Homily by Fr. Paul Plante
20th Sunday in Ordinary Time
August 15, 2015
Scriptural Reference: Ephesians 5:15-20
What do you make of the first verse of today’s reading from St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians? Listen with your mind and heart:
“Brothers and Sisters: Watch carefully how you live, not as foolish persons but as wise, making the most of the opportunity, because the days are evil.”
Watch carefully how you live – keeping watch – being vigilant – waiting attentively. It is a recommendation as well as a warning that Jesus repeats several times in the Gospels – several parables are about people who are vigilant or should be. Same message when Jesus says: Be ready because you do not know the day and time of the coming of the Son of Man.
All of us could easily remember many dangerous situations we got ourselves into because we were not careful – because we were not prudent – because we moved too fast into something or other that was not a great opportunity but a trap.
Watch carefully, how you live – I am sure I do not live up to this good counsel enough but it is very important for me to reflect on my way of life and periodically readjust something or other that has gotten out of hand. Usually it is about balance – too much of one thing ; not enough of another. A wholesome spiritual life has many components and for it to work perfectly, for it to be wholesome, all the parts have to be in relationship to one another. To watch carefully how we live is to make sure we are maintaining a balance. One thing that I think is unbalanced at a variety of levels for more and more people is the time they spend on the internet, on Facebook, texting, whatever and neglecting face to face human interaction.
St. Paul then invites us to be wise, making the most of the opportunity. The quest for wisdom should be a primary goal in all our lives – accumulating good principles of behavior – of what it means to have the common good in mind – learning from the people who have a wealth of experience and whose lives we admire – and not least, the Gospel message and tradition of our Church all of which put us in the direction of personal wisdom – taking advantage of whatever opportunities God puts before us – including the Sacred Scriptures such as the one we are reflecting on right now – quiet prayerful time – community support hopefully felt by all of us here at the Eucharist.
And St. Paul is giving all this good advice without denying the opposition – the dangers that await us as he puts it – because the days are evil! We need to be watchful because if we are not, we will be tricked into the ways of the evil one. I do not even have to elaborate since we all know all the evil taking place in our world.
It should make us ever more appreciative of the food Jesus gives us for a dangerous journey – the living bread come down from heaven that is given for the life of the world. I trust that this food from heaven can keep me from distraction.