Holy Trinity’s Homily for Sunday July 6, 2014

Posted in Called, christian, Christianity, church events, inspirational, religion, scripture, Spirit by Fr Joe R on July 6, 2014

Homily April 21, 2013 Fourth Sunday of Easter C

Posted in christian, Christianity, ethics, inspirational, religion, scripture by Fr Joe R on April 16, 2013

In today’s gospel, Jesus clearly says that he gives us eternal life, that those who follow him shall never perish. This is a promise resulting from His own resurrection and obedience to His Father’s will. Through it all Jesus and the Father are one. Redemption has come through His becoming a man and living out a life in accord with His Father’s will, suffering all the humiliation of pain and death and rising to life. In doing this he has redeemed all people for all time.

What I would like to point out today is that Christ’s resurrection reveals Him as our redeemer. He came that we might have eternal life. I think many times we lose sight of this and see Christ as some kind of caregiver or intercessor to remove the trials and travails of our life. Some kind of rescuer maybe. At moments of pain, suffering or difficulty we often turn to him in prayer to relieve us of that particular trouble. Sometimes, even often times our prayers are answered. However, pain, suffering, humiliation, death are all inevitable in every life in some form or another. A case in point, if we look at the gospels, we see that Jesus did not hasten to Lazarus when he was told of his being sick. In fact, he continued doing what he was doing and of course Lazarus had died by the time He arrived. He even wept at the loss of His friend before he brought him back to life. His act was an act of redemption rather than an act of healing. It was not to answer or explain Jesus healing or not but that God redeems and doesn’t necessarily exempt believers from pain and suffering. The “why” so often asked is probably the most difficult thing we sometimes encounter. We can accept pain and suffering most of the time, but sometime in our lives we might be confronted with some incomprehensible thing and we ask why does God allow this. Look at what has happened this week. In Boston, we see people deliberately killed, maimed, and terror spread through a whole city. In Texas, we see a horrific fire and explosion which made the area look like a war zone. Is God to blame for this or can we really ask why he allows it? No these are a result of the sinful nature of a misused free will that God gave to all of us. Actions and decisions have consequences that are unavoidable. We forget that much that occurs in this life flows from the fact that God doesn’t interfere or what today we would say micromanage. His call to redemption is to us as a free people and our response is truly our own to make. How we deal with adversity helps shape the faith and redemption we receive. Our prayers should always be predicated on accepting His will much the same as Christ’s prayers were in the gospels especially before his passion. This is central, even in the Lord’s prayer. “Thy will be done.”

Something we all do…

Posted in christian, Christianity, ethics, inspirational by fatherjimb on June 30, 2009

but nothing we are willing to admit.

After my last e-newsletter I received an email from a friend of long standing who raised a question about a certain three letter word and asked me to respond to him. I’m afraid my response was less than adequate but that’s what happens when you try to cover difficult topics in emails. It would be virtually impossible to even conceive responding with a twitter (140 characters for neophytes). It is an issue with which man has struggled for Millennia.   Simply put, it is the question of sin.

Sin is essentially a self imposed estrangement from God, those around us and from all God’s creation. We only have to look around us to see the end result of sin yet more difficult to see sin in our own lives. In Moral Theology class we were taught that mankind was basically good with a tendency to do evil. Looking into my own life I can understand that while I want to do good my ego often gets in the way. This can be caused by fear of losing myself, my safety, my livelihood, my future — whatever, it causes me to set limits and build walls around me.

The most profound story of this was written more than a century ago by Charles Dickens. “A Christmas Carol” is a great example of how love withheld can warp and nearly destroy lives. Scrooge, reacting to the lack of love shown by his parents started off on the road to self centeredness.

To protect himself from hurt he began to build walls around himself that shut out the love that others wished to share with him. His nephew and Tiny Tim are good examples of how God tries to break through our walls offering unconditional love. It takes a series of life changing events to turn Scrooge around so that he can joyfully respond to the love all around him.

The Erosion Caused by Sin

Most of us do not go out of our way to intentionally commit sin. Rather, it becomes a matter of our life style that begins an alienation process from God and one another that in itself is sinful. An unfortunate example is that of an 88 year old man who became so obsessed with hatred that he went to the Holocaust Museum with the intention of killing people. A young guard acting in charity to open the door for this elderly man was the victim of the man’s hatred and became a victim of this hatred. While the action of this man was a sin in itself it was really a result of the erosion that sin caused in his life. You can compare it to the insidious damage caused over time by water seeping into the earthen levees holding back the river. This small trickle will over time undermine the entire levee so that it will give way under the pressure of the river.

We too can easily fall victim to the erosion of sin in our lives. It can happen when we want to protect ourselves from embarrassment or to appear more than who we are. We “enhance” the truth on our resumes or find a scapegoat for our own failures. It is rather easy to do can become a habit leading to more serious failings. “Creative” accounting and an attitude that “we deserve” things because we worked particularly hard or took large risks seem to have resulted in a collapse of the world’s economic system.

Sin, however, is not just confined to those actions we take that alienate us from God and one another. It is also allowing evil to happen by not doing the loving thing. Averting our eyes from the hungry man or woman huddled at the park bench or near the train station is equally sinful. The answer to the question. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” is a resounding YES! Because we are unconditionally loved and love seeks a resounding response, like an echo, bringing to the author of love that love shared with another.

Personification of Evil

There is little doubt that evil exists in the world, the 20th century graphically demonstrated this. Genocide does not only happen in far away death camps or killing fields. In our own midst our city streets and our prisons have also become places where evil can fester and infect others in the community. We can become frightened and indifferent to those things which cause such evil to grow.

“Be sober, be watchful, the evil one, like a roaring lion goes about seeking someone to devour. Resist him steadfast in the faith.” This reminder from St Paul in his letter to Timothy is not as much about gang warfare but our tendency to yield to popular culture and accept what evil holds out to us.

The evil one, Satan, the devil, Beelzebub, Old Nick or whatever appellation you choose is not just some myth to frighten children or the gullible. God’s gift of a loving creation includes the gift of free will, a choice as to whether to accept this love and respond or to ignore it. While you may not be able to see the evil one you can and do experience his negative power in the world.

Evil feeds on complacency and resignation, it builds walls that keep out love while professing safety. Walls built on fear and distrust which turns to hatred thus enabling sin in the world and to enter our lives. We then become caught in a vicious circle. We know evil exists and are drawn to it like a moth to a flame. In fact there is little we can do to prevent it alone. We need each other and we need God who like a loving parent draws us close and leads us safely home.

It is when we align our will with God’s will, rather than trying to bend God’s will to ours, that we are saved from the flames of egocentricity. So, the next time you say the Lord’s Prayer try to make it not just a set of words but a life changing experience. That’s something we should all do

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God’s 10 Promises…

Posted in Christianity, inspirational by fatherjimb on June 30, 2009

When God gives these commandments, God makes promises to us. God says:

I promise to be your God… you shall have no other gods before me.

I promise to be there for you… you shall not idolize people, wealth or things that take you away from me.

I promise you a good name… you shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God.

I promise you I will be God and provide you rest… you shall remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy.

I promise you stability… you shall honor your father and your mother.

I promise you life… you shall not murder.

I promise you my faithfulness… you shall not commit adultery.

I promise you my generosity… you shall not steal.

I promise you truth… you shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

I promise you what you need… you shall not covet.

Rather than a list of “do not’s” The Ten Commandments are really a list of great promises of love that God has for us.

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