Last Sunday's homily is available by email request
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at www.usccb.org/readings
-check out this weeks LinC letter at www.parishLinCLetter.blogspot.com
-I will be celebrating mass this weekend at 4:00pm, 8:00am and 12:30pm
Jesus' teaching in the Gospel today declaring that "those who are not against us are with us" seem to touch upon the gift of the presence of Pope Francis in the United States and the world family gathering in Philadelphia this weekend. The connection seems to be "with us". It all centers upon God's invitation for us to be one, together, communion.
The most startling example of this call to communion was the celebration on Friday at the 9/11 memorial with Pope Francis and the representatives of the world religions. In addition to it being an absolutely beautiful prayer service it was an even more beautiful image of God's children gathered around the call to love and compassion in the face of the world's aberration of religious violence and division.
The disciples of Jesus like Joshua in the first reading are approaching life in the church as a privileged position to which not everyone is invited. John's assessment of those who were casting out demons in the name of Jesus but "they do not follow us" exposes the role that judgment, competition, and self-promoting desires and perceptions play in our understanding of communion.
This judgment of John in the Gospel text today is something that we experience often in our families, in our church, and in our society. In fact, the differences or the lack of conformity is for some of us the first thing that we notice when relating to others. The difference in the way they dress, they pray, they live.
When this type of "looking for the difference" strikes our marriages and our families it is particularly destructive. When members of the family begin to judge others as "unlike" ourselves the destruction of the relationships is not far behind.
We see this "looking for the difference" most vividly and regularly in our political lives. This notion of "polarization" is the philosophical and political expression of this "looking for the difference" affliction.
What Jesus and, like him, Pope Francis seem to be calling us to is the other end of the telescope, to stop noticing the difference or the imperfection and to capitalize upon the unity, the same in us, the common good. This will require for most of us a change in approach since this "looking for the difference" is a habit of the mind and heart that comes from our broken human condition. The grace of communion is the ability to find and capitalize upon what makes us one, One creation, one human family, one married couple, one family, one community. This common calling is nothing other than the imprint of God our Creator and father of all.
May we crucify our "fear of the difference" and be raised up and transformed into this community of God. It would be noticed in our simple and regular affirmation of the goodness of others before we notice the imperfections in them and the differences among us. As Jesus prayed in John's Gospel that "all may be one".
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!