Sunday, December 02, 2007

Peace (Sunday homily)

In the first reading, they say, "Come, let us climb the mountain of the Lord."
What do they find there?

Isaiah tells us: they will find
instruction. They find peace.

Do we want peace? Saint Paul tells us: set aside rivalry and jealousy.
So for example: let the other person have the last word!
That's hard, isn't it? It is for me.

Another example:
When I was a seminarian, one summer I lived at a parish in Cincinnati,
along with two other seminarians.
It was a well-to-do parish; and on Sundays, we'd look out the rectory window,
and see the cars in parking lot: Buicks and Cadillacs and Lexuses and Range Rovers.
As seminarians, we had old, beat-up cars;
and we'd laugh about which of our cars
looked most like Jed Clampett's truck, amid all that splendor.

My point is, we can crave these things, and resent others for having nicer things;
or, we can let it go...and have peace.

Paul talks about promiscuity and lust.
If we're not happy with our mate...
if we're on the Internet, or thinking about "greener pastures"...
if we're single, there's plenty to tempt us.
The peace we need, and the strength to be chaste,
comes from seeking the quietness of heart only the Holy Spirit can give.

Peace...this time year, we want to be peaceful, but instead, if can be stressful.
It might be because we aim for "the Perfect Christmas."
We might find it more peaceful, if we set our sights a little lower. the end of Mass, you're going to hear a parishioner
give you an opportunity to sign up as an adorer in our Blessed Sacrament chapel.

If you want peace...
Peace of mind, quiet in your heart...
Spending time with our Eucharistic Lord will do that!
But it takes effort, to set aside time, and to guard that time on your schedule. the end of the evening, when all is quiet...
When everyone has gone to bed...
If you turn everything off, and you really listen...

What will you hear?

Maybe a train whistle; in warmer months, you may hear frogs or crickets.
Can you hear the bells of St. Boniface?
If we're really quiet, we can hear our own heart beating.
And if we quiet our minds, we sense the Lord. We know He's there.

That quietness of heart and soul comes from our daily conversation with the Holy Spirit;
it is what helps us know the Lord is with us all day long.
That quietness of heart and mind also enables us, when we come to Mass,
to enter fully into prayer, to feel how much his presence
fills this space!

Sometimes we battle against silence. We resent if someone tells us to be quiet.
And when we come into a quiet place, first thing we do is turn something on--
tv, radio, computer--that makes noise.

Don't avoid it. Don't be afraid of it.
That silence is not empty; it's full of God.

This Mass is full of God, if we look for him. Jesus Christ is here!
The Mass is Christ offering everything to the Father;
the Eucharist is his total offering to you and me.

If we want peace...
If we want the Holy Spirit to quiet our hearts...
If we want to let go of lust and greed and resentment...
The Eucharist is Christ's full gift to us.

We don't have to go looking for the mountain of the Lord, and climb it: we're already there!
This is the top of the mountain!
The Lord will come at the end of time; but we don't have to worry about that,
if we look, and listen, and watch, for his coming, right here, right now.

He's here. That is Peace.


Rachel said...

Very nice, Father, especially the part about how we battle against silence but it's full of God. A man I know who spent some time in a Carthusian monastery said that at first the silence was hard to take but then it began to fill up with God. And he said that among most priests, those who are fresh from seminary tend to be the most fervent. But at this Carthusian monastery, the most fervent were those who had been there the longest. In the silence their love for God just grew and grew.

Anonymous said...

Very timely reading of your post for me tonight, Father. Many thanks as I needed to read just what you wrote. God bless you.

Anonymous said...

Hoping to get a little peace on a 2 day retreat..will remember you in my prayers Fr..