Sunday, May 17, 2009

Homily for the Sixth Sunday of Easter



Homily for the Sixth Sunday of Easter

(Scripture readings for this weekend's liturgy)

It’s embarrassing when it happens,
but have you ever had someone tell you,
“Hey, look - it’s not all about you!”

That might be a good subtitle for today’s scriptures:
“It’s not all about you…”

Or as St. John put it,
“In this is love:
not that we have loved God, but that God has loved us…”
God is not our idea: we are God’s idea.
God is not someone we choose, or not, to invite into our lives:
it’s God who invites us into his life.

The love about which Christians speak
is so much more than a feeling, a sentiment, an emotion.
The love about which we speak is the LAW Christ gave us.
Jesus doesn’t “suggest” that we love one another, he commands it!
“This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.”

And if we’re not sure just what he might mean by that,
the next verse makes it very clear,
“No one has greater love than this
to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

There’s a dangerous notion of love abroad today
which would have us believe that loving others
means accepting them without qualification,
without judgment of their ideas or behavior.

Of course, if we actually lived that way, we would see:
commerce wither and die,
art become a twisted caricature of itself,
law redefined as a tool of self-indulgence,
faith silenced if not outlawed,
personal communication reduced to text messages,
and society imploded into a heap of human rubble.

Such just might be our future if we think “it’s all about us.”
It’s not all about me.
It’s not all about my family, my schedule, my convenience.
It’s not all about my pleasure, my fulfillment, my needs.
It’s not all about my politics, my ideas, my finances.
It’s not all about my nation, my town, my neighborhood.

For the Christian, it’s all about others,
putting our neighbors and our neighbors’ needs before our own.

The love of which Christians speak
cannot be accepting of whatever comes along
nor can it let some things pass without critique and judgment,
because this love cannot be accepting of or fail to correct:
injustice loaded on the backs of the poor,
abuse inflicted on the innocent,
war waged for politics and power,
truth twisted beyond recognition,
life reduced to personal comfort and choice,
or hunger and homelessness tolerated
by those who have more than they need.

Christian love makes serious demands
on those bold enough to profess it.
Christ commands us to love one another as he has loved us
and if we’re not clear on how he has loved us…
well, that’s why we worship in the shadow of the Cross,
lest we forget the kind of love we celebrate and profess here.

It’s true that Jesus gave his life for sinners
(that would be us)
but he did so not in acceptance of our failures
but in judgment of them,
a judgment that makes of his self-giving
a sacrifice and a wisdom that we might:
recognize our sins against love,
understand that “it’s not all about us…”
and learn to put others before ourselves
as Christ put us before himself.

In the sacrament of this table we share in the love of Jesus
and we are nourished by the life he laid down for us, his friends,
by the love he commands us to have for one another.

May the Communion we share in the Lord remind us,
“It’s not all about us…”

-ConcordPastor

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Excellent. I am going to try and remember this concept !!

Concord Carpenter said...

CP - Outstanding homily, never quite as good in print as in person.....!!

Ed said...

When I read in your homily:

There’s a dangerous notion of love abroad today
which would have us believe that loving others
means accepting them without qualification,
without judgment of their ideas or behavior.

I had to wonder if you had obtained an advance copy of the President's commencement speech at ND. I am very inclined to think that the president is sincere in his pro choice view of abortion, and also about honoring the conscience of those who disagree with abortion, but I am also inclined to think that he just doesn't get it. The fact is, he says, that at some level the two views are irreconcilable.

Let the two sides make their case with passion and conviction, he says, without demonizing those with just as strongly held convictions on the other side. This is an obvious condition for a meaningful debate. Surely the two views are irreconcilable, but if the two sides are irreconcilable then asking one side to live in peace with another side that endangers everyone's respect for the dignity of human life is not very promising. In my view the idea that we can have peace by just respecting the other's position just doesn't get it.

michelle said...

Ed- please forgive me if I just don't get it, but... I don't think I do.
Are you saying that you don't think that we can live in "peace" with different positions?
If that is what you are saying, and please, let me say first that I do respect your opinion on this, let me say that I must disagree. I mean, we are never going to live in a world where we all agree on the same thing, at least that's what I believe. We are all different, and have different experiences- positive and negative- and those experiences influence our beliefs and opinions. And they sometimes change our beliefs and opinions...
Thank you for your comment, Ed. I may have "gotten it wrong", but it made me think and reflect, and that never can be wrong...

Anonymous said...

I think Ed is saying, we should NOT live in peace with a decision that can destroy a human life.

emma said...

True, we are all different and have different opinions. But just as CP states in his homily; we can love those around us, but we must have some judgment on their ideas and behavior. To just sit back and "be at peace", with abortion, would not help the innocent unborn children who deserve a chance to be born. Someone has to be an advocate for them.

Ed said...

Michelle - The critical phrase in the homily was "without judgment". It is only if we agree "without judgment" to disagree that we will have the peace that the president is talking about. We can respond respectfully and civilly, without demonizing the other side, that those views are wrong. Otherwise, in my view, the peace in which we acquiesce is a false peace.

Thanks for your response.