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Audio Available!
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Sunday, February 3, 2013

Homily 2-3-2013 Receiving the Difficult Message


Jesus Christ, out of love for his hometown, speaks a difficult message to them, and they are unwilling to receive it. It fills “them with rage,” and we see the first glimpse of how the Gospel will end, Our Lord suffering death for standing up for the truth in live. Veritatem in Caritate, the truth in charity, is the episcopal motto of our Bishop Kevin Rhoades, and this is exactly the witness I have always seen him bear to our diocese. This role is a challenge for us as Christians, to speak the unpopular truth with compassion, but it is an essential part of true love, because Love and Truth go together. Charity does not abide in fantasy, it rather faces reality as it is – along with faith and hope to guide it.
But what really hits home for us today is how often we fit the role in today's Gospel not of Christ, but of the locals. How many times have we failed to listen to what we know is true because of how much it hurts? How many times have we disregarded the message because of a personal or social hang-up we have for the messenger? I know I have been guilty in the past of disregarding people I disagree with, of ignoring people I haven't forgiven, and of slandering (at least in my heart if not in my words/actions) people who have rubbed me the wrong way. If we fail to hear the hard truth, instead of growing and learning from our failings, we will only continue in the same shortcomings.
Sin is always easy, because of our concupiscence – since we have a tendency to self-love, it is always a challenge to be charitable, to be selfless, to model the Lord's Cross.
Saint Paul reminds us today of the essence of love, the essence of the Christian life. One practice I would ask you to do is to look at this passage for 1 Cor. 13, and replace the word Charity with Jesus, and see what it teaches you. Then replace it with yourself, and use that as an examination of conscience. You will find this remarkably helpful.
Living in love is the trademark of Christians, of God's adopted children. CCC-1828 The practice of the moral life animated by charity gives to the Christian the spiritual freedom of the children of God. ... (Basil) If we turn away from evil out of fear of punishment, we are in the position of slaves. If we pursue the enticement of wages, . . . we resemble mercenaries. Finally if we obey for the sake of the good itself and out of love for him who commands . . . we are in the position of children.
Let us be those children who love for love's sake. And if we can't do it in every part of our life, let us fake it 'til we make it. Practice it until it truly is a part of your soul.
In order to know what charity looks like, let us recall its fruits: CCC-1829 The fruits of charity are joy, peace, and mercy; charity demands beneficence and fraternal correction; it is benevolence; it fosters reciprocity and remains disinterested and generous; it is friendship and communion: (Augustine) Love is itself the fulfillment of all our works. There is the goal; that is why we run: we run toward it, and once we reach it, in it we shall find rest.
And these last words are why we are here today: God is love, and by coming to Him in our daily prayer and especially in the Mass, where Love itself is poured out into our hearts from this altar, we are restored and strengthened to live as children of God. Thank you Jesus, let the Love from your Sacred Heart fill our souls.

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