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Audio Available!
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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Homily - Dealing with Grief and Confusion

 Today's Gospel presents us with Luke's version of the Beatitudes, which are almost identical to Matthew's, but add some condemnations as well for those who receive their rewards in this life. Jesus reminds us that in the life to come, things are going to switch.
A parishioner at Mass this past Sunday was reading the petitions. She is on the parish staff and serves as a lector or petition reader often. This time though, she broke down when she was reading the petition about those who died in the Sept. 11th attacks. After she gathered herself, she carried on through. At the end of Mass, she told me that twelve years ago today her son was turning 10. The day had a really bad effect on him. He was flooded with horror and sadness on the faces of everyone he met throughout the entire day. But the worst thing for his mom was that after school that day her 10-yr old son said to her: “Mom, I wish I hadn't been born.” He was so confused and filled with sadness that he wasn't able to separate the pain that everyone was experiencing from the happiness he was supposed to feel. With the help of his parents and friends, he eventually got through this time and began to make sense of the situation.
I don't know if today causes that type of difficulty in your own life, but I can assure you that you will have something happen in life that brings the same kind of confusion. There will be times when we will have a joyful day turned inside out and upside down, and you will feel sick to your stomach and confused and your emotions will be all over the place. I guarantee its going to happen, and I am sure that any adults here could verify that they have had times like that.
The important thing is to know how to deal with them, how to make sense of it all so we don't allow ourselves to slide into a kind of despair.
I just read a couple days ago from a book by St. Escriva: Your life is happy, very happy, though on occasions you feel a pang of sadness, and even experience almost constantly a real sense of weariness. Joy and affliction can go hand in hand like this, each in its own “man”: the former in the new man, the latter in the old.

Saint Paul tells us about these two men in his Letter to the Colossians (3:1-11)
If you were raised with Christ, seek what is above,
where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
Think of what is above, not of what is on earth.
For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
...Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly:
immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire,
and the greed that is idolatry.
...anger, fury, malice, slander,
and obscene language out of your mouths.
Stop lying to one another,
since you have taken off the old self with its practices
and have put on the new self,
which is being renewed, for knowledge,
in the image of its creator.
Here there is not Greek and Jew,...
but Christ is all and in all.

For Saint Paul, we are all composed of two persons within in: Adam, the earthly man that we have to put to death but is always trying to rise up. And Christ, the new man whom we take upon ourselves in faith.


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