Confrontation 2: Homily for Sunday, September 10, 2017

To listen to the entire homily, click here.

Readings for Today

Last Sunday we focused on Jeremiah, who struggled in proclaiming the word.  This Sunday is our focus on how we ourselves might correct another. No one likes to do this. And yet, we know people must.  Parents must correct their children. We might need to speak with a co-worker.

Today’s gospel gives us a framework to do so. Speak with the person one-on-one. Bring in others who may care. Seek the wisdom of the Church.  Remember that we must always confront in love. The goal is not to prove we are right. Rather, it is to lead someone to a deeper relationship with Jesus.

Confrontation 2: Homily for Sunday, September 10, 2017

To listen to the homily, click here.

Readings for Today

For the second week in a row we find confrontation to be a theme.  Sometimes the loving action is to help someone to see the error of their ways.  And this is not usually easy.  People do not like to be corrected.  People do not like to have errors or sin pointed out. Which is why most of us avoid it.  It is easier to pretend the evil does not exist than it is to do the loving, yet difficult thing which is to help someone grow closer to Christ.

Fortunately the gospel provides an outline for success.  It helps us to see the steps we can take to confront in Christ.  The gospel helps us to use our personal relationship, the wisdom of the Church, and the love of Christ.

Homily for Friday, August 29, 2014

Readings for Today

Where is the wise one?
Where is the scribe?
Where is the debater of this age?
Has not God made the wisdom of the world foolish?

It seems like there are a lot of issues where seeking to discover the wisdom of religion is dismissed as nothing more than a fairy tale. When we think of Saint John the Baptist and his interaction with Herod it can be the case that we wonder “What is the big deal?”  After all, so what if Herod marries a divorced woman?

We we could think that way if we focus on the “ways of the world”.  While we need to remember that there are a lot of reasons marriages fail, and some must leave their marriage for personal safety, Saint John the Baptist is willing to risk his life for a religious principle.

It raises the question about what religious principles we would be willing to risk our life for?  On some level this type of question can only really be answered when one is confronted with the actual situation. On another level we must consider where we will allow God to lead us?

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Homily for Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Readings for Today

When we think about society in general, we probably are more “public” with our information, details, relationships and fights than at any other point in our history.  The click of a few buttons and we can say whatever pops into our head.  While the ability to be in touch with those far away is a good thing, it is not without its problems.

Social media can be used as a vehicle to attack others without really having to engage in discussion.  The problem with this approach is that in a way, it lets us “off the hook” from being meaningfully challenged, or entering into true dialogue.  It is much easier to type a few words on a a computer than it is to engage in the art of face to face communication.  Even with face to face communication, such as with face to face debate, there is the temptation to talk “at” the other, or to shift the conversation away from the topic at hand.

Nowhere is this type of communication more challenging than when we need to correct the behavior of another.  While parents do this all of the time with their children (and probably vice-versa), for many of us confronting the behavior of another is not always easy.  In religious life, we talk historically about a “chapter of faults”, but in my experience today confronting each other in a loving and charitable way does not seem to work very often in practice.  Perhaps this is because we can find it difficult to hear, and maybe more importantly, to admit that we have faults.

Jesus in today’s gospel helps us by outlining a process for spiritual correction.  As a starting point, he suggests the one on one conversation that can at its best preserve dignity and make it more likely that ‘saving face” is a little less of a concern.  Indeed, I am reminded of a psychologist who said once, “You have to earn the right to confront.” What was meant was that if the dignity of a relationship did not exist, then the confrontation was better left to someone else.

In offering his pathway for conversion among the members of the Church, Jesus values the power of human relationships.  Since when we love we are doing a holy and divine thing, this high concern for preserving the dignity of others is real.  It is the necessary foundation upon which everything else can occur.  Reaching out for relationships reminds us that true love always seeks relationship.

Maybe today we can examine how willing we are to preserve the human dignity of others, and to enter into true and authentic relationships that are concerned with the needs of the other, and their best interest.  This too is an action of God, holy and divine, in whose image and likeness we are created.  So as always, the readings are challenging us to make sure what we do comes from who we are: people made in the divine image of God.