Homilies

Step aside lord Caesar because Jesus is Lord – Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

JESUS IS LORD!

How often do we think about these three words? As Christians we say them so often and indeed they are the foundation upon which our faith is built. Yet, do we realize the impact that truly saying these words really has?

Who’s Lord, Caesar or Jesus?

Father Robert Barron in his Catholicism Series has a nice section on this point. He indicates that St. Paul purposely often refers to Jesus as Lord, Kyrios in the Greek, to make a point. Today, if we were to go to the streets and proclaim “Jesus is Lord”, we might get a laugh or maybe even an “amen” from a fellow believer. But such was not the atmosphere in St. Paul’s time. You see, in those days it was popular to say, not, “Jesus is Lord”, but, ”CAESAR IS LORD”. In fact, to say anything to contrary was dangerous. Caesar had a keen interest in anyone else making themselves out to be Lord and he would make them and everyone else aware of it, in the most obvious and brutal ways imaginable. When the early Christians proclaimed Jesus as Lord, they were, you could say, picking a fight, dethroning Caesar and saying that he is under Jesus, not above him. The Early Christians were fearless men and women of great courage who risked death in saying those simple words, Jesus is Lord.

C.S. Lewis: Jesus is either a Liar, Lunatic, or Lord. It’s impossible for him to be a nice guy.

One of the things that is entirely foreign to the Christian faith is this modern idea that Jesus is just a nice guy, a good man, a significant teacher or prophet. You might even hear a parent who is sending their child to Catholic School say that the reason why they are doing so is because they think that it will provide their child with a good moral basis. But this misses the point. Jesus is Lord.

C.S. Lewis in his time, not all that long ago, heard such ideas and after reflecting upon them came to the conclusion that Jesus could be either a Liar, Lunatic, or Lord, but never just a nice guy. His thought runs like this: Jesus made an incredible claim, he said that he was God. If this isn’t true then either he knows he’s not God and is just pretending to be so, in which case he is a liar, or he really believes he is God but in reality isn’t, in which case he is a lunatic. In either case, this is a dangerous man and he should not be followed or held up as an example, liars and lunatics don’t deserve such recognition. However, if it is true, then He is Lord and this incredible claim deserves an incredible response.

The Seventy go out because they BELIEVE

In the Gospel today, Jesus sends out the 70 disciples. He warns them that he is sending them out like “lambs into the midst of wolves,” that they are to carry no, “moneybag, sack, or sandals and greet no one on the way.” My question is why would these followers of Jesus accept such a mission? Why would they leave behind their families, comfortable lives, knowing where their next meal comes from all to strike out into dangerous territory where they may be unwanted and go hungry. I think that there is only one possible reason, they believed with all their hearts that Jesus is Lord. No one has come knocking on my door to say that the new Superman movie was pretty good or even great. We don’t do that, not for that type of thing. But if Jesus is Lord and if knowing him can make a difference in our lives, then we have to tell others, our consciences compel us!

Let me know ask the question: How is Jesus Lord of my life? It’s one thing to know he is Lord with our intellects, but how do we actually make him Lord of our lives. Let us look at three areas:

  1. Home. Are our homes godly places? Are they places where God is welcome? Do we have a crucifix and some religious art in our homes to help keep God close? Do we ensure no worship of false gods takes place under our roofs, whether in the form of new age practices or excessive materialism/consumerism? In his own way, St. Augustine tried to keep his home a godly place by having painted over top of the dining room door, “Let no one speak ill of his brother here.” And the incredible thing is that he would strictly enforce it. He took it upon himself to make sure there was no evil in his home, that gossip and useless backbiting would not take place at his table. Is Jesus Lord in our homes?
  1. Work. We spend so much time every day and every week at our work, is Jesus Lord of our work? A Christian looks at work differently than others, we don’t see it as something we do primarily to please our boss or to benefit the company. We see work as part of our gift to God. When we get to the pearly gates one of the things we will be able to offer to God is our lifetime of work. Do we do it well? With attention to detail? Do we avoid slacking off? Stealing things, even if no one will notice?
  1. Prayer. It might seem obvious, but is worth saying anyway, Jesus needs to be Lord of our prayer. Do we diligently make time for prayer each day? I would like to share with you this great quote from St. Josemaria Escriva:

You haven’t been praying? Why, because you haven’t had time?
—But you do have time. Furthermore, what sort of works will you be able to do if you have not meditated on them in the presence of the Lord, so as to put them in order? Without that conversation with God, how can you finish your daily work with perfection? —Look, it is as if you claimed you had no time to study because you were too busy giving lessons… Without study you cannot teach well. Prayer has to come before everything. If you understand this and do not put it into practice, don’t tell me that you have no time: it’s simply that you do not want to pray! (The Furrow, 448)

What I love about this quote is the idea that all of our actions need to be backed up by prayer if they are to have any lasting value. We can do more and are more effective when we consult God and ask for his grace. Our work becomes not just something natural, but something supernatural and takes on otherworldly effects.

Jesus is Lord. Such simple words, yet extremely powerful. These words are dangerous to speak because they oppose any notion that “Caesar is Lord” and they dethrone the many things that would take the place of God in our lives. My brothers and sisters, let us have the courage to follow this through all the way, make it real in our everyday lives, in our homes, at our work, and in our prayer, that Jesus is Lord.

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2 thoughts on “Step aside lord Caesar because Jesus is Lord – Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

  1. Hello there! This post could not be written much better! Looking through this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He continually kept preaching about this. I’ll forward this article to him. Fairly certain he’ll have a very good read. Thank you for sharing!|

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