Homily for Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Readings for Today

Why me? I imagine that everyone has had a moment when they asked themselves this question. Those times when not only is it the case that nothing is going right, but even worse, when it appears to us that we have been singled out for particularly awful treatment. We can believe that we have been abandoned completely, even by God.

This is the feeling that could arise if we found ourselves in the situation described in the first reading. Consider Gideon’s question: “My Lord, if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us?” I have certainly felt times in my life where I feel like Gideon. If I am serving the Lord, why is it the case that such difficult things are happening to me? Why do I not seem to be getting some credit when I believe I am clearly following the path of the Lord?

Indeed, being delivered into the power of the enemy might be causing just these questions to be asked by the Christians in the Middle East who are being slaughtered and oppressed at the hands of ISIS. It is certainly understandable. There may be a special kind of suffering that comes for these persecuted Christians today because the world seems to take little or no notice.

Gideon is told by God that he is not alone, and that the suffering of today will not last forever. And isn’t it precisely that which helps us too? Isn’t it really important to know that we are not alone? Think about those most difficult moments. Is it that we wish that others would solve our problems, or is it rather that we want someone to accompany us as we face them?

It is for this reason, I believe, that of walking with each other, that we are called individually by God to be in community. Each one of us must say yes to God, but at the same time each one of us is also called to journey with the others in the Christian community. Moreover, each one of us is called to take responsibility for everyone in the world. We are, indeed, our brother’s keeper.

Another reminder from the first reading is that we are not helped by God only when we can fully trust God and his promises. Quite the opposite. Wherever we find ourselves in this life, with strong faith or strong doubt, we are loved by God. God wants for us to be open to seeking God’s presence regardless of what our past has been like.

Hopefully, you are not facing a situation that causes you to ask, “Why me?” But know that if you are, you are never alone, because God is there, ready to make great things happen.

Homily for Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Readings for Today

There is great importance in considering beginnings and endings. Get off to a good start, make a good first impression, these are really important principles. We also have a saying, “All’s well that ends well,” and we know that a lot of mistakes can be made up with a good finish. Early season losses by a baseball team are forgiven if a championship is won. In many ways, beginnings and endings matter. They make a difference.

Isn’t that what we think about when we come to the last day of any year? Many stations have been reviewing the past year. They consider those who have died, the major news stories, those things that stood out over the last year. We also spend time looking ahead as well. What will the new year bring? Will we make a resolution to improve our lives and if so, what will it be? What blessings await us? What will challenge us in this new year?

Maybe the most important awareness of beginnings and endings though, is Jesus Himself. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last. The most important aspects of the past year are those areas where we have been blessed not only to have the presence of God in our midst, but also, those times when we recognized that presence of God and cooperated with God.

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