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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, February 13, 2015

February 15 Homily Prep: Don't Tell Anybody, but We Need Healed!

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email request
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at
-check out this weeks LinC letter
-I will be celebrating mass this weekend at 4:00pm on Saturday and 12:30pm on Sunday

 Don't Tell Anybody, but We Need Healed!

The title of this homily is obviously an attempt at a play on words regarding the gospel text.  Jesus in Mark's gospel has this dueling banjos messaging:  He is the very announcement of the presence and power of God in the world AND he doesn't want to be represented to the world through misunderstood expressions.  If you and I go around telling everybody NOT what Jesus did for us but who we think he might be - that would cause a problem.  That's why Jesus in Mark is always telling people (and demons) to be quiet about him.  Jesus prefers to speak for himself. 

I would say that this is the reason that every Christian needs to learn about Jesus from personal direct encounter.  We have to meet Jesus where and as Jesus presents himself.  That fact is at the root of the sacramental church - "don't trust my description of God's mercy - meet and drink deeply of the merciful Lord yourself."

That's why those of us who are his disciples need to resist the often condescending and guilt-inducing preaching that attempts to get "people to go to church".  So many of us so often are trying to tell others (especially younger people) why they need to go to church.  That reason is because we have judged them to be lost or broken and church would go a long way toward "straightening them out"!  Yuk.  I hear Jesus saying to all of us presumptuous preachers, "don't tell anyone about me, just go and show yourselves to be healed" and that will be enough proof for them. 

So, the charge of those of us who have been healed by Jesus is to live a life of health and gratitude to God and all the people in the world who are lost and sick will follow us to church. 

Jesus and the Leper break every law on the books in this story today.  One who was uncleam came to one who was clean and the unclean was made clean and the clean was declared to be unclean, worthy to be hung on a tree.  Wow.  So the laws of Jesus' reign are not about "isolation" and "quarantine" but contact and communion - that's eternal life. 

Have you been willing to break the laws of broken humanity and to expose yourself to the Lord's power even if it means that you will die to this world's system, condemned in the court of popular opinion? 

The Leper need to first accept that he was in need.  He then had to break a few rules and beg for mercy (real men don't beg).  Jesus had to break a few rules (he had and showed compassion, he  touched him) in order to fix the system.  He had to be the victim of the system in order to transform it.  To lay down your life.

Do we have such courage?  Have we even had such an idea?  Not me - I'm a rule-keeper.  I'm in the system.  Look at pope Francis....he doesn't not allow the system and the rules to silence his call for compassion, mercy, contact with Jesus. 

Don't tell anybody, but we need healed.


Peg said...

So the Leper was an outcast and because Jesus healed him Jesus became an outcast because so many people were seeking him out. Have you ever done something good and caught yourself looking around to see if people are noticing or vice versa (something bad)? Why are we motivated by an agenda in our everyday life? Why are we talked about or even criticized because we sit, talk or show kindness and compassion to people who seen different or unlike us. Personally, I like going against the rule (at least bending it). I find that the more I reach out the more I learn and grow. This was a TOUGH one Father!

Wiser Now said...

As I read the Matador's reflection and thought about "isolation and quarantine" vs. "contact and communion", I was reminded of lessons learned as a young adult in the business world. I heard repeated from my "edlers" in the company that as difficult as it was when someone left the organization, no one was indispensable. The elders taught this because they were trying to make the point that business had to go on - and that, as a team, we could certainly make it go on if we kept working, hired a replacement, and kept our eye on what they considered to be the real goal - customer satisfaction and generating revenue. That made sense to me as a 20-something year old and I embraced the concept.

But now, many years later I see it so differently. The philosophy of seeing no one as indispensable was simply a defense mechanism. Perhaps the elders’ pride was hurt. Of course it was necessary to be concerned about the health of the company, but to not face the fact that every single person brought individual, irreplaceable worth, was a way for the “elders” (not the “wisers”, in this case) to avoid the hurt of losing those who chose to leave them. Of course vacant positions had to be filled but – let’s face it – each person is so unique that a position would never be filled in the very same way again. Each and every single person is priceless.

That’s what I’m hearing in the Matador’s reminder to us about the stance of Jesus – and our Pope Francis. Despite disease, in spite of rules, and regardless of popular opinion, Jesus sees the worth of the individual FOR the community. Healing him was the only way the leper would be able to participate in community again, and his faith in Jesus made it possible; Jesus sacrificing himself for him, made it possible. And once this leper could enter and participate in community again, Jesus wanted him to simply do exactly that.

I see this happening in our everyday lives all of the time. When an individual is considered an outcast by some, but someone else sees the value and worth of that person and stretches out a hand to include him/her, others in the community oftentimes come around too. They begin to see the gifts and love which that person can bring like no other. And once they do, they listen and respond to what that irreplaceable individual has to say.

Anonymous said...

Yesterday morning the pastor at the morning Mass I attended spoke your very words. As the gospel yesterday was about Jesus going beyond "the limits" of this world. "He does everything well" as it said in Scripture. Everyone who came into contact with Him, He gave all He could to them.

Love knows no limits.

Anonymous said...

The Beloved Visit...

rid of the distractions so that the miraclulous can happen.

How often do we see this in Life?!

Yes, Jesus sets the example in saying and "doing" what is most important in Life. So that we may know what is important in our spiritual Life not just as individuals but as One in community.

It is not what humans necessarily portray or define as spiritually significant but what God expects and as defines us!

Anonymous said...

To free those bound to the law and to bring a new law; the law of love is precisely why He came; His mission.