Sunday, February 18, 2007

7th Sunday - Homily

Years ago, I decided to give up watching television for Lent. Yeah, that was a tough Lent! It was back when I was working in sales. I was doing pretty well with it until the NCAA basketball tournament started. I remember one particular day in the office when Maryland was playing that night. I really wanted to watch that game! So, I debated with myself and my co-workers about what to do. Finally, I came up with a trade-off: I would give up sodas that day. I wouldn’t have Cokes the rest of the day, and then I could watch the game.

One of my co-workers who was also a friend was watching all of this transpire. He wasn’t a Catholic; actually, he didn’t belong to any religion. He said to me, “wow, you Catholics sure take this Lent thing seriously”. I responded with, “it’s not a religion for wimps!”

Lent begins this Wednesday. We will all spend the next couple of days trying to figure out what one thing we will give up for Lent. Also, we need to come up with one thing to do for Lent. I have a suggestion for the one thing to do: forgive.

We hear all over the place in today’s Gospel to forgive in radical ways. Jesus says to love, bless, and pray for those who have hurt us. We might think this Gospel is either way up in the clouds or doesn’t apply to us. We might be saying, ‘I don’t have any enemies…no one has persecuted me…no one hates me’. But, I would imagine that each of us has to look no farther than our own families to see someone who we are at odds with or don’t get along with.

Or maybe this is true with someone in our parish family or our school family. One thing I have heard from many of you since I arrived last June is that we have a big problem at St. Andrew’s of factions, or groups, or cliques. Do we only love those who love us? Christ calls us to love everyone; St. Paul says in his letter to the Romans that we are to “have the same attitude toward all”.

Jesus tells us in Matthew 5 that before we approach the altar, we should reconcile with our brother (or sister) if we have had a problem with him (or her). So, we think of someone who we need to forgive. Maybe it’s a spouse…or a child…or a parent…or a priest…or a nun…or a sibling…or a friend…or a teacher…or a student…or a co-worker…or a fellow parishioner. Whoever it might be, we need to forgive them from our hearts before receiving the Eucharist today.

Then, the grace of this sacrament will help us to reconcile with them face-to-face during the season of Lent, if possible. Also, we should reconcile with God by going to Confession during Lent.

Christ reminds us that we will be forgiven if we have forgiven others. To forgive is to be Christian; to be Christian is to forgive.

21 Comments:

At 10:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

“it’s not a religion for wimps!”

Tell me about it!

My parents have left the church and my husband doesn't go either. I have accepted that. What bothers me is that my mother wants me to leave the church also something I don't want to do and then puts me through a lot of guilt if I mention I don't want to leave. She has been with me for the last week and I had to miss a day of daily Mass so there wouldn't be any tension between us. I made it to Mass on Saturday evening because I told her I was at a friend's house (which I was) but I told her I would be home later (real reason I was at Mass). I know this is not a good thing I did. This only happens once in a while because she doesn't live with us but I feel bad for lying to her but there was no other way I could have made it to weekly Mass. I will go to confession for this.

What should I do so I can go to church and there isn't any tension or feelings of guilt?


Catholic girl

 
At 3:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

FG- Could you ask for anything harder?!!!! Forgiveness is tough for me. I've heard people day, "I can forgive but I won't forget." I don't understand that at all. I don't know how to remember without all the ill feelings coming back. Forgiveness to me is literally blocking things from my consciousness and making a clear choice to stop reliving pain. When I start to recall events and people who have hurt me, I get busy. I am a very busy person! Each time someone acknowledges my giving, I want to shout- if you only knew!!! I know this isn't the spirit of forgiveness, but it's all I know. I do pray for those with whom I am at odds, but thus far- no major changes in relationships.

 
At 5:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"To forgive is to be Christian; to be Christian is to forgive."

