Tag: Be opened

Open: Homily for the Memorial of Saint Scholastica, February 10, 2017

Open. This word has so many applications. One use refers to a business when customers can purchase something. Another use refers to a road that is clear, free from obstructions. Another use concerns an athletic competition, as in the US Open. The word open can refer to what we can see, either good things or not so good things. And in today’s first reading, and the gospel, the notion of open plays an important role.

In the first reading, Adam and Eve’s eyes are opened. But instead of being opened to good things, Adam and Eve are now able to see evil. They use their power of choice to reject God. When they reject God, it is not the case their lives become better. In becoming open to evil, they become closed to God.

When the deaf man encounters Jesus, his ears are opened. Through the healing action of Jesus, the man can now hear God. He can now proclaim the Good News. Which he does. Despite being told not to, the man cannot help but do so. He tells anyone and everyone what Jesus has done for him. Everyone hears the Good News. Everyone proclaims the marvelous deeds of Jesus.

It is for this reason, listening and proclaiming, that this phrase is used at Baptism. Just as Jesus opened the ears and loosened the tongue of the man, so too he does in baptism. When we are baptised, we are just like the deaf man. And the odd paradox is, that when we are opened to God, we become more closed to evil. God says to you and me today, speaking to our hearts: Be opened!

Homily for Sunday, September 6, 2015

The American spirit seems to like things that are made strong and tough. Trucks are advertised this way, a popular vehicle in our country. People are often encouraged to be strong in the face of adversity. Little boys are wrongly told not to cry, to “toughen up”, in the face of difficulty. We are told there is “no crying” in any number of things.

But what is it that makes someone truly strong? Is it the false elements I just mentioned? Is it the house built on rock that Jesus uses as an example in the gospels? And how is it we reconcile this idea of strength with Saint Paul who says that when he is weak, it is then he is strong? When we hear the words in today’s first reading, “Be Strong, Fear Not!” what exactly does that mean, and how and in what ways is such a phrase intended for you and me?

As is often the case, as we explore this idea of strength, the world gets turned upside down a little bit. Bold words are expressed to those in the time of Isaiah, to be strong, because they feel anything but strong at the moment. The words are meant as an encouragement, because when they consider their current situation, they do not feel very strong. Weak knees, feeble hands are the way the people are described.

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