Posts Tagged ‘God’s Love’

“I Will Never Forget You”

Sunday, February 26th, 2017

Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Is 49: 14-15; 1 Cor 4: 1-5; Mt 6: 24-34

Deacon Larry Brockman

“I will never forget you”. These are the Lord’s words to Zion this morning. And that’s each and every one of us- we are all part of Zion.

You know, it is really hard to conceive of just how much God loves each one of us. Each and every one of us was specially created by God. That means God thought about you, just you, and made you what you are. Each of us was given a unique set of talents, a unique body, and our own immortal soul. We are all one of a kind; there will never be another you.

And God loves all of us equally. Why would God create a being in his image and likeness that he didn’t love? God loved us so much he gave us a free will- so that we can determine our own destiny. But our main choice is whether we return to God or not.

Now we are even loved by God when we are sinners. In Luke’s Gospel, he tells a parable about the lost sheep. Yes, God goes after each lost sheep because he loves them. God is relentless in his pursuit of each one of us too. It’s that little voice in your conscience you hear all the time.

Realistically, all of us are sinners. It may be a matter of degree, but none of us is perfect. And if we feel that we are perfect, or close to it, we are deceiving ourselves. Part of the lesson of life is to realize that and to recognize and accept the suffering, disappointment, and imperfection that are part of life for each one of us. It’s part of God’s plan that we be tested and follow his script for dealing with our test. His script is the Gospel.

We also learn by recognizing that all the bad things that happen to our neighbors but for the grace of God can happen to us as well. Even when we are on a high plateau in our lives, it is all temporary; it can and probably will change. So, understand that God and God alone is under control. Humility is recognizing the truth of one’s status. And the fact is that no matter who you are, you are not in control. When you embrace that fact and all the uncertainty that it entails, then you will know and understand yourself better, and that is true humility.

Now I say all this because this morning our Gospel calls us to recognize that worrying is another limitation we have as human beings. We worry about our problems, our status, our future, and all kinds of things. But the fact is that we really don’t have control over the events of our life, God does. So, it is pointless to excessively worry about them. Just as we must accept that suffering and imperfection are part of every life, we also have to accept that excessive worrying over things makes no sense.

Because God loves you that means, as Isaiah remarked, that he will never forget you. If you really believe that God will never forget you, then the thing that each of us must do is to trust in God. That may be easier to say than to do. Just how do we trust in God that all of those things we worry about will be taken care of?

Well, that brings us to the topic of serving just one of two masters. In 19th century US politics there was a term called a Mugwump. A Mugwump had his “mug” on one side of the political fence, and his “wump” on the other. So, a Mugwump tried to play both sides of the fence at the same time. It was a derogatory term that accurately described people who tried to finesse the system. It just didn’t work.   Jesus is also telling us you cannot do that; you cannot have it both ways. You either belong to this world and the Master of this world, which is the devil and his followers, or you belong to Christ, and have a trusting relationship with God.

If you belong to this world, you attempt to be in total control of your life. You will determine how each need will be met; you will take care of yourself- even if it is at the expense of others. And you will depend on all of your abilities. It’s all up to you; you don’t need God. So when things don’t go your way, you will worry. And you will worry and worry.

Now you can try to be a Mugwump, and be in control yourself when things are going well. And then fall back on God when things go wrong. But my point is that it doesn’t work that way. It is all or nothing with God because God reads your heart. And if you have to always be in control, then you haven’t given your heart to him.

If you belong to Christ, then He is your master in this world. That means two things. First, you know God; you have a relationship with him. And like any special relationship that you have, you have to nourish that relationship often. That means you have a regular prayer relationship with God. You can hear him when he talks to you.

Second, you must learn to trust in God always. That means you share your successes with him, and your joy with him because you know God is the source of all blessings. So, you thank God as the source of those blessings- your family, your career, and whatever talents and good things you have. But you also share your sufferings, your worries, and your failures with him. You trust that, just as he helped you with your successes, so he will also help you when you experience things beyond your control.

After all, God has promised that he will never forget you.

