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Who’s invited?

The readings for today were pretty long, and had multiple paths one could take.  I was sorry, for example, that I couldn’t follow up on the “Many are called, few are chosen” line, and that I had to leave one of my wife’s favorite verses (“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (Phil 4:13)) for another time.

In my homily today, I chose instead to focus on our status as “the bad and the good alike”, to whom Jesus referred in this parable.  So much is lost on us in the change of time; we don’t get, for example, how that whole wedding invitation thing worked for the people of Jesus’ time (this article does a good job of explaining it).  For a king’s invitation to be blown off was…simply unheard of.

And we receive a similar invitation.  Who’s invited?  We all are.  But…what do we do with the invitation?

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Got Mercy?

If you’ve received it…miiiiight wanna consider showing it toward others…

My humble offering this week.

God bless y’all!

20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a homily; thought it might be time. Here’s my humble offering for today’s Mass.

When we pick sides, as Christians, we forget our mission statement (Matt 28:19. Look it up.). There is no “is” and “them”. Jesus sent us to “all nations”. Isaiah prophecies that God wants his house to be a house of prayer for “all peoples” (Isa 56:7). That includes the white nationalists, AND Black Lives Matter. And it includes the police, and the anarchists, and the terrorists. NO ONE is beyond the reach of God’s love.

Where’s the Gate?

Here’s today’s homily, too.

I think this marks the first time I have ever preached about snowcones.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus cautins His listeners to “Strive to enter through the narrow gate”.  The thing is, though, sometimes we need help finding the gate!

Go ahead…it’s only 12 minutes long.

 

OK, so…Jesus.

Howdy Do!  After a relatively long hiatus from the blogging world, I have decided to make a return.  It isn’t that my time is any more free than it was when I last posted (though I am arguably less stressed out about my role at my secular job, a field sales manager for a medical device company); I do have a sense, though, that I have stuff to say.

Thing is:  There are tons of folks in our lives (and yes, I am talking to you; yes, you…yeah.  I am looking at you) who need to hear about the mercy and love of Jesus Christ.  There. I said it.  And it isn’t that “they need church” (or Church – ask me the difference, if you want); church is a second, third, or subsequent thing they need.  And too often, I think we “Church folks” are so busy making sure that everyone is following the rules, that we forget to lead with the love of Christ, whose Father “so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life” (John 3:16).

I’ve always found that next line in the same passage (John 3:17) so interesting:  “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.”  And for all the presence of that statement, that Jesus came so that the world “might be saved through Him”, we often hear our Church leaders lead with fire and brimstone, and condemnation.

How did Jesus approach the Samaritan woman at the well?  He started a conversation with her.  And even when she wasn’t honest with Him, he merely pointed out that He knew the truth of her life.  Then, he offered her a different Way:  Himself.  And her response?  She went and told the whole town that she’d met Someone “who told me everything I have done. (John 4:29)”

She was among the first lay evangelists, who shared the Good News of Jesus Christ with other people, “who then began to believe in Jesus because of the word of the woman* who testified, ‘He told me everything I have done.'”  It wasn’t some professional preacher who brought those folks to faith in Jesus Christ:  it was an outcast woman who’d had five husbands, someone who went to the well at noon in order to avoid her neighbors, someone who ultimately brought many in her town to faith in Jesus…because she was so moved by meeting Jesus, and coming into relationship with Him, that she couldn’t not talk about Him!

Y’all:  if a person nobody wanted to deal with, because of her lifestyle, can bring people to the joy and peace of faith in Jesus…why can’t you and I do it?  And if she can encounter Him in the normal course of a day’s events, why can’t you and I?

People need to hear about Jesus.  They don’t need to hear about all the regulations and rules (those come later, after they have a “why” to go along with the “what” of the Church); they need to hear first the we love them, and that we love them because God loves them.  They need to hear about the person of Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.  First.

Because without Christ, the rest of it is just a really big club with a lot of subordinate organizations and a lot of rules.  Without Jesus, it’s really just all about us.

And it ain’t all about us.

 

The Men Were There!

Had to mention this one, too.

One of the ladies who attended the retreat yesterday stopped me after we finished, expressing appreciation for our having put on the retreat. That was nice of her… I thought.

Then she said something that both encouraged and kinda floored me, at the same time.

She said, “I was just so pleased to see so many men here! These things are usually full of women!

I thought some on that; being a man, and usually being at the things I am responsible for, I don’t usually notice it. But she’s right.

Men, where y’all at? You do realize that you’re called to be the spiritual leader of your home, right? You do realize that, when you had your child(ren) baptized, you promised God and His Church a bunch of stuff…remember?

Of course you do. I was just asking.

So, men…come on out. The ladies notice!

And you know what else?

The ladies need us.

It is our job to assist the women in our lives…to get to Heaven. And we can’t do that sitting on the couch watching football (or locked in our “home office” watching porn!). God has called and gifted every man on Earth to step up and lead others to Heaven; problem is, we’ve gotten so accustomed to the %>$&@ we get shoveled by the evil one, we now believe his lies: that it’s all about us, that our wives don’t mind, or don’t want us telling them what to do, that we aren’t hurting anyone by the things we do in private.

But boys: those are all lies. Those are all excuses for inaction. And they leave the people we love…in the dirt. We can’t do that!

Jesus hasn’t stopped calling us. Jesus hasn’t stopped gifting us. And He stands ready to accept us back into the ranks of His soldiers, fighting for the lives and the souls of the people we love, against a culture that wants to chew them up and spit them out like so much garbage.

Your wife needs you to love her more than yourself. Your girlfriend needs you to love her more than yourself. Your daughter(s) need you to love her/them more than yourself!

Get up, man! We have been called out, by our Savior, to do His work on Earth! We have been called, and uniquely gifted, to be men of God!

And if you’re already out there, man…reach back and grab one of your brothers! Support him, love him, and help him to be the man God has called into being!

Time is short. God is calling. And we need to answer. And we can’t do that sitting on our butts.

We need to BE there.

Dare to be a Disciple? Yes, please!

I was listening to the first talk at the Dare To Be A Disciple retreat this morning (I know, you intended to be here, but something came up…(-: ), and Fr. Eduardo mentioned something important. I thought I’d share it with y’all.

He said that, if we constantly break ourselves open, and empty ourselves out being Eucharist to others, we run the risk of developing something he calls “Eucharistic Fatigue”: we can find ourselves “running on empty”.

The Eucharist, received at Mass weekly (or even daily), is for us our “spiritual filling station”: we receive Christ in the Eucharist, and, if we open ourselves to His physical Presence within us, we are “filled with His Holy Spirit”, to “become one Body, one Spirit in Christ” (remember the Eucharistic Prayer that says that?).

If you think we show up at Mass, line up, then stick out our hands (or tongues) just to get a cookie and go sit down…you’re incorrect. That Living Presence of Christ in the Eucharist is our power-up; it’s our spiritual Red Bull; it’s our recharge to go forth and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt 28:19).

Y’all, we have work to do. There are people in our lives who need to hear about Jesus! There are people who are flailing about all over the place, trying to find something to fill the gaping, aching hole left in their lives because they don’t know Jesus!

So this weekend, when you receive the Eucharist, consider this: can you become what you receive? Are you receiving something that you can offer to others? Jesus doesn’t want to stay locked up in you: He wants to get out into the world to transform lives!

Remember: when you’re sent from Mass, your destination isn’t supposed to be the couch to watch sports (or “Say Yes To The Dress”). You are sent out to complete the mission the Apostles received from Jesus. So…GO.

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