Homily – September 23, 2018

In today’s gospel we hear Jesus predicting for the second time his future fate, ‘The son of man will be betrayed into the hands of men and they will kill him.’ In last week’s gospel we heard Peter saying, ‘God forbid Lord this must never happen to you.’ Peter and the others couldn’t image that the man they saw as their Messiah, their liberator, would suffer such a fate. This must never happen to you.

Jesus is one of a long line of righteous men who challenged by the example of their lives the infidelities of their religious leaders, lives that scandalized the little people of the land.

In our first reading from the Book of Wisdom we hear of the resentment of a group of unfaithful people toward a righteous man who struggled to be faithful to God. He is charged with making life inconvenient to them, opposing their actions, exposing their sins against the law.

This is how the religious leaders and scholars saw Jesus as a know nothing. They challenged his teaching, said his miracles were acts of the devil and resented his friendship with tax collectors and prostitutes. How could such a person claim to be a teacher of the Law, how dare he challenge their authority, how dare he question their authenticity?

Like the people in our first reading the religious leaders were determined to discredit Jesus. They bribed one of his own to betray him. Once they had him in their power they had a phony trial loaded with false witnesses. Using the Roman authorities they brought Jesus, this inconvenient man to Calvary to test what will happen at the end of his life and condemn him to a shameful death. “If you are God’s son come down from the cross and we will believe.’ Inconvenient to the end Jesus prayed ‘father forgive them for they know not what they do.’

Things don’t change. Men and women who speak out for justice and fairness for workers or people on welfare, people who support families who are in need of affordable housing, people who support senior citizens in need of help, health care workers who care for young men and women struggling with addictions, all these caring people are dismissed by the powers that be as bleeding hearts, commies, socialists, do gooders. Like Jesus they are inconvenient, bothersome to people in power, people who can affect a change.

We’ve been blessed with inconvenient heroes in our time, Martin Luther King. Archbishop Romero, Mother Teresa and nameless others who worked and suffered and died trying to uphold the dignity of all men and women. People who died trying to save the forests and rivers and mountains from greed and avarice of big corporations.

They were all an inconvenience to the powerful politicians or the wealthy corporations or the masters of commerce.

They are all brought to a shameful end but they were the witnesses to God love for the poor and oppressed.

Each one of us, in one way or another is called to be an inconvenience, a pebble in a shoe. We are called by our crucified Christ to be an inconvenient man or woman and speak out and work for the dignity of every person as He did when he identified himself with the little people, the powerless, the exploited men and women of his time.

We are called to be an inconvenient man or woman when we challenge people who stereotype good people because of their place of origin or their faith or the sexual orientation.

Today’s scripture challenges each one of us to be inconvenient, a bother and be a living example of one who tries and maybe not always succeed to love others, respect others,support others, forgive others as Christ as done so to us.