You are lacking in one thing...

Homily for the Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
(Scriptures for today's Mass)

Audio for homily

Do you remember the television series, Columbo?

Peter Falk played a disheveled, cigar smoking
LA homicide detective in a rumpled trench coat
who had a unique way of interrogating his suspects.

He’d ask a series of questions that could be answered fairly easily
and just as the suspect felt he was in the clear,
Columbo would begin to take his leave and then turn around and say,
“Oh, you know, sir - there’s just one more thing…”

And with that last question, that “one more thing,”
Lieutenant Columbo would begin to unravel the truth.

I think of Columbo when reading of the encounter Jesus has
with this wealthy man in today’s gospel.

Jesus does his own kind of interrogating:
Have you lived a good life?
Have you been faithful to God? to your wife? to your parents?
Have you told the truth? Kept the commandments?

Like one of Columbo’s suspects, 
the man figures he’s going to ace this test!
All his bases are covered. He’s in the clear. He can honestly say,
Yes, Lord! I’ve lived just such a life since I was a young man.

And then Jesus says,
Oh, you know, sir - there’s just one more thing…
You need to sell what you have and give to the poor,
then you’ll be free to follow me…

“Just one more thing…”
A big difference, of course, between Columbo and Jesus
is that Jesus doesn’t approach us as suspects.
As he looked with love upon the man in the gospel, 
so he looks upon us
and rather than trying to trap or indict us,
he wants only to call us to live our faith more fully
- which often means less selfishly.

Perhaps a reason so few folks come to confession these days
is that we all think like the rich man in the gospel.
We tell the Lord and ourselves:
Well, I haven’t killed anyone. I haven’t committed adultery.
I’m not a thief or a liar or a cheat. I’m good to my parents.

And we trust, we even know that Jesus looks upon us with love
for such fidelity.

But we might not want to hear him say to us,
Oh, Austin, you know, there’s just one more thing…
_____________, there’s just one more thing…
_____________, there’s just one more thing…

Even as I speak, I know in my heart
what it is, that “one more thing,” 
the Lord asks of me.

That “one more thing” will likely be different for each of us
according to our own personal history and circumstances,
our own faults and failings, our own selfishness.

What might be “one more thing” the Lord would ask of you
that you might more follow him more faithfully
and live by his word?

It might be wealth, it might be possessions, it could be anything!

It’s probably whatever we find hardest to give up,
to surrender, to let go of.

It’s often some crutch, some habit, some grudge, some misery
we lean on, depend on and cling to 
more than to God’s peace in our lives and hearts.

It’s “one more thing” God’s asking us to let go…

The man in the gospel walked away sad
because he couldn’t let go his “one more thing.”

But we know that even if we’ve not let go,
even if we’ve walked away from the Lord,
he doesn’t walk away from us – he pursues us -
because his desire for us always trumps ours for him.

2,000 years ago, on a dark Friday afternoon,
the Father of us all said to Jesus,
“My son, there’s just one more thing…”

And for us, 
Jesus let go of everything, of all he possessed,
he laid down his life that we might be saved
– for all things are possible for God.

Gathered at the Lord’s table, we offer that same sacrifice today
in the sacrament of the Eucharist,
finding our forgiveness in the treasure of heaven,
shared with us in Christ’s Body and Blood.

Pray with me that the grace of this sacrament
will help each of us let go “just one more thing,”
that we might more faithfully follow him
who looks upon us with love.


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1 comment:

  1. What a wonderfully crafted homily!! Loved it today. Thank you.
    I'm wondering if you have a rendition of our equally wonderful recessional hymn Rain Down which you could post on your blog as well? I love singing it with our congregation and it would be nice to share with others.


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