Sermon for the 22nd Sunday After Pentecost

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Epistle from the letter of St. Paul the Apostle to the Hebrews
Heb 7:23-27
Brethren: The priests were numerous, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office; but Jesus, because He continues forever, has an everlasting priesthood. Therefore He is able at all times to save those who come to God through Him, since He lives always to make intercession for them. For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, set apart from sinners, and become higher than the heavens. He does not need to offer sacrifices daily – as the other priests did – first for His own sins, and then for the sins of the people; for this latter He did once for all in offering up Himself, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Continuation ✠ of the Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew
Matt 24:42-47
At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Watch, for you do not know at what hour your Lord is to come. But of this be assured, that if the householder had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would certainly have watched, and not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, because at an hour that you do not expect, the Son of Man will come. Who, do you think, is the faithful and prudent servant whom his master has set over his household to give them their food in due time? Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, shall find so doing. Amen I say to you, he will set him over all his goods.”

Homily By Fr. Carlos Zepeda

My dear friends: We have heard today the words of our Lord, who told the Pharisees: “show me the coin of the Tribute”. and then: “Whose image and superscription is this?”
The answer for us is very simple. We see this coin, let’s say for example a Golden coin, and we see in it, imprinted, on both sides, the face of Ceasar. under each side, there would also be an inscription.
And because the coin has his name, it has his image and his title, we know, that it belongs to him.
And so our Lord says: Render to Ceasar the things that are Ceasar’s.
But now, There is a second question here, that our Lord could ask us: He could say to us:
Show me a human soul.
And he could ask us: “Whose image and superscription is there?”
And if we look into our soul: Whose image do we find?
Do we find the image of material things in there, of gold, of money, of luxury houses and cars?… No. These things all pass away with time and are destroyed, but our soul lasts forever. that is not the image of it.
Do we find in our soul perhaps the image of animals, of pleasures, of eating, drinking, resting, and all that?… No. Our soul is made absolutely different from these things. My soul does not eat, it does not experience material pleasures, it is so different from animals, that in my soul precisely I find what makes me different from animals.
So, whose Image is it in my soul? Let’s go above the material, the animals, the stars, the heavens, the angels themselves. In my soul the image I find, is the Image of God himself.

You don’t believe me? Let’s see what God himself says, in Gen. 1,26. “Let us make man to our image and likeness.”

How amazing and how great it is, to think this! but…How is God’s image in our soul?

We know from our Faith that God is three persons, in one God. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Not three Gods, there is only one. Is this difficult to understand? Well, let’s look at God’s image in our souls.

In our soul, we have three faculties, which make us in the image and likeness of God. Our Conscience, our Understanding, and our Will.

Our Conscience is what allows me to see myself, and to know myself. to be constantly aware of who I am, and of what I do, it allows me to know that I am, and I act, and I am free.

Our Understanding is the faculty that allows me to create things in my mind, and to receive the things that are outside in my mind. It allows me to come to the knowledge of more things, and to develop and build upon those things. With my understanding I can solve problems, I can find the truth and separate it from lies. I can communicate what is inside of me, to others, buy turning it into words, or ideas, or art.

And finally, We have the Will, which is the faculty we have to do things. With this faculty we desire things, we decide for one or another, and we order, and move ourselves to act. With this faculty we love, or we hate, we are good, or bad.

The amazing thing here is, these three faculties are different, and yet they are all just one soul. They cannot be separated, because the will doesn’t work without the understanding, and the understanding doesn’t work without the conscience. In fact, it is impossible that they exist separately.

And there we see, as in a mirror, an image of the Most Holy Trinity, in our soul.

But that’s one side of the coin. What is on the other side?

Well, let’s ask our Lord again, and see what the Holy Scriptures tell us. And St. Paul in the First Epistle to the Romans, 8,29 tells us that God made us “to be made conformable to the image of His Son”

And that means very simply, that in the other side of the coin, of our soul; the image we find, if we have been baptized, is that of Christ.

In baptism, the image of Jesus Christ has been imprinted in our souls. God the Father sees in us another Christ, a small picture of Him. With all his virtues and sufferings and merits.

And below this image in our soul, we find the inscription: The Ten Commandments that God has imprinted in our souls. His Law, and what makes us similar to Christ.

Now my dear friends: What should we get from these reflections?

First, think of how wonderful your soul is, and how valuable it is, that it is the most precious thing there can be in all the universe. Nothing else in the universe has the image of God. Only your soul.

Think also, and we say this with sorrow, of how horrible it is when we sin, because the Image of Christ in our soul gets blurry, gets dirty and scratched, when we commit venial sins.

But when we commit mortal sins, the damage is even worse. Because then, we take our soul, and we totally erase the image of Christ from our souls, we scratch the image of the Most Holy Trinity, so much that it is unrecognizable, and in it stead, we put in there, with horrible scratches the image of the devil, and instead of the Ten commandments, we put in horrible letters this words: “I will not serve”

How horrible is sin! and to make things worse, we would never be able to recover our soul from such damage if God did not come to our rescue and do it for us.

Because the only way to recover from sins is by repenting from them, and going to confession. But even that repenting, we would not be able to do, if God didn’t help us to do it. And so, how fearful we should be, to commit a sin!

And how is it, that we are so blind, that we still sin, and are willing to lose God’s precious image in our soul?

Let’s make a resolution, as we continue Mass today, to repent from our sins, and to take good care of God’s image in our soul for the future. Nothing is worth it to lose such a beautiful image.

If we ever have the misfortune to fall into sin, even a slight one, let’s immediately tell our Lord that we repent, and that we repent because we love Him, because we don’t want to lose the image of Our Good Lord Jesus Christ from our soul. If we tell him that we love Him, He will help us recover that image, as long as we try to go to confession as soon as possible.

This is Why, my dear friends, our Lord said as well: “Give to God the things that are God’s.”

And I say to you, and to all of us, let’s Give our souls to God. Give to God that which is God’s.

Give to Him, the tribute of your soul, that golden coin which is so precious, and which he himself asks of you, with these beautiful words:

“Give me, my Son, your heart.”

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