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September 9, 2020
Blind Leading Blind
September 11, 2020

Homily for 10 September 2020, Thursday of the 23rd Week in Ordinary Time, Lk 6:27-38

We have gotten so used to calling ourselves the “IMAGE AND LIKENESS OF GOD”, we often do not realize that this has also caused our downfall. It has caused us to think too highly of ourselves to the point of deluding us into believing that we are the lord of creation.
In our first reading today, Paul hits the nail on its head when he says KNOWLEDGE INFLATES US WITH PRIDE; it makes us conscious of our superiority over all other fellow creatures in this world. In fact, we have made it the identifying quality of our species: the HOMO SAPIENS (Thinking Humankind).
Genesis tells us in a parabolical way that there was a negatively intelligent creature in the garden of Eden, namely, THE SERPENT, who succeeded in proving that we are not as intelligent as we always thought we were. And all that this sly deceiver did was—to use the vocabulary of St. Paul—“inflate us with pride” by exaggerating our self-worth, in order to make us fall. If we may paraphrase what the deceiver said, it goes somewhat like this, “No you’re not going to die if you disobey God and eat of that forbidden fruit. Actually, God knows that if you eat of it, you will become the IMAGE AND LIKENESS OF GOD. You will become intelligent and powerful enough; you will have no need of God anymore. You will be the master of the world, the lord of creation.”
And it worked like a curse, an evil spell. We discovered the power that the human intelligence can bring. We discovered how to take advantage of it to enrich ourselves, to use and abuse others and the world for our own purposes. And thus began the tragic story of humankind’s descent into the abyss of self-destruction.
God had to do a damage repair because things did not quite work out the way he wanted them to. A “divinized humankind” that deemed equality with God as something to be grasped at became, not a steward but a hazard to creation. God’s plan was spoiled by the Evil One who works very much like the N-Corona virus that ingeniously replicates itself in us, so that from creative beings we become destructive beings.
The solution was pretty simple—instead of a “divinized man”, the new model for the image of God became a “humanized God”, Jesus Christ, who would now reveal to us what it truly means to be an IMAGE AND LIKENESS OF GOD. By totally emptying himself of power, for love of us, he would show us our true source of superiority as a human species: not our big brains but our big hearts. That our true source of dignity is not our capacity to think but our capacity to love, to be both just and merciful to each other, to bond together spiritually into families and communities, to build humane societies where the rule is not survival of the fittest but care for the weakest. That we become most GODLIKE when we learn TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER AS GOD LOVES US.
Let me highlight the most important lines in what Jesus said to us in the Gospel: “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who persecute you… Do unto others as you would have them do unto you… Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful… Do not judge and you will not be judged. Do not condemn and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give and gifts will be given to you… For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you…”
We become truly Godlike when we desire each other’s good, when we refuse to return evil for evil, when we choose to conquer evil with good. When we hate the sin but love the sinner, when we detest evil and treat the evildoer as a captive who needs redemption, when we are ready to suffer, die, and descend into hell for each other—it is only then that we would have learned live life ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN.

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