Homily for May 27, 2018

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Homily for Trinity Sunday
Scriptures for today's Mass


Back in the day, some men used to carry with them
a “little black book” in which they kept the names and phone numbers
of particular persons they might want to call.
I suspect that in the age of cell phones,
little black books aren’t around any more.
But I have a BIG black book,  filled with names and phone numbers
and those names and numbers are - yours!

This is the parish contact list.
And it includes just over 1400 households
registered at Holy Family Parish.
I’m told that the average Concord household is comprised of three people
so we’ve got approximately 4,200 registered parishioners.

This number, of course, doesn’t include those Concord residents
who, if asked, would tell you they’re Catholic
but who’ve never registered in our parish or any other parish.
Of all the Catholics in Concord, registered or not,
most of them will not come to Mass this weekend.

• Some are absent because they’re away for the long weekend.
• Many worshipping Catholics don’t come every weekend,
they come once or twice a month
and if this doesn’t happen to be a one of those weekends -
they are among the absent today.
• Some who identify as Catholic will also tell you they
were raised Catholic but are now more “spiritual” than “religious”
so they’ve stopped joining us for worship.
• Many Catholics just don’t come to Mass, except, perhaps
on Christmas and Easter.
• On an average weekend in Concord (indeed, across the nation),
of those who self-identify as Catholic,
about three-quarters of them will not come to church.

So, look at you - you church-goers, you!
You part of a fairly elite group,
you are religious -
though you might object to that characterization.
You might say,
 “I come to Mass and maybe I’m a little bit spiritual -
but I don’t think you could call me religious.”

Now, for the record, I have nothing against people being spiritual!
In fact, I’m all for everyone being spiritual
and very much in favor of everyone having a spiritual life.
But I find it difficult to understand how one can be spiritual
- without being religious.

Let’s look at those two words: spiritual and religious…
• Our word spiritual comes from the Latin, spiritus (spirit)
and spiritual means
“of, relating to or affecting the spirit, the soul
as opposed to material or physical things.”
Certainly in a world of materialism and consumerism like ours,
being spiritual is something to be commended and encouraged.

• Our word religious also comes from a Latin word, ligare:
to bind or connect.
Ligare:  think of ligaments
and how ligaments function in the human anatomy.
In its roots, then, the word religious has a very physical connotation:
to be religious is to be connected
connected to God - and connected to other believers.

And that’s just what Sunday worship is all about: connecting!
Connecting, through praise and thanksgiving with God
and connecting with others who share our faith.

Simply put, then:  to be religious is to be connected,
to be connected with God and with other believers.
By your very being here this morning, you are being religious.
Now, being spiritual and being religious are not opposites.
To the contrary, they have a lot in common,
so much so that, truly, you can’t have one without the other.
Unless you are actually an angel!
Angels are totally spiritual beings and if you’re a totally spiritual being
then you can only connect with God - spiritually.

But you and me? We’re no angels!
We’re human beings: we are embodied souls - or ensouled bodies,
depending on how you look at it.
Created by God we have a God-given desire to have a spiritual life
but because we’re human beings,
born and made of flesh and blood and bone – and ligaments! –
because we’re human we experience the spiritual
through our humanity,
through our physical, religious connections.

That’s the case for anyone who believes in God
and certainly for those who call themselves Christian,
for those who believe in Christ, the Word of God,
who became flesh and blood and bone and ligaments - for us.

Our Catholic Christian faith is spiritual,
that is to say, it’s based in our belief in God who is spirit
but our Catholic Christian faith in God is also religious, which is to say:
it’s filled with ligaments, with connections
linking and binding us to God and to our life
and to our life in communion and in common
with one another in Christ.

No one becomes a believer out of nowhere.
We do not come to faith by a purely spiritual path.
• We are led to faith by others,
by our connection to the lives and witness of other believers.
• We are linked in faith through the Word of scripture,
written by others, proclaimed by others and preached by others.
• We are connected, linked with others in faith
through the sacraments we celebrate and receive.
• We are bound together in the prayer we share with others
at the Lord’s Table
and by the power of God’s Spirit moving in us,
and moving through us and among us – always.

Our spiritual lives are experienced and realized
through the connections we make
with God, through others, in the faith we share.
Being a Christian is as much an affair of the body as it is of the spirit.
And that’s because we’re human beings and all human experience,
including our spiritual lives, is mediated
through our bodies and our relationships with others.

Even the Trinity, the way we come to know
and try to understand who God is,
even the Trinity shows us the importance of being connected,
the Trinity is three persons, all in one in God: Father, Son and Spirit,
in a community of love within God.

There is no better sign of all of this than the Eucharist
where, in sharing the Bread and Cup of the sacrament,
our brokenness, our disconnection is forgiven , healed and restored
and we are drawn into the life of the Trinity,
to the Father of us all, through the sacrifice of his Son
in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Pray with me that by religiously tending to our own spiritual lives
there may grow in our parish a place to draw in
any and all spiritual people
whose desire is for God
and whose faith waits to be shared, religiously, with others.


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