To watch Fr. Joe’s homily for the 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time: CLICK HERE!
Who do you say that I am?
It’s probably a bit easier for each of us to answer that question in 2016 than it would have been for the disciples when Jesus asked them. After all we have the advantage of 2000 years of history to back us up. So, try and put yourself into the scene as one of Jesus’ disciples. How do you think you might have responded?
Do you think you would have had the courage, the faith to give the answer that Peter gave? Would you have been able to say “You are ‘The Christ of God.’”
Now let me ask you to look deeper into the question that Jesus asked. What do you think He meant when He asked, “Who do you say that I am?” What was Jesus really driving at? What question is He asking that would not be any easier for us to answer in 2016 than it was for His followers 2000 years ago?
I think it might be “Are you my disciple?” In my opinion a much harder question to answer.
The dictionary definition of disciple is “someone who adheres to the teachings of another.” It is a follower or a learner. It refers to someone who takes up the ways of someone else.
Applied to Jesus, a disciple is someone who learns from him, to live like him — someone who, because of God’s grace, conforms his or her words and ways to the words and ways of Jesus. Or, you might say, as others have put it in the past, disciples of Jesus are themselves “little Christs” (Acts 26:28; 2 Corinthians 1:21).
So, now let me ask the question again.
Are you Jesus’ Disciple?
How do our lives show the world that we are disciples, followers of Jesus?
Well, I think how we show the world that we are disciples of Jesus starts with how thirsty each of us is for God, for Jesus to be a part of our lives.
Today’s psalm response “My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God” and the verses, ask us in a number of different ways about how we seek God, how we show the world that we truly believe in God.
There is one simple answer, and Jesus gives it to us in the Gospel passage, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me…”
And ultimately there are the questions that I think we are being directed to through these readings. The questions that, if we think about them will move most of us out of our comfort zone and challenge us to live our lives differently.
Do we deny ourselves?
Do we pass on those things that we don’t need in order to provide for someone who doesn’t have the niceties that we have?
Do we take up our crosses daily?
Do we deal with the parts of our lives that we wish were different? Or, do we look for a less challenging alternative?
Do we follow Him?
I’d like to stand here and tell you that I can answer those questions with a resounding YES, but when I’m honest with myself I know that my answer is more accurately “not always.”
So, as you leave here today I hope you don’t just think about how you’d answer “Who do you say that I am?” No, I hope, I pray that you leave here today and think about how you’d answer:
- “Are you my disciple?”
- “Do you deny yourself?”
- “Do you take up your cross daily?”
- “Do you follow Him?”
And, if, like me, you have to answer these questions with “not always,” ask yourself what has to change in our lives so that we can all answer them with a resounding YES!
Scripture Readings: Job 38:1, 8-11; 2 Corinthians 5:14-17; Mark 4:35-41
Where is God when everything goes wrong? We hear this in our readings from Job and Mark’s Gospel.
We’ve heard people in our day say the same thing the Disciples said to Jesus, “Teacher,[Jesus] don’t you care that we are perishing?”
Let’s be clear…God cares! But for some reason we feel that it is God’s duty to provide health and wealth to everyone who deserves it.
Such thinking is fine for the people who have health and wealth.
Such thinking affirms the idea that those with health and wealth are the chosen for whom God cares, while at the same time getting them off the hook of responsibility for the many people who suffer; including the poor, the victims of injustice, hate, war.
There is no doubt that our needs can and should bring us to our knees, to God – but – our Christian faith is also meant to lead us beyond our self-concern – and – recognize and respond to God’s presence in everyone in need.
St. Paul was convinced that Christ’s life in us CHANGES EVERYTHING, so much that Christ’s love IMPELS US, to live no longer for ourselves but for Christ.
Today’s readings hopefully challenge us to evaluate our FAITH, asking not what it promises to us, but to what it IMPELS US.
This past week, on the Catholic radio channel, a Catholic couple was being interviewed about their appearance on the TV Show: The Briefcase.
The premise is: A couple, with needs themselves, are given $100,000 and they have 3 days to determine how much money they will give, or not give, to another family that is also with needs.
The radio interview did not give the ending of the TV Show away, but for some reason (maybe because God wanted me to use this example in this weekend’s Homily) I saw the last 15 minutes of this TV episode.
Here’s what happened: the couple with $100,000 from the West Coast flies to the East Coast and visits the area and home of this other family. After 3 days, their decision is made as to how much they will give this other Couple. Then they meet face to face and the couple from the West Coast decides to give the East Cost Family $50,000 to assist in their need, including a back mortgage of almost $70,000 – which means the West Coast Family get to keep and use the remaining $ 50,000.
Sound nice, maybe we feel that was a good resolution.
Well there is a bit of a twist. Seems that the East Coast family was also given a $100.000 Briefcase – and – they had to decide how much they would give or keep of the money, knowing their needs and learning about the needs of this West Coast family.
So now it is time for the East Coast family to take out the amount of money they will give to the West Coast family… They take out of the Briefcase, packets of $10,000, in fact they take out 10 packets for a total of $100,000! All the money they were given they gave away to the West Coast Family (that had given them $50,000). Said the East Coast couple to the West Coast couple, “you had needs; they seemed to us greater than ours.”
Might we say of this East Coast couple that Christ’s love IMPELED them, to live no longer for themselves but for Christ.
Thought for the week, for every day? How will Christ’s love for us IMPEL US to live for Christ today, tomorrow and everyday, as person, family and Parish?
The opportunities are before you and me and us daily!