Search This Blog

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 28, 2016

October 30 homily prep

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at
-check out this week's LinC Letter at
-I will be celebrating mass at 9:30am  6:00 PM mass on Sunday

  Appearing Little

 Evidently Saint Augustine said of Zaccheus that "he was willing to climb the tree in order to see Jesus".  In that willingness to be publicly vulnerable Zaccheus found salvation.  Saint Augustine was instructing his audience about the  hesitancy to appear needy of Jesus in public.  

In the current generation we have been called to grow the communion of the faithful by inviting others - "Every One Add One". Saint Augustine's interpretation of this gospel text says to me that   Before we are effective in evangelizing our world we need two things: a keen and humble awareness of our need for Jesus and, second, a willingness to make that neediness public.  And that, my friends, is a big problem.

On the first hand, admitting to our neediness is downright un-American let alone unlikely from our egocentric way of being in the world.  So Catholic parishioners-turned-inviters are not very likely to admit their need for anything, let alone friendship with Jesus. It sounds childish, it seems weak, it is too vulnerable for adults.  We have maybe too much Anglo-Saxon "put on a stiff upper lip" demand in our culture. We do not want to admit ( even to ourselves)  weakness, neediness, vulnerability.

However there's a second problem with Saint Augustine's suggestion that we need  not only admit to our need of Jesus but we need to do so publicly.  Again I don't know if it's Catholic culture or American culture or simply human nature but we really have a privacy issue when it comes to our relationship with God and or Jesus.  So we are not likely to admit even to ourselves our need for Jesus and we are certainly hesitant to make that dependence or reliance upon Jesus known publicly.

  But, that is what is required of us if we are going to be effective missionary disciples of holy communion in the world.  So, this Sunday's readings are inviting us to come clean on two very important and difficult features of our Christian discipleship. We have to understand and admit to our need for Jesus. How about that?  Secondly we need to consider how willing we are to transform our public persona allowing others to see our neediness and reliance upon Jesus.

 Tall order. Has anyone ever asked us to do this? I don't think so. Maybe Pope Francis.


tom said...

"Don't talk Religion or Politics" is the most destructive phrase to the advancement of Christianity and the welfare of a nation. We must “preach Christ crucified”. We must be Christ. It is our call to humble ourselves, abandon the self, conform our will to that of the Savior. St. John Paul reiterated “Fear Not” which is even more true in today’s anti Catholic culture of death & progressivism.

Needs and Wants said...

The description of our culture not supporting our need to need rings true to me. I'm even thinking of the critical description being given of someone being "needy". It's meant to serve as a warning to run the other way from the person who has the need - supposedly in extreme.

In reflecting on this I was moved to also consider that not only did Zaccheus publicly show his need - but Jesus also clearly displayed his want of Zaccheus. How beautiful that is. Our faith teaches us that even before we reach out to God - He first calls us. He thirsts for us. And I think part of the need being described by the Matador, is our need for God's want of us. We need to be wanted - we need to be loved.

I am imagining that this, too, describes some of the difficulty of our ability to evangelize. If we do not convey this Christ-like want for others - a holy wanting that is based not on a self-satisfying desire, but on a desire for the "other" for the good of the "other" - then it will be difficult for them to have any need for us as Church. If they sense our criticizing judgement of them (perhaps they've divorced and remarried, or had an abortion, or ... (name the sin); or if they sense that we don't like them because they are "different", then the "unwant" that they feel from us will certainly prompt them to not feel any need for communion with us.

Jesus publicly displays his want for Zaccheus. He wants his companionship, he wants his hospitality, he wants to be a part of him - and it inspires in Zaccheus a profound response of need. He realizes he needs to be loved the way only Jesus can love. And as you say, Matador, this is all done in public. What a great inspiration for us in how to be Church!

Peg said...

Many times I am at the church or school and I want to be recognized. I sometimes feel that there are so many things going on at SATG that I am invisible. I know that is not true, but I want to shout out that what I and my cohorts are present. I want people to feel that they can just stop in anywhere any time and have a cup of coffee or pray or share what is important to them. I love my FTH ministry, but have no connection to other ministries and they have no connection to me. Much like sitting in the same pew and eating donuts with the same people every Sunday. The really great thing about the FTH ministry is that we pray together and we share family events and doubts, but beyond that unless we share these things at home or with others they never get a chance to grow or impact others. Not sure I am on topic, but just wanted to share.

Peg said...

One more thought. What is your favorite place to eat, the mechanic you wouldn't hesitate to recommend, your most special memory of a vacation? We share all of those things. Why don't we share our blessings and gratitude? We all have been blessed. It isn't and shouldn't be a big deal to say/wish others a good day, to say a prayer for others or a prayer for peace. I think that just recognizing each other in some small way might be the invitation for making people feel welcome.