Homily for Thursday, October 9, 2014

Readings for Today

Have you ever had a moment, when you think of your relationship with God, where you become quite proud of the works that you have done, because they appear to be successful? Put another way, have you had those moments where you come to believe that your salvation is dependent upon what you do? How many of us hold in our minds an image of the final judgment where the angel comes out with a large scale upon which are set our good works on one side and our sinfulness on the other? What happens is that we believe that if our good works weigh more than our sinfulness we will be saved. Such a belief can only be classified as heresy.

It is heresy, because it posits the belief that somehow we can earn our salvation with God. I do not believe it is all that unusual that people start to think this way. I find sometimes in my own life I am looking at the things that I have accomplished as if these things, of their own accord, will allow me to go to heaven. The real important part of our faith is to understand that everything that we do is only possible because of God’s grace. And secondly, even in those things that we do, our salvation remains a free and undeserved gift.

This is the point that Paul is trying to make with the Galatians. Paul was not always a kind and gentle person. Twice in today’s first reading he refers to the Galatians as stupid. I do not know that we could imagine many instances today where we would feel comfortable and referring to someone we care about as stupid. But that is the case with Paul. It is not that he does not care about the Galatians, for in fact he holds deep affection for them. But he is quite frustrated they still have not understood the basic point I just made about God’s salvation being a free and undeserved gift. They still view the following of the Jewish law as the way in which they will earn their salvation.

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Homily for Sunday, July 27, 2014

Readings for Today

In the world poker, there is a gambling phrase that signifies that nothing is being held back. When one is completely convinced they’re going to one hand the that all of their money, they are in fact, “all in”. Today, when we hear this phrase we hear it for more than just its references to poker. Baseball teams, sports players, just about anybody today, can be all in.

Today’s gospel suggests that it is not just about poker for sports, but we Christians to can be all in. In fact, a careful reading of the analogies of the kingdom of God indicate that it cannot be any other way. When it comes to following the Lord Jesus, and living the life of the kingdom of God that he teaches us, we must hold nothing back.

What this means for us, is that we can’t sort of help the poor, or we can sometimes open our hearts and prayer, or we can once in a while think about the purpose and place of God in our lives. To do so is not really to be a Christian at all. For those who are true citizens of the kingdom of God it means buying that field with everything we have, or seeking that treasure with all that we are. We need to be all in.

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Homily for Thursday, March 13, 2014

Readings for Today

Ask.  Seek.  Knock. It all sounds so easy, doesn’t it?  Prayer, I mean.  Ask.  Seek.  Knock.  Oh, and trust.  Trust that God answers prayers, that when we ask, God answers, when we seek, God helps us to find, when we Knock, God opens the door.  The challenge with all prayer is to believe that God answers our prayer.  God is the all-faithful God, waiting for us to ask, seek and knock.

Do we do this?  Do we ask, seek and knock?  I find that this can be the real challenge in my life.  So much of life is filled with activity, with noise, with distractions.  Finding that quiet time where I can know and experience the presence of God is important indeed.  And it takes discipline.  Dominicans promise at least 30 minutes a day of mental prayer, as well as the rosary each day.  To take that time to step back and do nothing, only to be in God’s presence.  That is prayer.  That is the call of faith.

But in a western world that tends to equate accomplishments with self-worth, that we are only valuable if we can do something, asking, seeking and knocking is antithetical to such quiet.  What do you mean, do nothing?  What do you mean, not be productive, or profitable?  Just as God yesterday challenged Jonah to follow God’s voice to preach in Nineveh, even though Jonah did not want to, God calls us too, to slow down, to reflect and pray.

Can you make a little time for God today?