Saturday, December 17, 2005

God's in 'Our House' (Sunday homily)

We heard how King David
wanted to build a temple for the Lord.

At that time,
they worshiped the Lord in a tent.
Here’s why:

When God brought his People
out of slavery in Egypt,
at Mt. Sinai,
God made a covenant with his People;
and he showed Moses,
how they would worship him: in a tent!

After all, they were in the desert;
they were on the move.

So, years later,
perhaps David is thinking,
“we’re not on the move any more.”

Notice God’s response:
“Should you build a house for Me?”
I don’t need a house.

He tells David, I will establish your house—
meaning, his kingship—“forever”!

So notice, God doesn’t need us to build him a temple—
we are the ones who need it!

It’s as if David is singing
the song by the band Madness: “Our House”!
And if you’ve never heard of that band,
I bet you’ve heard of Maxwell House coffee?
It’s the song in their ads:
“Our house, in the middle of the street…”

That’s where King David,
and that’s where we,
want God to come—to “our house”!

And here is the amazing thing…
That’s exactly what God does!

I don’t mean the temple David built.
That is long gone.

Rather, look at the Gospel.

Gabriel comes from Heaven,
and God, through Gabriel, says, to Mary,
“Hail, Full of Grace!”

This is amazing!
Normally, in Scripture,
it’s the human being
who pays honor to the angel;
but not here.

Here, the angel—
speaking for God—honors Mary!

No wonder she’s “troubled”!

Remember that promise God made to David?
His throne would endure forever.

Yet, in Mary’s time,
that line of kings had failed.

So two things happen here, both marvelous:
First: God keeps that promise to David:
Mary’s Son will be king,
not for a time, but forever!

Second, God at last responds to David’s desire,
and ours, that he come and dwell in “our house.”

God chose to dwell,
not in a house made of cedar or stone,
but in a “house” made of our very humanity!

God became man:
and he not only made
our humanity his “house,” forever!
He also made every one of us his family!

Everyone—without exception!

This is why we’re prolife;
why we question the death penalty;
why we dare not forget the poor;
and why we must
never give in to hate and vengeance.

This gives me an opportunity to explain something
you may have seen Fr. Ang,
or me, or some lectors, do.

We bow our heads at certain points:
At the name of Jesus, Mary,
the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
named together;
and if it’s a Saint’s day,
at the name of the saint as well.

You’ve also seen me bow
with my body during the Creed,
at the words,
“by the power of the Holy Spirit…”

This is actually something
we are all supposed to do as part of Mass.
After all, it isn’t just the priest,
or the folks up front,
who “do” the Mass; we all “do” it together.

Now, are gestures and postures important?

Well, when I was kid, answering my parents,
I could say the right words…
But how I said them; my posture;
if I rolled my eyes…
what do you think happened?

So, yes, they do matter—
they speak volumes, don’t they?

So we genuflect when we enter His Presence.
We stand together for the Gospel, and other times;
we kneel together at various times.

Now: common-sense here: if you can’t, then don’t.

But I kid the servers about this.
They’ll be in a hurry,
and they do a “quickie”;
and I make them do it over:
“you can do this!”

Yes, there are more important things,
no question.

But we show how important something is to us,
by how much we care about doing it right—
Isn’t that true?

You go on a date…
Go to a job interview, meet the boss;
When the game’s on the line:
we care about doing it right.

If you go to a funeral for a veteran,
you will see an honor guard.
They have a ritual—they do it just right.
Occasionally, I’ve seen it done sloppily.
And it’s not good. Which makes the point:
it matters that they do it right.

So, do details at Mass matter?
After all, Who is it
that has come to our house?

So, I’ll end with a special invitation.
In your pews, you will see
cards that look like this.

Everyone knows we have a chapel, downstairs,
where Our Lord Jesus Christ, in the Eucharist,
is present in our house! All the time!

Let me here commend you…

So many are so faithful, day and night,
in all weather, year after year.
Your prayers, and the way Christ works in you,
is a great gift to our parish. Thank you!

Of course, you’ll say that what Jesus gives you,
is infinitely more valuable
than the time and sacrifice you give him.

My invitation is for anyone
who may want to try this.

I’m not trying to push anyone to do it.
Not everyone can.

But if He has given you an invitation in your heart,
why not try it?

You have an option on the card
to try it for three months!
If you feel called to this,
drop in the collection,
or in the box in the vestibule,
or hand it to me.

God is in our house.
“And you shall name him Jesus.”

1 comment:

Dad29 said...

Sometime you may wish to read an excellent bio of Vince Lombardi called "When Pride Still Mattered."

In the bio, there's discussion of how Curry, (the center) had to position the ball before the snap.

Curry, a veteran mind you, spent up to 1 hour a day getting the ball to 15 degrees (or some such) off 'top dead center.' NOT 16 degrees, NOT 14 degrees--15 degrees.

Several NFC Championships and SuperBowl wins later, ....

It IS the little things, and they DO count.