-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at USCCB.org>>>>
-I will be celebrating mass this weekend at 5:30 Sat, and 8:00 and 12:30 on Sunday
Folks I don't think we are reading the tea leaves correctly. At least not the way Jesus recommends. I am struck by the comment from Jesus in last weeks gospel "you are thinking not like God does but like human beings do".
What I am referring to is this business of "assessing success or greatness". My experience tells me (and my own temptation and proclivities suggest to me) that we are reading and estimating greatness, quality, success, etc. according to or through the lens of this world's values. The driving motivation of most everyone in the church and outside of the church Is to avoid losing, being last, failing, serving and to succeed in this world, to win at the game of life in this world.
My question is "has our Christian conversion made an impact upon our judgment?". Maybe you will agree with me, even the religious and pious people have a temptation to conclude or judge that when they are losing in the world that God has abandoned them.
What this tells me is that we have not adopted or been impacted by Jesus's "inside out" revolution on humanity's journey in the world and in the kingdom. Jesus says "if you want to be great you must be the least, last, servant of the rest". That sounds fine and well until it starts to happen to us. When we start to lose, when we fall down, when we are persecuted, when we are frustrated, when it looks like we have been defeated, we turn to God and pray that He would turn it around for us. That doesn't seem to me to be Jesus's message.
What God is calling us to, what God-thinking is all about is that we are assuredly going to lose in this world, we are definitely going to die, we are going likely to be downtrodden, persecuted, and disparaged. When those things happen to us we should rejoice for the kingdom of God is at hand. I don't think we're getting it. We are not reading the tea leaves correctly.
Maybe we have been confused by the notion that if we VOLUNTARILY become the last, if we choose to lose or serve or die THEN we can see it as a path to greatness in God's eyes. This is kind of like the Mother Teresa mentality of being holy and religious "if I elect to give up on success" then my failure is a sign of closeness of God to me. But when losing, littleness, last-ness, death, servitude, etc. is imposed upon us BY life and BY others THEN we don't get it. We don't read those tea leaves so clearly as the fact that we are great.
Is it possible that this success-in-the-world routine and standard of success is the reason that the Gospel has been so unsuccessful in changing the world? Maybe?
Get into the ring! How this works...
This is easy! Each week on Thursday I post my homily idea...my 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!