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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, December 15, 2012

More than a happy feeling

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at
-I will be celebrating mass this weekend at 9:30 and 6:00pm at St. Albert the Great and at 12:15 at the cathedral with our confirmandi and families.

It's about what you do!

All the people coming out to see John the Baptist to be baptized were experiencing religious fervor, responding to the invitation of God but very possibly seeking only a feeling. Enthusiasm and spiritual desire are an important part of our spiritual conversion. However, they cannot substitute for it. Feeling fine is not not being saved.

The remedy for this possible misunderstanding is remedied by the firmness of the Baptist. John the Baptist reminds everyone who comes to him in response to his Holiness, his fervor, his invitation.... "here is what you ought to do".

In Catholicism we call this "incarnation". Is your faith more than a feeling? Is what you seek simply better feelings? On this Gaudette(rejoicing) Sunday it is possible that we might conceive of the goal on our religious life as feeling joyful, happy. Joy is the symptom of our faith and conversion, however, it is righteous, truthful, and holy living that is the means to that joy. And the faith and knowledge that the Lord is near is the cause of our joy?

Is our faith and our religious life a cyclical and frustrating pursuit of feeling bad and then better? Or is in a response to the gift of Emmanuel?


Anonymous said...

Living one's faith can only lead to true joy.

Joyfuralle said...

I find it amusing that the people are asking John, "what should we do?" They know what to do; we all know what to do. If we got quiet and really wanted to be touched by Truth. Elsewhere in scripture it says it is written within us. And so it is.

I will always appreciate the questions that probe and test the heart.

Faith said...

Just yesterday I was in a conversation with someone about the difference between joy and happiness. It seems to me that "happy" is one of those transient feelings (that sure is fun to have), but "joy" is a more permanent state. It is possible to be filled with joy yet at the same time not be experiencing the effects of being happy. "Rejoice in the Lord Always" is a phrase that reminds me of the source from which I want my joy to ebb and flow. Only then do I experience the sense of peace that comes with "truthful and holy living". When I find myself off track - if I begin to slacken on my habit of prayer, for instance - I can sense it in this change of "joy" in my life.

Kathleen said...

In these times which are problematic and difficult for many people, many people might, as you say, consider the goal of their religious life, at least at this time, is to feel better—to have God lift their cross of unemployment, illness, dependency or family discord —and then they can feel relief, feel joyful. Rather than joy at the coming and nearness of the Savior, they desire freedom from the anxiety of worldly cares.

John the Baptist instructs his hearers to live righteous lives, St. Paul says our “kindness should be known to all,” and to “have no anxiety”, and in Zephaniah we’re told not to be discouraged because we have no further misfortune to fear. These instructions reminded me of Mary’s response to the gift of Emmanuel, in the unique way it came to her—she could have kept the wondrous, and perplexing, knowledge to herself, but she set off to visit Elizabeth and when she got there, sang of her joy for “all the things” God did for her. She certainly wasn’t a person of means, and there was plenty she could have been anxious about in her situation, but in her holy life she had joy and her joy was more than just a feeling—she was compelled in her kindness to do something for another, and Elizabeth recognized God within and through her.