Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization

"Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization"

Check out the revised edition of this exciting and unique prayer book, filled with prayers that are sure to nourish the soul as we undertake the New Evangelization.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Homily Fifteenth Sunday of the Year 13 July 2008

The Christian life is always characterized by a sense of expectation
and a healthy tension between living our faith in this earthly life
and the eternal life of Heaven we anticipate.

We are truly made for Heaven and we long to rest in God’s presence,
in His kingdom of light and peace,
where sin and are vanquished and all is filled with love and joy.

At the same time, God has placed us here… in this world of imperfections…
where all creation is groaning and suffering…
that we may be witnesses to the glorious freedom of God’s children
and make the kingdom come alive even here and now.

The kingdom of God is no less than the presence of God Himself…
that awesome presence that transforms us into people of love and hope.

This kingdom is fulfilled only in Heaven,
where there is no need for lamps because God Himself is the light.
Everything is filled with His glorious presence and so His reign is complete.

In this world, the kingdom is beheld in glimpses but is incomplete.
As Saint Paul writes, we groan as we eagerly await the fullness of redemption.

Yet, by our own courageous witness in this world…
we can make God more and more known and loved
so that His presence…His kingdom…
may fill the hearts and souls of men and women everywhere
and change them into His very sons and daughters.

We do this by living and teaching the Scriptures and the Catholic faith
so that all may come to know the truth of God that sets them free
by reaching out to those who are suffering with compassion
that the lowly and despairing may come to know God’s love
by worshiping and praying with fervent devotion
every day of our lives…without exception…
that the earth may be filled with the glorious sound of God’s praise!

Today’s second reading from Saint Paul
helps us to understand more fully the situation of our earthly exile
and his lessons are most valuable for fulfilling our Christian duty.

First, it is not only we who are groaning as we eagerly await our redemption.
All of creation is caught up in the expectation of God’s glorious revelation.

The final destiny of creation is linked to the final destiny of man.

Thus, there is a real bond between ourselves and the whole created universe
such that the world in which we live now
is much more than a convenient and endless supply of goods
for us to use, abuse, and waste.
We naturally realize this in many different ways.
Parents tell children to clean their plates because some hungry child far away
would live for a day on the scraps we throw in the trash.
We dispose of paint and old batteries in a proper way
because it is dangerous to pollute the water supply.
There are laws and regulations about the dumping of waste, the ozone,
and hunting of certain animals.

These are only a few examples of our response to God’s call
to be good stewards of creation.

There is still a deeper lesson involved in the Christian view of creation.

We believe that we must respect the world around us and treat creation with care
not simply so that we may continue to have it for our use
but because creation is not ours.

The whole world belongs to God.
We simply have been privileged to borrow it and to live in it for a time,
and God has other plans for it for many years to come.

Our Christian approach to stewardship, ecology, and justice
is based in the primacy of God in everything
and the knowledge that without fidelity to God and worship of Him
all our work is without the divine foundation
that makes it holy and truly effective for the salvation of souls.

In his book Jesus of Nazareth, Pope Benedict XVI includes a quote
from the German Jesuit priest Alfred Delp, who was executed by the s.
Father Delp wrote:
“Bread is important. Freedom is more important.
But most important of all is unbroken fidelity and faithful adoration.”

These words were not written by a man unfamiliar with injustice
but by one who had be deprived of both bread and freedom.
Still, after all his suffering, he knew that without fidelity and worship of God
the things we might insist are more important than these
end up being nothing at all!

Secondly, Saint Paul’s words about our eager anticipation of the kingdom
remind us that, although our salvation has been accomplished
by the sacrifice of the Cross
and although the Spirit lives within us…
we have not yet reached the fullness of what God has planned for us.

We find ourselves in this in-between moment between Christ's Paschal Mystery
and the fullest revelation of God’s glory in Heaven.

As we gather for worship, the Sacred Liturgy contains three levels.
The dynamic of these levels of worship portrays the reality of our earthly journey.

The sacrifice of Calvary is represented in this celebration of Holy Mass,
which is itself an anticipation of the eternal Liturgy of Heaven.

We have been called to enter into this time of waiting.
This call to waiting means that we have work to do
and that God expects great things of us.

We are not called to passively accept the gifts God bestows upon us
expecting to be entertained at Mass and sustained in life.

Instead, we are called to full, conscious, and active participation in the Church
not only in liturgical ministry or in times when we are noticed
but when it is inconvenient, unpopular, and even painful.

God expects us to make good use of our brief stay on this earth
and to seize every moment as an opportunity
to make His truth and love shine brightly for all to see,
that men and women everywhere may be faithful to God
and may worship Him in spirit and in truth.

All the while, God assures us that the sufferings we endure in this life…
sickness, , mental anguish, persecution for the sake of the Gospel…
do not have the final word.

They count as nothing, Saint Paul tell us,
compared with the glory to be revealed for us who love the Lord.

God’s abundant blessings…purchased for us long ago on the Altar of the Cross….
shall be revealed to us as the reward of our goodness
in the glory of Heaven for which we long.