Sunday, July 29, 2007

This is the House of God's Mercy (Sunday homily)

The sin of the first reading—the “sin of Sodom”—
is not something we like to talk about.
But that means other voices dominate the discussion.

Some say, “who cares?”

We do insist that marriage is,
by nature, for a man and a woman.
It’s not only about the couple, it’s also about children;
so it’s not just a private arrangement,
it’s also a foundation of society.

Meanwhile, others look down on “those people.”
What some people call “morality” is really prejudice.

The most important conversation
we can ever have on this
happens when someone we know comes and tells us,
he or she is struggling with homosexual feelings.

But if people hear put-downs or harsh judgments from us,
will they even come to us in the first place?

Instead, they need to hear that they can be chaste,
and faithful to Christ—and we will help them do it!

Keep in mind what St. Paul says in his letter.
We are all sinners, equally in need of God’s mercy.
We are all dead to sin, until we are born again in baptism.

Today’s reading about the sin of Sodom
Reminds us how often we may say, at the water-cooler,
or the dinner table, or in the locker-room,
“Such-and-such is the worst sin there is.”

But before you say that, realize how many people
are already convinced that applies to them:

Women who’ve had an abortion…
Homosexual persons…
Addicts, people who fail their marriages…
Tell themselves God has no mercy left for them.

That first reading is not God’s last word on the subject!

The Cross is God’s final word!
And every day, you and I are sent by the Holy Spirit
To share that Word with everyone, everywhere:

You’re a sinner? So am I;
God has a remedy—let him nail our sin to the Cross!

The world around us has a short supply of mercy;
But God has an abundance—more than enough for you!

In baptism, you and I are immersed into that mercy;
we become members of the Church,
the household of mercy;
Here, we live because God’s mercy sustains us,
through the sacraments and the life of the Holy Spirit.

We see many problems in our parish and our community.
But really, God’s remedy—and our task—is very simple:
we have been given Faith—share that faith.
This is the house of mercy—
God sends you to fill this church
with everyone who needs mercy.


Paul Stokell said...

Father, I bet a cookie this homily gets picked up by a certain Episcopalian blog...

Unknown said...


Anonymous said...

I think Romans 1:18-33 is also very important in understanding this temptation and sin, and is neither taught or understood.

Paul is describing a step by step descent from grace to unholiness. Verse 26 is very key in understanding this, and can enable true charity. Because of verses 18-25, "God delivered them up to shameful affections..."

And verses 18-25 are not necessarily being commited by the same individuals that bear the burden of the temptation talked about in verse 26. A 15-year-old boy with confusing homosexual temptations has certainly not committed what's described in 18-25. Those are commited by the rest of his society, perhaps his fathers before him.

Paul appears to be saying that the temptation to sodomy is primarily a red flag for the society. The unnaturalness of it is to be a flashing light to get our attention.

When I stand before Our Lord, he will not be saying "Well done, Joshua, you didn't sodomize your brothers." It is blessedly not a temptation for me, and I will not be receiving great glory for not sodomizing anybody.

Where a homosexual may very well receive great glory for fighting the temptation. A homosexual who has given in, been attrite, and sought the sacrament may even receive more glory that we who were merely blessed with never having to bear the temptation.

The temptation is the result of and a sign for a godless society. All of us in American have done more than our share in contributing to that godlessness. A homosexual is bearing the burden of that temptatation that is a result of my godlessness. There is a humility that should come with that realization.

I am not excusing a person's giving in to that temptation. Their glory is not in being tempted, but in overcoming their temptation. We cannot say why God chooses to dispense His burdens as He does. But most of us are routinely missing an opportunity to receive the blessing of humility when considering homosexuality.

Anonymous said...

Great homily, Fr. Fox. I'm going to bookmark it for the next time I get in a seemingly futile argument about this topic.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Father. Your words bring hope and comfort in ways you cannot begin to imagine!!!! God bless you, and may He give you the strength to carry on the great work that you do.

p8 said...

As a Catholic man with SSA, I am most grateful for your words, Father. I was wondering if we'd hear much on this text this weekend; as it turns out, last Sunday of the month is Deacon's Sunday in my parish, i.e. our permanent deacons give the homilies. At the Mass I attended, the deacon spoke only on the Gospel reading (though there's certainly a world of sermons in the Lord's Prayer passage this week, it would have been nice to hear some of your comments in person).