Monday, December 16, 2013

Homily - "God comes to save us!"

Click HERE to listen to Sunday's homily.
A priest friend of mine used to say,  "if you don't believe in original sin, pick up a newspaper". Sin and selfishness is all around us, and we see examples of it every day. "Me first" started in the garden with Adam and Eve, and continues in so many evil ways in our world. We read about another shooting at a school- in Colorado on Friday, just one day before the one year anniversary of the Newtown school shooting. We read about violence and crimes all around our city, country, and world. We read about lying, cheating and fraud - the latest being the interpreter at Nelson Mandela's service. We read about evil in our culture - in marriages, families, and among young people. It's even in the sports section! There was a commentary in yesterday's paper that pride among those who run the Washington Redskins is what's ruining the team. Pride is what led to original sin; St Augustine said it is the root of all evil.

Original sin messed up so much. Before the fall, there was perfect harmony in creation, between God and man, and with man (male and female) himself. They were naked and didn't even notice it. But, the first sin brought them shame, broke the relationship with God, closed the gates of Heaven, and sent the order of the universe into chaos. Suffering and death resulted from this, as well as moral evil (like what I described in the newspaper), physical evil (diseases, for example), and natural evil (typhoons, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornados, etc.). None of this existed before the fall.

Christ restored so much of what was lost in the garden. We know that He redeemed moral evil in His death and resurrection. He worked miracles to restore nature. And, we hear in today's readings that He restored what was lost physically for some people. In fact, the prophet Isaiah said these would be among the signs of the Messianic age - that the blind would have their sight restored, the deaf would hear, etc. When Jesus tells the disciples of John the Baptist to relay to him that the Messiah had come, he uses these signs as the evidence. Isaiah's prophesy that "our God has come to save us" is true in Jesus Christ!

He has come to save us, and continues to come to save us. The signs of the Messianic Age are still with us today, and should be making the papers. These things are happening even at GW...the Hatchet should be covering them!  There are many examples of each, but I will choose one.  One of our young ladies was begging God this semester that she could see Him working in her life, particularly with relationships.  She had been meeting a bunch of jerks prior to this, and wanted the Lord to show her a good guy.  One day after Mass (a Mass she doesn’t normally attend), she bumped into a good guy…someone that she knows and likes.  They have been talking since; he may be Mr. Right.  One of our guys hadn’t been able to hear God for so long in prayer.  Recently, though, he did.  How huge is it to hear God speaking to us!  I know that so many of you long to hear the voice of God.  One student said two years ago that she wasn’t able to speak about God or Jesus or the Church to people.  But, just this semester she led discussions with her peers about faith.  And, she gave a talk on campus to people of different religions about her Catholic faith which was beautiful and solid.  Last week, some students came to Advent Confessions spiritually dead because of sin.  They were raised to new life spiritually through the sacrament.  At the Healing Mass last month, I didn’t hear that the lame walked – there were no physical healings that I know of – but several people told me that they received personal healings which are even more significant.  We brought FOCUS her four years ago to bring the good news to the spiritually poor, and they have continued to do that this semester.  In general, many here had been spiritually deaf and blind to the teaching on the Real Presence (because you hadn’t heard the teaching before or seen it as the Body and Blood of Christ), but now you are raised to new life in the Eucharist.

Jesus would say that you all are greater than St. John the Baptist even though “among those born of women there has been none greater than John the Baptist”.  You are greater than him because your works are greater.  They are part of the Kingdom of God on earth….they are part of the Messianic Age.  John preceded all of this, but you are in the midst of it.  God’s works through you are greater.

Finally, when are home celebrating Christmas, look at that baby – the Christ child – as your hope.  Our hope is born on Christmas.  The kid is the sign of our hope…and that everything will be okay.  God comes to save us!  Hope is so important in the spiritual life.  The worst thing we can do is lose hope; discouragement is the greatest tool of the devil.  Christmas is the sign of our hope, and a sign that God loves you…and that you are good.  At Christmas, wow….God comes to save us.


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