Sunday, June 09, 2013

'What's my part of the task?' (Sunday homily)

Sometimes I feel sorry for Saint Paul--
we almost always read one of his letters at Sunday Mass, 
but then he’s got to compete with a vivid story, 
such as appear in both the first reading and the Gospel. 

Notice where he started: 
“I want you to know that the Gospel preached by me is not of human origin.” 

And there’s the question that perhaps matters most: 
Is the Gospel we profess as Catholics of human origin--or not? 

Or, to put it, perhaps, even more boldly: 
Is what you or I stand for, before others, the Gospel of God? 

Because the thing is, it’s only a Gospel from God 
that has the kind of powerful impact the other readings illustrate. 

We might ask a question: who has this kind of power we see in these readings? 
Who can raise people from the dead? 

I mean more than technology. 
Our doctors and nurses, 
with the best skills, the best tools at their disposal, 
in the end cry out in words just like Elijah’s.

Notice in the first reading, Elijah turns to God for a miracle. 
Notice, in the Gospel, Jesus does not look elsewhere. 
He speaks the word and it happens; just as he, being God himself, 
was Elijah’s answer centuries before. 

What sort of power from our Lord can any of us call on? 
Healings and miracles are pretty rare. 
But they happen. 
They don’t happen “on command,” as much as we’d like it. 
But I can tell you stories of healings 
that are very hard to explain, “coincidences” that are awfully striking. 

And I bet others here can do the same. Miracles happen. 
In the Gospels, they happen not for their own sake, 
but to create an openness to Christ. 
And I think that’s still true. 

If you’ve experienced a miracle, or a sign, 
or something that just strikes you in the pit of your stomach, 
ask the question: 
if that’s a “knock on the door” of your heart, have you opened it? 

But back to my earlier question: 
what sort of power might we be able to tap into? 
How can we see it at work? 

I’d say, first, what are we willing to put on the line? 
Let me talk about myself, to myself! 
Yes, I pray. But…I don’t know that I’m any great hero at it. 
Pray for me that I take another step deeper. 

One of the things I do pray for is for you. For all of us. 

What do you think? 
Do you think the world around us needs more of Jesus Christ? 
More forgiveness? More hope in what lasts forever? 

Scratch that--let’s not talk about “the world”; that’s too big. 
How about the part of the world that you and I inhabit? 
Our family--our co-workers--our friends? 

 And, lastly, what part of the task is mine? Yours?

No comments: