Weekly Homily from Father Jim Hogan for June 9, 2013

• 1 Kings 17:17-24 • Galatians 1:11-19 • Luke 7:11-17 • 10 Ordinary C ‘13 • 

Print PDF: Weekly Homily 06.09.2013

Scripture Readings:  Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Jim Hogan3The gospel text today reminds us that children die.  We are fortunate that in recent decades vaccines, clean water and better nutrition have lowered general mortality rates.  However violence still prowls our planet.  Children die.  Mothers weep.

Jesus saw the weeping mother.  He went to her.  He comforted her.  Then he handed the child back to her.  Luke employs this narrative to define the life and work of Jesus.

Luke wanted his Jewish community to associate all Jesus of Nazareth said and did with the coming of “the reign or kingdom of God.”  He wants his readers to know Jesus is God’s anointed one in whom “God’s new reality” has burst forth among us

Jesus was a faithful Jew and spoke frequently with anticipation about “the reign of God” – that messianic era when God will restore the disadvantaged of our world. Unlike his peers he freely touched the dead because he trusted God’s creative love would free us of death’s grasp.  He trusted death cannot be permanent and need not be feared. “The reign of God” – an era of transformation burst forth in him; God was and is restoring the original blessing of creation.

To understand this, please consider with me the five verses following the gospel proclaimed here today.  In those verses Luke tells us John the Baptist sent two of his disciples to ask Jesus, “are you the one to come?

Jesus responded, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.”

It is clear from this text that Jesus was deeply sensitive to the misery around him.  His deep sensitivity also provides us a glimpse of what the Gracious Mystery we name God is like.  God is not some abstract being in a place called heaven, separate from the cosmos.  “God is love,” the love-energy expressing self in, through, and with the entire cosmic reality.

However, if Jesus is the Christ, and if the messianic age has burst forth among us, why do children still die violent deaths?  Why do mothers still cry? Why does life remain under threat on a global scale?

Perhaps it is because we have not yet understood what it means to believe “God is love.” Perhaps it is because we have not yet understood what it means to believe all life is sacred.

When children die and mothers weep, we grieve and lament, we have prayer services, and we put up memorials.   We do this when our children die and our mothers weep!  But we seem far less sensitive when our drones and missiles fall from the sky on other lands and other peoples.  When someone else’s child dies, and someone else’s mother weeps, we sedate our hearts, cook dinner and watch the sports channel.

Jesus was fully human.  He was sensitive to the misery around him. When he sees a mother weep over the death of her son, he does not ignore it.  He does not quietly resume living.  He reacts by coming close to her sorrow.  He reaches out to her as a brother, friend, and sower of peace and life. In him we see that God is not some abstract being in a place called heaven, separate from the cosmos. “God is love,” the love-energy expressing self in, through, and with the entire cosmic reality.

In this world where violence is still rampant, where children die and mothers weep, Luke invites us to imitate Christ.  We see in him that to be human is to be sensitive to the suffering of others.  As we become more like Christ, our sensitivity increases, God’s new reality emerges and surprise — the drones and the missiles, the death and the weeping will cease!

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4 Responses to Weekly Homily from Father Jim Hogan for June 9, 2013

  1. I can understand what Father Hogan is saying in this homily, but he did not clearly explain why God allows this violence to exist so often, particularly in places like the Middle East where so many innocent children and people die almost daily. And how about the shooting of 26 school children in the US recently. Why would such violence occur all of a sudden? We as Christians with children and grand-children can empathize with those occurrences, but all we can do is pray for the families who suffer the pain of losing a loved one. Death is a very personal thing. No matter how much an individual would say or feel about the loss of someone, he/she cannot share the pain or sorrow experienced by the victim’s family. I wish Father Hogan can elucidate further why God would allow these events to happen.

    • Rosemary says:

      Cesar, As Father Jim said in his homily… “Perhaps it is because we have not yet understood what it means to believe “God is love.” Perhaps it is because we have not yet understood what it means to believe all life is sacred.”

      God does not allow these things to happen. We have free will. We make choices. We humans allow these things to happen. We cannot seem to pass legislation that will curb or curtail the sale of guns even though the majority of Americans supposedly support such laws. We continue to wage wars even though the majority of Americans supposedly support the end of wars. We still have prisoners incarcerated at Guantanamo Bay after all these years. It’s up to us to end the violence and “bring about the reign of God”. If we follow in the steps of Jesus and allow his life to be our model perhaps we can begin to make those changes that we as Christians say we support.

  2. And it is through shared grief that we truly connect/bond with each other. Loss and Suffering are a normal part of life’s journey and it is through the Love and Compassion lived and preached by Jesus that we become one with each other.

  3. Thanks for mitigating my fears about the frequent occurrences of violence among the innocent children and others who suffer almost daily in the arena of conflict. While it is difficult to follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ and to believe in His love for all mankind, even those who do not have any respect for human life, I must learn to accept that pain and suffering are integrated in our life on earth, and everyone should learn to accept these events, hoping that the reward and punishment will occur in the next life.

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