Seventh Sunday in Ordinary time 2014
By Deacon Lawrence N. Kaas
February 23, 2014
February 23, 2014
You know how it goes sometimes. You sing your greatest song in the shower, you always think of a response too late, for a Deacon sometimes he preaches the best homily when he's laying back in his chair praying his rosary. He gets by with this by calling it, horizontal meditation.
That has happened to me after Mass this past Thursday when the question was posed by Jesus to his followers, "who do the people say that I am?" The answer came to Him, while some say Elijah some say one of the prophets and so forth, but who do you say that I am, He asked? Peter responded by saying, "you are, the Christ, the Son of the Living God." And as you all know this response by Peter counted him first among the Apostles.
So I'm thinking to myself as I also asked of myself the question, what does that mean to you and I. If I am to believe that Jesus is who he says he is, then for me there must be a past, a present, a future/eternity.
So many of us, I am convinced, we so live completely in the past that the present becomes obscured. What I'm trying to say is, the past is past and it must be relegated to the past. I am reasonably sure, therefore, a good number of us, sin is the bugaboo. But keep in mind what Pope Francis said, not all that many days ago, " do not be afraid to go to confession".
I remember going to a retreat at Barrington and part of the retreat, of courses, you go to confession, how many times at that point had I gone to confession and heard the words of absolution, but this time for some reason, it was different. It was like for the first time I really heard and absorbed the words of absolution. What a wonderful feeling. So in my meditation I would say to you if your past needs a good confession, don't wait. Now we are ready for the present.
After talking to a friend this past week, our conversation also became a part of my meditation. The question posed is what about the present? Well I guess, to put it in perspective everything is in the past except for the present moment. What is happening at this moment, think about it? What from the past has become so present that without it you and I would have no hope! Okay! I'm beating around the bush little bit, but the next question posed to you might be, if you know that Jesus Christ is the son of the Eternal Father, what is your reason for being here?
I will tell our servers from time to time that they are taking part as servers at the most important happening of the day, that nothing that happens this day is more important and life-giving than what takes place on this altar. I can say that because the Church has taught us from the very beginning, that what happens on this altar is a reenactment of the Passion Death and Resurrection of Christ, of course in an un-bloody manner.
Christ and his Church has made it possible for each one of us to be a part of the past so intimately involved that the past is made present. Do you believe that? Why do you believe that? It is very much like the little girl who is to receive her first communion and was asked a question, do you really believe that that's Jesus, really Jesus? How do you know that it is Jesus? Her answer was because Jesus said so!
In the first reading the Lord said to Moses, "speak to the whole Israelite community and tell them: be Holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am holy!" This living out the present while observing the statutes of the past brings us to the future, or one could say, Eternal Life. The past, the present and the future all come together right here on this altar. There's another question that begs for an answer, how can we come here, daily or weekly and receive the body and blood of Christ, and not love one another including our enemies. Ouch, that hurts! For I'm betting that there is not one of us here in this church that can honestly say that we live up to the perfection of this Commandments, that Jesus is giving us.
There was a book written a few years ago entitled, "The 100:" a ranking of the most influential people in history, by Michael Hart. Who would you think-ranked first in his book it was, Mohammed-- based on the fact that he had more followers. Number two was Sir Isaac Newton based on the idea that his discoveries form the basis of all modern technology.
Jesus doesn't show up until third on the list but here's what's interesting. Hart says he would have no trouble at all placing Jesus first especially because of the uniqueness of Jesus' teaching about loving your enemies but he doesn't-- and here's why. Hart writes: "Now these ideas about loving your enemies, which were not a part of the Judaism of Jesus' day nor of any other religion — are surely among the most remarkable and original ethical ideas ever presented. If they were widely followed, I would have no hesitation placing Jesus first in this book."
This should give each one of us here reason to reflect on our own actions and biases for that matter and how we live up to the letter of the law that Jesus said, of Himself, that he came to perfect the law, not to do away with it.
I leave you today with one final thought. God in His Divine Wisdom has given to us a family to live out the precepts of His Law. Where we learn his law and learn to live his law so that, our past can be the past, our present be a time of joy and happiness and our future be Eternal Life.
Be Good, be Holy, preach the Gospel always and if necessary use words.
'Thank you' to Deacon Kaas, for letting me post his reflection here.
- "God, Jesus, and Me: Personal?!"
(January 5, 2014)
- "'Waking Up Catholic,' a Guide to Catholic Beliefs"
(July 1, 2013)
- "Giving Up Skydiving for Lent"
(February 13, 2013)
- "First Sunday in Lent; God is Reclaiming His Broken Creation "
(February 26, 2012)
- "A Prayer for Clouded Hearts"
(December 4, 2011)