Friday, September 16, 2016

Sunday 25C: We run a race in faith for a crown of unfading glory

Perhaps more now than ever we see politics is a dirty business.

Lying, betrayal, name-calling, underhanded tactics, vote buying and making false promises to the poor and downtrodden of this world:

“We will buy the lowly for silver,
and the poor for a pair of sandals;”

These and so much more are at play in the race to win the most powerful job in the world: president of the USA.

What are we to do? Do we stay away and refuse to vote in order to avoid dirtying our hands? Do we hold our nose and vote for the one least offensive to Catholic Faith and morals?

Archbishop Chaput says one is impulsive and the other a liar. My response is that impulses can be checked by surrounding oneself with the right people but that fundamental dishonesty is dangerous for us all.

Human beings are always flawed. It’s a fact of life for all of us. Sometimes those who ask to be our leaders seem to be deeply flawed. 

I will be making a choice in November because I believe that Catholics should always remain deeply and passionately involved in the social sphere and should fully exercise their say in our democratic self-governance.

But perspective is needed in this as in every other aspect of life. We are called to pray for and work to assist those who serve us in public office:

“I ask that supplications, prayers,
petitions, and thanksgivings be offered for everyone,
for kings and for all in authority”

While never forgetting or forsaking the priorities that faith teaches us:

“that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life
in all devotion and dignity”

What is the reason for the hope  that is in us and our focus?

“This is good and pleasing to God our savior,
who wills everyone to be saved
and to come to knowledge of the truth.
For there is one God.
There is also one mediator between God and men,
the man Christ Jesus”

This is the perspective of the Kingdom, made possible by faith. We know the glory that awaits us but which we already now experience through life in Christ. It is much greater than anything we can imagine because it cannot be lost, stolen or taken away from us as can an Olympic record, worldly power, popularity or riches.

So we see that some who are in love with worldly glory and acclaim run a race for a crown that perishes: power, riches or acclaim which mean nothing and which may betray us without virtue and holiness of life to guide us along the way of life's path.

We instead run so as to win a crown of imperishable glory prepared for us by Christ Jesus, already victorious in the battle against sin and death and who has prepared a place for us
We run so as to win, not against one another, but together in charity, reaching out to help each other in prayer and active charity.
We know there is judgment but we leave that to the Lord, just judge that He is.
“The LORD has sworn by the pride of Jacob:
Never will I forget a thing they have done!”
We live in love so as to receive His love. This is the victory of our Faith. 

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Homily Sunday 24C: "Everything I have is yours."

Have you ever noticed how precious even a very simple thing can seem once we believe we no longer possess it?

Something in our possession may go unnoticed, unused, unneeded for a long time but, once we become aware it is lost, we suddenly value it more than anything else because we believe it's suddenly beyond our reach.

All of us know this experience very well. We might say, absence makes the heart grow fonder. When you have ten coins, one does not seem in comparison to count for much among the rest until you become aware it’s lost.

“Or what woman having ten coins and losing one would not light a lamp and sweep the house, searching carefully until she finds it?"

God uses this insight from our human experience to help us understand His thirst to embrace everyone in His love, the only thing which saves lost souls.
Leaving the 99 in search of the one only makes sense from this perspective: that when it comes to souls God does not wait until we are lost to love us but, when we are, knows the truly desperate situation we are in.

The prodigal son treated his father as if he was dead when he demanded his inheritance but in fact, as the father makes clear, it was the son who was dead.

Then let us celebrate with a feast,
because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again;
he was lost, and has been found.”

All of us at some time are the prodigal son, and we return to the Father who clothes us in grace again for the feast of the Eucharist through the sacrament of Confession. But any of us at any time can also experience the life of the Church family as did the elder son and, we must always remember, to us the Father says,

‘My son, you are here with me always;
everything I have is yours. “

He invites us also to feast and celebrate because at many Masses and on many Sundays the prodigal sons and daughters return to Him, present among us here, and we cannot but always share in the joy of the Father rich in mercy for each of us.

The sign of true conversion is living every day with the "everything" of the Father rather than wandering off into the false freedom of the prodigal which, in truth, is death.