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Saturday, March 1, 2014

Homily - Sunday March 2, 2014 - - - Trusting God in the Deep End

Today we are reminded about trust. Trust in general in the first reading; trust that God's judgment is more accurate than others' in the second reading, and trust in God's providence for our needs in the Gospel. Trust is the foundation of healthy relationships. This goes for marriages, for parenting, for friendships,...even for the workplace. If we are afraid or unsure of another person, we cannot have a good relationship because we will never be honest about ourselves with them.
Adam and Eve lost their trust in God and that is why they sinned: Catechism #397 "Man, tempted by the devil, let his trust in his creator die in his heart and, abusing his freedom, disobeyed God's command. This is what man's first sin consisted of. Also sequence and would-be disobedience toward God and lack of trust in his goodness."
(Confirmation: as you guys grow up and prepared to become adults, you need to remember that there are some things about which you must always be childlike, some lessons that need to remain with you forever.)
A great image of trust is a child jumping into his or her father's arms. When I was growing up we would always have a summer visit to a lake or two. The youngest kids in their floatation devices or the ones learning to swim would sometimes be nervous about jumping to dad, mom, or an older sibling. Their level of trust was written all over them. You can just see the difference in their eyes, in their body language, in their voices, and you knew which ones were having a really hard time with it because they were scared, even big-time scared. The funny thing is, did that make the situation more or less objectively dangerous? No! My mom or my dad had just as much love for one of them as for the other, and there would be no problems, but they couldn't see it, they couldn't feel that love at that moment. All they saw was the dark water, not the loving parent within the water, in a sense conquering it.
Adults live in fear a lot, too. Fr. Barron's podcast for this weekend said that the 3 largest buildings in Chicago are owned by life insurance companies. That's fear. And how do we work against that fear of the dark water of unknown tragedy? We give money in the promise of receiving more. Because those green bills that say “In God We Trust” are somehow going to be the things that save us from pain, from death, from sin, and from loneliness. No one can serve two masters – stewardship in any form (but especially in this campaign we are embarking on) is essential for us. If we trust God, we will show it in our actions. We have to activate our faith.
My grandma is dying happy, at peace, with full trust in God. She has been making acts of faith all her life, so now she is ready and happy to go to the God she knows and loves. Grandma is not afraid of the deep end of life. She knows who is there in that water, conquering it: it's the Lord Jesus Christ whose image she moved to right in front of her death bed. “It gives me so much peace,” she said on Friday.
I am more and more convinced that the deepest wound of our world, especially of our youth who so easily and seemingly unexpectedly can slide into despair, is the lack of awareness that they are so deeply and irrevocably loved by God. They don't know that God loves them, that he's here in their life, that he cares about them and provides for them. They don't know how to see it; they don't feel it; they have forgotten how to experience it. They need to be shown it! Who is failing to teach them, remind them, help them! Perhaps we need to start here in our work as missionary disciples: tell them directly and clearly: "I know that God loves you, and that cross is proof!"

In a sense, I as a priest have given my whole life for this very purpose. But all of us, no matter what state in life we are, no matter our age or our knowledge of the faith, can manifest and show this love of Christ from his Sacred Heart through our own to those who are hurting.  May that Sacred Heart fill us with His love, help us to have trust (have faith), and share that love with one wounded soul this week.


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