Sunday, June 08, 2008

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.


At 1:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Somebody stop me. I pray for things that I never get and never learn from it. God, help me to stop wanting for myself and be quiet so that I can finally hear what you are saying.

At 5:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

STOP, a simple four letter word. Easy to say, easy to write, easy to imagine and describe, hard to do. It offers no promises or guarantees, no movement, no sound, no vision, no tactile sensation, no taste or smell. Be still, and listen. In silence you will hear God.

Adoration would be a great place to stop, be still and listen. Silence speaks, especially in the presence of our Lord. Every Friday evening, 7-8 pm. Don't think, just do.

At 9:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's something that fits in with "what would God say?" It's called An Interview with God, it's really pretty. Here's the link-

At 3:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear “I AM in search of love”,

Your personal ad sounds awesome, too good to be true, and you have a pretty good vocabulary. You caught me on the word “smote” – had to look it up! I would love to meet with you - sounds like you would accept me as I am. But, I have to admit, I’m hesitant and nervous- hesitant because I’ll have to do some real deep soul searching, nervous because of what I’ll probably find. I suspect I’ll have to change my ways and thoughts to be worthy of your time. I suspect this will be hard work.

If, after my brief comment, you would still like to meet, would you consider meeting at St. Andrew’s on the corner of Arcola and Kemp Mill Road, Friday night from 7-8? I’ve heard the hour is filled with silence - conducive to introspection, something I have made very little time for.


ME, in search of peace

At 4:04 PM, Blogger fran said...

Adoration also takes place (is offered? - not sure of the wording)
on the first Saturday of each month, following the 8:30 a.m. Mass. Very beautiful way to begin the day.

At 12:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tonight I listened to someone talk about how their “spirit was dead.” I connected to what she was saying, and I thought about all the ways I’ve gone about dealing with my own soul-sickness. It’s a sickness from which I’ve been trying to recover for a while.

This is the way another described her soul-sickness-

“I lived with a pervasive, ever-growing, dull ache of sadness, like a deep wound inside that nothing could touch, not therapy, not spiritual direction, nothing. Critical by nature, I became negative. My emotions were like an infected sore, sensitive to the slightest touch of perceived offense.”

I read that and thought, “That’s it- perfectly.”

If I reflect on the ways I’ve failed, I feel shame. Self-loathing sets in soon after, and then I arrive at the conclusion, if I can’t love myself, how can anyone else- even God? I guess b/c I’m looking for it, I find justification of this in the actions/opinions of others.

I read the description of the God per FG, and I want to connect with that God but don’t know how. And I see that I don’t know how to get past MYSELF to do it. I don’t know how to let go of the stuff that eats away at me- the things that make me feel dirty, hopeless and helpless (and completely unworthy). I hear people talk about “giving it up to God” and I don’t know how.

At Adoration I think, “Well here’s a group of people whose faith is actually palpable. They believe and trust in a God who will restore them mind, body and soul.” Why is that hard for me? I treat God as I do most others with whom I form any kind of intimacy- I push and pull. The pattern is so ingrained that I don’t know how to do anything else. I know I’m stuck, but tonight it was really good to hear someone else talk about their past and present spiritual frailty. It was the first time I haven’t felt alone in this. That's the kind of connectedness (understanding and acceptance of and from others) that makes me think the Spirit is at work in a variety of ways; I just don’t know how to make a more direct connection.

At 11:49 PM, Blogger fran said...

An observation for Anon 12:22 -

You say that you are dealing with your own soul-sickness. You say that you are trying to recover from this sickness and that you want to connect with the God that Fr. Greg describes.

You say that you go to Adoration and witness the faith of others, and you acknowledge that "the Spirit is at work in a variety of ways."

To me, yours is a faith that is palpable. Keep persevering in faith, keep hoping and believing, and you will have what it is you are seeking.

At 9:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Fran-
My spirit is no longer “dead”, and I have hope (or my strange brand of it). It helps to be around people who are where I am, but it’s necessary to also be around people who are where I want to go.

I am certain that the Spirit has worked through others to reach me; I can point to very specific occasions of it in my life. When FG or FM, or anyone here on this blog (you, for example), speaks about a relationship with God being something more personal, I know I don’t have that- maybe never will. Maybe my relationship with Him will always be a friend of a friend thing…???

Last week, I was sitting in on a discussion group. The topic for discussion was making a connection with God, so FG’s homily was timely. One woman talked about the “drops of Grace” she receives in her life. She said, “Sometime it pours and other times it’s pretty dry.” Another woman came to the group prepared and handed out a copy of this-

People are often unreasonable,
illogical, and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse
you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some
false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building,
someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and
it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you've got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God;
It never was between you and them anyway.
-Mother Teresa.

“You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God;
It never was between you and them anyway”.

That gives me hope!

At 4:36 PM, Blogger fran said...


Those are beautiful thoughts from Mother Teresa and they do give one hope.

I don't know if you listen to Christian radio, but there is a singer/composer by the name of Jeremy Camp whose voice, music and lyrics I love. A current favorite is titled "Let it Fade." I think you might enjoy it. Of course, you can find it online in a variety of places.


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