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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Rich in What Matters to God

Homily for the Eighteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Our Bible readings for today speak powerfully on the temporal futility of worldly riches. They provide clear warning and affirmation of the lesson our Lord has sought to share in our recent times of economic upheaval. God seeks us to be wise and faithful stewards of the things of this world. Yet God seeks to bless us in ways, in riches well beyond that what we may see, feel, or lose to earthly decay. Our Heavenly Father, calling us to be co-heirs with His Son calls us each to be rich in what matters to Him.

That which matters to God can be found shared throughout Scripture and in the lives of the saints. God's Word and the lives of the servants of Christ speak with clarity and power of the wealth of Scripture itself. They share, too, of the eternal graces found in faith, obedience, humility and especially in His love. It is important and essential that we as God's people invest our lives in these treasures of Heaven.

But of all the riches of Heaven there is one, a hidden lost treasure, that is perhaps of most value to God. It's value and wealth is greater than any treasure lost and hidden in the deserts or seas of this earth. This lost treasure is, in fact, so great that the Father sent His only Son to seek and find these priceless gems. Over the ages saints have labored and given their all to share this holy quest of God. This treasure is distinct. For to find and discover this eternal gem it takes all the other riches of God to attain. Faith, obedience, humility, and most profoundly, the Love of God are all essential to overcome the obstacles that come in this holy quest.

Throughout the Gospel Christ sought to bring His followers to see this treasure and to equip them with all they would need in their quest for Him. For the fishermen to leave their nets, or Matthew his money, for the woman at the well and her many failed relationships, Jesus called them all to find what truly matters. He called them and He calls us from our futile, temporal priorities to share in that which matters most to Him. Souls.

May we bring to God, with and through His grace, our souls. May we invest in our children not just the gadgets and gizmos of this techno-obsessed age but may we invest in our children, Christ, prayer, faith...LOVE. May we too, seek to speak, to touch, to live,as to bring those who are lost to know the eternal love and mercy of our Lord. No matter the cost, the effort, may we simply bring to Christ, those for whom He died and rose again. May we bring to God what matters. Souls.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

"Lord, teach us to pray"

Cyber Homily ~ 17th Sunday of Ordinary Time ~ 25 July 2010

teach us to pray"
His disciples sought,
And seek we too today,
for Heaven's glory wrought.

When you pray, shared our Savior,
give praise and worship to God our Father.
From hearts of faith and love,
So He did implore.
For so will, with angels help,
our prayers, our hearts,
to His Presence soar.

Pray in humble thankfulness,
for blessings felt and seen,
and for those hidden behind Heaven's screen,

And in sorrow for our sins,
God's mercy, His holy grace, to seek.
To cleanse away sin's wounds and stains,
to quell and silence the accuser's blame.
Then, in God's forgiveness sought and found,
may our forgiveness so abound.

In prayer, with each other, then,
to at His holy wounds attend,
and discover,
that one,
through His sacred Body,
and His Blood,
the power of His love to send.

Then in the sacraments of prayer,
in those sacred places, shared,
with God,
we draw near.
In God's Presence,
His strength to know,
empowered in His love,
to grow,
strong to pray,
as long as needed;
for seeds of grace to swell,
all evil for to quell.

Teach us to pray,
and in You grow.
Make us bold,
Your love to show.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Martha? Mary? or both?

For the 16th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Cyber-version homily):

This weekend our Bible readings bring us a rich lesson from both Old & New Testaments. God's Word also enlightens the sometimes conflict between work and prayer, the hunger and needs of this world versus those of the spirit and soul.

The Scripture from Genesis (Gn 18:1-10a) shares the account of the visit of the Lord and two angels to the house of Abraham. It goes on to show the ancient and sacred place of hospitality in the Mid-east. It was through this lifestyle of justice and hospitality, the WORK of the hands and hearts of Sarah and Abraham that they both entertained God and His angels but also received the promises and graces of God.

This brings us to the Gospel. From Luke (Lk 10:38-42) we read of the visit of Jesus to the house of Martha and Mary. Over the centuries this story has the extolled the prayerful listening of Mary versus the care and toil of her sister. Most Christians today, if asked, would probably say it would be better to "be a Mary" rather than a Martha. This may well miss the point that Jesus was seeking to make. It is important to notice that Christ never rebuked Martha for her service, her work. He only replied to her question and concerns. It also overlooks the context of the rest of the Gospel account of Martha's life. It was Martha who got up and sought the Lord when her brother Lazarus died. It was Martha to whom Christ shared the revelation of the resurrection.

