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07/03/16 Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Deacon Tony

Deacon Tony Conti

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
 

  • St. Paul tells us in our second reading that through the Cross of Christ – He has become a new creation
  • St. Paul is reminding us of the age old adage “to be in but not of the world”… But how is this done?
  • Until God becomes real to us… The gospel can remain just another intellectual concept to be considered among many others…
  • In order for God to become real to us… and to enter into our hearts more deeply, we literally need to hunger for a new way of living…
  • We need to be willing to let down our defenses
  • We need to be willing to allow ourselves to be more vulnerable
  • And we need to admit to ourselves, perhaps for the very first time, that we’re not in complete control of our lives
  • All of this takes great courage
  • Only those who know that they are not alone can act with great courage…
  • Only those who can acknowledge a Creator greater than themselves, can draw upon that strength that eye cannot see
  • Only those who clearly see their place in the universe in relation to God can achieve the fullness of their humanity and become more than they ever imagined possible
  • It’s our busyness that keeps God from more fully entering our hearts and our lives
  • In today’s world, people are often more interested in what we’re doing, rather than how we’re doing…
  • Rabbi Joshua Heschel wrote: “Just to be is blessing… Just to live is Holy…”
  • We need to learn to be secure in knowing who we are and Whose we are
  • The world will try to label us, and categorize us, and tell us what we’re capable of
  • We need to remember that Jesus didn’t listen to the world… Rather – He overcame the world
  • There’s one great truth that Jesus knew that we must never forget
  •  Everything and everyone will eventually yield to the power of love
  • Instead of following the world - We’re called to follow our hearts… To follow your consciences… To follow God’s calling for our lives
  • God always makes the first move… We do none of this on our own strength…
  • But God will not move at our frenetic pace… We need to slow down to meet Him
  • We’re all in need of being made new throughout our lives… but it’s often a slow and sometimes painful process
  • Jesus told us in the Gospel of John (12:24) “Amen, amen I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but of it dies, it produces much fruit.”
  • Father Ronald Rollheiser notes in his book, The Holy Longing… that the very basis of our Catholic Faith is the Paschal Mystery – The Dying and Rising of Christ, the Lamb of God...
  • Through the Paschal Mystery, we’re each transformed little by little into the Image of the Risen Christ...
  • We’re each called to constantly die and rise throughout our lives… to face our own passions… and our own Good Friday’s… which eventually lead to our own Easter Sunday’s
  • All of this is necessary if we’re to grow as Christians
  • Our ongoing process of sanctification, our ongoing process of transformation, is the story of the Paschal Mystery in our own lives, and it’s a lifelong process...
  • It’s through this process of constantly dying and rising that we’re formed into a new creation in and through Christ…
  • We can only ‘Cooperate’ with our sanctification; it’s not something that we can do on our own... it’s not something that we can speed up… and it’s not something that we can avoid
    • We can only remain open to God’s Grace working in us daily...
  • Our entire faith journey rests upon one non-negotiable principleThe principle of forgiveness
  • God’s forgiveness and our forgiveness…
  • God has no difficulty forgiving, because mercy demands forgiveness… but for human beings… it’s not so easy
  • We tend to hold onto hurts, and to sometimes to even savor them
  • We often hold forgiveness hostage both for ourselves and others
  • Exercising forgiveness is the most effective way to imitate God…
  • We will never be able to live on this earth in peace until we can learn to forgive
  • Christ offers us a new way of seeing… a new way of living… a new way of beingBut we must make the choice… Because Love must always be freely chosen, and can never be forced
  • Father Henri Nouwen wrote: “’Being in the world without being of the world.’  These words summarize well the way Jesus speaks of the Spiritual life.  It is a life in which we are totally transformed by the Spirit of love.  Yet it is a life in which everything seems to remain the same… What is new is that we have moved from the many things to the Kingdom of God.  What is new is that we are set free from the compulsions of our world and have set our hearts on the only necessary thingWhat is new is that we no longer experience the many things, people, and events as endless causes for worry, but begin to experience them as the rich variety of ways in which God makes His presence known to us.” (Making All Things New; Pgs 56-57)

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