-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 9:30am 6:00 PM mass on Sunday
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.
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!