Sunday, January 14, 2007

2nd Sunday - homily

Next month, our youth group will be attending a retreat at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg called Mount 2007. There’ll be around 1500 teens there from all over the country – it really is a great weekend. The theme for the retreat will be “Do whatever he tells you”. We just heard these five words in the Gospel. Mary says this to the waiters at the wedding feast at Cana. They are words for all of us to live by.

I was officiating a wedding last summer, and the couple picked this Gospel. They are two people who, shall we say, enjoy a party! At one point in the homily, I looked at them and said, “Do whatever he tells you”. Then, people in the congregation began to laugh. I thought to myself, ‘wait, that wasn’t a punchline’. Then, I said, “wait, that wasn’t a punchline”. Then, I realized that they all thought I was saying to the bride, ‘do whatever HE (the groom) tells you’. So, I quickly corrected it: ‘do whatever Jesus tells you!

We can take these five words in two ways. First, we can apply it to each one of us, and take the ‘you’ to be singular. “Do whatever he tells you” – like, ‘what is Jesus telling me to do?’ It is one of the great questions in life, and one of the biggest mysteries: how can I hear God speaking to me? It can be in general terms, like, ‘what is God calling me to do with my life? What is His Plan for me?’ It can involve specific situations at home, work, school, or with relationships. I have found that God speaks to each of us in four ways: 1) in prayer, 2) in Sacred Scripture, 3) through our experiences, and 4) through other people. If each of us is open in one of these ways, God will speak to us, to our hearts. St Theresa of Avila once said, “Jesus is always speaking to us. The question is, ‘are we listening?’”

We can also take the ‘you’ to be plural, and that the five words apply to all of us. Jesus speaks to all of us through Sacred Scripture – especially the Gospel – and through Sacred Tradition – through the Church. He tells us how to worship: ‘take this all of you and eat it…do this in memory of me’. He tells us how to live: ‘love God with your whole heart, mind, soul, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself’. He tells us how to love: ‘deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow me’.

When we hear Jesus speaking to us, the question is, do we do whatever he tells us or do we do whatever others tell us? Oftentimes, others tell us something that is in conflict with what our Lord tells us. The world has a different gospel than Christ’s. An example of this would be with abortion. Many times, when a young woman becomes pregnant, other will tell her to have an abortion. It might be people close to her- a boyfriend or spouse, family members, friends, a coach, even a doctor. They might pressure her – maybe even force her – to abort her baby.

We hear so much about a woman’s right to choose. But, so many times, it is not a free choice for the young mother. Others are telling her something that is the total opposite of what God is telling her. Throughout Scripture, God says, “Choose life”; specifically, in Deuteronomy 30:19. The Church continues the teaching that human life should be respected and defended from conception until natural death. Next Monday, we will march for life downtown- our youth and many parishioners will join over 100,000 people to witness to the dignity and sanctity of all human life, in all it stages…from womb to tomb.

Finally, about this miracle at Cana. We don’t doubt that it happened. We don’t doubt that Jesus has the power to turn water into wine. We don’t doubt that he has the powe to rise from the dead. Why do we doubt that he can turn bread and wine into his Body and Blood? And yet, it happens at every Mass. We don’t see a miracle, we don’t see a change. But, we believe that a change takes place. Jesus says, “this is my body”, and we believe him.

So, as we receive the Eucharist today, let us be open to the grace of this sacrament. There is real Grace here. It helps us to believe in Jesus, to believe in his power, the power of his words, and to do whatever he tells us.

35 Comments:

At 12:51 PM, Blogger Kiwi Nomad 2006 said...

You make such an important point about a 'woman's right to choose'. An abortion makes future life so much 'simpler' for a boyfriend involved, but a young woman can carry the secret grief for years.

 
At 1:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is probably the most merciful homily concerning women and abortion that I have ever heard. Over the years, I have seen many people have an abortion..truly believing that this was their only choice. I have seen pregnant women told by their entire families, friends, support system to have abortions. When I say women, I am referring to teens to young adults.

