Sunday, March 03, 2024

Not rules but relationship (Sunday homily)

 The first reading is about God’s Law: 

God’s Ten Commandments, God’s “Rules.” 

Rules are necessary, like it or not.

And while we all love to complain about rules, 

the truth is, we actually LOVE rules. 

Why do I say that? Because people will ask me a question,

and I’ll try to explain the Church’s teaching, 

and you know what people come back with?

“Just give me the rule, Father!”

As I said, rules are useful.

To quote the late Father Michael Seger, 

who taught moral theology at the seminary in my time:

“Rules exist to protect values”:

“Thou shalt not kill” protects the value and dignity of human life.

All that said, life is always more than rules!

God came to earth, becoming one of us, 

to invite each of us into a relationship with him.

To know him – not only as Creator, and as Savior, which he is –

But just as much as a brother and a friend.

So now, let me pose a question,

And I hope you’ll work it over in your mind:

Is your Catholic Faith mainly about following rules?

Getting to Mass on time; keeping the communion fast;

no meat on Fridays during Lent;

not going too far on a date, and so forth;

and if you break a rule, then get to confession before communion.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking down rules, I’m saying, go further!

If your faith is mainly about rules? You’re missing it!

Our Faith is mainly, crucially, about a relationship!

God is a Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

So God is – within Himself, in a way we can’t quite explain – 

a relationship.

Life is a relationship. 

A relationship enabled you to exist.

You never have been an island all to yourself, and you never will be.

Maybe the reason God created the world this way 

was so that his invitation to a relationship with him 

would be amplified and re-echoed in everything we experience; 

to give us every advantage, to have courage to believe, first, 

that a relationship with God is possible…

And then to find it easier to follow the path he gives us 

to that relationship – so we would be successful.

We like rules because they are simpler.

Relationships are much harder.

Lots of people are married – happily, it would seem –

yet they don’t talk very much; 

they don’t spend much time alone as a couple. 

Lots of our children need to talk to their parents: 

so many of our girls are lied to about their value;

so many of both boys and girls are looking at stuff on their phones 

they know is poison, but they don’t know how to stop.

Kids: no one in the world loves you as much as your mom and dad.

Talk to them!

Parents, you know they are scared: so you take the first step.

Relationships take work but they are worth it.

True for friends and family, most true with the God who made you,

and who died on the Cross to save you,

to have a relationship with you forever.

Those money-changers Jesus confronted that day?

They must have been so confused, because, after all:

They were following all the rules!

Don’t just follow the rules: know God!

Talk to him, discover him; make friends!

1 comment:

rcg said...

I really enjoy your posts. The homilies are very instructive and the other posts are illuminating and/or fun. Keep it up!