June 18, 2023

11th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Exodus 19:2-6a, Psalm 100, Romans 5:6-11, Matthew 9:36-10:8

The text below printed in color and italics was sung.

To hear a recording of the song click on the button below.  Only the refrain from the song was actually sung during the homily.


How great is our God!

How great is our God!

How great, how great is our God!


Three thousand years ago,

when God spoke to Moses at Sinai,

the people of Israel were a rather rag-tag group

of former slaves,

of so little importance

that their escape from slavery

is never mentioned in Egyptian historical documents.

Of all the peoples on earth at that time,

God could have chosen some other people,

some other nation.

There were several great empires in the world

and several that would become great in the years to come.

If I were God, I would have chosen one of them.

At the time of their choosing,

they had no homeland,

no great literature,

no military, economic or political power.

But God chose them,

made a covenant with them,

of all the people God could have chosen,

God chose them.


How great is our God!

How great is our God!


God could have chosen a different place to be born,

a different people to grow up among,

different disciples.

God could have chosen better.

God could have sent his son to Athens,

where all the great thinkers of the day were being educated,

or to Rome, where great military and political leaders ruled.

God could have chosen more educated men

than the Twelve mentioned in today’s gospel.

If only God had gone somewhere else
there would have been a smarter, a wiser group of people from whom to choose.


How great is our God!

How great is our God!

How great, how great is our God!


But God chose Israel,

and God chose Peter and Andrew,

James and John,

Philip and Bartholomew,

Thomas and Matthew,

James and Thaddeus,

Simon and Judas Iscarot.

He chose men who wouldn’t understand,

who in many ways couldn’t understand

what he was talking about.

He chose men who would betray him,

deny him,

and run away into hiding

when he needed them the most.


How great is our God!

How great is our God!


God chose the Romans,

and God chose us,

not when we were ready for a savior,

not when we deserved a redeemer.

God chose us “while we were still helpless.”

God proves God’s “love for us

in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.”

God didn’t wait until we deserved his grace,

until we were ready for a savior.

If God had to wait for that,

God would still be waiting.

God did everything for us

in Jesus Christ, the Son of God,

not when it made the most sense

according to our way of thinking,

not when the time was right for us,

but when the time was right for God.


How great, how great is our God!


I don’t know about you,

but I’m glad God chose a rather insignificant group of people

to be the Chosen People,

because in many ways we are still a rather insignificant group of people.

I’m glad that God chose disciples and apostles

who were not the best and the brightest,

because that means I and we have a chance.

I’m glad that God didn’t wait until just the right time

when the world would be ready and deserving,

because then I and we would still be waiting.

I’m glad that God sees things so differently than I do,

than we human beings do

because if God saw things the way I do,

or we do,

we might not yet be saved,

might not yet know God’s grace at work in our lives,

might not be able to share the Body and Blood of Jesus with one another

and might still be helpless, hopeless,

and merely sinners

rather than those who have washed their robes

and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb.


How great is our God!

How great is our God!

How great, how great is our God!


An we are his people,

the sheep of his flock.

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