-Last Sunday's homily is NOT available
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at USCCB.org
-I will be celebrating mass this weekend at 5:30 Sat and 9:30 and 11:00 on Sunday
Believe By Becoming God's Mercy
Theologian Ronald Rolheiser has described for me the legend of St. Christopher. I knew St. Christopher only as a "debunked" patron saint of safe travel. I was unfamiliar with the story of his conversion.
As a youth, Christopher was gifted in every way, except faith. He was a big man physically, powerful, strong, goodhearted, mellow, and well liked by all. He was also generous, using his physical strength to help others. His one fault was that he found it hard to believe in God. For him, the physical was what was real and everything else seemed unreal. However, he yearned to believe in God and deeply respected those who did believe. And so he lived his life in a certain honest agnosticism, unable to really believe in anything beyond what he could physically see, feel, and touch.
This, however, did not prevent him from using his gifts, especially his physical strength, to serve others. This became his refuge, generosity and service. He became a ferryboat operator, spending his life helping to carry people across a dangerous river. One night, so the legend goes, during a storm, the ferryboat capsized and Christopher dove into the dark waters to rescue a young child. Carrying that child to the shore, he looked into its face and saw there the face of Christ. After that he believed, for he had seen the face of Christ. The very name, Christopher, contains the legend. Christopher means Christ-bearer.
Are we not all at times like Christopher and like St. Thomas, weak in faith? We don't even feel like we believe. There are, for everyone of us, dark nights of the soul, silences of God, cold lonely seasons, bitter times when God's appearances to us cannot be truly grasped or recognized. The history of faith, as witnessed by the life of Jesus and the lives of the saints, shows us that God often seems dead and, at those times, the reality of the empirical world can so overpower us that nothing seems real except what we can see and feel right now, namely our own pain.
Whenever this happens, we need to become Christ-bearers, Christophers, honest agnostics who use their goodness and God-given strengths to help carry others across the burdensome rivers of life. God does not ask us to have a faith that is certain, but a service that is sure. We have the assurance that, should we faithfully help carry others without first thinking of ourselves, we will one day find ourselves before the person of Christ who will gently say to us: "See for yourself, that I am real, and not a ghost".
By living mercy we can become believers in the flesh! Help, Lord, our unbelief!
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!