Wednesday, October 10, 2018 at 10:29 AM
The link to Bishop Caggiano's Statement on Abuse Crisis is posted below. Join us for the Rosary Rally of Prayer for the Conversion of America on Saturday, October 13, 2018 at Noon on the lawn.

2/19/17 Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time - Deacon Tony

Deacon Tony Conti

Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 79

 

  • Our readings today call us to both holiness and to perfection… And we’re going to explore how both of these virtues are intimately related to the virtues of mercy & love
  • But before we talk about what holiness is – Perhaps we should talk about what it’s not
  • Holiness isn’t achieved through detachment from the world, nor is it intended as a way to elevate ourselves above others through acetism or other sacrifices designed to win God’s favor…
  • Holiness is all around us… It’s part of each of our lives… It’s just that we often don’t recognize it for what it is…
  • As paradoxical as it might seem - We’re in fact most holy and most Christ-likewhen we’re most human
  • When we can learn to be comfortable in our own skin… Just as we are – Not as we wish we could be…
  • God never asks us to be anyone other than who we already are
  • From today’s Gospel: “So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect."
  • This same parable dealing with Jesus’ discourse on love of one’s enemies, is also found in the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 6… But Jesus ends Luke’s version in a very different way
  • We can often misinterpret Mathew’s version of this teaching calling us to perfection… and this can have a dramatic impact on how we see our faith, and how live our lives…
  • St. Luke (6:36) ends this same teaching, with the words: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
  • What a difference... We may not be able to be perfect... But we have little excuse for not being merciful...
  • We’re all broken in many and varied ways, so how can God hold us to a state of perfection?
  • Perhaps the real issue here, is what we visualize as perfection in this life…
  • First we need to appreciate that there are two types of perfection… Physical perfection, and Spiritual perfection…
  • Physical perfection involves the material world… It generally involves how proficient we can become at some endeavor, or how we perceive someone or something in the physical world…
  • God calls each of us to develop and use our talents and our gifts to the fullest…
  • Striving for some form of physical perfection can be admirable; as long as we don’t take it to such extremes that we neglect or hurt others in the process of striving for excellence…
  • The perfection that Jesus calls us to however is “Spiritual” perfection…
  • What some might also call “holiness”…
  • If we see spiritual perfection as living a perfectly “sinless life”… then we’re bound to become frustrateddisheartened… and even be tempted to give up altogether
  • But is this really what Jesus is calling us to?
  • Someone once observed that holiness is not found in the absence of sin, but rather in the presence of God
  • Perhaps the same can be said of spiritual perfection
  • Spiritual perfection exists not in the absence of sin, but rather in the presence of God
  • Therefore in today’s Gospel, where Jesus calls us to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect… He’s really calling us to be merciful… That is: To love
  • Because when we’re merciful… When we choose to love - We imitate God Who is perfect
  • To strive for perfection in this life in any form, is a worthy goal… But to expect perfection from ourselves, or from others, is a cruel lie...
  • Someone once wrote: “True Christian holiness, and human wholeness, is precisely the freedom to see, own, and honor (our) dignity… that is intrinsic, unearned, and universal.
  • As long as we continue to depend upon our accomplishments and upon the love of the world to define our self-worth… As long as we continue to focus upon the world’s concept of physical perfection…  We will never be able to find true peace or happiness in this life...
  • God isn’t asking for our worship – He’s asking for our imitation...
  • And the most perfect imitation of God is to love...
  • We imitate God by being merciful… not by trying or pretending to be perfect or holy
  • You see – God already made us holy… By creating us in His image and by taking up residence in our hearts

 

  • In the book The Spirituality of Imperfection the authors wrote: “Spirituality begins with this first insight: We are all imperfect.  Such a vision not only invites but requires Tolerance: (an) active appreciation of the richness and variety of human beings on this earth, along with the understanding that we all struggle with the same demons, we all share the same fears and sorrows, (and) we all do the best we can with what we have.” (Pg. 199).

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