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Saturday, March 9, 2013

Homily 3-10-2013 Standing up for what is right: a miniature Triduum.


Standing up for what is right: a miniature Triduum.
Today we see that standing up for what we know is right, especially for our faith in Jesus, unites us with Jesus and with His Cross.
Last week we saw the woman at the well transformed by her personal encounter with Christ and inspired to bring the message of the Gospel to others, to share in the work of evangelization. While she received a positive response from her audience, the blind man's witness today is not so well-received. Rather, this story from John ch.9 presents us with a scene of social uprising, anger, pressure, and responses of both resistance and weakness.
Jesus, as he so often happens (even if we at times forget it or ignore it), causes quite a stir with his words and his actions today. This is because those who are so attached to the status quo see Him as a threat – mostly because Jesus is honest, wants change, and knows who He is. Christ stands up for what is right, and he almost always receives persecution for it, culminating in His Cross. Indeed, Jesus is either loved or hated.
We see the reality of Christ's own words before us: No one can serve two masters. Like the Man born blind; like the Pharisees; like the man's parents; like the crowds... we must choose. Will we love Jesus or will we hate him?
This is what we see in today's imagery of light and darkness. As Saint Paul reminds us, before we encountered Jesus and were united to Him through the sacraments of the Church, we were in darkness. We were blind to the truth of Christ until we met Him and were transformed from darkness into light. And if we were raised Catholic we still know that Jesus meets us weekly in the Eucharist, and daily in prayer, and we are meant to leave that encounter as a different person. Then, we are changed, and we see the world, we see other people, we see our mission in life in a totally different way. We know we were called to be like Jesus, just like the man was called to after he was cured.
In order to see the Truth, adore its beauty, and stand up for it, we have to meet Christ. Formation of conscience, to know what is right, is the result of an honest life and a continued encounter with Jesus.
CCC 1783 Conscience must be informed and moral judgment enlightened. A well-formed conscience is upright and truthful. ...The education of conscience is indispensable for human beings who are subjected to negative influences and tempted by sin to prefer their own judgment and to reject authoritative teachings. 1784 The education of the conscience is a lifelong task. … 1785 In the formation of conscience the Word of God is the light for our path, we must assimilate it in faith and prayer and put it into practice. We must also examine our conscience before the Lord's Cross. We are assisted by the gifts of the Holy Spirit, aided by the witness or advice of others and guided by the authoritative teaching of the Church.
When we let Christ change us and open our eyes, we know we are called to live like Him and stand up for Truth. And if you are like Christ, you will be treated the same was He was: with persecution. This is nothing to fear! With God at out side, persecution only purifies us, draws us closer to God, makes us more saintly. In a huge storm, Trees drop their dead/dying branches more than anything else. Then they are ready to grow stronger branches and produce more fruit. So too when we stand up for what is right will we be made stronger. Jesus will find you and console you for your faithfulness.
Today we ask God for the strength to stand up for what is right, to be so transformed by our encounter with Christ that we see the Truth with confidence as it is, even when the rest of the world is blind to it. And if God's plan calls for us to suffer for that Truth, let us hide in Christ's wounds, where suffering becomes healing. And in this Holy Communion today, may His wounds heal us once more.

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