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, November 11, 2017

The Oil of Love - Waiting in Hope

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Baby box save. How hard it must have been to make that decision but a blessing.  Cutting off a relationship so that the child might have a safe and profitable future.
"I do not know you" - how much harder it would be to hear those words directed to us from the Lord.  To avoid this eternal heartbreak, we need to do what is required: we need to be like the wise virgins in today’s Gospel.
This parable, like all parables, offers us an analogy of the spiritual life.  It is a truth wrapped in a story, and the story isn’t about oil.  It’s about “Staying awake!”, Christ tells us.  But what does that mean?  Well, staying awake ultimately means living our baptism day by day, moment by moment –living in continual relationship with the Lord Jesus, our heavenly Father, and the Holy Spirit.  If we are doing this, then we are keeping the fire burning – and that fire is love, and unlike oil, love cannot be bought or sold.  You either have it or you don’t – and that is why the five wise virgins cannot share their oil.  Their love is their own.  Our love for Jesus is either there or it isn’t.  When I get to heaven I cannot say: “I know I never really prayed but, hey, my mom went to daily Mass!”  Saint Peter will not be amused or deceived.  Do you love Jesus?  Do you seek Christ tirelessly?
Pray. Hope. Don't worry.
Being on retreat last week was such a great gift.  I feel refreshed by the time I was able to give solely to God. The world would say it was wasted if it wasn't for personal benefit, but even if I got nothing out of it (and there were certainly times of waiting), it was worth it. Why did Jesus die on the Cross and rise from the dead? To give us heaven - who is a relationship with God, something we already experience in prayer. If we don't pray, we are ultimately saying we don't care about heaven. 
Another message from this parable is that we do have to wait. We can't force God. Must wait patiently. Even when on retreat.
Indeed, the Thessalonians were waiting for Jesus to return, and they like Saint Paul thought that the Lord's return was to be very soon, which is why they worried for those who died before the Second Coming.  Indeed waiting is necessary for us all in the spiritual life. We live in a beautiful mess of "already" mixed with a healthy dose of "not yet."
We already have a relationship with the Lord, but we don't yet see Him face to face. We already are God's children, but we do not yet always live as such. We already see the beginning of the kingdom of God, but we know that it is not fully realized.
Ultimately the message of these readings is the same one Padre Pio often gave: Pray. Hope. Don't worry. (Padre Pio’s relics visited SJHS just over a week ago on the 3rd, a total surprise to me, and I received a special blessing from the priest guardian who was holding P. Pio’s gloves over my head.  What a gift!)  …  But anyways: Pray. Hope. Don't worry. We pray to experience the "already”.  We hope joyfully for the “not yet” to be realized and completed.  And we don’t worry about the rest, because God has us in His gaze, and His love is proven to us by the Cross and by this Eucharist.  Lord, help us to pray, hope, and not worry.

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