7th Sunday - homily
A few items of business today. The first has to do with the signs you see around the Church about the Great Adventure Bible Study. This is a great opportunity for all of us to understand the Bible better which is something that we all desire. It is a series of DVDs with Jeff Cavins who is a great teacher of the Bible. In the first DVD, Cavins reminds us of the quote from St. Jerome: “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ”. I am the first to admit that I need to know the Bible better, so I will be participating in the series along with everyone else. If you haven’t already signed up, I encourage you to do so. The series will begin on March 2, the first Monday of Lent.
The second item is one that you might have read about in the Catholic Standard. It is the new campaign of the Archdiocese for Lent, “Belonging to God’s Family”. The last few years it has been, “The Light Is On For You”. That will continue – I think we will be offering confessions every Tuesday night from 7-8:30 here. But, the new campaign will be an invitation for Catholics who have strayed from or left the Church to return. Archbishop Wuerl has written invitations and placed them in envelopes; we will have the invitations here next Sunday. He are asked to give them to Catholics we know and invite them to return to the Church, especially to the Eucharist.
It will be an opportunity to be like the friends of the paralytic from today’s Gospel who went to great lengths to bring their friend to Jesus. What has always struck me is the urgency of these men. They bring the man to the house where Jesus is. There is a huge crowd there. But, they are not deterred. They lower the man on a mat through the roof of the house. What might be even more startling is Jesus’ reaction. He sees the faith of these men and the first thing he does is forgive the man’s sins. This is significant because it shows us that the most important healing to God is spiritual, personal healing. It is only after this healing that Jesus heals the man physically; and that is to give a sign to the scribes.
Now, I don’t know if this is what the friends intended when they brought their friend to Christ. But, it really is like they are bringing him to Confession! It would be like bringing someone to Confession and there is a long line at the Church; they would take him to the front of the line. The Church sees this story as analogous to the Sacrament of Confession because Confession bring great healing. Again, the most important healing to God is spiritual, personal healing.
If we look at the two campaigns that Archbishop Wuerl has initiated here, we see that his vision is for healing. He sees the great healing power of Christ in the Eucharist and in Confession. He knows that we need it for ourselves and for others. The hope is that we will all experience healing through the sacrament of Confession this Lent…that we will all go to Confession during Lent.
Finally, this weekend is the follow-up to last weekend’s commitment to the Archbishop’s Appeal. For those who were unable to be here last weekend for whatever reason, we will have the in-pew commitment to the Appeal again. The Appeal gives us the opportunity to bring healing to those around the Archdiocese who are in need. It gives us the chance to be like the friends of the paralytic and bring people to Jesus. Through the Appeal, we support the charities of the Archdiocese that help those who are in need of healing.
For those who weren’t here last weekend, I’m sure you’ve been wondering all week if we’re going the in-pew campaign again this weekend. You’ve been calling the rectory and asking, “are you going to do it again?” (!) Yes, we’ve got you covered. I’ll go through the steps now. For those who gave last weekend, I ask for your patience. On behalf of Fr. Mike, I thank you for your generosity and commitment…