8th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

Sunday, March 3, 2019
Fr Kyle
Homily transcription: 

Jesus comes down pretty hard on hypocrisy in today’s gospel.  He uses the great image of a hypocrite being like someone with a wooden beam in their eye.  I was reminded recently of the danger and damage of hypocrisy.  About a week ago, when ya’l were getting dumped on with snow, I was sitting at an outside café in Rome, sun shining, 60 degree weather, sipping on a glass of wine--- I mean sparkling water… Okay, the weather is not really the point of the homily.  The point is that I was sitting next to a couple who was on this pilgrimage who I didn’t know very well.  They began to talk about how they had given up on the Church and organized religion.  Why?  Because of hypocrisy.  They knew people who called themselves Christians but did not act like Christ. Most people they knew went to church but it did not really make them good people or change how they lived their lives. 

As I was listening to them I could not help but respond and say to the, “you know what!  Your right”  We are a bunch of hypocrites.  We go to church, but time and time again we fail to live the way we should.  BUT, at least we are bold enough to admit our hypocrisy.  We have the courage to admit our sins and failings AND to try and do something about it.  And that is why we go to Church.  Not because we clam to be some elitist group of holy people, but because we recognize we are works in progress who need help.  As Pope Francis would say, “The Church is not a museum of saints, it’s a field hospital for sinners.

This is why the first thing we do at mass, right after the sign of the cross is to admit our sins and failings.  We recognize the wooden beam in our own eye.  We pray, “I confess to almighty God, and to you my brothers and sisters that I have GREATLY SINNED.  In my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have FAILED to do.  The first thing we do at every mass is to recognize that wooden beam in our eye and to try and do something about it.  This is why the Eucharist is important.  Because we see our weakness and our need for Christ’s help.  The last things we pray before coming up for the Eucharist is to say, “Lord, I am NOT WORTHY to receive you, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”  We recognize that we need Christ to be healed; to remove that wooden beam from our eye.  This is also why we celebrate the season of Lent which begins in just a few days.  It is 40 days to examine our hypocrisy and to try and do something about it.  We need these 40 days because we recognize that beam in our hey and willingly take on spiritual practices to change that. 

Sitting at that Italian Café with that couple, I could not do anything other than agree that the Church is made up of hypocrites.  But we are a church bold enough to admit our hypocrisy.  We have the courage to admit our sins and failings and to try to do something about it.  This is why the Church is so important.  Not because we claim that the Church is a gathering of holy elites, but because it is an emergency room for weak sinners.  As we begin Lent in just a few short days, may we be bold enough to admit our hypocrisy.  May we have the courage to admit our sins and failings, AND to do something about it.