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.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Homily 19th Sunday of the Year 10 August 2008

Brad Braxton, a Baptist minster who teaches homiletics at Vanderbilt Univ.
defines preaching as
“The faithful, passionate reporting of God’s useful news.”

We expect a clergyman giving a homily to be faithful.
We expect that he is telling us the truth and believes what he is saying.

We usually benefit and are inspired if he is also passionate,
if he shows that he cares about his hearers and about what he is saying,
because passion is a sign of authenticity.

However, it is not too common to refer to preaching,
or to the Gospel message in general, as “useful.”

Of course, what is common is not necessarily true.

In fact, God’s message does have practical implications for our lives.
It is indeed useful.

The Word of God, revealed in the Scriptures and the teaching of the Church,
is not simply the topic of seminary classes and the prayer of monks.

It is a real message that has meaning and value for the daily lives
of every human person.
We can all read Church documents and the Bible.

Though they may take time to digest...they are not beyond us.

The spiritual life is ultimately meant to bring us to Heaven’s glory
and yet God’s Word and the mission of the Church
has great value for making life on earth peaceful, joyful, and fulfilling.

And as the Second Vatican Council reminds us,
every baptized person has a role to play in spreading the Gospel message.
We are called to witness to God’s truth and love, so that lives can be made whole.

As Saint Paul so poignantly describes to us today,
there is an certain anguish within the hearts of all true Gospel witnesses.

Saint Paul writes,
“I speak the truth, I do not lie;
my conscience joins with the Holy spirit in bearing me witness
that I have great sorrow and constant anguish in my heart.”

He goes on to describe the special relationship Israel has to God
and the glorious promise given to them by their creator.

Paul is an apostle who sees the promise and potential in his people
and as he longs for the fulfillment of that promise, he is filled with anguish.

This is the anguish of parents who know the potential within their children
who want them to be happy, healthy and holy
who long for them to remain close to God and the practice of the faith
and yet have to see them falter as they find their own way.

This is the anguish of minister of the Gospel
who knows in his heart the dignity of the human person
and their capacity for loving God and neighbor
who knows in his heart the splendor of truth and the power of God’s love
and yet must behold God’s people straying from Him in sin.

This is the anguish of the misunderstood and rejected preacher
who knows the fullness of what life in God can be
and at the same time encounters those who are not even interested.

For Saint Paul, the sorrow is great and the anguish is constant.
He would even die…and be himself separated from Christ…
if it meant that other souls would enjoy the fullness of God’s promises.

The truth is that the heart of every Christian mother, father, teacher, and minster
should be filled with this very anguish.

There should be sorrow in our hearts as we realize
that there are those who live without God…
those who live without the Eucharist, Mary, the Saints...etc...

The sorrow should be great and the anguish constant…
because the number of those who need to hear the Gospel…from us…is vast.
Sorrow over those who do not know the fullness of God’s revelation
should not lead us to despair
but should inflame within us a passion for living as witnesses to Christ.
If the flame of faith given to us at Baptism has weakened or wavered
then we need to re-ignite it through a life of constant prayer and study.

This passionate flame of faith gives us the courage to step out of the boat…
out of the realm of security, comfort, popularity
and into the rough waters of being a radical Christian
in the midst of the world.

Being a Christian in the 21st Century can be an experience of sinking,
of overwhelming pressure to give in to society’s temptations.

Notice that Peter only begins to sink
when he focuses on his own fears and problems and takes his eyes off Christ.
Our calling as disciples of Jesus is to fix our gaze entirely on Him,
to walk and speak with confidence, leading others to Him.

With a passionate faith, we can joyfully and lovingly speak to others
a word about God that will be truly useful,
that will make their lives more complete.

We can tell our friends, coworkers, the people we meet by chance…or Providence
what God means to us, what the Eucharist is,
who our favorite saint is and why,
why human life and married love must be valued.

Each of us can faithful and passionately proclaim God’s useful news…
and in so doing we might just find that we will change a life forever!

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