Sunday, January 21, 2007

3rd Sunday - Deacon Kevin's homily

We hear in today’s Gospel that after reading the prophecy of Isaiah concerning the Messiah, Our Lord tells his neighbors that He is the Christ.

Imagine their shocked. How could this son of a carpenter claim to be the Messiah? Where were his troops to drive out the Romans?

Their image of the Messiah was dominated by their worldly desires.

Our Faith in Christ is not shaped by the world, but our
Faith does define us to our society in which we live.

St. Paul tells us today in his letter to the Corinthians, who we are. Corinth was a Roman colony, materially prosperous, but morally corrupt.

St Paul writes that each of them have marvelous and different gifts, but these gifts are not for their own benefit or glory. That is the world’s view.

They are special. They are members of the Body of Christ and each are given gifts to work together to build up the Church.

We also live in a materially prosperous, but morally challenged society.

One obvious example is that our society permits the killing of the most defenseless, the unborn, and thousands will march on Monday in an attempt to correct this injustice, including many from our parish.

But we are special. Through Baptism, Almighty God has called us by name to be members of the Body of Christ.

With Christ as the head, the Body of Christ is made up of three groups—the Church triumphant—those in heaven—the Church suffering—those souls in Purgatory—and the Church military—those living today on their early journey to heaven.

As members of the Body of Christ, we derive great benefits.

We have Christ who feeds us with his Body and Blood and forgives our sins in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

We have the Church triumphant—the multitude of saints in heaven, who are constantly interceding on our behalf.

We have the Church suffering—those souls in Purgatory who can do nothing to hasten their purification before entering heaven, but who continue to ask Almighty God to shower us with His blessings.

We have the Church militant—those who are journeying with us on earth—our moms, dads, grandparents, husband, wives, brothers, sisters, friends—who give us spiritual, material and emotional assistance throughout our lives.

As members of the Body of Christ, we have real support from so many and we can relay on that support throughout our lives.

But as important members of the Body of Christ, we have important responsibilities.

We have marvelous and different gifts, but these gifts are not for our own benefit or glory, but to use with others to build up the whole Church.

I know people who used their gifts to accumulated tremendous wealth, possessions, prestige. They have every thing our society tells you what will make you happy. Yet they are unfulfilled and miserable.

It is not that wealth, possessions, and prestige are bad in of themselves, but when ones hordes their gifts for their own selfish benefit, then they become part of the world rather than part of the Body of Christ, and are on a path that leads to death rather than life.

Sin causes disease to enter the Body of Christ and makes it less effective.

Mortal sin not only destroys the individual’s relationship with Almighty God, but the person’s important gifts are lost to the entire Body of Christ until restored through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

This is one more reason to encourage those who have left the Catholic Church to return and let them know that their gifts are necessary for the entire Body of Christ.

If we are full and participating members of the Body of Christ;
¨ who unite our efforts with the saints in heaven,
¨ who remember in our prayers and offerings the poor souls in Purgatory,
¨ who use our gifts to assist others and build up the Church on earth,
¨ who make use of Christ’s power through frequent reception of the sacraments,

Almighty God will shower our families and us with His grace, give us His true peace and joy, and eternal happiness in heaven.

How privileged we are to be members of the Body of Christ!!!

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