Friday, September 02, 2005

Where is God? (today's homily)

I’m sure you’re all thinking about the hurricane
earlier this week.

Maybe you’re asking, Why?
Let’s talk about it.

In that hurricane, so many people died,
so many are suffering…

It didn’t have to be; did you know that?
I don’t mean the storm;
I mean most of the suffering.

Why do I say that?
Well, because there have been hurricanes there, before.
And people went back, and rebuilt their homes.

Already, that’s what many people are saying they’ll do!

Maybe you wouldn’t do that,
Maybe I wouldn’t—
But can you or I really say, they’re wrong?

It may not be worth the risk—to you;
But if it is, to them; are they wrong?
After all, suppose you or I tried to live
Without ever facing any danger, any risk—
What would that be like?

No one would ever be a fire fighter,
And go into a burning building to save someone!

No one would have ever flown an airplane,
Or sailed a ship.

Does that sound like a world you want to live in?
Does that sound like the kind of person you want to be?

And remember what is the biggest risk of all:
The risk of losing someone you care about!
And that happens to every one of us.

Sooner or later, someone we care about, moves away;
Or worse, someone we love, dies.
And that really hurts, doesn’t it?

My father died earlier this year.
But, I was really lucky, because he lived until he was 97!
That’s a long time!
But it still hurts that he’s gone.

So what do we do?
We could say, “Well, people shouldn’t die.”

Okay. But my dad was 97.
His body was getting weaker all the time.
He wanted to be strong and alive again—in heaven!

Well, maybe you’d say,
“People shouldn’t get old.”

Okay: all you 6th graders—
You’ll never be in 7th grade!
You’ll stay where you are, forever!

You’ll never grow up;
Never be on your own,
Never have children, or grandchildren…
Is that what you want?

There’s only one way to avoid the risk:
If you don’t want to lose someone you care about,
You have to not-care in the first place!

Does that sound like a good deal?

Not to me.

The good and the bad—it’s a package deal.

In the Gospel we heard, Jesus talks about a wedding:
A couple gets married, and can have wonderful times;
But there are also rough times.

Sometimes, even, a marriage will break up.
Parents get divorced.
And some of you know what that is like.
Do you wish those bad things didn’t happen?
Of course you do.

But if your parents never came together,
You wouldn’t be here—at all!

It’s not that the bad isn’t bad;
But it’s a package deal.

Now we wonder:
Where’s God in all this?

Where’s God in that hurricane?

Well, he’s right there with people
who are discovering, right now,
that what really matters in life,
isn’t how much stuff you have—
Because all that can disappear in an instant!

God is there in all the people who helping,
Who are sharing what they have.

And God is there in all the people who are saying,
I don’t want to give up! I want to keep going!
God is with them, to give them hope!

Now, let me talk a moment
about the first reading we heard.
Remember what it said?
”Jesus is the image of the invisible God”—
Jesus makes the unseen God, visible to us!

Jesus came to let us know God’s there,
no matter how hard it can be to believe that.

And I want you to notice:
Did Jesus just come for the good times—
Just for the wedding parties?

Jesus came, not only for the good,
He also came to accept the Cross.

Surely you’ve noticed how we have crosses everywhere;
We wear them, we have them in classrooms,
Here in church.
Why do we focus on the cross?

Well, go back to that hurricane.

For those people, down there,
That’s their cross—isn’t it?

They’re suffering; many have died.
That’s a Cross.

And you know what?
If Jesus had never come;
That still would have happened.
They’d still have their cross!

Jesus came, not to say,
You won’t have trouble; you won’t have a cross;

But he did come to say,
You don’t have to face your Cross alone.

And you will find, if you haven’t already,
That it is in those times of trouble,
When we face our cross,
That’s where we get to know Jesus best!

That’s where he comes closest to us.

So, where’s God in all this?
At the Cross: yours, mine, and his.

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