Search This Blog

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!

Friday, November 2, 2012

November 4 Homily Prep

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at
-I will be celebrating mass this weekend on Sat. 4:00, Sunday 9:30 and 11:00

Nailing Jello to the Wall!

I am convinced that keeping the love of God and the love of neighbor together and integrated into one Christian life is as difficult and as challenging as trying to nail Jell-O to a wall. It is as if the wounded or broken human condition (read: Original Sin) is, of it's nature, inclined to one or the other of these virtues...but not both at once.

In fact, the competition between love of God and love of neighbor may very well be the specific manifestation of original sin. I am, of course, talking about the popular or customary understanding of what "love of God" looks like (read: devout, holy, pious!) And, of course, "love of neighbor" in our popular understanding is to never offend anyone else, tolerance, if you well.

Pope Benedict, in his first encyclical as pope, "God is love" tried to bring this point to bear. He said there that there is no such thing as love of neighbor that is not true (in the line with The love of God). Conversely there is no love of God, truth, that is exclusive of the love of neighbor. The Pope had to make this point because of my suggestion above that in the world today one cannot cling to the truth revealed by God and "appear" to be "loving" according to the standards of this world (read: tolerant).

Therefore, many of us are challenged today to be faithful to the love of God or the truth about God (who is love) and at the same time deal with the perceptions and the feelings of others who do not find the truth revealed by God to be loving.

I believe in popular culture we call this today "tough love". To know the truth and to do it in love in spite of the pain that it might cause us and those we are loving. I don't think there's any way around it. And it seems that all of us, who are planning on being faithful to the Gospel, have to go through it. It is as challenging as trying to nail Jell-O to a wall.

In a world whose greatest value is tolerance, how can we cling to the love of God (who is truth revealed) and avoid this pain in our emotional lives? Can't be done-check with Jesus on the cross. For me and my household, we will obey the Lord!


JoyFuralle said...

Hmmm. Tough homily, tough words to understand or comprehend or carry out. I think I don't have a full understanding of the word "tolerant".

I love the Lord, I love others. Fine. So someone in my family may be doing something immoral. Love the sinner, not the sin, right? Okay. But what to say and how to say it, that's another thing. How to do that without alienating them requires a finger on God's Pulse!

Example: My neighbor is an unchurched, very hard working, West Virginian born man. He is super foul-mouthed. He makes sexual innuendos on a regular basis, it's part of him, his work, his life. A friend suggested to me, how can you tolerate that, you should let him know your boundaries and that you want nothing to do with him if he goes beyond those boundaries. For the sake of the Love of the Lord I've allowed it. Doesn't God put up with my sins yet still loves me? Because of that, we've developed a friendship, he seeks me out when there are rough times, we talk at a deeper level regarding marriage, family, life and death issues. If I would have applied tough love (perhaps I need that definition also), I doubt that he would ever speak to me.

anon 1 said...

Ugh. This is a tough one – because tough love is tough.

I think the confusion I find at the first read of the Matador’s message is when I read it in an exclusive way. When I read it as – one can never achieve love of God and love of neighbor at the same time – I struggle. Because isn’t it true that there are moments when holiness is accomplished – when a person IS loving God and neighbor? A good Samaritan act, for instance; providing loving care to a child, a spouse, a friend; lending a listening ear to a troubled soul. It seems to me that those are examples of living out both love of God and love of neighbor. And sometimes those moments can be quite challenging – either because of the personality of the other, or the time it requires, or perhaps a depletion of financial resources.

But, those examples aren’t calling for the tough love the Matador referenced. Those would be times that I COULD choose to briskly stand my ground, uncaringly state what I believe to be the truth, and move forward without looking back. But that would be simply “tough” without “love.” “Love” without “tough” would be taking the route of “tolerance.” But putting them both together means that I invest myself deeply (this is the “love” part) – I get to know and understand the person as best I can, I share myself with that person, I find Jesus in that person – but I still stand by the truth if that moment of challenge comes (that’s the “tough” part). And the reason to stand by it is because if I really do love God and that person, it means a lot to me that the truth be part of that individual’s life. Taking that stand now opens me up to persecution (especially since I’ve shared myself), probably losing relationships, and losing credibility (which was likely false to begin with). But holiness is accomplished then, too, because love of God and neighbor is still intact.

Yes, those times are challenging, indeed. I am often not good at it. Those are the times when I just have to take comfort that Jesus is with me – nailed to the cross – and that I am not alone.

Anonymous said...

Remembering back when you enriched your words with your spirit through the video sharing of your own self, and how much more "effect" was given beyond words, I though I may share just how much more was "taken in" even deeper with the added video (or shall I say your spirit). Perhaps I may be the only one who has shared with you how much we enjoyed the video part as well.

I know you had mentioned that it was time consuming and much effort but perhaps no one has let you know how more deeply we are enriched by it.

Thank you Father.