Saturday, November 08, 2008

'Provide Fresh Water for our Community' (Sunday homily)

"Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink"—
maybe you remember that line from the "Rime of the Ancient Mariner"—
that poem I think all high schoolers learn.

But you and I have fresh water—water that gives life—
the Water of the Holy Spirit.

Ezekiel tells us that Water flows from the Temple:
you and I receive this Water from Jesus Christ.
We are baptized here, born again in the Holy Spirit.
We come here to be made clean again in confession.
We come here for the Mass and the Eucharist.
This temple, this House of God, is where we receive the Life of the Spirit.

The occasion we are celebrating today
is the dedication of the Church of St. John Lateran in Rome.
You might wonder why we do this.

Because the Bishop of Rome is the head of the Catholic Church,
Rome is the mother Church for us all as Catholics.

When our Lord was on earth, he said to Peter,
"You are Rock, and upon this rock I will build my Church."
Peter went to Rome—as did Paul—
and thus Rome is the mother Church for us all.
Benedict XVI is the Bishop of Rome, and St. John Lateran is his Cathedral.

So we celebrate the Gift of the Holy Spirit,
and we are grateful that Gift comes to us
through being part of the Catholic Church.

But notice what St. Paul was telling us:
we not only receive the Gift of the Spirit through our Catholic Faith;
we are the building-blocks of the Church,
we are the Temple that gives that Gift to our community!
The water flows out from us to make salt water fresh.

I see this wherever I go in Piqua. Our parishioners are everywhere.
Thursday, I was asked to give a blessing for a new business in town.
A group of people came from the Chamber of Commerce,
decked out in spiffy red jackets—and half of them were our fellow Catholics.

So we have been given a great privilege,
and we can have so much good influence on our community.
That puts an obligation on us:
to share our faith, we must know our faith.
Whether its RCIA, or my Bible Study, or the CDs we offer in the vestibule,
take advantage of ways to know your faith better.
If you have an idea, a suggestion—please let me know!

And to be able to provide Fresh Water to our community,
our own temple, the temple of our lives, always needs attention.
The Lord didn’t tear down the temple—but he did clean it up.
He wanted it to be a place of life,
and that’s always what’s trying to do in our individual lives.
If there’s something he wants us to clean up or clear out, in our own lives,
this is why—so that more Fresh Water of the Holy Spirit
flows out of us, into the lives of others.

When we go to confession,
we’re cooperating with the Lord to do that work in our own lives.
When we find time for daily Mass, or to make a holy hour,
or we give time to the needs of others,
we are opening ourselves up even more as channels of his grace for our community.

The Lord is building a Temple, made up of us, living stones.
He wants it to be a House where our whole community receives life.
That’s a great privilege for each of us! That’s an important task!
The Lord needs us and has a lot of confidence in us.

As we participate in this Mass, we might want to ask the Lord to show us
if anything in our lives needs cleaning out.
As we pray, we might ask the Lord to show us how he wants us to grow in Faith,
so we can share it.
As we take part in the Eucharist, we might ask the Lord to strengthen us
so we’ll step up and step out,
to make the difference he wants for our community.


ignorant redneck said...


I enjoy reading your blog, and your homilies. (although I prefer the word 'sermons", because I'm just hoplessly outdated!)

I have noticed something over the years. What I would preach, were I a preacher type person, from the readings and the Gospels, is never what I hear preached. (Or, in your case, what I read.) I offer this not in any kind of reproach, but as proof that there is a reason the Lord hasn't called me to Holy Orders!

Thanks for the Catechesis and inspiration in your words--they really do help this sorry excuse for a disciple.

Fr Martin Fox said...


Well, thanks!

By the way, if your pondering or comparisons between "what I'd have said" and what I, myself, did say" raises any questions, please don't hesitate to ask...

Anonymous said...

Fr. Martin,

I've often offered criticism of your homilies, but I want to thank you for making me feel like I really do matter to the church and to the world.

Your words were challenging and uplifting, a hard combination to be put so eloquently.

Thanks - HTM