”
For our Jewish brothers and sisters, today is Yom Kippur, the tenth and final day of the period of penitence that begins the Jewish year, and the holiest day of the Jewish year. Yom Kippur, too, is about authentic relationship with God, about acknowledging that only God is God, that we are fallen, and that yet in our fallen-ness, God loves and redeems us. Nothing could be more authentic, nothing could be more about justice and love, than acknowledging that only God is God, that we are fallen, and that God yet loves and redeems us. Everything else – our “tithing of mint and rue and herbs of all kinds,” our keeping of church rules and regulations – is meant to lead us into this relationship.
God desires to be in a healthy and authentic relationship with us; I hope and pray that we desire the same with God. For there is nothing more satisfying for human life than to be in relationship with God: a relationship that allows only God to be God, that lets us know how much God loves and redeems us, and in which we can delight in living lives of justice and love.