At times I was the only one who would suggest that the young woman not have an abortion. The most common reaction........that's not even a consideration. Are you crazy?

Then I went on to watch some of these women who are close friends live in shame, guilt, and a terrible sadness.

Thank you, Father Greg, for showing God's extreme mercy through this homily.

 
At 2:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

“Jesus is always speaking to us. The question is, ‘are we listening?’”

How do we know when Jesus is speaking to us?

 
At 2:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How did the meeting of bloggers go?

 
At 6:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"How do we know when Jesus is speaking to us."


By listening with your heart through reading scripture, listening to a homily, reading things on the blog and listening to what people say and when it is being said. I believe also that God gives us signs for what He wants us to do and also warnings and that should always be followed.

 
At 6:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I have been asked many times, “Why do you laugh so much and make so many jokes?” I become serious sometimes—when I have a stomachache! The Lord is all blissfulness. He is the goodness, the truth in everything. That is what is glorious. The nearer you are to Him, the less you will have occasions to cry or weep. The further we are from Him, the more will long faces come. The more we know of Him, the more misery vanishes."

 
At 8:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

also warnings and that should always be followed.


Yes, sometimes God sends very clear warnings. Usually they come from several sources - the scriptures, other Christians, Priest in confession, spiritual advisor, message in a homily. Yet if we are not listening, we can not take heed of the warning!

 
At 9:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon above,

"Yet if we are not listening, we can not take heed of the warning!"

I agree but although we "are" listening we many not "understand", so we can't take "heed" to the warning.

 
At 10:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if St. Andrew's AA meetings are open or closed?

 
At 1:52 PM, Anonymous Kelly said...

I agree but although we "are" listening we many not "understand", so we can't take "heed" to the warning.

To last anon's above comment. I am in total agreement. Also there is a difference between hearing the warning and listening to the warning. Having recently picked up on a major warning, this blogger has made some major life changes. Yet it took me three years plus to go from hearing (and ignoring), to listening (and struggling to understand), and finally to understanding & obedience. Thank God I was given many chances and experiences before it was too late.

 
At 7:21 AM, Anonymous Kat said...

"Does anyone know if St. Andrew's AA meetings are open or closed?"


I have no idea. Fr. G might be able to tell you the contact person if you e-mail him.

 
At 8:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kelly,

Seeing is another important compotent here. What are peoples' reactions when you go to Mass, volunteer in different places and capacities. By looking at their faces and seeing how they react basically tells you their discomfort of you being there and for "whatever" reason they don't trust and want you there. It is an awful feeling. You plug along (rationalizing their reaction) for a while until it becomes a bit much and then you ask yourself "Is all this worth it?" I mean what is the point without trust? So what ends up happening is you pull out- out of the the volunteering you loved and out of the church. This is not my imagination, I have seen this going on for a long time and now have had enough. I mean I really want to go to Mass and recieve the sacraments but there isn't "any" place for me where there won't be some sort of negative reaction. Its sad but a fact of my life. Nothing can be done and I know that.

 
At 11:52 AM, Anonymous Kelly said...

To Last Anon,

I am truly sorry for the way others are treating you. People will always disappoint us and even injure us! Also, parish politics can add to the troubles of feeling welcomed.

Since I have no knowledge of your situation, I must ask is there too much negative past experience to overcome? Is it a thought to switch to a new parish for a new beginning? I have not idea where you attend Mass, but I have found my parish incredibly welcoming. We did go to a very large parish years ago and we just felt it was too large.

On a lighter note, speaking of receiving unwelcoming stares.........We sit near the front of our church. My teenage daughter decided to die her hair blue for Easter. You want to talk about stares and I am sure tons of judgements. I was mortified at the time. Now I just think ....would Jesus really care if she has blue hair? Not so much :).

