Monday, April 11, 2011

5th Sunday of Lent - homily

“If you don’t get it, you don’t get it”.

We all have our morning rituals. For many of us, the snooze button plays a prominent role. A priest once said in a homily that the first voice we hear in the morning is the devil’s: “five more minutes”. My morning ritual has always been two bowls of cereal and the Washington Post sports section. Cereal is basically my coffee; anyone who has seen me before cereal knows that I’m really no good before my two bowls. And, the sports section because it is light news or fun news. I do read the front page, but it’s way too much serious stuff to process as I’m waking up. Now, the sports section is not good news because, well, Washington sports team stink! It’s fun and easy news.

I do find the rest of the paper to be sad or bad news, for the most part. It’s depressing. I wanted to bring an example of this from the Post – by the way, I am not endorsing the Post or any paper – but have found a more relevant one from this Friday’s Metro section. It’s actually being discussed around the Archdiocese this weekend. The Post has reported on a lawsuit against Catholic Charities. The Post doesn’t like the Church, so this article is no surprise. They actually misreported last year with Catholic Charities and the same-sex marriage bill, and they might be doing it again here. They posted the article online on Thursday before ever getting a comment from the Church.

So, the Post bring mostly bad news, but this Catholic paper brings much good news. The National Catholic Register reports on national and international Church-related stories, and it’s really good. This is similar to your diocesan papers back home, but it’s on a broader level. There are good and positive stories in here. For example, there was a recent article about a woman who was a big partier in college and now is a religious sister. She’s seems totally cool and normal. This is inspiring!

There is another distinction I’d like to make between these two papers in relation to today’s readings. St. Paul writes about the difference between life in the flesh and life in the spirit in Romans 8. We hear a little of it tonight in the second reading. In their world views, the Washington Post represents life in the flesh and the National Catholic Register represents life in the spirit. The two are diametrically opposed to one another. The Post is on the natural level only – secular and worldly. The Register includes the supernatural as well as the natural and it brings in things of faith and love. The Post had a slogan years ago, “if you don’t get it, you don’t get it.” If you don’t get the Post, you just don’t get it. Brilliant! Life in the flesh doesn’t get life in the spirit and vice versa. The flesh doesn’t get it about God or Christ or the Church or Resurrection or the Cross. I don’t get how some people can live their whole lives without faith. I don’t get how they can do life without faith….all of their troubles…and then all the bad news going on in the world that we read about in the paper. I don’t get how they can deal with death without resurrection.

And, then we get to the scene in the Gospel at Lazarus’ tomb. Jesus brings the life in the Spirit, but he is surrounded by people who are thinking from a life in the flesh world view. He says a few times in different ways that He will raise Lazarus. Yet, no one hears him. They hear the words he is saying, but nothing registers. They continue to focus on Lazarus being dead and how sad it is. Jesus keeps saying that this will not end in death, but no one gets it. This leads Him to get “perturbed”. It’s not too often at all that we hear Jesus getting perturbed in the Gospels. He becomes deeply troubled that no one hears his talk about Lazarus rising that it leads Him to weep. Now, this would be like me talking about the Eucharist and no one here is listening. I say to you over and over again that the Eucharist is really the Body and Blood of Christ and that we need the Eucharist to have life. Imagine if people left here, saying, ‘it’s just a symbol’ or ‘I don’t need the Eucharist’. This would greatly distress me. This does distress me greatly because it does happen. People stay away from Mass here for months. By the way, Jesus basically says in John 6, if you don’t get it (the Eucharist), you don’t get it (Heaven).

Please help me to bring people to Jesus so that they get it. Keep bringing them to Mass and to the Eucharist. Help them to get it that all of this stuff is real and important and primary in their lives. Help them to get it about Christ: that He is the resurrection and the life. He is life and life is Christ Jesus! What I am talking about now is the New Evangelization. If you were here in the fall when Archbishop Wuerl celebrated Mass at GW, you remember him speaking much about the New Evangelization – about bringing people to Christ. Well, he has been bragging about you ever since. Apparently, he saw the best example of the New Evangelization that he has seen because he talks about you every time. I’m not making this up. He came here for Mass with a big crowd of students, then went downstairs for pizza and was thoroughly impresses with the crowd and spirit. He asked one student how all this is happening, and the student said, “Father Greg told us to bring people to Jesus, so that’s what we have done”. Cardinal Wuerl has told that story so much that his secretary – a priest who is a friend of mine – is sick of hearing it!

So, keep up the great work! Keep bringing people to Christ so that they get it….so that they get just what they are looking for – His love…His life….happiness…Heaven on earth.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You're actually admitting that the Deadskins- oops, I mean the Washington Redskins actually stink? What is the college crowd doing to you?!!