These are my notes--they are incomplete. I added in some different illustrations, and I didn't make my points as bluntly as these suggest--because I simply didn't have time to write down everything I wanted to say.
Perhaps if a reader heard me give this homily this weekend, you might offer, in addition to commentary, some mention of any points I made not reflected in these notes--either that you liked, or didn't like, or perhaps didn't understand.
Let’s look at what Saint Paul is saying in the second reading.
Last week, he said that some are “debtors to the flesh” while others “live in the Spirit”: meaning that either we are governed by the Holy Spirit—and Christ-centered—or else we’re rooted in a worldly way of thinking and living.
Are we worldly? Are a lot of Christians today worldly?
I think we know the answer.
Christ our King gives us an audience each Sunday—with lots of times, and that is just Piqua—and how many don’t show up? Not for good reasons—but for the sake of sports or shopping. Is that worldly?
The practice of confession has fallen by the wayside in recent years. Is it really true that people have become a lot more virtuous in the past few decades?
Marriages—when they happen—don’t last. It’s no secret what one of the main uses for the Internet is—and not just other people; us.
Have you ever noticed that at any given time, on TV, you can watch someone prepare food, talk about food, or stuff their faces with vast quantities of food.
Worldly? Living “in the flesh?”
What about our priests. Am I worldly? Yes I am. Pray for your priests and your bishops. We don’t have any special protection from temptation.
(I recall somewhere acknowledging I don't go to confession as often as I should, or pray as well as I should; and my excuse isn't any different from anyone else's: I'm busy. And it's not really a good excuse. I asked everyone to pray for me, and I said I'd get to confession, how about everyone else make the same commitment with me?)
“Worldly” is a good description, I think, of the state of many Christians, and many Catholics.
Paul tells us this week that Creation “groans”—as it awaits full redemption. That redemption comes from Christ—but it comes through the sons and daughters of God.
In other words, from us.
When our lives fully show Christ the world will see something worth seeing.
And there’s no secret about how that happens; and there’s nothing easy about it. It’s living in the Holy Spirit.
That’s what makes our lives fruitful ground for God’s life in us.
OK, what are practical steps?
1. Go to confession. Regularly. If you don’t think you need it, you may find that going a few times you’ll see it differently.
2. Sunday Mass—you’re here, you understand that.
3. Learn your faith. Even 20 years ago, folks could legitimately say, they didn’t know where to go for reading material, or else their busy lives meant they couldn’t come to church for classes or talks or whatever. But with the Internet, a few clicks and you can find good, solid stuff to learn all about your faith. If you don’t know where to start, EWTN has an excellent site. You will find links to keep you busy, and lots of variety. Just 1 hour a week would be a lot.
4. Pray—even a few minutes at the beginning and the end. I don’t say this lightly. This is where I fall down; I’m busy and it’s so easy to say, “God is happy I’m working so hard.” There is no substitute for prayer.
All the ground gets seed and rain, but it doesn’t all produce the same fruit. God pays us the compliment of respecting our freedom.
We can’t do it without the Holy Spirit; but He won’t do it without our willingness.
Here’s a dangerous prayer. It’s risky. Are you ready?
Holy Spirit, I will do whatever you ask. I will go wherever you send me. I will change whatever needs to change in my life. I want to give up whatever doesn’t belong. I want to make Christ my priority. I am willing to do it if you help me do it.