Sunday, July 12, 2009

Father's Homily

Here is a copy of Father's Homily from last weekend. I missed the Mass because we were in Grand Rapids. We went to a Tridentine Mass at Sacred Heart Parish. It is wonderful and beautiful! Anyways, I love this homily. A sample of what's to come. Enjoy!!!

Homily: 14th Sunday Ordinary Time

How well do we suffer?
How well do we handle disappointment or pain?
How do we act when we don’t get our way?
What would we do if everyone we knew was gone?
What would we do if everything we owned was taken from us
and we were imprisoned or enslaved?
How would we survive?

How well would we handle the situation
if everything we thought we deserved,
everything we had - everyone we loved - was taken from us…

Throughout the centuries this is how Christians
have been treated for believing in Christ
and practicing their faith…
Throughout the 2000 years of Church history
those pages have become red-
stained with the blood of the martyrs…

Do we think our faith is strong enough that when everything is gone…
everyone taken from us and we are questioned…
“Deny Christ!!!” “Deny your belief in this fake God or die!!”
what would be our answer?

Or maybe it won’t be so traumatic.
Maybe it will be something small,
almost unnoticeable…
a little whisper…a little temptation;
Something small – a little sin
chosen time and time again
until it becomes a habit-
it becomes something we cannot live without
and then we begin to choose our own wants and desires
over a relationship with an infinite God.

God is quite scary in the first reading,
and we don’t like to think of him this way.
We want God to be loving and kind, and He is…
But He is also just and “no one to be playing with”…
we don’t like when God acts this way.

God is sending Ezekiel to a “rebellious house” as he called it…
Rebellious – disobedient – resistant…
but Ezekiel is not told by God
“Oh, don’t worry – they won’t listen so you don’t have to go to them.”

That is the politically correct God we wished existed!
The false God who wants us to stand for nothing
and be stupid enough to fall for everything.

But the true God will show his power through this young weak prophet-
a power so amazing that the people will know
that a prophet is among them because
God is not with the strong.
He is not a part of this culture or the world
or with those who are powerful and prideful;
but as St. Paul says
he chooses the weak to make them strong.

It is not easy being a Catholic
in this culture, in this society,
in this day and age
and it is only going to get harder.

The world with its addiction to sin and vice is unquenchable
and this will only pull our American culture
into a living culture of death.

We as Catholics with the guidance of our Holy Father and Bishops
will have to make a choice-
What are we going to stand for?
And what are we going to stand against?

Because we can choose to be strong in our faith and
win a crown of glory like the saints and martyrs of old….
or we can sell-out and backslide our way into hell.

No one said it was going to be easy--
we believe in a God who was crucified;

The symbol of our faith is a man dead on a cross…

And as Wesley says to Princess Buttercup
in the movie, The Princess Bride:
“Life is pain, princess…and if anyone tells you different…
they are trying to sell you something.”

What have we been buying that has convinced us that:
Life is easy; its a party!
Salvation is simple…
Being a person of good character – virtuous - takes no effort…
Being holy is a piece of cake?

Well, if that is true….why aren’t we all saints?
Because the fact remains that it is hard and painful to be a good Catholic.
It is hard to have to learn new ways of thinking--
it is hard to be pulled and stretched into a conversion of heart.
It is hard to be obedient,
but we are called to be faithful-- not successful.

Being obedient and faithful isn’t silly or childish.
Being obedient is a choice.
Our culture teaches us that being faithful - being obedient
is a sign of weakness;
to be obedient is an insult to our freedoms,
a constraint on our freewill. We have rights!!

But St. Paul answers for us…
“I am content – with weakness, insults, hardship,
persecutions and constraints – for the sake of Christ.
FOR WHEN I AM WEAK, THEN I AM STRONG.”

We do it for Christ – it is an act of love…
I am not forced - I am truly free…
and I choose Christ - I choose his Church…
I choose to be obedient to the Pope, and my Bishop…
I choose to follow the moral teachings of the Church…
I choose to follow the liturgical norms,
and I am not weak in my act when I choose these, for
to be a faithful Catholic takes courage--
it is not for the fainthearted.

It is in the very act of choosing my faith,
it is in that action that I am strong
because I willingly suffer whatever may come for Christ!!

And there is no greater power than this.

This is why weakness, insults, hardships,
persecutions and constraints and even martyrdom
have no effect on the courageous Christian…
As soldiers of God they know that the one they serve can make them strong.

We do it for Christ!!!
Yes it is hard - but we do it anyway
and we offer it up because in the end we know that it will make all the difference--
because God’s grace is sufficient for us

“There is enough grace to make us all saints…!!”

We have been called to holiness--
we need to respond to that call from God.

In the gospel today, Jesus was amazed
at the lack of faith of those who were members of His extended family…

As members of His body let Him not be amazed at ours.