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06/12/16 - Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time - Deacon Tony

Deacon Tony Conti

Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time


  • From our second reading from St. Paul’s Letter to the Galatians: “I do not nullify the grace of God; for if justification comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing.
  • Put simply St. Paul’s telling us that – We’re justified by faith, not by works
  • Christianity is not a “Do it Yourself” faith… It is a “Come as you are faith…”
  • When we try to earn our salvation – We dishonor Christ
  • When we try to earn our salvation - In essence we attempt to become our own Savior
  • Good deeds, following the law, and developing a healthy willpower are all good things – But none of them in and of themselves will assure our entry into the Kingdom of God…
  • So where does this leave us?
  • It leaves us dependent upon God’s Grace
  • From The Letter to the Hebrews, (11:1): “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.”
  • Faith is first and foremost a gift from God
  • But like any gift – It must be freely accepted
  • Our salvation doesn’t hinge on our ability and strength to resist temptation – It hinges upon our FaithOur unshakeable belief in Christ – and in Our conviction of God’s deep love for us...

·         Richard Rohr once noted that “the opposite of faith is certainty...”

·         In our quest for certainty, many have lost their faith...

·         We need to re-examine our certainties, and leave room in our lives for mystery...

·         Faith is the ability to live in uncertainty, without fear...

·         Faith allows us to embrace the mystery that is our God, without trying to re-make God in our image, or fit God neatly into a “box” that we can define and explain...

·         Faith is the life preserver that keeps us afloat, in the sea of uncertainty that is life...

·         Bill Moyers observed that Faith helps us keep an open heart, and Reason helps us keep an open mind... Both are necessary for our journey home to God...

  • Faith is strengthened by practicing humility – By admitting to ourselves and to God that we don’t have all the answers, and that we need help and guidance to make it through this life…
  • Humility is never about weakness… It’s never about cultivating an attitude of low self-esteem… and it’s never about putting ourselves down
  • Humility is simply seeing and accepting ourselves just as we are… With all of our faults and all of our imperfections
  • Humility is the doorway to embracing what has been termed a Spirituality of Imperfection
  • Which acknowledges our inherent imperfections as a natural part of our human condition…


  • As one author notes: “God comes through the wound: Our very imperfections – what religion labels our ‘sins,’ what therapy calls our ‘sickness,’ what philosophy terms our ‘errors’ – are precisely what bring us closer to the reality that no matter how hard we try to deny it, we are not the ones in control here.  And this realization, inevitably and joyously, brings us closer to ‘God.’”   (Ernest Kurtz and Katherine Ketcham; The Spirituality of Imperfection, pg. 29).
  • It’s our brokenness and our imperfections that help us to appreciate our need for a savior in our lives
  • It’s our brokenness and our imperfections that help us to become more compassionate and merciful
  • It’s our brokenness and our imperfections that make us human
  • When we can finally come to see ourselves just as we are, without judgment, and without the need to try to fix ourselves… We can begin to learn to rely more and more on God’s GraceAnd this is ultimately how faith is born
  • Faith helps us to learn to trust more in God’s promises and less in our own strength
  • None of this means that we’re to sit back and watch life happen to us…
  • There are no substitutes for planning and hard work in this life… We’re each called to do what is in our power to better ourselves…
  • Perhaps the most practical advice was given by St. Ignatius of Loyola who said: “Work as if everything depended upon you… and Pray as if everything depended upon God…”


  • I’ll close with a quote from Brennan Manning from his book Ruthless Trust: “Ruthless Trust is an unerring sense way deep down, that beneath the surface agitation, boredom, and insecurity of life, it’s gonna be all right.  Ill winds may blow, more character defects may surface, sickness may visit, and friends will surely die; but a stubborn, irrefutable certainty persists that God is with us and loves us in our struggle to be faithful.  A nonratioinal, absolutely true intuition perdures that there is something unfathomably big in the universe, something that points to Someone Who is filled with peace and power, love and undreamed of creativitySomeone Who inevitably will reconcile all things in Himself.” (Pg. 180).
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