Saturday, May 16, 2009

Live in Love (Sunday homily)

Last week at this Mass, we heard about the great things
happening at Lehman Catholic High School.

And you heard about the needs Lehman has.
This week—and I ask the ushers to come forward
with the response cards at this time—they look like this.

This week, you have an opportunity to help continue the great work
of our Catholic high school.

I ask that if you can make some sort of pledge or gift,
please fill it out completely…
please write in the amount of your gift or pledge,
and please sign it, here…

Now, while you do that, some details:
The campaign aims to raise $3.5 million,
and it has reached over $2 million—so we’re closing in.

This will help replace a 50-year-old boiler;
Make major improvements in technology used in the classroom—
we have to keep up;
Provide an endowment to improve teacher salaries—
our great teachers get about 2/3rds
of what public school teachers get.
It’s a matter of justice
but also a matter of keeping the best people.

Just so you know—helping Lehman is a great investment.
Not to your own, personal finances,
But to the most valuable resource we have:
Our children and our future.

They get an excellent education—
Our Lehman students score high across the board,
And they are awarded large amounts
of scholarship money year in, year out—
which show colleges know how well-prepared they are.

Last year’s graduating class
got an average of $30,000 in such help—per student!

But it’s not just a quality education;
It’s Catholic education.

Now, I realize you might need a bit more time.
So let me go on to say something about the readings.
I’m going to pose a heavy question—are you ready?

Do fish know they’re wet?

A fish lives in water—does it know what that means?

Our readings keep saying, “live in love.”
Do we know what that means?

In the Gospel, the Lord says, “Remain in me, live in me.”
Last week, he said, “I’m the Vine, you’re the branches”—
and what flows between us is the Life of God.

Whether we know it or not,
genuine love is a participation in God’s own love.

That means there is no such thing as
a merely human love!
Whether we know it or not, you and I are destined
to be drawn up into the Life of God.

As a fish is made to live in water
and must have water to live,
so, you and I exist, we live and move, in God’s love—
and we cannot live without it.

To answer my opening question,
I have no idea if a fish can ever “wake up” to its reality.
But the reason God became man, in Jesus,
was to wake us up to our true identity!

Either we wake up, and we respond, or, we tune it out.
In the end, it’s heaven or hell.

You see, many think of hell as a place without God,
or his love—but that’s not true.
Hell is actually full of God’s love—same as heaven.
The problem is, those in hell want nothing to do with God.
And that is the torment.

Heaven, on the other hand—whatever it may be like—
Is that state of being entirely happy to be with God—
to live in love.

Fish may not wake up to their reality;
But Christ came to wake us up to a great destiny—
to be Sons and Daughters of God.

This is why we are so grateful for our Faith.
We are not left here in this world, to fumble in darkness.

Rather, we are given light to show us the way;
We are given life in the sacraments;
We are given a voice of truth—in the Holy Spirit,
Alive in our hearts, and at work in the Church.

So if someone says, “what’s the payoff—
why should I care about the Christian faith?
Why should I change my life?”

Why should we share our faith?
Why do we emphasize Catholic education for example?

This is why.
Practicing and living our Faith is how we wake up
to the grace that surrounds us—
and how we open ourselves to receiving it—
that it might transform us.

And then we are not just recipients—but bearers.
One fish says to the other—“I’ve got good news!
Do you realize what this is we’re swimming in?
It’s God’s love, God’s life—it can change us!
Drink it up!”

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