Homily Notes

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   "Is the jar filled now?"

   Again, the crowd thinks it is, but sure enough, the man has sand, which he now pours into the container, which is still able to receive the sand as there is room between the marbles and crushed pebbles.

    "Is the jar filled now?" he asks.

    This time, the crowd is not sure, and they are right to withhold  an affirmation. The man now pours water into the jar, and it can find room.

   What is the moral to this story? It is not that there is always room for more, as that would be a recipe for heart attacks! When the man attempts to put the water or the pebbles in first, he cannot get in the same amount of marbles.

   The real moral is the importance of putting the first things first in our lives, schedules, and all we think valuable.

   The entire law of God is to be obeyed. At the time of Christ, there were people who wanted to obey the commandments in certain constellations of order and importance. Some even thought that since the Torah was God's summation for the creation he effected, after all by his Word, miracles could be accomplished by keeping these commandments in a certain harmony of agenda. Jesus will have none of that.

   The most important thing is our relationship with God, and one cannot be honest about that divine relationship without attention to our human relations, which help us to claim another person as a neighbor who is somebody.

   This is like Jesus' answer of last week about giving to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's own. That application of morality comes from Jesus' usual way of thinking about what we become when we love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, while loving our neighbor as one does love himself.

   You and I love ourselves precisely so we can serve God and neighbor. What we want is for the glory of God, doing his will on earth as it would be done in heaven. Wanting sustenance, mercy, and freedom for our neighbor requires us to recur to God for his ideas about what is necessary for us to fulfill his purposes together with each other.

   It is the challenge of acquiring a God-centered and other-motivated habit of thinking about what is good, true, beautiful, and useful to such ends. Getting the first things first will show forth the value of other things in this quest for the service of God and humanity.


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