Sunday, June 15, 2008

The 'Salvation Maintenance Plan' (Sunday homily)

We continue to learn from St. Paul,
from what he wrote in his letter to the Romans.

Listen to the language Paul uses:
“while we were still helpless”…
That makes me think of a baby…newborns are “helpless.”
It also recalls the people of Israel in Egypt—
they were slaves, and God “bore them up on eagle’s wings.”

In what way helpless? “Helpless” to save ourselves.
When it comes to sin, all of us are helpless,
all of us are slaves.
This is what we call “Original Sin.”

You can explain Original Sin many ways,
But one thing is clear, as G.K. Chesterton said,
this is one Christian doctrine that is very easily proved:
Every one of us enters this world prone to sin.

Somewhere in our past, our first parents fell into sin,
and the damage that did
to the human race is part of us, too.

So we are helpless to save ourselves—
but thank God, we don’t have to!
“While we were still sinners, Christ died for us”!

Saint Paul wants to teach us
that yes, we really do need Jesus Christ.
Without Jesus Christ, we would still be slaves—helpless.

But our life-experience tells us that
even with the new life Christ won for us on the cross—
which He pours into our lives in baptism—
you and I will still fall back into slavery,
if we do not claim the grace and power
that the Lord offers us through the sacraments—
especially confession and the Eucharist.

It’s like you have a new car, fresh off the lot—
not a scratch, and it has that “new car” smell.
You start it up and the engine purrs…
But don’t you still bring it for maintenance?

Confession and the Eucharist:
that’s our “Salvation Maintenance Plan.”

Today is Fathers Day, and it’s an opportunity
to talk about both natural fathers and spiritual fathers.

As great as it is to help God bring a new life into this world,

to be a father even more means bringing that new life to heaven.

The “Salvation Maintenance Plan” isn’t just for ourselves;

we share it with our families.
So, fathers and mothers, I want to say thank you:
many of you bring your children each week,
and I know it’s not always easy.
When I was a kid, I made it hard for my parents!
Remember, Original Sin?

But you persevere, and I thank you because—
not only are you making a difference in their lives—
teaching them the “Salvation Maintenance Plan”—
you make a difference in my life.
Your example encourages me!
It strengthens me, and it strengthens others.

I say the same to the _______s,
celebrating 50 years of marriage.
You gave yourselves to each other 50 years ago,
Knowing you couldn’t do it all on your own,
But rather, asking the Lord’s help.
And here you are, surrounded by the children and grandchildren
and the friends
who are the fruit of what God did in your lives.

Your witness encourages me, and all of us.

I would be remiss if I did not do as Jesus commanded.
He said, “ask the master of the harvestto send out laborers for his harvest.”

This is why I’ve asked you
to add to your grace over meals,
the following six-word prayer:
“Please send us more holy priests.”

This is why the Sisters of Charity are such a blessing—
they are examples of giving oneself radically to Christ.

This is why I invite anyone
who has a zeal for promoting vocations,
to please get in touch with me,
because we would love to build up a vocation committee.

The Harvest is underway—
the Lord began it with his death and resurrection,
and he continues it with our help.

After we share
in the death and resurrection of the Lord,
in holy communion, Mass ends—we are sent.

You and I, who have the great privilege
of being reconciled to God,
when we leave here,
we then have the great privilege
of sharing that with others.


Father Schnippel said...

Happy Father's Day, Father!

Following orders from the homily and getting in touch with you. Two resources to use in your efforts to form a parish vocation committee:


(Sorry, too lazy to look up how to hyperlink!)

Father Schnippel said...

oh, and good homily, too!