Homily August 31, 2014 22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time
Paul reminds us today that we can not conform ourselves to this age or for that matter to any age. If we look back we can see how true this is. No past age has been perfect or come close to living out the will of God. Christ’s life was perfect in that he carried out the will of God, taking up the cross and giving up his life. He was a man of His time, yet he transcended it in many ways. His words, his message, his church was relevant then, is relevant today. His Word was a seed, a slow release time capsule meant to bring his love to all generations. His love is not a static thing nor is his church. It is a place where people have laid down their lives only to be raised up in giving it and their love to others. As a human being grows and gains wisdom, love and understanding, so too our love of Christ and the church and all within it grow together. The built-in contradiction of our life in Christ is the we give it up and lose it to actually gain it. The challenge of each generation is different. God certainly hasn’t changed, but the place we live, the world has changed and is different. The challenges our parents met while similar in some ways were far from what we see today. Communication alone should make us aware that Christ’s message has as yet to have gone out to all the world. The weakness and ineptitude of men has at times weakened and slowed the flow of Christ’s message. But that message is within us, implanted and growing if we only nurture it by seeking it out in prayerful contemplation. We don’t need the confines of a monastery to find him,but just that moment, that time to speak, to listen, to learn. He is always there we need only be aware.
And so, here we are, his life continues, his church is here, the cross holds as his boldest symbol calling all brother and sisters following Christ. In following, in putting aside ourselves, we actually find the real self we always seek. Life is not meant to be simply power, profit, gain, but love for one another. The value of common sharing, interacting, giving is the way, the cross that Jesus speaks of at times. The contrary is Satan, the snake, the creature in the desert, it is Peter seeing through the eyes of his humanity only. Such temptation Jesus is quick to rebuke, for as a man he too feels the comfort of the easy way out. But who he is requires more than that. God’s ways are in no way like those of his creatures. We can only understand and know by discerning what is for us. Love for each other and prayer are necessary ingredients. God has put us where we are, who better to know us and judge us?