Homily for October 6

Homily for the Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
Scriptures for today's Mass

Welcome to the fifth & final week
of a message series for the fall
that we’ve been calling Lost & Found.
This series has been about our experiences of feeling lost in life
and how we can work toward being found. 

We all feel lost from time to time.
Perhaps because of some experience we have
or a new stage of life we enter;
or something that just starts one day and grows...

Maybe you feel lost in your job
adrift in a sea of endless work days
which have lost meaning and direction for you: you feel lost.

Maybe you feel lost in a relationship.
Maybe things just aren’t in a good place
with your spouse or a sibling
or a someone you work with or someone at school -
and you’re left wondering: how did we get here?
You feel lost.

Maybe you feel lost
in the need to make a decision about something big.
You’ve got to decide about a job, or an opportunity, or a house,
… and you have no clue what to do.
You feel lost.

Or maybe it's not anything specific,
just a persistent restlessness,
a sense that some thing or someone is missing,
you feel uncomfortable, unsettled - lost…

A recent poll of young adults between the ages of 18-22
found that more than half feel
left out, isolated and without anyone to talk to.
Seems to me there's a lot of lost folks out there…

When we feel lost, we tend to respond in one of a few ways...
Maybe you go into panic mode - consumed by fear and worry.
Maybe you try to escape - you look for anything
to help you avoid the feeling of being lost.
Maybe you pretend to others - or even to yourself -
that you’re not lost at all!

But the bottom line is: when you’re lost
- you don’t want to stay lost. No one wants to stay lost.
In all of us there's a strong human desire to get un-lost:
a desire to be found.

We’ve covered a lot so far in this series
and if you’ve missed any of the previous weeks,
you can catch up by watching the videos on our Web site.

This week, as we conclude our series,
we’re focusing not so much on what it means to be lost,
but what it means to be found.
What do we mean by found?  What does it look like?
What would it feel like?

In this final week of the series
we’re looking at a passage from Luke's gospel, chapter 17.
Here we find Jesus teaching his disciples about what to do
when someone wrongs you.   He says:
If your neighbor wrongs you seven times in one day
and returns to you seven times saying, ‘I am sorry,’
you should forgive him.


How's that sit with you?

Someone wrongs me seven times in a row
and each time I’m supposed to forgive them?
That’s a tall order!
It's no wonder, then, that the disciples ask Jesus
to "increase their faith."
But perhaps we might ask if their request is noble and pious
or maybe just a little negative and self-serving.
Maybe this is their way of saying
"Sorry, Jesus -that's beyond us, that's just too much to ask!"
Sort of like when you tell your kids to do something
and instead of even trying they say, “We can’t!”
By which they might really mean, “We don’t want to.” 

Well, Jesus sees through all of this and tells them,
 If you had faith the size of a mustard seed,
you would say to this mulberry tree,
"Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.

Faith the size of a mustard seed - and in case you don't know -
mustard seeds are very, very small.
Jesus seems to be saying,
You don't need an increase in your faith -
the faith you have is sufficient.
It's not about having more or less faith -
it's what you do with the faith you have - no matter how small!
It's about who and what you have faith in.

Sometimes we get lost in life because we put our faith
in the wrong things, in the wrong people.
And a lot of the time, we foolishly put faith in ourselves!
 “Hey, if it’s gonna happen, it’s gonna be up to me.” 

We get lost:
when we think it’s all up to us,
that we’ve got to do everything,
that we’ve got to be in control;
when we assign ourselves the task of being in charge of life.

That's God's job - not yours or mine.

There's a simple truth here:
there is a God - and it's not me, and it's not you,
and it's not even all of us put together.
There is a God and he’s got the whole world in his hands --
he’s got YOUR world in his hands.
God rules!
He’s created the world - your world and mine.
God is eternal, all-powerful and all-knowing.
God is pure wisdom and justice -- God is love.