Don't let any one keep you from the sacraments and Jesus. Change is hard, but it can be great. Praying for you, anon.

 
At 6:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Kelly.

You are a nice supportive person. Incidentally my sister in law and I am going to go pour Holy water on a mean person and I will let you know if that person sizzles or not. If you happen to see a lot of steam tomorrow (doesn't matter where you are) that is what has happened.

Incidentally I come from a pretty conservative backround and when I was a teenager I wanted a pink mohawk so I could look like Billy Idol. But for some reason the hairdresser wouldn't do it thankfully for my mom! LOL!

 
At 9:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its me again Kelly,

"Since I have no knowledge of your situation, I must ask is there too much negative past experience to overcome? Is it a thought to switch to a new parish for a new beginning? I have not idea where you attend Mass, but I have found my parish incredibly welcoming. We did go to a very large parish years ago and we just felt it was too large."


No, there isn't too much negative past experience to overcome-I have overcomed that. I don't attend Mass anywhere anymore. To switch parishes? That's the thing there isn't one in Montgomery County I attend. Oh, there is one in Idaho I could go to. You mentioned that you found your parish welcoming- could I ask where you go?

I have always been interested in seeing a Buddhist temple and
I have a very nice Buddhist friend
so last Sunday I took the opportunity to tag along and went to her Buddhist temple just to see what that was like and it was different but definately interesting. I also want to see a Pentecostal church for fun sometime in the future. I have always been interested in how people from different backrounds pray so while I am thinking of a church I could attend Mass at I am (for fun not to join) going to check out different churches, temples, synagogues, etc. It should be a very cool adventure!

 
At 6:11 AM, Anonymous Marion (Mael Muire) said...

Dear Anonymous who does not attend Mass anymore,

I had the weirdest experience many years ago when I was in college, and just out of college. Every time I went to Sunday Mass, I would get these horrible anxiety attacks - I just wanted to run out the door into the parking lot. I couldn't pay attention to the service; I wanted to cry! It was horrible. This went on for years.

I don't know why I didn't quit going to Mass, but . . . It was only with the help of God's grace, I do know that.

I think maybe our enemy, the Evil Spirit, has ways of trying to make us stop attending Mass and receiving the Sacraments. To some souls he sends unkind looks, and stares. To others he sends anxiety attacks.

But Anon, Mass and the Sacraments are just what we need!

I send you a "cyber-hug", and will carry you with me in my heart every time I go to Mass and Holy Communion at Saint Andrew's which is our own wonderful Father Greg's parish.

Please don't give up on Jesus, Who loves you so much!

 
At 11:37 AM, Anonymous Kelly said...

To anon who is searching.........haven't seen any steam yet today. LOL. Thanks for the Pink Mohawk story! Hilarious!

Instead of aimlessly searching for a church, I might suggest you talk to a kind, young priest. Perhaps Father Greg? He's not really young, but he is definately not old. It sounds like you would greatly benefit from a little bit of spiritual direction. As far as I am concerned, I think every one needs it at some point in their lives. Including me!

I would strongly suggest that you visit him or perhaps another priest who seems approachable.

We attend St. Francis in Derwood. We love it. If you ever want to visit, let me know. I will have to forewarn you as to my daughter's hair color for that particular week. We have seen pink but not a mohawk (yet). Right now it is just ordinary brown....right now.

Call FG. He is really knowledgeable and nice. :).

 
At 4:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

HI Marion,

I just got back home from a hectic day at school so I couldn't respond until now. Thank you for your cyber hug and prayers it was very much appreciated!

 
At 4:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Kelly,

No, no steam today the person just got a bit wet! LOL! :0)

Thanks for the suggestion but I know that FG is really busy so I wouldn't want to disturb him.

Anyways, I will think of someone and talk to him at some point.

Thanks again.

