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10/09/16 Twenty Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Deacon Tony

Deacon Tony Conti

Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C, Cycle II
Lectionary: 144

  • There are three themes found in our readings today:
  • Healingan Awareness of the Presence of God… and Gratitude...
  • We’re all in need of healing throughout our lives... and at the same time, we’re all constantly being healed... Even if we don’t realize it…
  • Like St. Paul - We all have our “thorns in the flesh” that we deal with throughout our lives, whether they be physical, emotional, or spiritual...
  • Most of us have asked God for healing at one time or another in our lives, for various afflictions either for ourselves or for others...
  • But our healing, our transformation, contrary to the experiences of Naaman and the Lepers in the readings today… Most often occurs gradually… throughout our lives, until one day we come to realize that we’ve been changed in a fundamental way...
    • This revelation often comes to us unexpectedly, just as it did to the one leper who realized that he had been cured, and returned to Jesus to give thanks...
  • In order to enhance our awareness of God’s presence, we need to learn to see the world around us through God’s eyesThrough the eyes of faith...
  • When all we know… when all we focus our attention on are the things of this world… It’s very easy to become distracted… Like the nine lepers who failed to appreciate and give thanks for the miracle of healing that they received…
  • We’re all familiar with the dangers of distracted driving… But have we ever considered the dangers of distracted living?
  • Distracted living results from living “lives of distraction,” where we’re constantly filling the voids in our lives with endless activities, and mindless entertainment...
  • Distracted living yields no down time – Every moment must be filled with some type of activity – In essence – There’s simply no time and no room for God...
  • We’re all given a finite time on this earth, time to ultimately help us to find God in ourselves and in others...
    • Time to be healed and transformed into God’s image...
  • The question becomes – Will we ever slow down long enough to allow God to catch up to us?
  • Like the individuals cured in today’s readings – We’re either attentive to the miracles God is working in our lives, and take the time and effort to acknowledge them, and give thanks for them; or we can be oblivious, as were the nine lepers who were healed, and who missed the Messiah in their midst...
  • Just as we can wreck our automobiles through distracted driving, so too; can we wreck our lives through distracted living...
  • Gratitude results from an inherent awareness of God’s presence in our daily lives, and is the natural human response to God’s gift of unconditional love...
  • As long as we’re consumed solely by the business of this world… We’ll never know true peace and lasting contentment in this life…
  • Learning to cultivate an attitude of gratitude is the key to happiness...
  • Contentment and inner peace are found in gratitude...
  • Jesus’ message is so simple and so clear, yet at the same time, it’s so contrary to our conditioning and our broken human condition
  • Jesus invites us to be His co-workers – To help heal and free others from their brokenness by imitating Him, and by becoming His instruments...
  • Just as we can sometimes recognize our own need for healing, so too, we’re also called to recognize the need for healing in others and to become instruments of their healing
    • To become what Henri Nouwen referred to as “Wounded Healers...”
  • We accomplish this by showing others compassionforgivenessmercy… and love… (as best we can on any given day)…
  • We do this by being patient and understanding of others’ imperfections... as God is of ours
  • We do this by learning to try to see things differentlythrough the eyes of Christ
  • We all know that this can sometimes be difficult for us as we face difficult situations in life…
  • But it always comes down to how we perceive situations in our lives… Do we see only from our point of view… Or are we open to allowing Christ to help us to see though His eyesThere’s a world of difference
  • There’s a simple prayer from Marianne Williamson that can help us see situations in our lives differently: “God please help meHeal my mind.  Wherever my thoughts have strayed from love – if I’ve been controlling, manipulative, greedy, ambitious for myself – whatever it is, I’m willing to see this differently.” A Return to Love – Marianne Williamson (pg 25).
  • If we find ourselves lacking in gratitude and thanksgiving – Perhaps we should ask ourselves when was the last time that we loved unconditionally?...
  • If we want to practice loving unconditionally… If we want to be healers of the world around us… We can start with simple acts of kindness, and courtesy, and civility, for which we should expect nothing in return...
  • In developing these habits, we’ll slowly learn to table our agendas in favor of the needs of others...
  • And in doing so - We’ll begin to become more aware of God’s healing presence, and we’ll find within ourselves, gratitude and thanksgiving for God’s Grace, in allowing us to play a small part in His plan of salvation...
  • Understanding and internalizing these deep truths in our hearts is the beginning of wisdom, and the beginning of learning to see as God sees...
  • As Marianne Williamson writes: “As we relinquish the fears that block the love within us, we become God’s instrumentsWe become His miracle workers... We are simply asked to shift focus and to take on a more gentle perceptionThat’s all God needsJust one sincere surrendered moment, when love matters more than anything, and we know that nothing else really matters at all.  What He gives us in return for our openness to Him, is an outpouring of His power from deep within usWe are given His power to share with the world, to heal all wounds, (and) to awaken all hearts.”

A Return to Love – Marianne Williamson (pgs 67 & 62).

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