Sunday, August 08, 2010

Homily for the 19th Sunday of Ordinary Time Year C

Here is my homily for this Sunday, August 8th. (Note: I never deliver a homily the way I write it).

If the greatest thing we can do while on earth is truly love God and our neighbors, than faith is the first step toward loving. In the gospel Jesus tells His disciples to not be afraid, that the Father is pleased to give them the Kingdom. By doing so, Jesus is asking them to have faith in God, to believe that God is indeed present in their lives in a way that is not seen with our physical eyes, but discerned through the eyes of faith.

Knowing that God is near that His providence is at work in our lives calms our anxieties over our daily needs and enables us to hope in God for our welfare. No longer afraid for ourselves, but trusting in God and confident He will provide should we be lacking, we no longer cling to possessions, to the excess just in case, but are able instead to open our hearts and turn our attention to those who have-not, to be willing to give to others in light of God’s goodness to us now and in light of the reward awaiting those who are truly God’s servants, those who served their fellow men and women in need.

Oddly enough we have a bad example in the steward who begins to beat his fellow servants and is busy eating and getting drunk on the very food and drink he should have been distributing to his fellow servants. What went wrong with this servant? Why did he stop doing the master’s will and turn instead into a selfish servant? Jesus tells us he began to think that his master was delayed in coming.

We too can begin to think that “our master is delayed in coming” when we begin to think that God does not actually want to have anything to do with us, when we question whether He is even present in our daily lives. We too can easily get caught up in fear and selfishness when we forget that God is indeed present in our lives even when we can’t “see” it.

The stronger our faith, the more we hope to receive from God, the more we let God love us and are willing to give back to God in love. One example of this is Abraham who the letter to the Hebrews extols as an All-Star of faith. Abraham had just as many difficulties to face as we do, if not more, and yet he always faced them with God, firmly depending on Him and not relying on his own strength. As a result Abraham grew steadily in wisdom and holiness. He trusted God and hoped for all things from Him, and God was able to advance his plan of salvation through him, preparing Abraham to be willing to give all back to God and to do all for the good of others.

Abraham is an example that we are called to imitate. We too are called to follow God no matter what. We too are called to let God do wonderful things for us and through us. But if we want to have greater hope and if we want to love more we need great faith that is strong and mature. The question that comes to us today is how can we grow in our faith? The answer is just as easy as developing strong mature muscles. Just as we need to eat carbs and protein to build muscles, we need to feed our faith on the sacraments and prayer, just as we are doing here today at mass. And just as we exercise our muscles, likewise we need to exercise our faith. One way we can exercise our faith is to say small, spontaneous, and sincere acts of faith, mini-prayers, every day, in the quiet of our hearts. When we see a beautiful sunset or feel the tangy ocean breeze, to say, "Thank you Lord; I believe in you." When we visit a loved one who is sick or dying, to say, "Lord, I believe in you; don't abandon this person, give them strength." When we experience life's sorrows, to say, "Lord, you suffered for me; teach me to suffer with faith for you." When we experience life's joys, to say, "Lord, this is just a small hint of your love for me; teach me to believe in you more deeply." Today, when Jesus comes to us in Holy Communion, let's consciously exercise our faith. And let's promise that we will continue exercising it all week, so it will grow, and we will be able to live life to the full, hoping in God and loving Him and our neighbors both now and for all eternity. May the Lord give you peace.

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