Sunday, September 26, 2010

26th Sunday - homily

Imagine a new season of “American Idol” is about to begin. There is more than the usual buzz because of one upcoming performer. Musical agents and talent performers have been talking much about a young woman who will be auditioning. They say she is incredible and could be one of the great new signers. Maybe she’ll be one of the greatest singers of all time. Many people are getting excited to listen to her. Many people except the judges of American Idol. There’s J-Lo and Steven Tyler and the others who are not impressed for whatever reason. They are just not into all of the hype surrounding the woman.

Then, she comes on to the show and is absolutely amazing. It is such an incredible performance. It is such an incredible event for all who witness it. People are so taken aback by her singing…by the whole experience. For some, it is a life-changing moment. For those who are present for the show and for those watching on TV, her performance is one of the greatest events they have ever witnessed. Except that the judges are still against her. Maybe it’s jealousy, who knows. But, they are not open to her and to what she brings. Their hearts are not open to her and to the incredible event of her performance. It is baffling to those who are witnessing it. The judges reject her and kick her off the show.

How did this happen? The hearts of the judges were completely closed to this woman for whatever reason. They were closed to the words of the talent evaluators who talked about her so much. Then, they were not open at all to her performance. Everyone else who was at least a little bit open came away with an incredibly positive experience. It shows how closed the hearts of the judges were that they couldn’t appreciate the beauty and power of her performance at all.

This gives us some kind of understanding of what the message of today’s Gospel. Abraham is talking about those who are not open to the most incredible event in the history of the world – the Resurrection. The Resurrection of Christ is the ultimate event for any Christian. It is infinitely more significant than any musical performance, scientific discovery, or dramatic event. People who are not open to the story of Jesus Christ and to the Gospel (particularly, the Resurrection) have really closed hearts. Their hearts are as closed as the judges from Idol. The judges weren’t persuaded by the “scouts”; those who aren’t open to Christ aren’t persuaded by the prophets. Not even God can persuade a closed heart. The Resurrection can’t persuade a closed heart, as Abraham said.

For Catholics, the Mass is the ultimate event. This is where we encounter Christ risen from the dead in the Eucharist. He was dead. Now He is alive! Many Catholics aren’t persuaded by the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist in the same way that people aren’t persuaded by the Resurrection..or that the Idol judges weren’t persuaded by the female performer. But, the Eucharist is as real as the Resurrection. It is the same risen Christ. And, this brings us to our knees in repentance. He who rose from the dead now comes to us to ask us to give our hearts to Him. May the Eucharist help us to open our hearts to Christ and give Him our hearts. And, may the way we live persuade others to believe that the Eucharist is real…the Resurrection is real….Jesus Christ is real.

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