Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Apostles almost missed it--so might you (Sunday homily)

Of all the Lord’s miracles, the one you just heard
ended up making a huge impact on the Apostles.
But as you’ll see in a moment, it could have been otherwise.

Let’s notice some things in this passage:

The Apostles were the primary focus of this miracle.
The Lord was sitting with them when all this begins.
He is teaching them; most likely about the Passover
and how God fed his people in the desert.

Notice something else.
A lot of our fellow Christians see Christianity as a book-centered Faith;
but that’s not what we see in the Gospels.
Our Lord did not give anyone a book;
nor do we hear him telling his Apostles to write anything down.

Rather, he focused on what the Apostles
would experience and remember;
and he showed them how they were to keep that alive:
Of course in the sacraments, and above all, the Mass.

Here’s a cautionary detail.
The Apostles are direct witnesses
to him multiplying these loaves and fish.
Then they go around and gather every fragment:
twelve baskets means one basket per Apostle.

And yet, notice how this passage ends, however.
When the people go to make him a king--
in other words, missing the point--he departs “alone.”

Why don’t the Apostles go with him?

Maybe because, at this point,
they are thinking more like the crowd.

So what takeaways do we have from this?

First: the Lord didn’t rely on a book but on people;
it starts with the Apostles, and what they do--
in the sacraments--
to make him present in our midst.

In short, this is why every Sunday at Mass matters.
Look: if the Apostles could have missed it,
isn’t that a huge warning for every one of us?

Second: like the Apostles,
we will find ourselves pulled between
what “the crowd” thinks is right, and what the Lord wants.

An example is the drum-beat for redefining what marriage is.
In recent weeks, a prominent businessman let it be known
he believed in marriage as it has always been understood--
and not only was he labeled a “bigot,”
but now folks are moving to wreck his business.

Members of my own family--who were raised Catholic--
call me and our Church “bigots”
for opposing any redefinition of marriage and family.
It’s not easy facing that sort of crowd.

Other than spending time with the Lord--above all in Mass--
where will we find the clarity and the resolve
to choose him over the crowd?

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