Sunday, July 01, 2007

13th Sunday - homily

We are going to have a contest on the blog site this week. Anyone who is interested in entering the contest can go to the blog site, and leave a comment which contains at least three (3) excuses we give Jesus. We hear about excuses in today’s Gospel when Jesus says, “Follow me”. One person says, ‘ok, but I need to take care of some family business first’. Another says, ‘I need to say goodbye to people first’. Jesus is saying, ‘I know what you have going on in your life, and follow me….right now…at this point in your life. Trust me’.

So, when you leave a comment with your excuses, please make sure to include your name somewhere on the comment. We will have a judge(s) from our staff, and will award a prize to the best list of excuses. The winner will receive a $50 gift card to Outback Steakhouse in Aspen Hill. We will award the prize at the end of the week.

I have my own list of excuses: a Top Ten List of Excuses we give Jesus. This isn’t like a David Letterman Top Ten List…it’s more like God’s Top Ten List of Commandments. The Top Ten Excuses we give Jesus, especially when He says, “Follow me”:

10. I don’t have time
9. The person I’m dating will dump me.
8. I’ll do it when I get older (I’m having too much fun right now)
7. I’ll let you know
6. I give to charity – isn’t that enough?
5. I don’t know what my friends would think
4. I’m too young
3. I’m too busy
2. I’ll do it…tomorrow
1. I am afraid

Jesus doesn’t want our excuses; He wants our hearts. He doesn’t want our excuses; He wants a commitment. We are afraid to commit to Him because we know it will be hard. We know that we will have to sacrifice in some way. One commenter on today’s Gospel wrote, “ploughing for the Kingdom of God requires sacrifice”. We know that Jesus says that one of the first things we need to do if we follow Him is carry our cross. We need to endure some kind of suffering and pain. Who wants to do that? But, following Christ doesn’t end on the Cross; the complete command from Christ is likely, “Follow me…to happiness”.

We are afraid to commit fully to Jesus because we want to stay in our comfort zones. Yet, he committed fully to us by coming out of his comfort zone. Think about his comfort zone: He was in Heaven, at the throne of God. He came down to Earth, and had nowhere to lay his head! He had nowhere to sleep, in his poverty.

Examples of people who went our of their comfort zones to follow Christ are the Apostles. Jesus said, “Follow me” to each one of them. They didn’t respond with, “We’ll do it tomorrow”. They dropped everything to follow him, immediately. When God revealed His Plan to Mary that she would become the mother of His Son, she didn’t say, “I’m only a teenager”. She said yes. The Gospel demands a response, not an excuse. Christ’s command to follow him demands a response, not an excuse.

Now, with the Eucharist, and this is something that I have studied for many years, I think many people don’t believe in the Eucharist because they know they will have to change their lives. On a practical level, they know that they have to be in a state of Grace to receive the Body of Christ into their bodies and souls. They have to be clean and pure in order to receive Him, and maybe have to go to Confession first. In general, though, they know they have to live in close friendship with Him because He is so close to them in the Eucharist. They will have to clean up their lives, and go out of their comfort zones.

Whenever we move toward Christ, we move toward happiness. He is our happiness. When he says, “Follow me”, he is saying, “Follow me to happiness. Follow me to joy…to peace…to love. Yes, it will require sacrifice and it will be hard. But, ultimately, follow me to Heaven”.


At 9:26 PM, Anonymous Mae W. said...


1. My hurt/pain is too big to overcome.

2. I can't forgive ______ what they did was too big/wrong when they did it to me.

3. Why would you want me? I am nobody.

4. I have nothing to offer anyone much less God.

5. I don't understand what it is you want me to do so how can I do it when it is not clear?

6. My sins are to big to be overlooked and they will stand in the way of anything you want me to do.

At 6:08 AM, Anonymous Bernadette said...

Top 3 excuses:

1. None of the stuff I hear about Jesus has anything to do with my life.

2. No one ever taught me how to follow Jesus.

3. God didn't pick me.

At 10:58 AM, Anonymous Kelly said...

1. I am tired of giving all the time.

2. I need to save time for myself.

3. I can't take on any more burdens or commitments.

At 12:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why are the people who use this blog predominantly women, or so it seems?