Jesus seeks us to listen to and rest with Him. The call of prayer and contemplation is sacred, holy and urgently needed in the rush and noise of this world. Our call to follow the example of Mary cannot be ignored. Yet we are also called, as our Epistle (Col 1:24-28) reminds us to fill up in our flesh, that is the actions , WORK of our hands and life, the sufferings of Christ. We are also called to serve our Lord, in the example of Martha, Abraham and Sarah. In our simple acts of cooking, cleaning tending to the chores of this life we can know and hear the voice of our Lord as we also make our tasks, acts of prayer.

In the work that God gives our hearts, and hands may we hear the voice and take the hands of He who carried the wood of our salvation in love for each of us.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Laborers for the Harvest ~ Our Vocation

The cyber-version of my homily for the Fourteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time, 3 July 2010

It is the season, here in fertile valleys of the wine country, that we start to enjoy the fruits of the harvest. The simple blessed pleasure of a vine-ripe tomatoe, warm and fragrant from the summer sun; or the soon to come intense labors of crush as our fertile vineyards yield the fruit of the vine to the press and process of becoming fine wines all teach us the lesson of harvest. These blessed fruits could not be shared without those who labor, and labor hard and long. This reality, often taken for granted, is essential to remember and apply..if we are to eat,

This lesson is shared by our Bible readings today. The people of Christs's time well knew that necessity of laboring for the harvest. Whether one worked sowing seed, tending an orchard or harvesting the fruits and grains they all knew, if they were to eat..they were to work. They understood their shared call, their vocations to labor for that harvest.

Christ's Kingdom, represented here on earth by His Church, is no different. To know the abundant beauty, power and blessing of the Church, the new Jerusalem expressed by the Prophet Isaiah takes consecrated effort of holy love and faith to nourish, protect and bring to fruition the graces of Christ in our midst. There are many dangers and assaults against the people of God and against His servants. There are many intended evil ravages of God's harvest of grace. Some would through up their hands in dismay and dwell upon these challenges. But those who are willing to heed God's call would DISCERN, DISCOVER and RESPOND to the call of the Crucified to serve in His Church.

GOD IS CALLING. Christ is seeking men and women, the young and the old, the strong and the infirm to DISCERN His call and serve in His grace and power. It is as we learn to LISTEN to the dynamic whisper of the Holy Spirit amidst the clamor and collapse of this world we RECOGNIZE the voice of Christ, crucified and risen. As we pray and seek the Kingdom of God, seeking His will we live a life of ongoing discernment, growing in the discovering of who we are called and created to be in and through the holy love of God.

Heeding God's call we DISCOVER in the daily ongoing adventure of life, love and faith that is ours as we follow the Shepherd of our souls. It is my firm belief that here in the Parish of St. John the Baptist, and in our Church world-wide, there are many vocations to the priesthood, to the religious life expressed by faith-filled nuns, religious priests and brothers, and to the diaconate. I speak not only of those of us who may be seeking to live out these varied vocations. I speak of men and women of all ages who are sensing the call to be consecrated in a life of courageous service to the Church. There are likewise those who are called to many other vocations of good and holy work in service, medicine, education, family life and so much more. I believe we as a parish are called to be and become a community that encourages and nourishes those rich vocations in God's will. The awesome work and beauty of the wines made by so many of you are but a symbol of the spiritual fruit we are called to nourish among us. This discovering of our vocations is a life time of faith and obedience. Perhaps the first steps may be to serve as an altar server, lector or extraordinary minister of the Eucharist. As our education ministry grows you may take first steps into even greater ministry as a teacher, or helper in a classroom or project. Together we discern and discover God's call and purpose in our lives.

As we discern His vocation for us we discover the plan and purpose of God's designs. This discernment, this discovery, brings us to RESPOND. We may feel or sense our inadequacies. We may fear the costs and unknowns our yes to God may bring. We may well know our own inabilities and weaknesses fear to fail the God we love. Yet the nail-pierced hand of the Shepherd will lead us through all our fears and we but allow Him to. It is as we say our yes to God we grow in our discernment and discovery of the Presence, power and purpose of His holy love. The true joy of those harvested tomatoes, that glass of fine wine, those are all but a hint of the joy of sharing in the call of the Harvest of His holy love.