 
At 5:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kelly,

The buddhist monk gave me a book to borrow about how Jesus went to Tibet! It is very interesting. It is during His missing years of ages 12-30.

 
At 6:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are right about Fr. Greg being busy, I worry he is going to burn himself out.

 
At 10:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are not the only one who is afraid Fg will burn himself out! He needs rest/relaxation just like the rest of us! This is an example of the poverty of time and our current priest shortage. We need to pray/fast for more men to answer the call to the priesthood.

 
At 11:28 PM, Blogger Fr Greg said...

Fr. Mike and I are here to serve you, the good people of St. Andrew's. Neither he nor I is ever too busy to meet with you. Yes, we are busy (praise God for that!), but never too busy to help someone who is in need. Like Christ, we have come "to serve, and not be served".

Personally, I feel great! I took some time off in November, and I still feel refreshed. And, my hour with Jesus every morning brings tremendous peace and rest to my body and soul. Playing with the school kids regularly on the playground doesn't hurt, either! I am loving life!

So, Anon, please take Kelly up on the offer to contact me. I am here for you, and look forward to hearing from you!

 
At 6:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi FG,

I can't believe I am actually awake at this time! Anyways, I was thinking about a church to go to and I have found one. It is St. Patrick's on Muncaster Rd. I am going to start anew there.

Thank you for your kindness and willingness to talk to me.

 
At 6:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ooops, I meant Norbeck Rd. I guess since I missed a few weeks of Mass I should go to confession also-sigh.


Now I am going back to sleep.

:0)

 
At 11:17 PM, Anonymous Kelly said...

To anon, my blogger friend who is thinking of attending St. Patrick's: I was just thinking this whole discussion started because someone posted about how do we know when Jesus is speaking to us? Well one way is through other people.

FG is a friend of mine, and he could provide excellent direction for your particular situation. Then, I see that FG posted directly to you and invited you personally to speak with him.
Jesus is speaking to you, my friend! Please take him up on his offer. It takes a while to get to know priests when you switch parishes.

I was blessed to have time to spend in adoration today. Although I do not know your name- I prayed for you during that hour.

Keep in touch! There are better days ahead.

 
At 6:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Kelly,


Again I am up early! I hope this doesn't become a habit-I shudder at the thought!!


I am going to St. Patrick's for Mass and nothing more. I have been reading Kat's transformation since she came back to the church
and have been very much impressed by that.
"(It sounds like you would greatly benefit from a little bit of spiritual direction.")

Actually I need A LOT of spiritual direction so right now I am looking for a spiritual director whom I can meet once a month so I can be guided in the right direction and basically learn about my faith, something I am weak in.

Thank you for praying for me in adoration. I will be going to adoration myself today so I shall pray for you.

My blogger name is "Sunshine". I am glad we are blogger friends. Better days are truly ahead.

 
At 10:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

" a young woman can carry the secret grief for years."

A lady in her 50s came by our church last year and stated that she never forgot her abortion and how it haunts her to this day. She had had the abortion 30 years earlier because she was not married.

 
At 10:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last anon,

That would have made it an illegal abortion. That must have been especially traumatic! Abortions were legalized in the early 1970's?

 
At 10:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually it could have been legal. I forget the exact date of Roe vs. Wade. Regardless, 30 years later to still have that secret grief.............

 
At 10:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the exact date was January 22, 1973

 
At 8:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, Anon, please take Kelly up on the offer to contact me. I am here for you, and look forward to hearing from you!

Okay, here goes. I am a bit nervous.

 
At 3:01 PM, Anonymous Kat said...

Anon;

Dont be nervous... FG isnt scary at all... tells not so funny jokes but he isnt scary at all.

 
At 4:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Kat.

Did you get a chance to go to your grandmother's funeral?

 
At 5:17 PM, Anonymous Kat said...

Anon;

There is a lot of family drama there that I don't really want to go into here. But no, I didn't. FG did say mass for her though.

 

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