At 2:17 PM, Anonymous mindy said...

1. I think I already know the way (and mine looks like more fun).

2. Often the people who follow you are persecuted.

3. One more person can't possibly make a difference; He won't even notice if I'm not there.

To the anon-
“Why are the people who use this blog predominantly women?”

There's a Chinese proverb-
“The tongue is the sword of a woman and she never lets it become rusty.”

Even though a blog is written, the forum leads itself to discussion that is more conversational in nature, asking for and encouraging response. Men like to issue statements- women like to share experiences. Women talk b/c communication makes women feel understood, comforted and supported. It's proof that we matter! And we like to let others know that they matter too.
Women bond through conversation, while men bond through shared activity (like playing basketball or golf with their buddies). For women, discussions are meant to teach as well as look out for each other; it’s how we build trust. Women learn how to trust and who to trust by communicating and paying attention to the smallest of details. Having communication reciprocated, to know that others are listing, is a reward too. So the cycle continues. In this setting, I’m also inclined to believe it could have something to do with men having a shorter attention spans (lol)- men make their point and move on, while a woman will go back and add additional points to the thread. And aren't you fortunate for all this female wisdom?!!

At 2:34 PM, Blogger fran said...

1. Isn't what I am already doing enough?

2. I feel foolish repeating the same offenses in confession.

3. Jesus will understand if I am too busy or too tired. It won't matter if I wait another day.

At 4:33 PM, Anonymous HSPrincess said...

1. I don't deserve His help

2. I'm too scared/confused

3. Why do it now? I can always do it later.

At 5:00 PM, Anonymous Mae W. said...

Oops! It looks like I took the 'at least 3' a little too seriously.


At 10:27 PM, Anonymous Mhuff said...

1. Sorry Lord but my Harley is calling my name and its time to ride, how about you get on the back seat!
2. Time for church! ah lets go to the 1:00 service,whoops how about 5:00? whoops maybe next week!
3. Dont you believe? Ask yourself if it is worth the risk of not believing. Which gate will you go through? Please come with us. I'll pray for you anyway. No more excuses.

At 11:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was in Wheaton yesterday and happened to pass by Outback Steakhouse in Aspen Hill. What came to mind was their delicious shrimp on the barbie-yum!

Incidentally, where is Kiwi these days?

At 9:01 PM, Anonymous Allie H. said...

Excuses -

1.) I want to party and have my idea of fun, I will put it off till I am older, worn out and wiser.
2.) I can always go to church maybe next week, or next month or whenever ..
3.) I don't need to go to confession anytime soon, I will just go next month.

People make excuses to Jesus for various reasons. We are often lazy or selfish. Alot of us don't realize what being happy really is, Jesus is who is going to take us on the path to happiness. Since I am younger, 15, I know us young people are very oblivious to this. Alot of people's ideas of fun are parties, friends and so forth. I would like to know where that really takes you in life and what grace you get out of that. Parties and influences of highschool often cloud the minds of younger people. Alot of us say we will put it off till we are older, you want to put off being truely happy till your older? What if its too late if you have so much opportunity now? Also my friends have said the Bible is too strict and asks for too much. Its ashame alot of them have yet to realize what Jesus sacrificed for us. I am still learning about my faith and I have picked up those few inputs lately. I cannot be sure of them being accurate.

Also, I feel like people give up alot. When praying people often pray for the feelings of happiness or love, etc. And what people don't realize is Jesus does not just give you those warm feelings, he gives you opportunities to have them. Another excuse would be "I have been praying, but nothing has been changing, I'll just try again some other time."

At 9:44 PM, Anonymous mindy said...

"I want to party and have my idea of fun, I will put it off till I am older, worn out and wiser."

That made me chuckle. What a perfect expression of how I felt through much of my "young" life! The truth- it DID age me, it DID wear me out. I only became even a little wise after many years of refraining from that kind of behavior. Looking back- it really wasn't that much fun, and I'm often amazed I survived my stupidity! But- I do remember thinking like that!

I thought your commentary was great! Especially for someone who is only 15, you have a tremendous amount of insight. It's great that you thought to share it.


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