When I looked at this last sentence that was written in the homily one thing stuck out in my mind. It was last summer when those little Amish girls were shot by the crazy gunman. What a horrible thing to happen! The Amish community is a very peaceful one and for that to happen to them (or anyone) was a terrible thing! I was awed at the way the Amish leaders went to the wife of the gunman and told her that her husband was forgiven. This was truly a "Christian" act. They most definately practice what they preach!!!!


Anonymous 2

 
At 8:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Quick off topic question-
Why did the deacon give the homily today for Fr. Mike? I thought that when the deacon was present for mass, he'd read the gospel, but the priest, as celebrant, should do the homily.

 
At 8:34 PM, Anonymous Kelly said...

Holding a grudge (not forgiving) is like setting your self on fire and hoping the other person will dies of smoke inhalation! A friend said this to me once when I was stubbornly unforgiving! Last anon, forgiving someone does not mean that you have to pretend nothing happened or even stay in relationship with that person (depending on the situation).

My husband deals with so many personalities and conflicts at work, his favorite scripture (Proverbs) "seek to understand before being understood." He has said that living this scripture has prevented many disputes/misunderstandings/wrong assumptions.

I recently had to ask a family member for forgiveness. At first I was on fire - hoping she would die of smoke inhalation(JUST KIDDING)! After much prayer, I began to relive/review a life time of my own sins (not fun). However, then I could get on my knees and thank Jesus for his infinite mercy. It was a powerful experience in humility. I called my family member and actually asked for her forgiveness. All is better now but are giving each other space!

 
At 10:49 PM, Anonymous Night Owl said...

There are way too many anons here. Could we at least post a fictious name so we know to whom we are speaking with?

 
At 12:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I understand there is a great healing process for the person who can forgive another. I admire everyone that can forgive another person's indescretions. I need help with all of this 'forgiving' though. Can it be a finite thing like : one time per person? For example, I do not know how to reply to an extended family member's criticism of this aspect of our religion. She says "What use are all of your church rules, you have many hypocrits because people can do anything they want, then God and christians forgive them and they get to go to heaven anyway". I sure doesn't sound fair when she puts it like that. Can you help me counter with the appropriate answer?
Thank you,
Midnight ponderer

 
At 11:30 AM, Anonymous anxious said...

Are there some basic steps for forgiveness? I honestly do not think I know how to actively forgive someone. There is one particular person who has done some things that really hurt me. In my head, I understand that she must be hurting herself in order to unleash that kind of venom, but, even with that understanding, my heart still feels bruised. I pray for her at Mass and adoration, but when I find myself thinking about her, I feel sick to my stomach. Just yesterday she called my home, and when I saw her number on the caller ID, I literally felt ill. How do I get my heart and body to cooperate in forgiveness?

 
At 11:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anxious,

I am sure that person will get out of your life so not to worry.

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

This person is an inevitable part of my future. So, I know finding some way to forgive her for her past actions as well as potential future ones is important for me. Since we can only change ourselves, I will not anticipate changes in her.

 
At 12:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I will not anticipate changes in her."


Go to the person and tell her why you can't have her in your life because it is affecting you negatively. I have an aunt who (cruely) blamed me for abuses that happened to me in my childhood. I was stunned and then I told her to get out of my life and not to contact me ever again because I didn't deserve to be treated the way she treated me. The rest of the family is still in touch with her but I am not and I feel much more peaceful without her in my life.

 
At 3:29 PM, Anonymous anxious said...

I didn't really mean that I won't anticipate any changes in this other person. I will pray that she has peace within herself so she won't have the need to rage with others. I simply am not willing to wait for that to happen before I make changes in my own actions and reactions.

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

"Just yesterday she called my home, and when I saw her number on the caller ID, I literally felt ill."

Change your phone number and give it to certain people only. The rest of the people let them have just your cell phone number and don't answer the phone if you see her calling. You are lucky you have caller ID, I don't.


"I will pray that she has peace within herself so she won't have the need to rage with others."

Are you positive on both accounts, of her not having any peace within herself and raging with others?

 
At 6:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looking at what "Anxious" has been writing about- changes within ourself -I have been thinking about this very topic for a few days. I had written earlier about going down to see the Franciscans and what a truly amazing trip that was! There are Lay Franciscans whose group is called "Franciscans of the Third Order" that meet once a month at the monastary. Having St. Francis as my patron Saint I was naturally drawn to this lay order. I asked for some reading materials and even surfed the net to learn about this Fraternity in greater detail. I really like what they are preaching, their practices and beliefs. I even had a chance to speak to one of the Friars and was impressed about what he had to say about his Religious Order. I will definately go again in March as I
came away with some very positive vibes from my last trip! The trip also made me look at myself and see where I can make some changes. That is what I shall do for Lent. :0)

 
At 10:02 PM, Anonymous anxious said...

I'd be interested to know what reading materials you think will inspire you. I am also looking for inspiration. Any info would be appreciated.

 
At 10:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

FG-
Looks like you touched a chord here with the forgiveness thing.

 
At 11:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

uh, Father Greg
Perhaps you should have suggested no television.

 
At 5:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Anxious,

I hope you had a good day. I did. The materials in question is a pamphlet that is the rules of the Secular Fraternity. I also bought the first book of a three set volume on the life and teachings of St. Francis.

The following is what the Fraternity believes:


The Holy Eucharist.

Since we see the Eucharist as the heart of our prayer, our personal rule would call us to frequent participation in this Sacrament.

Penitence.

Regular examination of our obedience to Christ is necessary. To be reconcilers we must first be deeply reconciled to God. We practice daily self-examination and regular use of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Personal Prayer.

We set aside a definite time for prayer each day to spend time with God, to pray for others, to meditate and to express our thankfulness. Prayer is the root from which our lives and ministries grow and are nourished.

Self-Denial.

This is the discipline of saying "No" to oneself by putting God first. We are often aware of the places in our lives where additional self- discipline is needed, but our Spiritual Directors should be asked to help in this area. We also focus on eliminating the ways we may manipulate others to our own ends.

Retreat.

Silent retreats and quiet days provide an opportunity to rest and grow physically, mentally and spiritually. At least once a year, we participate in organized or private retreats.

Study.

We all need to learn more about God and His will for us. Study of the Scriptures and of Franciscan spirituality is important to our Christian growth.

Simplicity of Living.

Simplicity calls us to examine our giving of self as well as the material things over which we have control. Our cluttered lives, our preoccupations with "belonging", can interfere in our relationships with God and our brothers and sisters. We are called to a life of simplicity, eliminating those aspects of ourselves and our lives which prevent our full expression of God's love.

Work.

Service has always been an important part of the Franciscan vocation. Daily work is one way in which Tertiaries serve God and others; we are often also called to serve God and our brothers and sisters in individual ministries, ranging from prayer to social activism.

Obedience.

All Tertiaries are obedient to the decisions of Third Order Chapter. We say the Daily Offices, we support each other by prayer, attendance at Fellowship meetings and a pledge of financial support to the Third Order. We report regularly to the Order on the keeping of our Rule. We have Spiritual Directors whom we see a minimum of twice a year.

©2006, The Third Order, Society of St. Francis, Province of the Americas, Inc.
Some artwork copyright of individual Tertiaries as noted.
Last updated 4 May 2006.
Clint Hagen, TSSF, webmaster ( e-mail webmaster)


Isn't this great stuff!!!! I know its a lot of work but its worth it. This is what inspired me. Let me know what you think.

 
At 3:12 AM, Anonymous Night Owl said...

Hey Dude,

You forgot to tell me what you thought.

 
At 9:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh wow.

 
At 10:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"but when I find myself thinking about her, I feel sick to my stomach."


If you have been praying about it I am sure she will be out of your life and you will never see her again. So relax.

 

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