Monday, June 21, 2010

Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Zec 12:10-11; 13:1
Gal 3:26-29
Lk 9:18-24

Jesus asked his followers who do people say that I am? There were a variety of answers, Elijah, John the Baptist, one of the ancient prophets. Then Jesus asked who do you say that I am? Peter gave the answer, the Christ, the Son of God. No one apparently dissented from that answer, an answer that said much more than who Jesus is, but said who they, Christ's followers were, and are. Christ warned of dire things to come, suffering, persecution, death. Christ also spoke of great things, resurrection. Christ told them that in order to follow him they must take up their cross, deny themselves, give themselves to God and to others. Answering by saying that Jesus is the Christ, defines them as they strive to take up crosses and follow. How do we, today, answer that simple question, who do you say that I am? There are still a variety of answers, those who claim there was no Jesus, no actual person, just a myth. There are those who claim that Jesus was a simple itinerant preacher, a wise man who said great things, but not God. Then there is us, we who gather to celebrate, who proclaim the answer that Peter gave, you are the Christ of God. The basic statement of our faith, the kerygma, Jesus is Lord. We proclaim it, we believe it, we say who Jesus is, and at the same time we say who we are. We, as a people, are defined by this acknowledgement of Christ. Who we are, what we do, should be defined by our belief in that statement. When we say who Jesus is, we say who we are. We are a people striving to e compassionate, a people striving to be loving, a people striving to live the belief of that kerygmatic statement, Jesus is Lord. Of course we do not always succeed. We fall short, often, not always accepting the crosses that come our way, not always denying ourselves, not always loving as we should. Yet we strive, we reach we try, imperfect as we may be, to reach that ideal, to live as Christ asks. We strive, and in that attempt should someone look at us and ask who are they, one can truly and honestly say they are Christians.
Deacon John
The Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time
June 20, 2010

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

2 Sm 12:7-10, 13
Gal 2:16, 19-21
Lk 7:36—8:3

There is a song by Don Henley entitled The Heart of the Matter. One line of the song says, "I've been trying to get down to the heart of the matter, but my will gets weak and my thoughts seem to scatter, but I think it's about forgiveness, even if you don't love me anymore..."
It's about forgiveness. All of us have need for forgiveness. All of us need to forgive. This is just a simple fact of human relationships. We will find a way to do something to someone that requires seeking forgiveness. We will all find a time we need to forgive. Neither of these is an easy thing to do. To look at someone who has hurt you in some way, done something to you, and to forgive them, well that's not easy. To swallow your pride, and go to someone you have hurt and ask for forgiveness, not an easy thing. The possibility of rejection is huge. Which, however, is more difficult, living with the pain caused you by another, nursing it, holding on to it, having it infect the rest of your life, or looking past the pain, past the hurt, and acting in love by forgiving. Maybe this person doesn't want your forgiveness, maybe they don't think they need it. Which is more difficult, living with the knowledge that you harmed another in some way, perhaps feeling guilty, and having that infect the rest of your life, or seeking forgiveness, trying to make amends, to atone for your transgression. Maybe the person you need forgiveness from is in no mood to give it, maybe they never will be. Both forgiving or seeking forgiveness are scary. If you really want peace in your life these are your only options. Yes, what was done to you may seem so awful that you can't forgive, what you have done may seem to you to be unforgiveable. David committed murder, cold blooded, calculated murder, so he could marry another man's wife. Murder, the intentional taking of another person's life, what act could be more heinous? Yet when confronted with his sin by Nathan, David admitted his sin and God forgave him. Jesus, eating at the house of Simon the Pharisee, is approached by a woman, a sinner, a public sinner, known to all there as a sinner. The other guests are aghast as she weeps on Christ's feet, bathing them with her tears, drying them with her hair. She anoints Christ's feet with oil and this is just about too much for Simon. How could Christ let this sinful woman touch him? He confronts Christ, but is told that this woman has shown great love. She has also shown great courage. She knew her presence would disturb those at the dinner. She could not be completely sure Christ would not send her away. She had faith, she had love, and she trusted that she could be forgiven, no matter what her sins might be. Just like David, she was forgiven. God's love for us is absolute and unconditional. God's forgiveness is there for the asking. We don't deserve it, we can't earn it, but it is ours because of love. We have all been hurt, we have all caused hurt, we all need forgiveness, we all need to grant forgiveness. It is hard, but e must remember that God forgives, no matter the sin. How can we refuse to forgive if God does? Are we better than God?
Deacon John
The Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
June 13, 2010

Monday, June 07, 2010

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

OK, so I'm a day late. Actually I suppose I'm two and a half months late. I haven't posted a homily since March 20, just before I went into the hospital. During this time I just didn't have the energy, physical or mental, to concentrate on any task for very long. But things are improving, and I am slowly regaining strength, and the ability to comncentrate. So, for the moment, I'm back. No promises, but I will try to post every week. Thanks for your prayers.

Gn 14:18-20
1 Cor 11:23-26
Lk 9:11b-17
The average adult human being can survive for approximately 4 to 6 weeks without food, with no caloric intake. This depends, of course, on many factors such as weight and the individual's overall health. Still, even the best conditioned person, or as too many of us Americans are, the largest person, cannot survive much beyond 6 weeks.
We need to regularly replenish our bodies with food, calories of some kind, in order to survive. This drive to survive, this need to insure a steady supply of calories, led humanity to hunt, fish, eventually to settle into agricultural communities, growing food, struggling to survive. Maintaining a steady food supply was a struggle, and for far too may still is. It is no surprise, then, that Christ comes filling this most basic need. Bread, wine, important sources of calories for the people of Christ's time. Christ comes to us, as food, but food not for the body only. If the average adult can survive without physical food for 4 to 6 weeks, how long can the average person survive without the spiritual nourishment that Christ provides in the Eucharist? The soul must be fed, the spirit replenished, else we fall victim to spiritual starvation. Many who die from physical starvation succumb not just to the lack of food, but to other factors that spring up when the body is weakened by the lack of nourishment. The starving person become susceptible to a host of illnesses, given the opportunity to flourish by the weakness of the body. Our spirits, our souls, are no different. No nourishment for the soul leads to weakness, weakness that can kill just as surely as physical starvation. The sad part is we don't have to struggle to receive this spiritual nourishment. Christ comes to us, is present to us, as bread, as wine, as food. Many of our ancestors struggled to survive, struggled to feed their families. To receive Christ we don't need to struggle at all, all we need to do is show up.
Deacon John
The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
June 6, 2010