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Love of Mystery

One of the great and beautiful aspects of our Catholic faith is Mystery.

Mystery tells us of a greater Truth that exists, that underlies all.  Truth that cannot and must not be limited to narrow and strict definitions, to black and white codes and rules.

Mystery invites us into the Truth.  It both humbles us and exalts us.

 

I can get so discouraged at times.

When I see “good” catholics post hateful things on facebook; be selfish; when it seems that all that I do is for nothing…. when I get it wrong, when I act selfishly, when I make bad choices….

Hope has been hard for me, yet looking back, in every bad situation, new hope arose, new opportunities.

God is in control, not the bad, not the evil, not the stupidness, selfishness, not the hate.

Good is in control, love is in control.  That is what some days I cling to.

I have had those times in my life when I have been caught up in my perceived grief.  I thought there was little hope, saw no way out.  I remained in a dark place.

Always, someone came, something came to me, and showed to me a new possibility, new opportunity.  Sometimes in an explicit way, and sometimes in a more subtle way.

Mary was at that same crossroads in her life.

 

I know that there are times when I want God to just speak out, tell me what I am supposed to do, a sign!  I think that is part of our condition.

Those signs I have found are actually the people living out their faith.  It is our saints who changed the direction of their lives so as to build up others, create community.  It is the men and women who gave of themselves to help others, to heal.  It is those dedicated to alleviating the suffering of others I see in the world.  These I have seen as signs.  They inspire me.

Imagine if I, you and all of us were these living miracles, living signs of proof??

 

Imagine moving from “I should…” “I have to….”

to

“I want to…”   I want to help this person.  I want to forgive that person.  I want to pray.  I want to go to mass.  I want to live well.

This is the move to freedom, this is salvation.  It is freedom and salvation, because it is about wanting to do good and because it is a free choice to respond to the Love of the Father.

This is Jesus’ yoke that he offers.   It is burden much easier to live with than that of the other option…

the option of selfishness, egotism, and ultimately death.

When I started to make that transition (on going process for me), I found more energy, more life, more joy.     Take a moment and listen to our words…if we are using “Should” and “have to” then we are carrying a heavier burden.

It is arrogant to think that I know it all.  It is arrogant to say I know everything about a person or situation.  When I am arrogant, there is no space for me to be changed, to grow, to be saved.  It leads to assumptions, judgements, and condemnations.  All it does is create division.

Humility is when I and we accept that there is more to the story, about a person, event or situation.  Humility creates space for change, for growth, for wisdom.  It creates unity.

REPENT!

I don’t believe in Catholic guilt, as a stereotype portrayed in media…but guilt does have a place.  It is that recognition that I am not being a person of integrity, and there is a need to change the direction of my life.

Good friends, trusted people will use guilt not to shame (which is BAD), but out of concern for me, to motivate me to examine my choices and attitudes:  are they reflective of the Salvation?  They want a better life for me.

 

I hate conflicts.  I am scared of conflict.  I have done a lot of things that I regret to avoid conflict, except work to bring unity….

 

First, a full disclosure…I am using a theme for this homily from a reflection given by a classmate of mine in the seminary.  His name was Hector Villegas, mi vecino, who was later ordained as priest for Stockton, but died way too early a little over a year ago.

Do you know what humus is?  Basically, we call it topsoil. It is that rich organic material from which good crop grows.  Productive farms and gardens have a good humus.  humus-hands1

Humus and humility have the same roots.  They both mean of the earth, or to be earthy or grounded.

Just as we need good humus to have good crops and then be able to feed people, so we need humility for the word of God to grow within us, so that we can go and feed people.

 

Humility is to be grounded in God’s love.  Humility is to understand that I, you, we, us, we are creatures, we are NOT God.  Humility is to understand that as creatures, God sustains us, loves us.  The more humble we are, the more humility we have, the more open we are to others.  The more humility we have, the more love occurs within us.

The more humility we have the greater, the stronger community we have.

 

Jesus came to give us life, and so that we can have life abundantly.  This abundant life only comes when we are united, when we are a community.

Think of the Holy Trinity, a community of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  The Trinity which is rooted in divine love; that willingness to give of self.  The Trinity is the source of all life, from which we began and to which we are called to belong.

Jesus tells us that the Father sends to us, through the Holy Spirit, the seeds by which we can be united.  These seeds are love.

God is always throwing love our way.

The humble person and the humble community receives this love, and it grows, and it spreads, and it creates unity.  The humble person and community is one who gives of himself, herself or themselves for the benefit and good of others.

Jesus reveals this nature in himself, and reveals that this is the very nature of God.    Thus it is our human nature to give of ourselves for others…in very concrete ways.

I feel that the issues and problems we face in our community are not necessarily related in particular to politics, nor to race, nor economics.  I think it comes down to egotism and self-interest… a lack of true humility.

We are rooted not in Love of God, but in protecting our own butts.

The political, racial and economic problems are the visible signs of the invisible reality of our own egotism, our own self-interest and selfishness.

Too many of us will think only of ourselves, and our so called “rights” and our own things, our own money, our own lives…and we do not truly see others, we truly do not care for others.  So we sin.

Thus we have the stoney, rock, dry, hardened souls.  Not unlike the desert landscape that surrounds us.  This creates nothing but hardship, pain, isolation, more suffering.  This does nothing but create divisions; it allows us to ignore others, permit the abuse of other children of God.

I bet if any of us look at the conflicts in our own lives, especially the ongoing conflicts…if we are truly honest with ourselves, I bet it is because we are unwilling to listen, to give ourselves.  It is because our egos have hardened our hearts.

 

Yet, God loves us even then and desires that we open ourselves to the divine love.    God has given us the answer, the word, to the suffering and evil in this world, it is Love.    It is that willingness of us to see the good and potential for good in others, and within ourselves.

Humility within us accepts this love, nurtures this love, and then produces real results, real products, not just nice words or facebook posts.

Humility produces actions by which we willingly give up money, time, effort, so that someone can have food; can have a decent job to support their own family.

Humility produces the willingness to let go the ego and give up trying to control others, and so that we can then listen to others, we can forgive others, we can be healed.

 

See, all of this Jesus lived and did.  Jesus did not just talk the talk, he took action.  He cured, he fed, he listened, he touched, he forgave, and ultimately he died on the cross.

He still does this, in the communion.   Think of the humility, the son of God comes to us in those unleavened hosts of flour and water, and simple wine.  The Father transforms them into the body and blood of the Son, through the divine love of the Holy Spirit, so that we who consume it are transformed.

So that we can be empowered to let go, to accept God’s love truly, and grow that love.

So that we can be a fertile people, feeding a world in which too many children are being killed, either by their parents, by starving because we will not share our food, or by our bombs because we think we have to protect our country.

images-1

 

 

imgres-1

imgresSo that we can feed a world in which there is too much violence against women; by their own families, by the social sin of sexism.

 

 

 

 

So that we can feed a world in which there is too much poverty.images

 

 

So imagine what we can do, if we, as individuals and we as community, Church, nation, were to be more open to humility….
No, don’t imagine it.
Do it.

humus-hands1

Unity

Unity (not uniformity) is intrinsically linked to being human, to being Christian.

It seems so evasive.  I look at my choices and actions, and how much I have hurt unity…through my fears, lies, ego….etc.

Christ offers us the way in which we can the divisions among us, in which I can heal division in my life….

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