Homily August 10, 2014 19th Sunday of Ordinary Time
I dare say that I don’t think there are any of us here who have any recollection of World War 2 except how it might have been told yo us by our elders. I know my memories of the nineteen forties is vague at the most. But those times and the fifties were in many ways different and simpler and less complicated than today. Most people worked Monday to Friday, and practically everything was closed on Sunday. Even professional baseball in Pennsylvania could only be played between 1 and 7 PM. I saw the first television about 1949 and it was a miracle with a 5 inch screen. The times reflected family, neighborhood and community. !00 dollars a week was a big salary. But many things changed as we learned and advanced into a new age of technology. An explosion of knowledge and technology and the call for ever more education gradually drew the younger generations from their roots to other parts of the country and a whole new style of life and family and neighborhood and community developed. The leisurely pace of a century ago has been replaced and now some businesses are even open now 24/7. All this kind of leads to the question, what is a Christian today?
Some things don’t change and surely the mark of a Christian is love and a special love flowing from a Christian community. Sure we gather today in community, but how is Christ personally in our life today? What kind of personal relationship do we have? Let’s step back a moment and look at the gospel. Last week Jesus heard about John the Baptist being beheaded and set off in a somber mood to be alone. Jesus was a strong man but he had strong emotions and his humanity needed get away and be alone. We saw last week he was sidetracked by the crowd to whom he ministered. Finally, he dismissed the crowd, sent the disciples across the water and went off on his own. At key moments, Jesus did this going off alone and talking to his Father. Of course, he had a very special relationship, but so should we. O Faith calls us to be more than just in community. More than just coming to church and receiving the sacraments. In the encountering of Christ in the sacraments, it is important we form a relationship with him also. In every one of our lives there are going to be times of distress and loneliness and feelings of being lost. These are the times to call on that relationship. To take leave of others and commune with the Lord where it most suits our psyche. Even at the most inconsolable moments, Christ is there to assuage our fears and help us through the maze of life and its contradictions. Like Christ alone with his Father, we don’t change the reality, but gain strength to go on and be part of our community, loving and sharing once again.
Perhaps in the creation story in Genesis, that is the wisdom of the seventh day being set aside for rest. Certainly, it was not written for God but for us. While God is indefatigable, we get worn out. Rest, refreshment is so important. Prayer, Eucharist, communing with God are all important and necessary parts of our journey. All these help make it an easier way.