10th Sunday - homily
When I was in college (one of the colleges I was in), I took a writing class. One assignment our teacher gave us was that each of us had to write a personal ad – an ‘in search of’ ad that you would see in the newspaper. At first, we all thought that it would be easy and enjoyable. But, it was much more difficult than we thought it would be! First, we had to describe ourselves; this is hard to do! We’re used to people describing us, but we’re not used to describing ourselves in writing. Second, we had to make ourselves attractive so that we’d elicit a response from someone we’d find attractive. Now, I don’t remember how I did on that assignment and I didn’t keep my personal ad. I think God had a good laugh over that whole exercise, knowing where I would end up!
I was thinking about that story in relation to today’s readings which I’ll explain shortly. I began to think, what would God’s personal ad look like? Obviously, it wouldn’t be intended for one person to respond; God is in search of all of us. Well, I’ve written a draft of what God’s personal ad would look like; I’m sure there are some here who could a better personal ad for God and I welcome their drafts.
The title of God’s personal ad is “I AM in search of love”:
Creator of the universe desires long-term relationship with my creatures. I AM the author of life who seeks intimacy with the hearts of my people. I AM a loving Father who calls sinners, not the righteous; desires mercy, not sacrifice. I AM infinitely patient, just, loving, forgiving, kind, and generous. My goodness is endless; my essence is goodness. I AM the Divine Physician with a special fondness for the sick and poor. I AM love and am looking for love and true devotion that will not pass like the morning dew. I smote false piety! Give me your hearts – that is why I created you. Follow me and I will give you everything, in this life and in the next. I have promised and I will do it.
Again, there are some here who could write a better ad than I have. There are others who would say they have no clue on how to describe God and what He desires. In today’s readings, God is telling us that he wants us to know Him more than anything else. We know many people and many things; why is it so much harder for us to know God? Why do we encounter so many obstacles in getting to know Him that we don’t encounter with knowing other people? We might know about God, but do we know Him?
Now, I understand many of the factors why it’s different getting to know God versus other people. We can’t see or hear God like we can see and hear other people. Prayer is difficult! And, some might feel that they can’t even approach God because of the guilt they have over things they have done…sins they have committed. Whatever the obstacle is, we just need to blast through it in order to get to know Him. We just need to get over the hump and start praying. We just need to get over the hump and go to Confession. He is a person who desires a relationship with us. He is not a book or a set of rules and regulations. He is a person who calls us to know Him.
So, how do we get to know God? The Eucharist, of course, is the best way to get to know God. In the Mass, we see, touch, and taste God in the flesh. There is no better way to have intimacy with God than in Holy Communion. We have Mass every day in the Church. The next best thing after the Mass is Adoration which we have every Friday night here. In Adoration, we get to spend time with Jesus like we spend time with a good friend. We can also get to know God through Scripture. We have a Bible Study here that meets on Monday nights (Wednesday nights through the summer); it’s a great way to know God through the Sunday readings. Of course, prayer is an excellent way to know God; we have a prayer group that meets Tuesday nights.
I submit one more significant way to get to know God: get to know his friends. Yes, this means devout priests, religious, and lay persons. But, in the words of Mother Teresa, those who suffer are the greatest friends of Jesus Christ. If we get to know those who suffer and those who are poor, we get to know Him. The more I meet those who suffer, the more I realize that they are closest to Him. They know what He went through on the Cross; and they realize that He is probably the only one who knows what they are going through.
God is saying to each of us, “Follow me”. He calls us to follow Him, to know Him, to serve Him, and to love Him.