Sunday, March 08, 2020

There's so much more: keep going! (Sunday homily)

People ask me, where I get ideas for homilies.
Even Facebook! 
Yesterday I saw a great comment from Father Rob Jack, 
who is with Sacred Heart Radio in Cincinnati.

Here’s what he said about these readings:
“God has a greater goal for us than we do.”
You and I may be focusing on our physical health, our career,
 our wealth, or maybe just the party this weekend.

But what does God have in store for us? 
As some of our kids’ t-shirts say, you and I are “made for more.”

So: Abram is in his home, with his wife, and all his prosperity,
And suddenly God speaks to him: Get up and go!
Remember, his people worshipped idols; those god’s didn’t speak.
So his whole world was turned upside down.
He had a really good life. But God had something more.

In the Gospel, Jesus – who is God, come to dwell with us –
gives the exact same invitation to the Apostles, 
and, ultimately, to each of us.
What does he say?
“Come! I’ll make you fishers of men!”
“Come! Walk on the water!”
“Come follow me, let’s go to the world, I’ll be with you.”
But for good measure he also says, “Take up the cross.”

When you and I have a pretty good life, it’s easy to stay put.
And we may tune out that call to step out.
This is a good time to make the point 
that sometimes we really can be freer 
to respond to those invitations God gives us.

If you’re here and approaching high school or college,
these next few years can be some of the best times 
for you to do what Abram did, what the Apostles did.

Maybe you want to go and spend some time 
making some part of this country, or the world, a little better?
How about being a lay missionary for a year or two?

Young men, maybe check out the seminary?
Just so you know: they don’t lock you inside, OK?
I’ve known a lot of men, of all ages, who checked it out,
spent a year or two in the seminary,
and then they figured out, this isn’t for me;
But: they all say they were glad they did it, it made them better men.

And if you’re thinking, hey, great message for young folks, 
let me remind you that Abram was 80 years old when he got the call!

I know I’m not in that age bracket, but I do know this:
At 58, I’m more set in my ways than I was 10 or even 5 years ago.
And if I want to, I can make excuses for not doing this or that;
but most of the time, that’s all it is: an excuse.

And I’m not talking about packing your bags and hitting the road.
Only that God has far more for us than we know;
and either we keep our ear open, or we say, too late, someone else.
Let me tell you about two people: my dad, and his cousin Elizabeth.
In her 90s Elizabeth had to move into assisted living.
She didn’t want to do it; and she said, I don’t have any reason to live.

I understand that, but that was not true! 
She was a disciple of Jesus; she had a lot to share;
But she didn’t see it, and she died not long after.

About the same time, my dad experienced the same physical process. 
He suffered the losses that come with age: 
my mom, other friends and loved ones; 
He couldn’t walk too well after a while; he moved out of his home.

It was really hard letting go of the car keys.
Eventually came a wheelchair, 
and finally he was homebound his last five years,
after spending his life being active and out and about.

But a funny thing happened: the world began beating a path to his door!
At each stage, I watched my dad find new ways to be an apostle; 
and eventually, it was from an easy chair in my sister’s living room.

What was different wasn’t physical, it was attitude!
My dad knew there was always more and he kept going!

In his transfiguration, Jesus reveals his glory, 
Because he knows the next stop is Calvary;
it’s going to be really rough for the Apostles.

He showing them, Look how much more there is!
This is the destination. Keep going! 

And because this is Jesus’ world, he created it and he’s in this world,
He brings that “more” to us just like to the Apostles.
That’s what the sacraments are:
Baptism; marriage; confession; the Eucharist.
He’s telling us, “Here’s the more: keep going!

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