Friday, August 17, 2018 at 8:50 AM
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8/27/17 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time - Deacon Tony

Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 121

  • From today’s Gospel Jesus asks: “But who do you say that I am?”
  • This is a question that we must all answer for ourselves...
  • It's an important question, because how we see God determines everything in our faith lives and in our daily lives…...
  • Our faith isn’t about merely reciting creeds and professing belief in doctrines...
  • It's about how we relate to God in our hearts...
  • If our God is “angry and judgmental” it's a good bet that we may be too...
  • If our God is an “accountant god” who tallies-up all of our transgressions, it's a good bet that we may do the same both for ourselves and for others...
  • But if our God is like the Father in the parable of the Prodigal Son... Compassionate, merciful, and kind… It's a good bet that we are too...
  • You see: Imitation remains the sincerest form of flattery...
  • Whether we realize it or not; how we perceive God plays a dominant role in how we live our lives... 
  • But there’s more here…
  • What if we asked those around us the same question Jesus asked His disciples?
  • Who others think we are, often bears little resemblance to who we really are deep inside
  • Did we ever take the time to reflect upon who we really are?
  • I’m not referring to our titles, or our education, or our positions… Because they’re only temporary labels given to us by the world… 
  • What matters is who God made us to beOur true identity, which resides under all of the masks that we often wear in the world… 
  • Our true identity can only be found in and through God...  
  • Because only God can reveal to us who we truly are
  • Until we begin to reflect upon who we truly are and who we were meant to be by God, we will continue to be tossed about by the winds and whims of this world
  • If we don’t take the time to look deeply within ourselves, and examine the lives we’re living, we’ll continue to go through life living only on the surface... identifying ourselves only with the labels that the world has given us...
  • Only people who know who they truly are… are able to take stands in life and challenge the system…
  • Only people who know who they truly are… are able to exhibit courage in difficult situations…
  • Only people who know who they truly are, and Who they belong to, are able to follow their heart, instead of the crowd…
  • This is what our faith was meant for – To help us to find ourselves in God
  • To help us to live fuller more meaningful lives of purpose
  • Jesus came “That we might have life and have it more abundantly…” (John 10:10)
  • At the end of the day – No human being has all the answers…
  • The mystery of this life, the mystery of our faith is not meant to be solved but rather must be lived...
  • And this requires faithand faith begins with trust
  • Fr. Donald Cozzens observed: "Trusting is risky.  It demands the whole of ourselves . . . our mind, will, and heart.  But wholehearted trusting in the divine presence reveals the ancient wisdom in Rabbi Abraham Heschel’s teaching: “God is greater than religion” . . . and “faith is deeper than dogma.”"
  • We're here in this church today not merely to fulfill an obligation, but because we believe that there's much more to this life than we can possibly comprehend...
  • We're here in this church today because we’ve all, (at one time or another), asked that age old question: "Is this all there is?"...
  • Jesus came to show us that there’s much more to this life than meets the eye…
  • Jesus came to show us that life goes beyond the boundaries of this world… That the life given to us by the Father is eternal
  • Jesus came to help us see the bigger picture that this world often denies…
  • The bigger picture that reveals:
    • That our life in this world is temporary
    • That we are all eternal beings
    • And that we each belong to a loving and compassionate Father
  • When we can begin to appreciate who we really are in GodEverything changes
  • We find a freedom that we never had before…
  • A freedom not to do as we will, but to become who God made us to be
  • A freedom that reveals to us that we no longer need to be restricted by the labels that the world has given us
  • A freedom that allows us to become comfortable in our own skinJust as we arewithout apology
  • A freedom that we are all called to through Christ
  • This is a freedom that we were all meant to share, but is unfortunately all too rare in our world
  • Father Thomas Ryan wrote: “The Gospel of Christ is given to tell us what we have forgotten, and that is who we are.  In the spiritual life it is not a question of being told what to do, but of being reminded who we are. Only when we know who we are, will we see more clearly what we should doThe grace of repentance is not about turning around in order to become someone other than ourselves; rather, it is about turning around in order to be restored to what is deepest and best in usThe problem is not human nature, but our living at a distance from true human nature.” (Four Steps to Spiritual Freedom, Pg. 40).

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