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Homily

13th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Archbishop Gomez addressing the parishioners during his homily
“Discipleship is demanding. Following Jesus takes courage. We need to have the strength to love Jesus above everything — above every relationship in our lives.”

-Archbishop José H. Gomez

Homily — 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)


Most Reverend José H. Gomez
Archbishop of Los Angeles


Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels
June 28, 2020



My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

We continue to live in these challenging times, and we are praying for
healing and peace in our city and in our country, and we are praying also
for an end to this coronavirus pandemic that has changed our lives so
much in these past few months.

We turn to God always in our needs and especially as he comes to
encourage us and to enlighten us in the Eucharist. And in today’s
readings we have a lesson in faith and love, in what it means to be a
disciple, a follower of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Discipleship is demanding. Following Jesus takes courage. We need to
have the strength to love Jesus above everything — above every
relationship in our lives.

That is what he is talking about in the Gospel today:
Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me,
and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

Jesus’ words today can sound harsh.

But we know that our Lord is always tender, that his love for us is always
gentle. What he is telling us today is the truth about our lives and how
we can know perfect joy.

Jesus loves every authentic human love. And this is what we are here for
— to love one another. To love and to be loved.

He wants the love between husband and wife, parents love for their
children, our love for parents and grandparents and for our siblings.
This love is beautiful! Jesus rejoices in our relationships! He wants us
to love!

But above every human, every love we have in our life — we need to
have the love of God. The love of God must be the heart of every
relationship.

Jesus always shows us the way. He never asks us to do anything that he
has not done before us. He tells us to carry our cross today — and of
course we know, he carried his cross before us.

And so also, in his earthly life, we see him following the same advice he
is giving us today.

Jesus loved his mother Mary, loved his foster-father, St. Joseph. He loved
them deeply. But remember the story of the finding in the Temple? He
was lost for three days and they found him there talking to the teachers.

Remember what he said to them: “Why were you looking for me? Did
you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”

Those are hard words, too. Just like the words we hear in the Gospel
today. But does that mean Jesus doesn’t love Mary and Joseph? No!
He loves them deeply. But he loves God more. God must be the first
love!

That’s what he wants from us. And this is really a promise he is making
today. If we want to really know what true love feels like — then we
need to love God more than anything in our life.

When we love God — and that means living by his words, always trying
to do his will, always wanting to do everything in our lives to please him
— when we love God, every other love in our life takes on a deeper
meaning.

So, first we need to continue strengthening our love for God
remembering in every moment that we are in the presence of God.

So, let’s try to always keep in mind — that God is watching you. Not like
a judge, but like a Father! He loves each one of us and when
he looks at us, He can only look with eyes of love.

We need to nourish our relationship with God, we need to “feed” it.
And we do that reading Sacred Scripture, the Word of God, receiving the
Eucharist, but also just spending a little time each day being quiet and
“sitting” in the presence of God.

Just a few moments. Quiet things down. Think about Jesus. Say a little
prayer. Read a few of his words.

We need to welcome Jesus into our hearts, just like we heard, in the 1st
reading of today’s Mass, that the Prophet Elisha was received by the
woman and her husband.

This beautiful couple makes a special room for the prophet Elisha
because they want him to stay and be with them.

My brothers and sisters, we have to do the same thing in our own lives.
We have to really make room in our lives to receive Jesus. We need to
make a “room” for him in our hearts.

That means making time for him, again — slowing down to be with
Jesus. Detaching ourselves a little bit to spend time in his presence.

But then, as we know, we also love God, loving others. “We correspond
with the love of God when we love others; when we see in them the
dignity proper to the human person, made as it has been in the image and
likeness of God, created with an immortal soul and call to give glory to
God for all eternity” (In Conv. 4.1.3).

Jesus tells us today: “And whoever gives only a cup of cold water
to one of these little ones to drink because the little one is a disciple—
amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward.”

My brothers and sisters, there are so many little things that we can do for
others. Just listening to them, showing gratitude, saying a positive word,
spending time with them. Doing simple works of service. And, for sure,
praying for one another.

St. Paul says today in the second reading: “If we have died with Christ …
we shall also live with him.”

We need to “lose” our life, we need to “die” to certain things in our
lives. We need to clear everything out of the way, so we can have that
“newness of life” that St. Paul talks about today.

So, let’s try to work on that this week. Let’s ask for that grace — to
receive Jesus and to make him the center of our heart. And to love him
more than anything else in our lives! And to love others for the love of
God.

May our Blessed Mother Mary help us to have her heart, a heart to love
Jesus. May she help us to be kinder and more thoughtful, more gentle —
in all of our relationships.