Audio Available!

Audio Available!
Be sure to check out in each blog post the links to the audio recordings of my homilies. They are at the beginning of each post! Also, look to the right for links to Audio from other good resources!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Homily for Sunday

Audio from Sat night: click here
Today's Gospel passage follows directly from last week.  Matthew reminds us very clearly of our weak humanity in the example of St. Peter.  One moment he claims Jesus as the Christ, the next he is telling Jesus what he thinks it means to be "the Christ."  All of the sudden, after feeling like he's on top of the world, Simon, whose new name is now Peter as head of the Church, gets called "Satan."  That's almost as bad as biking into Rome on the feast of Saints Peter & Paul and receiving a blessing from Pope Francis only to find out 15 minutes later that all your luggage is stolen! (if this could ever happen, right?)  No, Peter clearly has it way worse.  But isn't that possible for all of us?: One week we are good, the next we are on our faces.

Despite our pomp and circumstance, our big words and prideful actions, we are awfully small and not as strong as we think we are.  We are fragile and can do really senseless things without humbly placing ourselves beneath God's grace.

Ultimately, pride and a fear of the Cross get in the way of our true happiness, to be found only in humility and love as self-sacrificial gift.  We have to like Paul says, be transformed by the renewal of our minds.  Western society, especially in the United States, founded on individual dignity and rights, has idolized the self: whatever I want, my rights, my dreams, my sense of truth and of right and wrong.  This must be transformed, Paul says, into spiritual worship: God's will and dreams and truth and right (which ultimately are so much more beautiful, life-giving, and satisfying than anything we can come up with).

But this renewal is not easy.  Even I as a priest can, in my weaker moments, be afraid of the cross.  And as we grow up we become very capable of rationalizing how we run from the Cross and embrace our pride.  As a priest, I could easily say: "I've sacrificed X, Y, and Z for God so I know the cross - I've done my part."  But that's not really true.  Those sacrifices aren't real until I live year-in and year-out in faithfulness to them.  The same thing for marriages.  The vows made one day only take meaning in real life: the Cross is either embraced or abandoned when the spouses have to choose each other again and again, especially when it becomes difficult.  The reason that more marriages end and more priests run away from their flocks in the first five or ten years than in the next thirty or even fifty is because it is there that they choose to follow their fears or to follow their Lord.

And even if following Christ means obeying His Will, carrying our Cross and dying to ourselves, we will discover, especially at Mass, that we are not alone, and that the story does not end there.  Here from this altar is the fruits of the Christ's Cross: His resurrected body and blood given to us, a love stronger than death.  As we profess with Peter that Jesus is the Christ, the Lord of our Life, we find that we are never alone, that our suffering has meaning, and we taste the promise that awaits those who love as He loved.

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