Homily for Monday, August 31, 2015

Readings for Today

Do you ever think of the most important day of your life? What is it? How would you describe it? And why would you suggest it is the most important day of your life? What is it about that day that causes it to rise above the others?

Certainly, on the one hand, we could look at the day we were born as such a date. Maybe it is even the day we were conceived. Without these events, our lives would be quite different, or would not even exist. But for me, when I think about such a date, I think about the day of my baptism. Like many Catholics, I do not remember my baptism, since I was only a couple of months old. But my spiritual life was profoundly changed on that day. I was born into new life, and it was because of this event, that my vocation came into view.

Two very important things happened when I was baptized. First, the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon me. Second, I was anointed. And those events made everything make sense in my life. Such may also be the same for you. You too may have been baptized, and you too received the Spirit and were anointed. You were given the great life of vocation.

Where has this vocation led you? Perhaps you have found yourself called to marriage, and it has made all of the difference in your life. You were made aware that you and your spouse were the means to be complete. You discovered you were more together than either of you could be apart. Maybe this led to the vocation of parenthood.

In my case, the Spirit of the Lord is upon me because I am a priest. For others, it may be a vocation to religious life as a priest or a brother. Maybe one is called to the vocation of the single life. Whatever it is, God has chosen each one of us for something truly amazing. We are made the vehicles of God’s grace! Think about it! We can witness to God’s action in the world when we pay attention to the needs of others.

This does not seem to be the Spirit of the current campaign for president. We hear these words from Isaiah in the gospel:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.

Yet what we hear with such force among some candidates is a different message. It is not glad tidings that we bring to the poor, but “Stay in Mexico!” We are not seeking to help the blind recover their sight, but we are blaming them for being blind, and we view them only as stealing OUR resources. Get a job! We do not wish to free the oppressed, but to jail them. And when we understand what this “year acceptable” is for God, the forgiveness of debt and a new start seem far from what we hear. The unborn baby in too many circles is only human if it is wanted by the mother, otherwise it has no more value than a tumor or a bodily supply of parts.

We who have been anointed by the Spirit are called to do something more. Because of the resurrection of Jesus, our hopes and dreams are not in this life only. We need not cling to the material possessions we have, but can freely give them because we are truly free in Christ.

Today, you are a vessel of God’s Holy Spirit, to change the lives of the most vulnerable. Will you give in to the ordinary around us, which too often ignores and belittles the needy, or will you see your high vocation as one where you can be a vessel of the Holy Spirit and lead others to freedom and new, unending life.

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