Archive for October, 2010

How Much God loves Us

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

31st Sunday of Ordinary Time

Wis 11:22 – 12:2; 2 Thes 11:11 – 2:2; Luke 19: 1-10

Dc. Larry Brockman

 

So, “Before the Lord, the whole universe is as a grain from a balance”.  Does that make God so big that he just doesn’t care about you- you and I, who are as a grain on a balance compared to the whole universe?  Does God make us, reject us when we go awry, and cast us off forever to Hell in favor of some other part of His vast creation?  Such a dreadful, fearful thought.  Quite the opposite, because the infinite Love of God is the theme of today’s liturgy.   

One thing is certain, God must care for all of us as the logic in our first reading attests:   “for what you hated, you would not have fashioned”.  Indeed, why would God make something if He did not find some favor with it?  God simply does will that we exist, or we wouldn’t exist at all.  And it is certain that all of us exist, along with the huge universe that we are immersed in.  Indeed, all of God’s creation has value to God.   

Now, none of us, and indeed, nothing that God creates, is as perfect as He is.  All God’s creation is, by definition, limited and less than God.  And so, all God’s creation needs to be molded, fashioned, and shaped to conform to God’s will for it.  That is especially true for that part of creation that God has endowed with two of His special gifts- the gifts of free will and intelligence.  We are special, and God loves us with passion.   

How does God love us with passion?  First, God is patient with us.  We hear that “He rebukes offenders little by little that they may abandon their wickedness and believe in you”.  How does he do that for you and I?  In a word- consequences.  Yes, there are consequences of everything we do- some favorable, and some unfavorable; some short term, and some long term.  I think if you are honest with yourself, and someone asked you if you had it to do, “would you want to do your life all over again?’, most of you would say “no; once is enough”.  We savor the wonderful experiences of life, and would not want to give them up by living life over again- a wonderful spouse, children, grandchildren, talents, and experiences of God’s beautiful world.  These are but some of the things that have made life worthwhile.  But these are also consequences of choices that we have made.   

Now on the other side, there are the painful consequences of choices we have made in our lives.  And while we would like to have avoided them, there is another emotion at play.  We say: “I wouldn’t want to have to go through that again”.  And what that means is that we all have learned lessons from the painful consequences of our actions.  Chances are, if we are honest about it, we are sorry for the actions that caused those painful consequences.  We may even have reformed our lives to avoid them after the first occurrence.  But in any event, the learning that we achieved takes precedence over the thought of re-living that phase of our lives.  That, I think, is the way God intended it.  Truth is consequence.  And God’s truth is his way of admonishing us- little by little.  For those of us with long lives, we have lots of that learning- but the good thing is that it is all behind us.  And we are still here- part of the creation that God has been patient with, with a chance to say yes, and do God’s will.   

Second, God actively and lovingly seeks us out during our lives.   We do not have a God who is passive, as some, such as the deists, would attest.  In fact, God especially seeks out the lost.  Just look at the Gospel story, where Jesus says:  For the Son of man has come to seek and save what was lost”.  Zacchaeus, the tax collector, was an ideal example.  Tax collectors were the scum of Jewish society because they were viewed as having sold out to the great Satan- the state.  Often they would cheat people out of as much in taxes as they could, and keep some for themselves.  That is why the crowd grumbled when Jesus asked Zacchaeus to host a dinner for him.  People like Zacchaeus were to be shunned, avoided, black balled; rather than be sought after.  What is God telling us in this story?  Simply that Almighty God, the God who the universe is but a grain of sand to, has elected to come and live among us and to seek out even the worst in society- lovingly, and without harsh judgment in hopes that they will believe, repent, reform, and follow Him.  Doing that for such as Zacchaeus means that he is doing that for all of us as well. 

How is he doing that for you and I?  Well, we are invited to his banquet constantly- events like Sunday Mass and this Communion Service.  He has left us the story of His legacy- the Bible, In which we are constantly sought out to do His will.  And He sends people among us, His agents, who bring us closer to Him.  It can be our Children, our Grandchildren, our Parents, our Priest, our Friends.  Indeed, Jesus is constantly seeking us out to tell us, that: “Today salvation has come to this house”. 

We Are In This Together As Apostles

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

 

Sts. Simon and Jude

Eph 2:19-22; 1 Luke 6: 12-16

Dc. Larry Brockman

 

We are in this together.  Yes, all of us are called to be Apostles.  We are not called to be spiritual islands unto ourselves; rather, we are called to be church.  Paul makes this point very clearly in our first reading when he says:  “You are no longer strangers and sojourners but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God”.  So, we are not called to be strangers to each other; we are called to be citizens.  The duties of citizens are collective. 

Elsewhere Paul talks about the multiple parts of the body of Christ, about how they are different, like parts of the human body.  But, nevertheless, they complement and support each other.  As a single body, the Church, we also need to complement and support each other because our mission as a Church is one of evangelization.  Lest anyone here is disillusioned, evangelization is just as important in today’s secular and sometimes Godless society as it was 2000 years ago when the Church began.  But, our evangelization is a shared ministry.  Notice that Jesus shares His ministry with those whom He called.  He selected 12, whom he called Apostles.  This was the beginning of the Church, this small group of humble fisherman, tax collectors, and peasants.  They, like us, were in it together-  they were commissioned as a group to evangelize, sent forth to preach the Gospel to all nations. 

And so, I ask you- what kind of a citizen are you of the Catholic Church?  Are you a gifted teacher involved in RCIA or CCD?  Are you a gifted advocate of an important Church teaching- like respect life?  Are you a Christian leader or businessperson that lives the creed you profess, even when it is tough?  Are you a caretaker type that ministers to those less fortunate- by visiting jails or rest homes or shut ins or hospitals?  Whatever part of the Body of Christ you are, are you acting like the Christian citizen you are called to be?  So that it can truthfully said of our Church that:  “Their message goes out through all the earth”.