Weekly Homily from Father Jim Hogan for March 16, 2014

•Genesis 12:1-4a • 2 Timothy 1:8b-10 • Matthew 17:1-9 2 Lent A’14•

Weekly Scripture Readings: Second Sunday in Lent

As Lent began last Sunday I asked a rhetorical question. “How shall we break the silence of God?” Since I do not believe God is silent, it would be more accurate for me to ask, “should we do something about our ability to listen?” Lent offers opportunity to do exactly that – awaken our ability to listen

Matthew is a good companion for us in Lent. He adds layer upon layer of imagery and theme to his gospel, inviting us to enter and live more and more deeply in the Christ Mystery.

The familiar story of the Transfiguration is one of those layers. That mountaintop experience demonstrates that God is not silent. The three disciples heard a voice tell them, “listen to him!”

So where do we listen for God? Everywhere! To illustrate that last Sunday, I concluded my homily with a verse from William Blake’s poem, “Auguries of Innocence.” —-

“To see a world in a Grain of Sand

And Heaven in a Wild Flower

Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand

And Eternity in an hour.”

This simple verse is poetic affirmation that we are standing on holy ground, standing in God’s presence. Recognizing this is a step forward in breaking the silence and awakening to the Christ Mystery.

This gospel text guides our Lenten sojourn. “The voice heard on the mountain — “listen to him,” is calling us to stop and be silent. Listen to the Holy One known to us through and in Jesus of Nazareth. I presume that like me, you are here in this assembly because you want to “listen to him!” Listening means integrating what I hear into my life. It implies obedience.

The culture of abundance in which we live enables us to learn and know many things! It also makes it difficult for us to really listen, to integrate what I hear into my life. As it pulls us out of ourselves, this culture of abundance easily deludes us into forgetting the great questions we carry in our hearts. We know what’s happening in the world around us. But of what benefit is all that knowledge if it does not open us to the ultimate mystery of life? The danger, and this is apparent in far too many of our peers, the danger is that abundance can make us incapable of loving. If we become incapable of loving, then we become less human and more like trained robots.

Christ’s message is clear. God is present and effectively working in us and in this world. The Holy One loves us, all of us, without condition. Love – connectedness — is our basic reality.

Once I hear that, really hear it deep in my soul, everything else in the teaching and life of Jesus makes sense. The focus and driving force of his life was building a more human world for all people. Jesus encountered many people and honored each one. Love motivated him to renounce all violence and everything that contributes to violence in any way. As we journey into Lent I simply remind you that Christ is both model and mentor of what we are called to become.

I know from the example of those who clearly “listen to him,” that the Glorified Christ calls me to be engaged in bringing about a more human way of living for all people. So this Lent I ask myself, “am I really “listening” to Christ?” I am in senior status and enjoy what seems to be a secure future. The residence in which I live is a cheerful refuge and I share it with many. I have access to clean water and nourishing food. I try to live out of the connectedness that is our basic reality. “Listening to Christ” leads me to examine myself. I don’t want to live a self-centered life while neglecting my duty of service to people in need. So I ask myself — am I living in a manner that honors and respects the connectedness, the love that is our basic reality?

I invite you to join me in asking similar questions of yourself. “Breaking the silence of God” is about listening and awakening to the Christ Mystery.

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3 Responses to Weekly Homily from Father Jim Hogan for March 16, 2014

  1. Lynne Newington says:

    I thought it was interesting when the three apostles said how good it was it was to “be there”, and they were going to build three places of homage, but God redirected them to His son and come back to earth and reality……

  2. Maryelyn Scholz says:

    Hmmm, since I have retired recently I guess I am “senior status” as well. So I have to start listening to Christ and remember my duty of service.. I really need to examine my commitment to those in need and less to my rest and relaxation. Thanks Jim, I needed that!!!

  3. Pauline says:

    The older I get (I’m now 69) the more problems I’ve been having with the whole “Jesus was put here on earth to SAVE us” doctrine that seems to be such a basic message we hear from many pulpits as RCs and Christians. This has been setting up a louder and louder discord in my soul as I age. So, I started voicing this to other RC members of the more open minded persuasion. I was introduced to the writings of Michael Morwood and just finished his book “It’s Time–Challenges to the Doctrine of the Faith.”
    So much of what Fr. Jim’s homily is about is reflected in Michael’s writings and in what resonates with my heart—-That we have that Divine presence within us and all around us and that listening is the critical skill we need to foster instead of looking for all the answers to our spiritual quests from some “higher authority” within the RC church. What if their message has been wrong about this distance between us and the Divine? How could I grow my spiritual life, from here on, with the knowledge and infused trust that there was never any separation? The Divine presence has been within me always. What difference will resonating with this belief make in how I life my life, the decisions I make, the ways I treat others, etc.? And will I continue to attend Mass in the weeks leading up to Holy Week, while I’m hearing the message about how Christ died to redeem me, when in my heart I’m coming to realize I never needed to be redeemed? Jesus became human to show us how to live as humans and got killed because the politicos of the time didn’t like his message. Am I likely to hear that in a homily? I’m not sure. Pauline

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