HOMILY for October 29

Homily for the Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Scriptures for today's Mass

Audio for homily


- we’re wounded by love, we’re healed by love,
- we look for love, we hide from love
- we give our love, we withhold our love
- we hunt for love, we run from love,
- we celebrate love and we grieve its loss
- we talk about love, we write about love, we sing about love
- we dream of love, fantasize love, hope for love
- we sell love, buy love, ignore love
- we offer and receive love, we make love
- we need love, we promise and betray love
- we abuse and refuse love, we forget and regret love
- we fear love, we reject love, we welcome love,
- we love love…

Love is such a pervasive reality in our lives:
this complex, beguiling, perplexing, bewildering,
elusive, demanding,  ambiguous reality
that suffuses all that I am and all that I do -
indeed, even all that I hope and dream and pray for.

Our hunger for love, our drive to love and to be loved
is itself a gift to us from God who embeds
in our minds, hearts and imaginations a desire for love -
precisely to whet our hunger and thirst for God - who is love.

All love is from God -- and all love leads us back to God.
Real love has no source other than God
and true love is always intended to draw us us closer to God.

Jesus is clear in the gospel here
about how much God desires our love.
God wants me, wants you, God wants us all
and wants our whole being:  mind and heart,  body and soul.

God wants all of my heart and all of my soul and all of my mind.

But even God's desire does not exhaust the love I have to offer.
I’m also called to love my neighbor -- and to love my self as well.
In other words, all my relationships
(even my relationship with myself)
are meant to be relationships of love.

The first scripture today tests the depths and limits of my love
in calling me to love even those I don’t know,
to love the stranger, the alien;
to love those who have nothing to give in return:
to love the poor - not just to serve them, but to love the poor.

The first reading calls us to love the alien,
certainly not to oppress them
and to care for the widow and the orphan, in biblical times,
these would have been among the poorest of the poor,
those most marginalized from mainstream society.

We can name today’s aliens, documented or undocumented
and we know the many groups who live in the margins,
on of the outskirts of our safety and comfortability.

But these scriptures are less blueprints for legislation
than tests or standards for the love Jesus enjoins on us.
I’m called to love the alien and the one whose ways are alien to mine
lest I love only those of my own kind.

I’m called to love as God loves:
generously, mercifully, graciously - sacrificially.

I’m called to a selfless love: offered to and for the other,
a love that finds its greatest peace and deepest joy
not in self-fulfillment but in caring for the beloved.

I’m called to a love that is selfless, over-the-top, generous to a fault -
a love that makes room for others, whoever, wherever they may be -
others who may have need of what I have.

Jesus himself, of course, is the model for just this kind of love.

• Look to the Cross and you see the One who loves us
with all his heart, all his soul and all his mind.

• Look to the Cross and see the One who loves us
even though our sins threaten to estrange and alienate us from him.

• Look to the Cross of Jesus and see the One
who loves us who have nothing to offer in return
except our thanks and praise -
and our efforts to love one another as he loved us.

When Halloween is behind us as it will be this Wednesday,
we’ll find ourselves on the eve of Thanksgiving and Christmas -
if we’re not there already.

Christmas and Thanksgiving:
two celebrations that call on us to give to others
and not just to family and friends
but especially to the poor and the marginalized.

Today’s scriptures call us to begin now to prepare to give this year
in ways that are generous, merciful, gracious - and sacrificial.
If my giving is anything less than over-the-top, generous to a fault,
emptying out myself for others who have need of what I have.

If my giving and my love are any less than that,
then I will not have loved as God calls me to love,
I will not have loved as I have been loved by God.

• We come to this altar every week to remember Jesus
and his willingness to sacrifice everything for love of us.

• We come to the table to offer thanks and praise
and to be nourished with the life he gave for us:
his Body and Blood shared with us in the Eucharist.

• We come here to remember, to be reminded that:
all love is from God -- and all love leads us back to God.

True love has no source other than God
and real love always, in some way, draws us closer to him
who desires, always, to grow closer to us.

I’ll close with these words written by Pedro Arrupe,
a Jesuit priest:

Nothing is more practical than finding God,
than falling in Love in a quite absolute, final way.

What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination,
will affect everything.

It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning,
what you do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends,
what you read, whom you know, what breaks your heart,
and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.

Fall in Love, stay in love,
and it will decide everything.


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