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070719 Fourteenth Sunday In Ordinary Time - Deacon Tony

Deacon Tony Conti

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 102

  • From our second reading: “For neither does circumcision mean anything, nor does uncircumcision, but only a new creation.”
  • The pressures of daily life, the setbacks we experience, and the realities of sin in the world can deform us into someone that we were never meant to be
  • Our spirit can sometimes be crushed by the world but it can never be destroyed...
  • The Spirit within us is always able to be renewed by God if we allow Him...
  • St. Paul tells us that what really matters in the spiritual life is that we allow God’s Grace to remake us into a new creation… not just once but over and over throughout our lives…
  • From the Book of Revelation (21:5) – “The one who sat in the throne said ‘Behold I make all things new.’”
  • Everything and everyone on this earth is in a constant state of change... time takes its toll on all created things whether we like to admit it or not...
  • Yet God tells us that He is able to make all things new... How can this be? 
  • God is speaking of our Spirit... our soul... which is the source of the very life within us…
  • Although our mortal bodies are subject to the effects of time - Our Spirit doesn’t degrade unless we allow it to...
  • Unless we choose to give up on life and give up on God... Unless we choose to give up on hope and settle instead for despair...
  • God offers us new life each day... He offers us a renewed Spirit each day... but we must be ready and willing to accept it...
  • Our Spirit is intended to grow in wisdom and grace as we age...
  • Unless we can come to believe in something and someone bigger than us, we’re doomed to living a shallow existence of passing fancies and a never ending search for meaning…
  • St. Paul famously said in 1st Corinthians (15:19) – “If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are the most pitiable people of all.”
  • The world defines everything in terms of either winning or losing…
  • We see it in our sports teams, in our politics, in our corporate environments… even in our schools…
  • This mindset is based upon a belief in scarcity… it’s based upon the fallacy that that there’s only so much to go around… so you better get yours before it’s too late…
  • When we define everything in life from a winning and losing perspective we narrow ourselves into an “us and them” world where only the strong survive...
  • This type of thinking dampens and crushes the spirit within us because it’s in direct conflict with the teachings of Jesus and what we know in our hearts to be right and just…
  • Life is not about winning and losing... It’s about learning to live so that all people may fulfill their purpose in the world...
  • Success should never be declared at the expense of another...
  • We cannot advance in life by putting people down... we can only advance by pulling people up...
  • This is the contradiction of Christianity that many are unable to fathom… including many who call themselves Christian... 
  • We’re called to succeed in life through our own efforts and merit... not through the diminishment of others...
  • Without a greater perspective on life... without a constant renewal of our spirit… the world will inevitably wear us down...
  • Our world is not inherently evil… but it’s often misled and misleading
  • Our physical mortality can be a gift if we allow it...
  • The fact that we will all one day leave this earth should help ground us in those things that really matter in life...
  • It should ground us in valuing those things that endure the test of time..
  • When we choose love over fear… When we choose to see the greater good, over the presence of evilwe allow God to renew and strengthen the spirit within us
  • I recently read a story of a young woman who spent the last three years travelling around the country documenting acts of kindness
  • She decided to do this to honor her mother’s legacy after she had passed away…
  • She remembered her mother’s words after the shooting at Sandy Hook… She said: “I’d been feeling terribly sad about it, and her mother told her: ‘Mary, there are always going to be tragedies in the world, but there will always be more good. – you just have to look for it.” (“This woman has been on a three-year road trip documenting acts of kindness”; The Washington Post, June 24, 2019)…
  • Our problem is often that we spend little or no time looking for the good
  • We refresh and renew our spirit by focusing on the good: The good in the world… the good in ourselves… and the good in others
  • Jesus states twice in today’s Gospel... “The Kingdom of God is at hand...”
  • We’re called to become “New Creations” – and we do so by constantly seeking the Kingdom of God within us and within others
  • Small acts of kindness, small acts of faithfulness, small acts of nobleness, small acts of selflessness... renew and refresh the spirit within us and reveal the kingdom of God not only to us but to the world around us as well...
  • We need to begin to realize that Faithfulness to the work that God has given us, and Gratitude for His daily gift of life are the highest forms of worship...
  • What we focus on in life determines how we will live, and how our lives will impact others…
  • What we focus on in life either strengthens or weakens the spirit within us…
  • What we focus on in life determines our destiny…
  • I’ll close with the wisdom of St. Paul in his letter to the Philippians (4:8-9) – “Finally brothers, (and sisters) whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.  Keep on doing what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me.  Then the God of peace will be with you.”

 

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