Here is my homily for this weekend. God bless all!
2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time, Cycle A
January 14\15, 2017
Isaiah 49: 5-6; 1 Cor 1: 1-3; John 1: 29-34
I was in Green Bay a few years ago, on a Sunday when the Packers were playing a home game. I was with a bunch of faithful Catholic friends, watching the game on television. When the Packers made a great play, all my faithful friends jumped up and down and raised their hands high in praise. When the Packers made a mistake, they literally fell to the floor, prostrate, lamenting. I watched this happen several times, and then commented, “There is only one God, and the Packers ain’t him!”
Who is God? Who are we? What will bring us true joy and happiness? These are questions every one of us tries to answer in our live, whether we realize it or not. Although they may seem like three different questions, they are actually very much related to each other. In fact, you cannot answer one of them unless you are able to answer all three.
Yes, there is only one God, and we ain’t him! This is the first and greatest commandment. “I am the Lord, your God. You shall have no other gods before me!” Who is God, then? God is our creator, and we are his creatures. He made us, we didn’t make him, he made us. God is not our servant to do what we wish; rather, we are his servants to do as he wishes. It is so easy to break that first commandment. Probably the most frequently broken of all the commandments, yet probably not the most frequently confessed. We all like to make idols for ourselves to worship. We try to make God into our image just as much as the ancient pagans did thousands of years ago. We want God to look like us, think like us, feel like us, and act like us. Each time we condemn someone, we have just tried to make God into our image. Each time we think God should be just as angry and vengeful as we are toward our enemies, we have created an idol for ourselves. Each time we think, “If God knew my circumstances, he would be okay with me committing this sin,” we are worshipping a false god.
God is God and we ain’t him. God is right and we all too often are not. Our whole lives are to be lived in such a way as to move away from our idols and toward God. Our whole lives are meant to be a journey away from our preoccupation with ourselves and toward being possessed by God’s love. Our whole lives are meant to be a conversion from worshipping false gods toward becoming servants of the one true God who makes us in his image.
God creates us in his image. God is the one who fashions and shapes us. God is the one who forms each of us into a unique image of himself. He outfits each of us in a unique way with certain talents, gifts, abilities and experiences so we may accomplish something truly good, noble, and beautiful in the world. “You are my servant through whom I show my glory!” we heard in the first reading today. (Isaiah 49: 3) This is why every human life is to be protected. God creates us for a purpose and when we understand that purpose and accept it, we are happy. Accomplishing God’s will for us brings us happiness and joy, not following only our desires and passions, our idols.
John the Baptist understood this pretty well. He said, “Look! There is the Lamb of God (I’m not him!) I am just a voice crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight your lives before the Lord!’ The reason I came was that he might be make known.” (John 1: 31-34)
If this is who God is, then who are we? As John the Baptist reminds us, we are mere voices. We are messengers and God is the message. We are servants and he is Lord and Master. We have no reason to fear who we are or who God is, because he made us into his likeness. We have no need to fear his Kingship over us because he gives us our freedom and loves us as no false god can do. We have no need of idols or false gods. We must let go of them, and let God be God in whose arms we rest, in whose love we live, in whose mercy we heal, in whose plan we find happiness. We all have false gods, our idols in life. We all must let them go and let God be God and become who we were created to be.
This brings us to the third question: What, then, brings us happiness and joy? The answer: Resting in God’s love, his mercy, his care and his plan for our lives and then doing the best we can to remain in his love and come back to him each and every time we stray. Indeed, as St. Augustine said, “We are restless, unhappy, until we rest in God.” This is where the Sacrament of Penance becomes so important. This is where Mass every Sunday is vitally important.
God is creator, redeemer, and sanctifier. Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
We are servants, creatures, messengers – mere voices speaking God’s word, speaking his praises, and blessing his name.
Our acceptance of his will, his plan for us, and resting in his love is our happiness.