Saturday, July 24, 2010

17th Sunday of the Year: "Our Father": Prayer opens the vast realm of the journey from here to the hereafter

A navigator is a great little gadget. We all want to go places, but we do not always know how to get there. With a global positioning system, you can get started on your journey without even knowing where you are. From the sky, the satellite finds you and tells you your exact location and then proceeds step by step, turn by turn, to instruct you about how to get from A to B. With the help of this handy little device you can calmly and confidently move ahead and make progress on the journey before you. Some of us have even begun to show up on time because less of our journey is spent getting lost!

We all need to have goals. Some have a very firm sense that they know their exact location in life and others feel themselves lost and do not know where they are on the journey because they lack a goal and thus experience an inertia that blocks them from making the first step from the present to the future. In this case, a sense of sadness and even depression can set in. In the case of the spiritual life, the stakes are highest. From our very short existence here on earth we must make a journey in faith to the hereafter. But a sense of being lost, disconnected, sinful or unworthy of God or goodness can jeopardize and arrest our state of development in the life of faith.

God has a GPS: Jesus Christ. Because of His incarnation, His Passion on the cross, His death and Resurrection, Jesus Christ is the gift of grace that the Father makes available to us wherever we are so that we can go from lost to found, from confusion to clarity, and from inertia to calm and confident action as we make our first steps back on the road to eternal life.

But the interior life is the place where Jesus Christ helps us to first become "found". In the grace of faith we can learn that whatever it is that we are suffering, whether the effects of mortal sin, a dry and prayer-less spirit, anger or depression, because of Christ nothing on the earth, above the earth or below the earth can prevent God from affirming our goodness and worth, from convicting us that everything we are and experience can be used by God to find us, affirm us and get us back on the road to heaven.

Visit A Priest Life for the full text of the homily for the 17th Sunday of the Year.

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