Bottom line: We want Jesus to open our eyes to see our own sins - and the forgiveness and healing his gives through his cross.
This is the third homily in our series on the end game. Our Old Testament reading has a beautiful vision of the end times when God will gather his people:
I will gather them from the ends of the world,
with the blind and the lame in their midst,
the mothers and those with child;
they shall return as an immense throng.
As we see, God will gather the weak and defenseless. This is so different from our world. The media focus on the strong, the young, the beautiful, the rich. God's heart, however, is with the weak. In that regard I love today's reading from Hebrews. It speaks about the role of the priest:
He is able to deal patiently with the ignorant and erring,
for he himself is beset by weakness
and so, for this reason, must make sin offerings for himself
as well as for the people.
Once again this goes against our culture. We live in a world where people have become quick to judge and slow to forgive. Today, if a person makes a misstep, our society may write him off, even if the misstep happened years ago. Even if the person apologizes, it doesn't matter. He's toast.
A few months ago our president used this phrase: "we will never forgive, we will never forget." Now I realize he was trying to express outrage, in this case a justified outrage over the terror attack that killed thirteen U.S. soldiers and some 100 civilians. Those who committed this crime should be hunted down and face consequences. Still, as Christians we must hesitate to say, "we will never forgive." After all, in the Lord's Prayer, we say "forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us."
Next Thursday I have a two to four hour operation. I have every confidence I will be fine, but I would not want to enter eternity holding enmity against some other person or some group of people. And I know I have offended others. I want their forgiveness.
You and I are beset with weakness. We offer Mass for own sins and the sins of the people.
Thanks be to God, Jesus calls those who are weak. We see it today. Jesus passes through Jericho. In the Bible Jericho represents the fallen world. On the way out they encounter a blind beggar. He cries out, "Jesus, son of David, have pity on me." For many people this has become a favorite prayer. In the 2012-2013 Year of Faith, Sister Barbara and I put on wristbands with the letters LJC SoG HMoM aS - "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner." A beautiful prayer to say to rhythm of ones breathing in and out.
Once the blind man receives his sight, he begins to follow Jesus. What an example for us! We've become blind to God and to each other. Jesus can heal our sight.
As we saw last Sunday, we find healing through the cross. This Sunday we have a powerful image of the cross - Our Lord of the Miracles. It originated in the Black barrio of Lima, but after some impressive miracles it became the main devotion of the entire city, then the entire country. Now, devotion to Our Lord of Miracles extends throughout the world.
I'm glad to celebrate Our Lord of the Miracles before I go to the surgery. The next two weekends will have visiting priests. When I am back, we have an interesting Gospel on what will happen before Jesus' return. Regarding this final trial, I put in the bulletin a quote from Catechism.*
For today we want Jesus to open our eyes to see our own sins - and the forgiveness and healing his gives through his cross. Amen
*"Before Christ's second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the "mystery of iniquity" in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. " (#675)
Spanish Version (Word document)
From Archives (30th Ordinary Sunday - Year B):
Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C
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. Frank Schuster
Fr. Brad Hagelin
Fr. Jim Northrop
Fr. Michael White
Fr Kurt Nagel (and deacons of St. Monica)
Bishop Robert Barron
Parish Picture Album
MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru