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Get into the ring! How this works...

This is easy! Each week on Thursday I post my homily main focus for preaching this coming Sunday. What I am hoping for is a reaction from people in the pews. Does my "focus" connect with your daily life, faith, and experience? Or not? Either affirm the direction I am going in (by giving me an example from your life) or challenge me, ask for clarification! Questions are the best! Reaction rather than reflection is what I'm looking for here. Don't be afraid, get in the ring. Ole!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Advent I Prep - November 27

-The homily of last week is available by email
-The Scriptures are available at>
-I am preaching at 5:30 and 8:00 Mass

The Good as Enemy of the Perfect

I know that the saying is usually stated "the perfect should not become the enemy of the good". However, I sense that the scriptures and the new church year in advent are inviting us to see it the opposite way. Yes, indeed it seems that even for us religious people that rather than the the good leading us into communion with the perfect love of God, the good stuff from God can cause us to wander away from Him. .

The first reading wonders "why do you permit us to wander from your ways, O God?". Well, the freedom to wander away is precisely the godlikeness of our human nature. God made us like Himself and that means we are completely Him. Free to love. God's hope was that we would use that freedom to love Him as He loves us. But, noooooooo. We go and fall for every good but lesser thing that falls in our path. Even the religious stuff can be chosen by us and loved in a way that does NOT lead us to God but leads us away...hardened hearts..

The parable of the final judgment reinforces the point that even the good stuff that the master gives us to be "busy about" can draw us into hard heartedness. you see it? Marriage, ministry, children, material possessions, studies, creative work, athletics, beauty, joy in life.....all of it can - if handled poorly - can draw us away from the Kingdom of God and into the dead center of self. That would put us to sleep...not awake.


Faith said...

Yes, Matador, I see it. I think our hardened hearts often come as a result of the lure of self-satisfaction. What may begin as acts of justice or love may also at times provide self-gratification – and in the end it may be that the acquisition of power or security becomes the end goal in itself. It’s a devilish trick. Even with our original intention being that of concern for the poor or less fortunate – or simply, the other – we can become distracted and seduced by the pleasure of self-indulgence that our original good deeds provide.

It seems the antidote is to keep an eye on recognizing everything as grace in our lives – remembering it is the “Lord of the house” who has provided these gifts, and we are meant only to care well for them while he is away. It’s when we fool ourselves into thinking this grace is for ourselves alone, to have and to hoard, that we get sluggish from overindulgence and complacency. Furthermore, it seems that one of the best ways to “care” for these gifts is to spread them around; to share them with others so that they may know of the same enjoyment with which we were originally blessed.

For instance, I know of a woman who was recently diagnosed with the recurrence of cancer – and it has returned with a vengeance. Soon after hearing the news she was sharing the information with a mutual friend of ours, and her husband, Joe, was sitting in the room with them. She was considering the likelihood of her life on earth coming to an end soon and she said to our friend, “I have had so many blessings in my life. One hope I have is that Joe will marry again after I die, because I would like another woman to be able to experience the same incredible, loving care that I have from this man.” Wow. I believe that is a fine example of a woman who is “enriched in Christ Jesus,” and is “on the watch” as her hour draws near.

JoyFuralle said...

I see it! I see how we can be drawn away from God to self. Even (and especially!) doing seemingly good things. And it almost seems like slight-of-hand that it can start out good, with good intentions, good, good, good and then quickly & all of a sudden... go south. To self.

As far as "the perfect should not become the enemy of the good" reminds me of how I was raised Catholic, all that we did was good, but some things we did in our family (I've finally realized, I've had to learn to see) were NOT good. We were taught to notice & discuss with each other the ones who did not do it OUR "good, Catholic way".

Reminds me of another homily you gave with a simple line that keeps coming back to me... keep your eye on the ball. Had we kept our eyes on the ball (Christ), all WOULD have been good.