Message: We might think we have lost a son or daughter, but Jesus does not see it that way.
This weekend we return to "Ordinary Time" readings. We use "ordinary" not in the sense of "usual" or "common," but ordered or sequential. Over the next seven weeks we will have ordered readings from St. Luke's Gospel, chapters 7, 9 and 10. The readings show aspects of discipleship: what it means to be and become a follower of Jesus.
That's the theme I will develop: becoming a disciple. We will see this in a broader context next weekend when I publish the Priorities and Goals for 2016-2017. You probably already know that one of the top three priorities is: Make Disciples.
This weekend some seventy of our young people receive the Sacrament of Confirmation - the seven-fold grace of the Holy Spirit. We want the Gift of the Spirit to bear fruit. We want our young people to become disciples of Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit.
You and I can sometimes feel like the widow in today's Gospel - or like the one in the Old Testament reading. We can feel that we lost a child. Like the prophet Elijah we can ask God why this has happened.
To speak personally: Well, I do not know why. People come to me with heartbreaking situations. I usually do not have an answer, but Jesus does. He can bring your son back. He can return your daughter to you.
Every young person has enormous potential. They can fulfill that potential by becoming a disciple. We see that in our second reading. St. Paul tells about how even though he possessed a lot of learning and plenty of energy, he had embarked on a path of destruction. he wanted to bring down the church - to destroy her.
But God had his hand on Paul. God uses the testimony of Christians - including in this case the martyr St. Stephen. After this testimony God directly intervened. What God did for Paul he can do for the son or daughter you or I are concerned about.
We will go into greater depth over the coming seven weeks. Next weekend I will present the priorities and goal that frame our efforts. I am convinced God wants to do great things here at St. Mary of the Valley. Some of you, I know, feel reluctant but wait till you hear next Sunday's Gospel. It will remove any excuse you might have.
For today I ask you to recognize that Jesus has a plan for each of us and for our young people. We might think we have lost a son or daughter, but Jesus does not see it that way. Full of compassion, he says, "Young man, I tell you, arise!" Amen.
From Archives (Homilies for Tenth Sunday, Year C):
Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C
Audio Files of Homilies (Simple Catholicism Blog)
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Fr. Brad's Homilies
Fr. Jim's Homilies
Fr. Michael White's Homilies ("messages")
Bulletin (St. Mary's Parish)
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MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru