Friday, July 31, 2015

"What is bad they will throw away"

[Originally a homily for 7/30/2015--I hope to have an audio version of this up soon, as an experiment working with audio on this site]

Most of us have had this experience of going to a grocery store or fruit stand, wanting to buy something. We look at, for example, and apple. It has an attractive exterior and so we go over and pick it up, hold it in our hands, and rotate it. After all, we want to make sure we don't waste our twenty hard-earned cents.

But then, all of a sudden, we feel a soft spot or we notice an imperfection of some sort. So we throw it back on the pile and never look at it again or think of it again.

This is the same image Jesus offers as when he speaks of the Kingdom of Heaven, and in this particular example, we are the apples. At the end of the age God will come by and look at all of us--people in these pews like apples on a rack. From the outside we dress ourselves nicely in business suits, beautiful dresses, habits, chasubles, or clerical shirts. Yet all God has to do is pick us up, run his hand over us, and rotate us, and he'll be able to feel all the imperfections. Then He will decide whether or not He wants to spend His hard-earned twenty cents.

So what are we to do? We look to ourselves and how critical we are of minor imperfections on fruits and vegetables. If God is the same, how can anyone be saved?

Unlike the apple, I would argue that we do have some say in the matter. God has taught us how to be acceptable in His eyes. We can clothe ourselves with fancy things or dress our image with pious words, but it is better than we put the armor of faith (cf., Eph 6:11) and our Lord, Jesus Christ (cf., Rom 13:14). By this I mean we must put on a pious inner conviction. It is my view that we do this by heeding the first words out of Christ's mouth in the Gospel of Mark: "Repent, and believe in the gospel" (Mk 1:15).

It is by putting on a spirit of repentance that we cleanse ourselves of imperfection, asking God always to forgive us our sins and faults. Likewise, we must put on faith in the saving work of Christ, giving thanks to Him always for His goodness.

Humbled by repentance and inspired to love by His goodness, we likewise go out, ready to forgive the faults of others and call them to a better and higher way of life by our words and deeds. In doing so, for "love covers a multitude of sins," (1 Pet 4:8), we may hope with a Christian hope that God, at the end of the age, will walk by and see us. He will hold us in His hand, feel us, and rotate us. He will find that we are good and take us home with him.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Catholic Schools Today Interview

I was recently interviewed as a newly ordained priest, asked about my experiences as a newly ordained and school's role in it. Fr. Regan and I are guests.

The link will be a direct stream of the show in .mp3 format. We come in at about the 30 minute mark.