-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at www.usccb.org
-check out this week's LinC Letter at www.parishlincletter.blogspot.com
-I will be celebrating mass at 4:00 Saturday and 9:30am & 6pm on Sunday
Don't Weary, Have Faith
Bishop Robert Barron made a fascinating assessment of the first reading from this Sunday's mass and I can't think of anything more meaningful to say. The "warring with Amalek" can be a reminder to all of us that, like Israel, if one has faith to do God's will in the world they by necessity will be engaged in "the battle". Saint Paul famously referred to this fact by calling it "fighting the good fight, running the race".
I think I have been resisting this fact from before I entered the seminary. I think the dominant theme in the spiritual life at least for me is that if I am doing God's will and God is with me then I will not encounter hardship, conflict, or fighting with others. It's a maybe a naïve understanding of peace. Maybe St. Francis, in the popular interpretation, with his prayer for peace and his hanging around with all the animals and resolving conflict is my preferred notion of discipleship. However, it cannot be denied that all 12 apostles and St. Paul all died by violent conflict and rejection of people about fighting the "good fight"
Who we fight against, compete with, struggle with, can be the power of evil, the spirit of the world, the weakness of the flesh, the broken and whining false self. As a matter fact it is all of these and others. The example of Moses with his hands raised in prayer and the invitation of the persistent woman and the unjust judge in the Gospel both encourage two things.
First, we must never grow weary of pursuing God's will in the face of opposition, rejection, suffering, hopelessness, etc. We can never demand that we arrive in the destination of the promised land of perfect peace. We must admit that we are always aliens, homesick for our native land which is peace forever in the Lord.
Second, this persistence this attachment to God's will is manifest, experienced, accomplished, and realized in what we call prayer. Praying is the sacrament of our communion with God in faith. Praying is the experience of our relationship with God. Our relationship with God and our desire to be in deepening relationship with God can be compared to our most intimate human relations. The longing heart of the lover, the homesickness of the citizen in a foreign land, can be understood as the deepest and fundamental praying that Jesus teaches and demonstrates in the Gospels.
So, as people of faith we are possessed by the love of God and our intentional commitment to do God's will in the world will be experienced as conflict, striving, yearning, longing, battle against the broken and empty powers of the world and of our human condition. We can avoid growing weary in this good and constant fight by clinging to God's hand in prayer.
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!