Fr Noel's Homilies

Buzzword -‚‚  New & Difficult Commandment:‚‚ 

The challenge contained in these words ‚‚ spoken by Christ to his disciples‚‚  was not new in the sense that it was unheard of in the Mosaic Law- love of God and love of neighbour were the foundation stones of that religious tradition.‚‚  The new twist given by Christ was '€“ without love for one'€™s neighbour there cannot be love of God

Leviticus 19:1-2, 17-18:‚‚  The goal of religious practice is to become '€œholy'€ and can only be achieved through the double involvement of God and Neighbour.

1 Cor. 3:16-23: ‚‚ Confronted with the divisions within the Christian community at Corinth, Paul reminds them that through Baptism they had become a spiritual entity united and guided by Christ and sustained by the Holy Spirit.

Matt. 5: 38-48: Because it was so difficult, the '€œlove'€ of neighbour, so recommended by Christ ‚‚ had, in large measure, given way to '€œan eye for an eye; tooth for a tooth'€ mentality. Pay back and vendetta had become part and parcel of the social and moral climate.

Point 1: '€œBe perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect'€ appears to be an impossible dream; but when we look at the '€œlast judgement '€œscene left to us by St. Matthew '€“'€œas‚‚  often as you did it to one these, you did it to me'€- new hope is born in the human breast.‚‚  People today are living in a different world, facing new challenges in their efforts to apply the basic and timeless Christian message.‚‚  In the past many felt that personal salvation could be won by a negative attitude, by withdrawing from the common herd, as it were.‚‚  The early examples of Christian practice were to be found in the convents and monasteries where men and women withdrew to separate themselves from the problems of the world and commit themselves to a life of prayer. Then, there were the hermits and anchorites languishing in their mountain caves or desert hideaways.‚‚  Today, the Christian is coming to understand that fulfilment must come through involvement with and genuine respect for others.‚‚  We can only grow in God'€™s love to the degree that we first respect and care for others.

Point 2:‚‚  The response for help for those caught up in the recent string of natural disasters would indicate that this regard for others is still very much alive in our communities. But it is not only in times of crisis that this spirit of care should reveal itself.

Conclusion:The neighbour that Christ speaks of is not only the distant displaced immigrant separated from kith and kin.‚‚  There are those at home '€“ the spouse, the children, the next door neighbour, the new person just moved into the parish, the lonely patient languishing in hospital. Those who do not show respect to those closest to them are unlikely to show genuine respect for those who are distant.‚‚  Charity really does start at home!

Scriptural reference: Do to others what you would have them do to you." '€“ Matthew 7:22