Fully Divine and Fully Human: Homily for Thursday, December 7, 2017

Readings for Today

Today is the feast of Saint Ambrose.  We might not know much about Saint Ambrose, but he is a very important saint for us.  He was one of the first four doctors of the Church. Saint Ambrose was a politician, who unlike today, was so well-loved he was named bishop by pubic acclaim. Perhaps most importantly, Saint Ambrose fought ceaselessly against a heresy that denied the divinity of Christ in a way which made Christ equal with the Father and the Spirit.

During Advent this matters, because it is not just because Jesus was a nice person worthy to imitate that we celebrate. Rather, we celebrate the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity who takes on flesh to become fully human.  Three persons in one God. So that the incarnation is not just one birth among many, it is THE birth that is connected to our salvation. We seek the promises of God because God has become one of us, and has become savior to a people that do not deserve or earn salvation.

Human: Homily for Saturday, February 25, 2017

To listen to the entire homily, click here.

Readings for Today

Human.  I am not sure we fully appreciate what it means to be human.  I do not think we focus on humans being created in the image and likeness of God.  Today’s first reading from the Book of Sirach serves as a good reminder of what it means.  Hear again some of the words of Sirach about humanity.  God “endows [humans] with a strength of his own.”  Humans “power over all things else on earth.”  Consider the wonders of our creation.  “He created for them counsel, and a tongue and eyes and ears, and an inventive heart, and filled them with the discipline of understanding.”  “With wisdom he fills their heart; good and evil he shows them.”

We often think that being human is a reality that excuses our sinfulness.  Well, we might say, I’m only human.  But in reality, being human is when we show forth in great wonder and power the image of God.  Rather than being something that is an excuse for being less than perfect, the truth is that when we sin we are less than human.  When we are human, it is then that we are most alive, most reflective of the image and likeness of God.  We are most like God when we are human, because when we are human we are what God has made us to be.

It was Saint Irenaeus who said that a human fully alive was the glory of God.  In today’s reading, Sirach reminds us of the same thing.  And so today, be fully alive.  Be a reflection of the glory of God.  Do the things that humans were meant to do.  Be like God in all you say and do.

Homily for Saturday, May 2, 2015

Readings for Today

There is just no guarantee. Philip, about whom we read in today’s gospel, has spent a significant period of time with Jesus, and yet he simply has not grasped the simply concept that there is a powerful relationship between the Son and the Father. I am not sure why, but I do feel some sympathy for Philip. See, for me, the belief in the Trinity was a given. I have to confess I did not give it much thought, and in some ways, I still have not. This trinitarian understanding of God was just always the way it was.

But in recalling Saint Athanasius, whose feast we celebrate today, we are invited to remember that it was not always so. While he may not have been the easiest to get along with, his words and works helped to develop in a convincing way the belief of God as three persons, one God. This mystery of the Incarnation, then, has been really developed and settled.

But this took centuries for the Church to work out, and so it is not unreasonable that Philip might not have absorbed all of its meaning right away. But what he did absorb was the importance of remaining in relationship with Jesus. Even though Jesus sees him at his worst, he continues to love him, and Philip remains because there simply is no where else to go. He cannot find the fulfillment he has discovered in Jesus anywhere else, a fulfillment that he does not always understand, but comes to believe nonetheless.

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