Basic Information

Mass Location: St. Mary Magdalen Chapel, 2532 Ventura Blvd., Camarillo, CA 93010
Mass Time: Sunday 10 a.m. (check parish website bulletin for special feastdays which may be different)
Confessions: 9:00-9:45 a.m. - see schedule below

Monday, June 29, 2015

Homily - Fifth Sunday after Pentecost - June 28, 2015

1 Pt. 3:8-15; Jn. Mt. 5:20-24

Our Gospel today is taken from the Sermon on the Mount of our Lord.  Successively, he takes an Old Testament command, in today’s case, “Thou shalt not kill,” and continues, “But what I say,” and presents us with a higher standard, in this Gospel passage, “whoever is angry with his brother is subject to judgment.”  Our Lord is not simply giving a higher standard or a more strict command.  Rather, it is a matter of the heart.  St. Peter, in our Epistle, gives the famous Christian moral axiom, “Avoid evil and do good,” and continues, “Sanctify the Lord Christ, in your hearts.”

The heart had a special meaning to the people of the Old and New Testaments, some of which we have carried over to our own modern mentality.  The heart was the seat of our emotional activity; it is the source of our thoughts, desires, and actions.  It is also the place where God’s activity takes place in us, sanctifying grace; God speaks to the heart, Christ dwells in our hearts, the Holy Ghost has been given to our hearts.  It is where the Kingdom of God resides.  The Lord says, “The Kingdom of God is within you.”  It is the place where our transformation lies.  Conversion is called a change of heart. 

Under the Old Testament, it was possible for one to avoid murder, but then to harbor all kinds of vicious thoughts for one’s neighbor.  But how much room is there in this heart of ours?  We recall the parable of the Kingdom, in which the weeds grow and choke off the good seed which has been planted.  The Lord wants none of this for us.  He wants us to be at peace.  He wants to free our hearts for His indwelling, His grace, and His Kingdom.

The Lord wants His people to be united, and so He says in today’s Gospel, “If you bring your gift to the altar and remember that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift, and first go and be reconciled to your brother.”  It may be impossible for us to leave this chapel and travel across the sea to be reconciled with such a one.  That is not what the Gospel means.  We must be reconciled in our hearts.  The traditional Mass helps us.  In the prayers at the foot of the altar, we pray Psalm 42, “I will go up to the altar of God, the God who gives joy to my heart.”  This Psalm is filled with joy at offering His one Sacrifice for the salvation of all the world.  But then, we remember our sins.  We say the Confiteor, so that we can do just this, free our hearts for all His grace.  We do this at every Mass.

In the Scriptures, the heart is the key to the person.  “Where your heart is, your treasure will be.”  If we desire reconciliation with God and neighbor, we have given our hearts to God, we have given Him the key to our person, and, eventually, by our good efforts and His grace, everything else in our lives will follow suit.  And His Kingdom will come to its fullness in us, beginning with our heart.