Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Don't give up! (Sunday homily)

Sorry, I have no text this time.

Father Barry Stechschulte, ordained in May, visited this past weekend and offered a Mass at each parish. He wanted to do this as a thank you to the parishes, as he was here last summer in his deacon year. He took two of my three Masses.

My homily arose from reflecting on the readings and trying to connect the first reading with the Gospel. The key I saw in the first reading was the Book of Wisdom offering a counter to a Greek-dominated, pagan culture that threatened Faith in the one true God. Wisdom emphasizes that we are made for eternity, even if people deny that as foolishness (true then, true today); and reiterates that we are made in God's image. Our culture denies the dignity and intrinsic value of life, opting for a utilitarian view: thus, unborn children with physical defects or disabilities aren't welcome, and the elderly are expected to get out of the way.

But our message is life is worth it: Don't give up on life!

The woman in the Gospel didn't give up, however hard it must have been to persevere. I offered several examples of how we might be similarly tempted: being out of work, struggling with a sin, wondering when family or friends will turn their lives around. I talked a bit about the wonderful sacrament of reconciliation and how that helps us not give up. All the sacraments are God's help so we need not give up. I talked about how much fascination we have with the destruction of the world, but we know that God doesn't give up on us: why become human if he were going to do that? The Eucharist, above all, is God's sign that he doesn't give up on us: he not only comes near us, he longs to be one with us and us with him. Don't give up!

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

How funny! I have been thinking about the drastic changes in behavior I have seen in the past fifty years and have thought that I might as well just give up and "go with the flow" which, by the way, is totally against my nature. And then I see your blog "Don't give up!".

A couple of questions if I may. I see in your blog that you do not capitalize "he" when referring to God. I also notice this is done in church missals. My understanding is that any reference to God's person should be capitalized.

Also, when I was young [a long, long, time ago] the St. Michael prayer was said after every Mass.
Sometime in the 90's, John Paul II sent a letter to all Bishops requesting the prayer to be reinstated. I have been to churches all over central Michigan and have yet to see the request fulfilled. Surely now more than ever we should be imploring St. Michael to protect us.

Lastly, I do not see the Ten Commanments in any of the Catholic Churches I attend. It is my feeling that God gave us the recipe for Utopia through the Commandments. We need to see reminders of the way we should be.

Thank you and God Bless.

Wayne said...

Good homily and message once again, Father. Along the same lines of your message, the phrase that stuck out in my mind this weekend (after having spent a week at a youth mission trip and conference) was "your faith has saved you."

Earlier in the week we had a seminarian present some very basic apologetics. One topic he covered was the need for works and not faith alone which saves us.

In trying to reconcile these things in my mind I noticed that Jesus doesn't notice the faith of this woman until she took the action to touch him. So, it is through our works that our faith is known by God and by those around us. Therefore, we must continue to do good works with great faith so that we can be saved in the last judgement.

Father Martin Fox said...

Anonymous:

Capitalization is a matter of convention and it has varied over the centuries. If you go back a few decades, the convention was to capitalize he, him and his when speaking of God, but when I learned standard English style in college, that has waned; if you consult standard theological texts, that convention is more often followed.

So, I would say there is no right or wrong way in such capitalization issues.

Anonymous said...

When I was a student eons ago there were always shocked gasps if anyone came upon cap-less pronouns in reference to Deity, and one of those gasps was always mine.

Now that I am old I see obsessive concern with the minutiae of language as misplaced pride, as though human beings' use of typeset
could adversely affect God or decrease his status or respect.

It's better to concern ourselves with the realities than with the rituals, folks. The energy spent on nitpicking projects and their defense would best be spent volunteering at the local food pantry or helping an elderly or sick person in your neighborhood or even going out in the back yard and tossing a ball around with the kids.

Annie

Anonymous said...

I was taught capitalizing references to God's person was a sign of reverence. But, I guess that may not be conventional and may be considered "nitpicking". Apparently mom was wrong...I should've been jumping off the bridge because "everyone else is doing it." Follow the crowd.

Why no answer to the questions of St. Michael and the Ten Commandments?