God is all that - and a bag of chips - and so much more.

And the bottom line is this:
God is God - and I'm not.        
God's in charge - and I'm not.
God's the Creator and I'm what God made me to be.

God is so big and so great and so powerful
that even a tiny, almost immeasurable amount of faith in him,
faith just the size of a mustard seed - is sufficient.

If I had faith the size of a mustard seed,
that would be faith enough to move mountains -
and if not mountains - well…
if I really put to work the faith I have
I might more successfully negotiate
at least some of the smaller hills I encounter
along my life's path.

Faith, even faith the size of a mustard seed
has a lot to do with being found.
Being found is about planting our confidence in God
and trusting God - to be God. 

In today’s Psalm we prayed these words:
Come, let us bow down in worship;
let us kneel before the Lord who made us.
For he is our God,
and we are the people he shepherds,
the flock he guides.

Do we live our lives as if God, indeed,
is the One who created us,
the One who made us?
Do we let God to be our guide?
Do we trust God to guide us well?
Do we trust that God might know each of us
better than we know our selves?
If we do…  when we do… we’re on our way to being found.

Because being found is about being and living
in a true, honest relationship with God - in faith.
Being found is finding our place in life,
the place where we belong, where we're meant to be.
Being found is about finding ourselves
in relationship to God
finding ourselves in a true, honest relationship
with others, with our neighbor.

Think about it…
Over the five weeks of this message series, Lost and Found,
virtually all the examples of being lost that we've looked at
involve our relationship with those around us.

And we found that the first thing to do when we're lost
is to take our displaced, disoriented, unsettled, lonely selves
to God - in prayer and in faith.
When we're lost, the first thing to do
is to go to the One who's always searching us out,
seeking and finding any and all who want to be found,
who want to be in a solid, true, honest relationship
with God and with neighbor.

And how do find such relationships?
What does it look like? What would it feel like? 

Here are some questions that might help us:
On my list of priorities, what place does God enjoy?
If I want a relationship with God,
do I seek that out, make time for it -- every day?
What place, what time in my day do I set aside for prayer?
Am I living in God’s peace or in fear & anxiety?
Do I know that God desires only peace for me?
Do I have a thankful heart?
Do I sense God changing me?  Am I open to those changes?
Do I love others not just with emotion but in words and deeds? 
Do I sacrifice things I value to serve those around me?
Do I share the faith I have with others?

And sometimes it’s helpful to think about what something is
by considering what something isn't.

Being found is not about:
whether I go to church every week
and whether I follow all the rules
- although both those things are helpful.
Being found is not about being popular,
or having a lot of money,
or being successful,
or getting things “right,"
or whether I’m married or not,
or having my parents' approval
or getting an A on an exam,
or appearing to have my life all put together…

Think for a moment and recall any times
when you've experienced a real connection with God,
when you've experienced the joy
of someone's love and friendship,
when you've known the deep satisfaction
of putting others' needs ahead of your own…
These are all moments of being found, of finding oneself
in a solid, true, honest relationship with God and with others.
Really being found is living my life that way.

Our hearts were created by God who loves us,
who made us precisely to be in a loving relationship with him
- and with those around us, especially those in need.

We are tethered to our creator, whether we realize it or not
whether we accept that or not.
 And unless and until we find the peace
of being tethered to God and to others,
 we’ll continue to have that discomforting restlessness,
that sense of being lost.

St. Augustine put it well:
"Our hearts are restless, Lord, until they rest in you."
We might paraphrase that and say,
"Our lives are lost, Lord, until we find our life in you."

Faith is the journey that leads from being lost to being found.
And it doesn’t take a huge amount of faith
to move along on that path -
faith the size of a mustard seed will do

if I put my faith in God, in God who made me, who knows me,
who loves me and who desires to find me
and hold me as one of his own.

Being found is all about knowing who you are -
and more importantly - it begins with knowing whose you are.


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