Sunday, March 04, 2007

Glory & Commitment (Sunday homily)

In today’s Gospel, one minute,
Jesus looked as he always looked—
the next minute, he is enveloped in glory.
Then, just as quickly, it’s over.

The point, of course, is that the glory was always there—
hidden within the ordinary—
but unfortunately, we usually fail to see it.

These readings are not only about glory;
they are about commitment as well.

That strange first reading is confusing
until you know that a covenant was being formed.

Those making the covenant
would walk between the animals—and through the blood.
“May this happen to me if I break the covenant.”

Notice who passed between the pieces?
It wasn’t Abram: rather, it was God who made the vow!

That’s commitment!
When we realize how committed God is to us,
We dare to risk such commitment in response.

Today, as you know, I invite you to consider
supporting the Archdiocesan Fund Drive.
You might wonder how that connects.
May I suggest it is connected to glory…
and to commitment.

Peter, James and John saw the ordinary Jesus—
for them to see that Jesus is a lot more than that,
they needed God’s help.

You and I see ourselves—our local church—
and we see the ordinary, nuts-and-bolts—
and we, too, need God’s help to see beyond that:
to see all the ways God is at work in it all.

Beyond our parish is a larger church—the Archdiocese,
which in turn is part of a worldwide Catholic Church.
The fund we give to, today, supports that larger effort.

For example, our seminary, in Cincinnati.
If I am any good at what I do, as a priest,
you can thank the seminary for training me,
and more than that, helping me hear God’s call.

Who pays for our seminary? You do—with this fund.
Many parishioners come to me with problems,
and it becomes clear they need guidance
beyond what I can give.

That’s when I refer them to Catholic Social Services,
which provides counseling.
Who pays for that? You do—through this fund.
This fund also helps pay
the pensions for our retired priests.
Father Caserta gets no salary from this parish.
All we give him is help with groceries and so forth.

The pension he gets from the Archdiocese—
who pays for that?

You do—with this fund.

Now, all that seems very ordinary:
Yet see beyond: the lives I influence, as priest,
I hope and pray, will be changed for eternity.
Do we need priests? Then we need a seminary.

Families in conflict find counseling and hope—
who can doubt the eternal value of that?
See how there’s a lot more,
to this fund, than first meets the eye?

Giving to this Archdiocesan Fund
may not seem very “glorious”—but if it helps save souls?
What greater glory is there than that?

I also said it was about commitment.
God showed Abram his commitment:
God pledged his life to be faithful to his Covenant.
And on the Cross, God honored that commitment.

You and I are saved, for eternity, as a result!
We, in turn, show our commitment to God
by helping his people in their need.
And our gratitude enables us
to make that kind of commitment.

So back to “nuts-and-bolts”:
Today, I invite you to make a commitment
regarding the Archdiocesan Fund.

Our parish goal is $12,000.
If every household gave $20 to this fund,
we will make that goal.
Of course, some cannot do that,
but others can do far more.

Our parish goal is $20,000.
If every household gave $30, we will make that goal.
Of course, some cannot do that, but others can do more.

There are forms and pencils in your pews.
In a moment, I’ll stop talking,
So you can decide what you want to do.

If all we see is the ordinary…
then we don’t see Jesus as anything more than a man;
the bread and wine never become anything more;
and you and I never become anything more than we are.

And there is little point in having hope to change things,
because we all see plenty of reason to be cyncial.

But you would not be here if that’s all you saw!
You are here because you know who Jesus is:
He is glorious Son of God!
And he is here in our midst—
He will feed us with his own Body and Blood;
and through us, he can and will remake this world!

Just as Jesus helped his Apostles to see more;
So helps us see more.

The glory is always here, hidden in the ordinary.
Lord: help us to see!

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