Sunday, January 14, 2007

2nd Sunday - homily

Next month, our youth group will be attending a retreat at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg called Mount 2007. There’ll be around 1500 teens there from all over the country – it really is a great weekend. The theme for the retreat will be “Do whatever he tells you”. We just heard these five words in the Gospel. Mary says this to the waiters at the wedding feast at Cana. They are words for all of us to live by.

I was officiating a wedding last summer, and the couple picked this Gospel. They are two people who, shall we say, enjoy a party! At one point in the homily, I looked at them and said, “Do whatever he tells you”. Then, people in the congregation began to laugh. I thought to myself, ‘wait, that wasn’t a punchline’. Then, I said, “wait, that wasn’t a punchline”. Then, I realized that they all thought I was saying to the bride, ‘do whatever HE (the groom) tells you’. So, I quickly corrected it: ‘do whatever Jesus tells you!

We can take these five words in two ways. First, we can apply it to each one of us, and take the ‘you’ to be singular. “Do whatever he tells you” – like, ‘what is Jesus telling me to do?’ It is one of the great questions in life, and one of the biggest mysteries: how can I hear God speaking to me? It can be in general terms, like, ‘what is God calling me to do with my life? What is His Plan for me?’ It can involve specific situations at home, work, school, or with relationships. I have found that God speaks to each of us in four ways: 1) in prayer, 2) in Sacred Scripture, 3) through our experiences, and 4) through other people. If each of us is open in one of these ways, God will speak to us, to our hearts. St Theresa of Avila once said, “Jesus is always speaking to us. The question is, ‘are we listening?’”

We can also take the ‘you’ to be plural, and that the five words apply to all of us. Jesus speaks to all of us through Sacred Scripture – especially the Gospel – and through Sacred Tradition – through the Church. He tells us how to worship: ‘take this all of you and eat it…do this in memory of me’. He tells us how to live: ‘love God with your whole heart, mind, soul, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself’. He tells us how to love: ‘deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow me’.

When we hear Jesus speaking to us, the question is, do we do whatever he tells us or do we do whatever others tell us? Oftentimes, others tell us something that is in conflict with what our Lord tells us. The world has a different gospel than Christ’s. An example of this would be with abortion. Many times, when a young woman becomes pregnant, other will tell her to have an abortion. It might be people close to her- a boyfriend or spouse, family members, friends, a coach, even a doctor. They might pressure her – maybe even force her – to abort her baby.

We hear so much about a woman’s right to choose. But, so many times, it is not a free choice for the young mother. Others are telling her something that is the total opposite of what God is telling her. Throughout Scripture, God says, “Choose life”; specifically, in Deuteronomy 30:19. The Church continues the teaching that human life should be respected and defended from conception until natural death. Next Monday, we will march for life downtown- our youth and many parishioners will join over 100,000 people to witness to the dignity and sanctity of all human life, in all it stages…from womb to tomb.

Finally, about this miracle at Cana. We don’t doubt that it happened. We don’t doubt that Jesus has the power to turn water into wine. We don’t doubt that he has the powe to rise from the dead. Why do we doubt that he can turn bread and wine into his Body and Blood? And yet, it happens at every Mass. We don’t see a miracle, we don’t see a change. But, we believe that a change takes place. Jesus says, “this is my body”, and we believe him.

So, as we receive the Eucharist today, let us be open to the grace of this sacrament. There is real Grace here. It helps us to believe in Jesus, to believe in his power, the power of his words, and to do whatever he tells us.

No comments: