Boots Laced Week 6: The Good Fight

(Homily for Thirtieth Ordinary Sunday Year C)

Message: Today I ask you to take up the good fight, ask Jesus for daily mercy.

This is the sixth and final homily in our series - Boots Laced. Appropriately we hear St Paul say, "I have finished the race." Before entering the theme let me summarize what we have learned:

The phrase "Boots Laced" comes from Pope Francis: Rather than being a comfortable couch potato he challenges us to become protagonists of history, boots laced ready to go where the Lord calls. Jesus makes clear we are in a high stakes game: On one side peace and power, on the other impotence and rage. It's a matter of daily choices - doing small things with great love. We live in world marked by violence, discord and misery. Are we going to shrink away or lace up our boots? Lord, increase our faith! Help us to receive power from persistent prayer and gratitude. We are little people - like the Hobbits - but we've got a great mission.

And what is that mission? We glimpse it this Sunday: to complete the race, to compete well, to fight the good fight. The goal of life is not retirement. No man can retire from fatherhood - whether spiritual or physical. No Christian can retire from baptism vows.

In the Bible we see that the Christian life involves a race, a battle. The biggest battle takes place here in the human heart.

Once a young seminarian encountered a venerable gray-haired priest. The priest was carrying a book about achieving purity. Surprised the seminarian asked, "When do those temptations stop?" The elderly priest thought, then said, "About five minutes after they put you in the grave!"

From dawn to dusk we are engaged in a battle. Because we fall we need mercy, daily mercy to pick up and continue: To not crawl into a hole or flee. No, when you find yourself down, put yourself under divine mercy, ask for the power, the courage to fight the good fight.

Today's Gospel shows how to win the good fight: It doesn't come from thinking how good and strong I am. On the contrary we get power by saying, "Lord, be merciful to me, a sinner." A few years ago I received a wristband with these letters: LJC SoG HMoM aS. LJC - Lord Jesus Christ; SoG - Son of God; HMoM - Have Mercy on Me; aS - a Sinner. A perfect prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, Have Mercy on Me, a Sinner.

If you take one thing home from the homily series you can't do better than the prayer for mercy. We owe everything to God. In a new homily series I will ask your response to God's gift. I have already asked for your Stewardship of Time with the invitation to Eucharistic Adoration. And we have seen Stewardship of Talent in the commissioning of liturgical ministers and catechists. In the coming weeks we will consider Stewardship of Treasure.

Today I ask you to take up the good fight, ask Jesus for daily mercy. And to say with the today's Psalm: "I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall be ever in my mouth."

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Spanish Version

From Archives (Homilies for Thirtieth Sunday, Year C):

2013: How to Pray, Part Three: Mass as the Publican's Prayer
2010: Posture at Mass
2007: The Cry of the Poor
2004: Be Merciful to Me, a Sinner
2001: A Lesson in Humility

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Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C

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