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Sunday, July 09, 2006

Homily Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time 9 July 2006

On the fifteenth of last month…
Brittany McComb…
the valedictorian of Foothill High School near Las Vegas, Nevada…
delivered her speech at the school’s commencement.

The words she spoke were truly her own…
and they portrayed something very dear to her heart…
her faith in God…and His Son Jesus Christ.

Because she dared to mention her God in her speech…
because she deviated from the prepared and censored text
in order to say what was in her heart…
school officials cut off her microphone.

Of course, the ACLU praised the school district
for its efforts to keep religion out of the public schools.

Brittany’s story made national news…
And in a most ironic moment…
when she appeared on Hannity and Colmes to tell her story…
she continued to proclaim with sincerity and courage her faith in Jesus
to a television audience far greater
than would ever have heard her commencement speech!


So, while they may have kept Jesus’ name out of that graduation ceremony…
they could not strike it from her heart.
Nor can they ever quench the fire of faith that inspired Brittany…
and inspires so many young people today.

This courageous young lady is a prophet in our time…
a prophet of the good news of Jesus Christ…
a prophet rejected in her own home town.

We, who are baptized into the Body of Christ,
were anointed with the Oil of Chrism
in the name of Christ, who is Priest, Prophet and King…
and are commissioned to be prophets in our own time.

For us who are ordained, this mission to be a prophet involves preaching.
Yet, just as you cannot preach in this pulpit…
so I cannot go into your workplaces, schools, and homes,
where you alone can bring the message of Christ’s truth and love.
We each have our own mission…
to bring the love of Christ to others in a unique way.

Being a prophet for Jesus is not a hobby we choose to take up or set aside…
it is in fact a vocation…and one from which there is no vacation.
Our faith is an essential part of who we are as Christian people…
people who are changed and made a new creation in Baptism.
And so our faith permeates every aspect of our lives…
our relationships… our work… and our civic responsibilities.
Every area of life needs to be enlivened by the faith of our hearts.

Despite what we may hear in the news…
and from the lips of those who call themselves Catholics…
for the true Christian…
there is no distinction between personal faith and public duty.
Our mission to be a prophet of the Gospel of Jesus knows no bounds.

We live in a world in which Jesus is once again not welcome.
So, often times, being a prophet brings with it rejection, even from those we love.

For Jesus, the rejection he experiences at the hand of His own people…
is only a foretaste of suffering yet to come.
The ultimate rejection of the Cross begins even now…
as His own native place offers Him no welcome.

We know from the Gospels that Jesus’ friends and family…
even His chosen Apostles…
did not understand His mission…
or the meaning of the suffering He had to endure.

So it is in our time,
when the paradox of the Cross is again misunderstood.

The Cross…
the image of today’s Gospel story…
and the reading from Saint Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians…
together proclaim one message:
“power is made perfect in weakness”
“when I am weak, then I am strong”

The moment of Jesus’ death was at the same time His greatest triumph over death.

So it is for us, who are called to be imitators of Jesus…
whom we adore as Lord and Savior.
Our high calling as Christians
is to find our true strength in apparent weakness.

When remaining faithful to Christ puts us in the minority…
when it brings ridicule at work or in school…
find strength in the example of Christ…
whose death brought life to the world.

Despite the rejection…and in the face of the temptation to remain silent…
with God’s sufficient grace we can be prophets who proclaim the truths of our faith…

the sacredness of the marriage covenant between a man and a woman
the sanctity of each and every human life
the authentic meaning of human sexuality
the justice and respect due every human person
despite their nationality, race, or economic standing.
Christ Himself has called us all to an essential mission in the life of the Church…
a mission that is part of the very fabric of who we are…
as people redeemed by the broken Body and poured-out Blood of the Savior.

The call to be a prophet was heard by Ezekiel of old.
The mission to proclaim Christ was taken up in our time by young Brittany
in her commencement speech.
God is now calling each of you.
Let those around you know that a prophet has been among them!

May we who dare to approach the Altar to receive Jesus…
have also the courage to take Him with us when we leave here today…
and so proclaim His truth in love with all our hearts.

1 comment:

Denise said...

I appreciate how you quote traditional and noble music pieces and draw our attention to not only saints of old, but also those modern day people that display excellent Christian character and courage.

Sursum Corda,
Denise