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Fr. Bill

Homily Rerun:

8th Sunday Ordinary Time, 2019

From Stupid To Holy (Fr. Bill)

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Have you ever noticed how many stupid things there are in life: I only needed the 5 pin to get the spare and my stupid bowling ball misses the stupid thing. I drop my dish on the floor and the stupid thing breaks. My golf ball rolled off the stupid green right into the stupid sand trap; now I’ll need to use my wedge and that stupid thing never works. When my stupid car ran over the stupid curb it threw out the alignment, and of course it cost me a lot of money to fix the stupid alignment. Most of us have several ways to complete the sentence: “My stupid computer …”

 

My Dear Children of God:

 

Three weeks ago I placed before us the challenge to become great saints living in extraordinary holiness. Last week Fr. Kachy told us that Jesus’ demand for us to be perfect corresponds to the Levitical command to “Be holy for I, the Lord your God, am holy.” Today, as He continues the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells us where this begins. It is a beginning which we have to revisit over and over again.

 

On our journey to becoming Great Saints Living in Extraordinary Holiness we are morally obligated to point out and try to remove sin from the souls of others. This act of love is not optional, and there is nothing in today’s Gospel that changes or even diminishes this requirement in the slightest.

 

This obligation, in the light of today’s Gospel, should scare the hell out of me. Literally! And you too! Unfortunately to a great extent it only scares me. Scaring the hell out of me is the ‘fruit’ which comes forth from the gift of the Holy Spirit which Scripture identifies for us as ‘fear of the Lord.’ Scaring me is just the fear which Jesus tells us is driven out by perfect love. If it did scare the hell out of me I would be a great saint and I would be living in extraordinary holiness. Obviously, I still have work to do; as do you.

 

Today’s message from Jesus is that the process of removing from our souls all that doesn’t belong there necessarily starts with ourselves. As I wrestling with this throughout the week I recalled that “God does not require of us success but fidelity.” I thank God and St Mother Theresa for this teaching about fidelity-not-success. Starting with ourselves prepares us to help others. We cannot wait for success in ourselves before we start with others, but we must have fidelity in ourselves before we start with others.

 

The beam or splinter in your eye (sin in your soul) could be a blind spot or a weakness. Even with a healthy conscience a blind spot frequently does not irritate your soul. However, the negative consequences of that sin are in your life so we should constantly pray for the Lord to heal our own blindness. On the other hand, a sinful weakness does irritate the soul by the working of a healthy conscience. A sinful weakness can be anesthetized into a blind spot so that it no longer irritates the soul because of a conscience made dysfunctional by misinformation and/or by habitual sin.

 

We can discover the beams, splinters and blind spots (i.e. the sins) in life by examining 1.) the words which come forth from my mouth (today’s 1st Reading), and 2.) the ‘fruit’ of my daily life (today’s Gospel); and by prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Does that sound familiar? A little bit Lent-ish? Like maybe Lent starts this Wednesday with that whole ashes thing!

 

Lent is a time to discover our own sins and to renew our fidelity to removing all sin from our own souls (the beams from our eyes). The renewal of fidelity is most crucial in the areas where lack of success has worn down or even exhausted the fidelity. Lent is the preeminent time of the year for the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Penance/Confession). It would be utterly foolish to reject Jesus’ incarnational presence in the Sacrament of the Eucharist just because He is present to us in many ways in daily life. It is no less foolish to reject His incarnational presence in the Sacrament of Reconciliation just because He has the power to forgive sins in whatever way He wishes. {Put another way, it is foolish to reject the way Jesus has chosen to forgive my sins because I believe He could do it another way more to my own liking.}

 

Let us approach Lent this year with an eye toward becoming great saints living in extraordinary holiness. To do this let us make sure that the eye with which we are approaching Lent is not cluttered with beams or splinters or any other foreign objects. If your eye, your soul, is cluttered with the foreign objects of sin – and by the way, IT IS! So let me rephrase: Since our souls are cluttered with the foreign objects of sin let us, all and each, deal with what is in our own souls so we can then help others deal with what is in their own souls as we journey together on the quest for holiness.