November 16, 2009

The Homily in B-flat Major

Sunday Mass at St. Margaret's. Was momentarily annoyed by being crammed in by late-comers but eventually the Mass took me over. God's gift of Himself in the Eucharist. Fr. Jeff's homily was about perspective: is the day partly cloudy or partly sunny? Does the end of the world - or our end - bring us fear or hope? "Fear is useless, what is needed is trust," said Jesus, in the gospel of Mark. And yet so often I think I can use fear to my advantage, as preparation somehow.

Similarly I can approach Christ with fear or trust. Fr. Jeff mentioned how the symbol of hope has long been an anchor. The function of the anchor is to prevent the ship that is storm-tossed from drifting to the rocks and becoming shattered. Christ is our anchor to prevent us from perishing on the shoals of this life's troubles and temptations. The temptation to despair, towards discouragement, and sloth are ever near me. "Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to stand before the Son of Man." And today I did just that.

Saturday's fullsome readings, from the book of Wisdom, included this line: "And as he alighted, he filled every place with death; he still reached to heaven, while he stood upon the earth." How could Jesus, who is Wisdom, bring death? If one thinks of Baptism as death, death to ourselves, then he did bring death to the masses. Instead of death by way of justice, he brought death to our deaths, via His mercy.

I asked myself during the homily: "am I like the judge who fears neither God nor respects others?" Hopefully the mere fear of not fearing God is a sort of fear that affirms that I do. The Allelulia was particularly hopeful: "God has called us through the Gospel, to possess the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ." (2 Thes 2:14)

The Sunday readings alternated the complementary themes of despair and hope: in the First reading: "it shall be a time unsurpassed in distress" and yet the Psalm is "You are my inheritance O Lord!" and the 2nd reading: "For by one offering Christ has made perfect forever those who are being consecrated." (Heb 10:11-14,18). How often do I forget the forgiveness of sins! How often do I feel unworthy just in the day-to-dayness, in my lack of trust and then I read something like that and it gives me hope. So often I feel like a running-back getting 1 or 2 yards a carry but there is always the chance that God will spring me for 99 yards. God has the element of surprise about Him. "Now he waits until his enemies are made his footstool...where there is forgiveness of sins, there is no longer offering for sin." I am now made free by the blood of Christ. May I use my freedom well!

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