Love Others As I Have Loved You

Sunday, April 24th, 2016

Fifth Sunday of Easter

Acts 14: 21-27; Rev 21: 1-5a; John 13: 31-33a, 34-35

By Deacon Larry Brockman

(This Homily may also be seen and heard by accessing Catholic Community TV at and then scrolling down to 7AM 5th Sunday of Easter and clicking on the Mass.  You can speed forward to the homily.)

For the last couple of weeks.  The pattern in our readings has been the same.  First, a reading from Acts that chronicles how the early church spread like wildfire.  Second, there’s an excerpt from the book of Revelation  that talks about what happens when we all reach heaven.  And third, a Gospel reading from John establishes that Jesus is God; Jesus then goes on to give us some advice for when he leaves his human form at the Ascension.

And the reason for this pattern is to remind us each week of the Easter Season just how deep and far reaching the Resurrection event is, not just for the early Church; but for all of us who believe.  The Church is trying to spread the joy and enthusiasm of the early Church.

Today, we hear of the manifold travels of Paul; and how many people were converted at each stop.  Priests, also known as Presbyters or Elders, were ordained at each location to keep the Church going there.  And they offered a service on Sunday- a service of the Word and of the Eucharist- just like we do.  They did that because that’s what the early disciples were told to do at the Last Supper.  We are doing the same 2000 years later.

The second reading reminds us of the fullness of our heritage as believers- everlasting life with Jesus, the Lamb of God, forever and ever.  Today, we hear that there is a New Jerusalem and that there is no more sea.  The sea is the dwelling place of the Beast, or devil, in the book of Revelation.  But for those who reach heaven, the Beast will be no more, and his dwelling place will be gone.  All that will remain for us is everlasting happiness.

So, are you excited about all that yet?  Because you should be, that’s the whole idea of the repetition, the pattern the Church presents during these weeks of Easter.  The Church wants us to realize that we have all been blessed.   All of us experienced the evangelization by the Church and then Baptism and membership in it.  We are commissioned now to go be witnesses to the end of the earth and “pass it on” as it was passed on to us.  If we do that, we will experience the glory and joy of everlasting life described in the second reading.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus first talks about his glory.  Jesus carefully groomed his Apostles and Disciples for that moment- the moment when he would come into his glory, the moment when the plan of salvation will be clear to all.  The Apostles didn’t understand right then, but everything happened so fast after that.  The plan unfolded and happened before their eyes as witnesses.  And the glory of the Lord was revealed to them on Easter Sunday as the impossible happened.  A man who had been brutally tortured and murdered had arisen; and not only that, he was different.  He could appear and disappear at will; and he could pass through walls and doors; he was dazzling in appearance; and he would live forever with his Father.  Jesus promised that same Resurrection of the body to all of us, and he promised that it would last forever if we followed him.

Now Jesus knew that he was going to leave the Apostles, since his role as God made man had been fulfilled.  And so, he gave key advice to them; he told them:  “As I have loved you, so you should also love one another!”

As I have loved you.   This is what was new in Christianity- the love of God manifested by God made man.  The story of how Jesus loved us is what the Gospel as a whole is all about.  For Jesus, love consisted in this: doing the will of the Father always by loving others rather than his own self.  It was first of all made known in the ordinary things of life, Jesus’ friendships and fellowship with his Apostles; in the many miracles and kindnesses that he showed the rejected members of society, such as lepers and sinners; in the favors he did for strangers such as raising a child from the dead; and in the teaching he did through the parables.  Jesus showed all of us what God’s real love was all about by living a life of service for others rather than by seeking power and using it for his own end.  Then, he was called upon to suffer and die because the radical way of life he preached was rejected by the authorities.

Impressive as it was, all of what Jesus did would have passed into oblivion had it not been for the Resurrection.  That changed everything because nothing like it ever happened before.

All of us are given an opportunity to love “as I have loved you”.  It all begins in the ordinary things of life- your family, including your children and your parents, even when they are sick or handicapped or aged; and in those people that God has placed in your life at work and play, including those who need your help in tough times.  Love of others even means deferring our own agendas for the good of others.

That’s the advice Jesus left us.  For as Jesus said in the Gospel: “This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”