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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!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Blessings and Blessor

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at
-I will be celebrating mass this weekend at 8:00am and 11:00am

Are We Making a Costly Mistake?

No video prep this week. I just could not get it together.

Nonetheless, I am concerned with the temptation in our current secular culture to focus on blessing, blessedness, presence of Angels, spiritual wholeness, tranquility, compassion. All the wonderful stuff that I hear out of public officials, young people, and utopian-thinking "hippies".

Everyone, from our doctors, psychologists, television hosts, healthy living experts, is telling us that we simply need to focus on the blessing of life, multiply the blessing, promote the blessing, and celebrate the blessing. As if there is such a thing as "free-floating blessing" out there (that's a thinly veiled reference to "free-floating anxiety" of the 1970s).

What the Scriptures make clear to me today and this weekend is that there is (like "free-floating anxiety") no such thing as "free-floating blessing". Every blessing, goodness, miracle, Angel, has a "Blessor" = God.  Our secularized world refuses to acknowledge God. And even our religious world can become fixated upon the Blessing, getting the fix, being pleased in this life apart from the source of blessing, goodness, beauty, life = God.

The gift of the Samaritan in today's Gospel story is not that he realized he was healed, "all 10 realized they were healed". The blessing of the one, the unexpected one, the Samaritan, was that he recognized the God of his blessing.

Is it possible that we, in our pragmatism, have separated the purpose of our lives from the God of our purpose? Isn't it possible that we have become fixated on living the blessing (even in this present moment) while we fail to recognize the God of who blesses?  As if the blessing is about us rather than about God and God's kingdom, God's purpose, God's will.

What are you thinking? Does this connect with your faith life in anyway?


JRM said...

So, Father, people are not getting that everything both good and bad is a blessing from God That He has blessed us with different abilities That He has blessed us with life itself with the miracle of creation, with the ability to learn from our mistakes. It's all about His blessing us and we remembering to thank Him for those blessings. How sad for those who do not get it. I getting it right? I can talk it better than write it. And feeling His presence is one of the biggest blessings bestowed on me because my spiritual director asked me if I realize not everyone feels God's presence. I am very lucky and what a great blessing that is! Is this what you mean? You are pretty deep when you write, I like the video, I'm more visual, and the fan mentioned in the last prep, I had to go back and see, I guess I was more focused on what you were saying, I didn't pay attention and I get distracted easily! Keep up the good work and I have only ever heard nice things about you, you are still brought up at my parish as you were there after you were ordained. I wish I knew who told me about your prep, I look forward to reading or hearing it each week! Thanks.

JoyFuralle said...

Yes, this connects with my faith life in a few different ways. People oftentimes talk in veiled religious language of blesssings and it makes me squirmy. In those situations I have to usually say something like, oh, isn't God so good! I have to name God! I think our secular & politically correct ways have dummied us up. We can swear & curse & talk about all sorts of inappropriate things, but in a public venue it is rare for people to use God's name properly.

There is another thing I realize has happened in my life. The gift and blessing of God is SOOOOO Great, so incredible, so marvelous, that I surf that high wave of blessing, ride it high, and I'm sooooo thrilled with the blessing that I focus entirely on the action of God. But the action of God is not God. And eventually the action of God does not satisfy as it is not God. I'm learning more and more to appreciate the blessings, not cling to them.

I love the prayer that is vocalized at daily Mass when the people respond twice, "Blessed be God forever". I marvel that we are to say such words, marvel at the wonder of blessing God. The immensity & reality of those words, they are so incredible, and the realization that we are to mirror that prayer in our lives....daily & throughout the day all point to our awesome God, blessed be God forever!

anon 1 said...

I am thinking that, especially with hedonism (if it feels good, do it) being alive and well in our society, your "take" on the Gospel story makes so much sense. There is such self-absorption that goes along with hedonism, and it encourages us to see gratification as the end result - when really it should be the beginning of something. It should prompt our recognition of "the God of our blessing", as you say.

Absolutely there are times in my life when I have been/can be "carried away" by the beauty and goodness of the situation. I have even been disturbed by the intensity of the goodness because it can be such a distraction from my attention to the One who blesses me. An extreme reaction for some might be to abandon the blessing, fearing that the distraction is too great a challenge. But I like the lesson in this story that you point to as the faith-filled response: to be grateful for the blessing, to connect that gratitude with its Source, and to dwell on the goodness and love of the Giver.

Anonymous said...

This is a very, very good issue for a great homily Father for our world today.

As my spiritual life has brought me from acknowledging everything I have is from God, to thanking God for everything I have, to sharing everything I have with Him, to seeing past even all that and seeing beyond . . . seeing the Giver as the Gift.

The Giver IS the Gift; the Gift IS the Giver.

Thanks be to God!

The Matador said...

These are very helpful comments.