Sunday, November 27, 2005

'Lord, make us turn to you' (Sunday homily)

Jesus is coming.

He came on Christmas, 20 centuries ago. He will come at the end of time. We just heard him say that. And so he says, “Watch!”

In between his coming as a child, and his final coming as Judge, he comes as a Savior and Redeemer; he comes as a Shepherd of his Flock.

Jesus comes to us constantly in our lives. He’s here now—always!

If we wonder where Jesus is, ask him to help you see.

Perhaps we want what the first reading asked for: “Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down,with the mountains quaking before you”—then we’d believe!
then we’d get our act together!

Then perhaps politicians would stop wasting tax money building their own petty kingdoms;perhaps then folks in Columbus would be concerned, not only about jobs in the big cities, but in places like Piqua, too? Then nations that sit on top of the pile would change their ways, their trade laws and trade barriers, so that poor nations of the world could prosper, too?

“Oh, that Christ would rend the heavens and come!”

Then, perhaps, our drowsing conscience would wake up: this society, the most well-off in history! And yet it has no room! No room for more life, more children, larger families; no room for unborn children who are inconvenient, who are disabled, who are imperfect.

Yet, paradoxically, we have room for a “fertility” industry, creating babies in laboratories; but no room for the “surplus embryos”—tiny human beings!—created to meet human needs, then, cast aside, unneeded: and these unborn, tiny human beings
are being destroyed—now!—as raw material for research. When you hear about “embryonic stem-cell research,” that’s what they’re talking about.

What you don’t hear is that there are alternate ways to do this very same research,
without destroying life.

Meanwhile, we do have room for an entertainment culture and businesses that sell products to us, as they congratulate our worst qualities, and mock our best values.

If you turn on the TV, or the Internet, how long before you see advertising from companies like Abercrombie, or a network like MTV; or prime-time shows, or soap operas; that despise decency; that ridicule morality?

There’s not even time to talk about some of the music that is degrading.

How do I say this? You know what Santa says: “Ho, ho, ho”? That means something very different and very ugly, when it comes to a lot of the music pitched to kids.

We have room for this massive, kid-targeting industry: bad enough these companies
pick our children’s pockets; but along the way, they steal their innocence, too.
They lie to our young people about their worth, and what their inner life is really all about.

“Oh, that Jesus would rend the heavens and come!”

No. The Lord is here already; and always.

Why does Our Lord delay his coming? Because he’s waiting for us!

What did we hear St. Paul say a moment ago? “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ”! “…[I]n him you were enriched in every way,
with all discourse and all knowledge…so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.

“He will keep you firm to the end, irreproachable on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The Prophet Isaiah said, Lord, help us do and be what is right! Have mercy! And St. Paul answers: He has! He’s here—in you!

Whatever help we might want God to send, to help us change ourselves, and our world—
It’s here already! Whatever the world needs, so it can see Jesus: it’s all here, already—in us!

The power and gifts we need are here. We call them Sacraments; we call them Grace: when Jesus baptizes us; when he confirms us; when he bathes us in his mercy
in the Sacrament of Confession; when he feeds us with his own Body and Blood!
When he empowers us in our vocation in life, when he stands with us in times of sickness and crisis.

Jesus is already, in our midst, in us! How much the world believes that depends on how much you and I believe it—and live accordingly.

You and I come to this sacred moment, the Mass, not by human will, but by Divine Appointment. He brought us here, because He is here. This is the moment—right now!—
to say to him:

“Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.”


DilexitPrior said...

Thank-you for posting that homily. I really appreciate it whenever a priest has the courage and boldness to refer to the disregard for human life in relation to how our society views family life and the impact of abortion, IVF, etc... Thank-you for being a zealous priest and a faithful servant to God.

Keeping you in my prayers.

Gregaria said...

I agree with dilexitprior - thank you!

joeh said...

Father, good sermon. As I pray about this start of the season of Advent, I wonder how many take an hour to pause before the Eucharist and open their heart, soul, and mind to allow our Lord to enter. I wonder how many have had that one moment in their life when they knew that Christ was there within them and allowed them to see themselves with His eyes, His heart, His love.
I wonder how many even thirst for such an intimate relationship that God desires to have with each of us by name. I wonder how many commit to spend the time to leave the world you speak of so well in your sermon and find the place where we can hear the whisper.
I have to admit that so often, the world intrudes and the whisper becomes so faint that it is almost gone. The only evidence left for me is the thirst to once again be near. We are so content to say things like God is everywhere or that He is within us, but to do so without going to the well of the water of eternal life shows how much our words are like a clanging bell with no one home within us to hear. How often do I choose to do what drives me away from Him as did Adam and Eve seek to hide in the garden? I use to think giving into sin drove Christ away from me but discovered that it is I that seperate myself. I did not discover this until I had grandchildren and knew that despite whatever they did, I would love them and try to stay close to do all I could for them. In realizing this, for the first time I knew that it was me that hid and went apart from Him, never Him departing from me.
God tends to reveal truth to us in the quiet of the night or at other times of separation from the world. It seems like when He has something very definite to open my heart up to hearing, I am awakened almost exactly at 3am. Could this be the only time I allow God to enter? I also find that when I am lost to the world of finance or power in my job and have them as first, that I tend to stop hearing from Him. He is certainly a jealous God and will settle for nothing less than having Him first with us over all. Of course, being human, without Him, we can offer only the human love with all its conditions and needs so we are always better off coming only with His love anyway. I guess that is why these commandments are first and so important. Who can keep the rest seperate from His love and His grace?

Mark Anthony said...

Looks like others beat me to the punch, but I simply wanted to say, "Thank you." Especially for the parts that are hard to hear.

Rich Leonardi said...

What a magnificent, courageous homily, Father Fox.

Just before his death near the close of the Second Vatican Council, Evelyn Waugh feared that priests were becoming little more than waiters serving a communal meal.

Not in Piqua by God.