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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!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

May 6 Homily Prep - Easter V

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at >
-I will be celebrating mass this weekend at 4pm and 11am

Remain in me! Revolving Door

I am interested in the concept of not simply believing but understanding. This Easter season has been challenging for me to conceive of and express the complexity of Easter faith. While I do not like making things more complicated than they are, I believe simplistic preaching and teaching has led the household of God astray.

Specifically  "Jesus only" preaching that excludes life in Christ and Christ in life. If Jesus's promise to us is that he will remain in us and we are called to remain in him, this notion of Jesus' only purpose is to get me into heaven is really deceiving.

The fundamentalist scheme is two separate believers from the body of Christ, the church. They do this by telling us that what God did in Jesus was simply and historically come down from heaven, die a horrible death, and with his blood forgave my sins so that anyone who accepts this idea (believes) has a guaranteed ticket to heaven when they die. 

This "accepting the idea believing" is insufficient and not completely catholic.  It most specifically and tragically leaves the believer wondering "what would Jesus do?". 

The last time I consulted the Scriptures or the Holy Spirit I was reminded that God is all-powerful and almighty and had long ago, before Jesus died on the cross, created us, the human family, in communion with Him and in communion of heaven.  In fact, that creation in the image and likeness of God is the center of our story of salvation.

The incarnation of God in Jesus, his life, ministry, death, and resurrection did not simply accomplish a necessary task by God on behalf of the human race. What the incarnation, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus did was to reveal our life in God and to re-establish the fullness of our humanity(read god-likeness) REAL life IN God.  So, Jesus liberates our broken hearts and broken understanding of human life and reveals the fullness of life IN him. Therefore, our human life is changed in its purpose, meaning, and power.

So baptism is not a ceremony in which we become members of the group of people who believe in the good idea that our sins have been forgiven and that heaven is assured for us. Baptism is the entrance and initiation into the spiritual and godly reality, realm, communion with Jesus Christ risen from the dead. This is the one who could not be kept out by the door being locked. This is a life force, a truth, a reality, and we must understand how our lives are lived in it. Remain in the heart of Christ dwelling among us - it is a new and resurrected life.

"Now this is how we shall know that we belong to the truth". We Catholics do not only BELIEVE in the truth, we belong in the truth of Jesus risen from the dead. It is a passage into deeper communion with the resurrected Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit through the life of the church, understood through the Scriptures and celebrated and made real in the sacraments.  

Wow, I think I understand


JoyFuralle said...

Read it over & over & over. I wanna get it, I think I understand, but your focus is all spiritual, I THINK I understand the spiritual, but I'm trying to understand the application to the stuff of everyday life. I think I understand this, but when it seems as if no one else around me gets it I feel like I'm in a desert, but I have to recall that so is/was Christ.

My first thought was, most Catholics I know don't know this. And then, "Where do the circumstances of life fit in this picture?" Does it matter that life's difficulties are many and keep coming in waves? What is the place of feelings & emotions? Does it matter that my children have little regard for God & life in Him and that I think their lifestyle is not healthy? Does it matter that my husband says (somewhat negatively) my perspective is always focused on the Lord and nobody else does that? Does it matter that my parents are getting more & more dependent on me? Does it matter that our government is corrupt & that at every level, even city level there is dishonesty? Does it matter that our finances are sufficient but what will the future hold? Does it matter that many of my neighbors are sloshed and conversation with them is difficult at best? Where do all the concerns and situations of life fit it?

I THINK that staying focused on Christ, His Presence and Love in me, and with me and working through each of these situations is what BELIEVING in Him is about. There will still be pain in the difficulties, there will be misunderstanding, lots of questions, but that doesn't compare to the vision of His Presence, here & now, yes???

Tough part...I believe but because I am not into the drama & emotions of these difficult situations, I seek the Peace & Presence of Christ, I am often accused & picked apart. And then self doubt comes in... is all this Life in Christ REAL ... maybe I AM screwed up and again I realize within my heart I'm not focused enough on Christ's Presence. Love, Joy & Peace can only come from staying in Christ, remaining in Him. Some days it's a lot of work and always worth it.

Loved the commentaries in the Lector's workbook, especially 2nd reading.

anon 1 said...

I always appreciate this reminder that we are called to something more than a "me and Jesus" way of living. It can be tempting to search only for that. And, for me, the helpful teaching for what I am called to is that which explores God as Trinity, as well as teaching on the Body of Christ.

I find John's Gospel mind-boggling, but also compelling. Mind-boggling because it requires constant deep thinking to appreciate all that it contains. But I also find it compelling because I do believe that it is this type of love we really desire and for which we are made. I/we are most fulfilled when we give ourselves away to the point of living "in" one another - and yet that requires great sacrifice, regular self-emptying. That is a different way of living than what the rest of the world proclaims as "the good life," and it's through the Church that we find the encouragement, nourishment, and strength to devote ourselves to it.