Bottom line: For today I want to speak to you as Paul spoke to his beloved community at Philippi: "complete my joy by being of the same mind..."
Last Sunday Jesus gave us this question: Are you envious because I am generous? When we take our eyes off God, his generosity, we easily fall prey to envy. Envy tears us apart, divides us.
Today St. Paul speaks about unity. He says, "complete my joy by being of the same mind, with the same love, united in heart, thinking one thing." What does it mean to be "of one mind"? That we should listen to the same music, eat the same food, vote for the same candidates?
I don't think so. G.K. Chesterton wrote a book on why he became a Catholic. He observed that Catholics agree on certain central truths, but - as he said - they take "pleasure in disagreeing on everything else."* I've been a priest for almost 50 years and I've seen that if the conversation turns to politics, priests will disagree, sometimes violently. I've never seen a fist fight, but I've witnessed some heated arguments.
We do, however, agree on basic principles such as the sanctity of life - from womb to tomb. I found a good quiz that tests a Catholic's knowledge of ten core principles. I got 9 out of 10 correct. Well, I'm getting old and I sometimes miss nuances. I'll send it to you in a Flocknote. It's a good learning experience. I'll be referring to it in Generations of Faith this Wednesday when we begin our study of the Old Testament. It's very relevant to today's controversies.
My point is that while we may disagree on prudential judgments, we are one mind on what is essential, what we express in the creed: I believe in God the Father almighty creator of heaven and earth. And in Jesus his only Son, born of the Virgin Mary. I believe in the Holy Spirit...
It is the Holy Spirit who unites us. Next weekend our young people will receive the Holy Spirit in this way: Bishop Mueggenborg will anoint them with sacred chrism saying, "Be sealed with the Holy Spirit."
In this year of pandemic the Archbishop has given pastors the authority to administer confirmation so I will also be anointing young people. The pandemic coincides with the largest confirmation class ever - some 175 candidates. So we will have 5 confirmation Masses next weekend.
I ask you to participate in one of the Masses by live stream. We are dedicating these Masses to our candidates, their sponsors and parents. Besides participating by live stream, you might consider an in-person Mass at a neighboring parish. But be sure to come back to St. Mary of the Valley the following weekend!
For today I want to speak to you as Paul spoke to his beloved community at Philippi: "complete my joy by being of the same mind, with the same love, united in heart, thinking one thing." Amen.
*Catholics know the two or three transcendental truths on which they do agree; and take rather a pleasure in disagreeing on everything else.
From Archives (Twenty-Sixth Ordinary Sunday, Year A):
Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C
Audio Files of Homilies (Simple Catholicism Blog)
Are these homilies a help to you? Please consider making a donation to St. Mary of the Valley Parish.
Other Priests' Homilies, Well Worth Listening:
Fr. Kurt Nagel
Fr. Frank Schuster
Fr. Brad Hagelin
Fr. Jim Northrop
Fr. Michael White
Fr Pat Freitag (and deacons of St. Monica)
Bishop Robert Barron
Bulletin (St. Mary of Valley Parish)
Parish Picture Album
MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru