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Saturday, September 15, 2018

"What do people say about me?"

The diocese's communications office has asked the following note to be read regarding Bishop Rhoades' investigation that we spoke of last weekend.  I would like to read that before the homily.

We can be grateful for Bishop Kevin Rhoades, not to mention our predecessor Bishop D'Arcy.  Although he may not necessarily do everything perfect, and I'm sure he doesn't please everyone 100% of the time, but I know that our bishop is a good man at his core.  In the way that the twelve disciples, who followed Jesus around for his three years of public ministry and truly saw into his heart, I am confident that Bishop Kevin has a good heart for his people.  How did Peter know this so certainly about Jesus?  It was written in Jesus' actions.  Our actions speak louder than our words, right?  Then the way we see others live on a daily basis is more fundamental to understanding their character. 
That is why Peter could make his claim of who Jesus is.  He called him the Messiah because he saw Jesus' actions speaking as a strong support to the Lord's words.  Many people of Jesus' time claimed to be the Messiah.  Go back to the book we got for Lent title "Case for Jesus" and you will find examples of that.  But all those false messiahs could not back up their words with actions like Jesus' healing of a deaf-mute like in last week's Gospel.
What others think about us is important, but not as important as what God knows about us.  Building  our lives around what others think about us is like building a house on sand.  It may start out fine, but the odds are small for it to endure the test of time.  Founding our sense of identity on what God knows about us, both what are the intentions of our hearts and what our actions are showing day by day, that is building a house on solid rock.  For popularity is much cheaper than integrity.
Jesus gives us a great example of this.  He knew integrity was worth much more than popularity.  Despite what others thought about him, He knew how His Heavenly Father looked upon Him with Love and was well-pleased with Him.  Like the prophet Isaiah, he was true to his identity in the midst of opposition, even to the point of death on a cross.  And in that time of trial, Jesus revealed his true self by his actions.  He didn't just say "the Son of man must be rejected" and "take up your cross after me," but he lived it.  Even when Peter tried to tempt Him away from God's will, to take the easy way out, to be a different type of savior, he said an emphatic NO.  Rather, he laid down his life.

For it is the cross that makes a saint.  We cannot be saints without the cross.

 He put this Eucharist into action on the Cross.  Let us, from this Holy Communion, live a life founded on integrity and on what God sees in us, a life that takes up the Cross after our redeemer.

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