Weekly Homily from Father Jim Hogan for October 6, 2013

| Habakkuk 1: 2-3, 2: 2-4 | 2 Timothy 1: 6-8, 13-14 | Luke 17: 5-10 | 27 Ordinary C’13 |

Scripture Readings: Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time 

Print PDF: Weekly Homily 10.06.2013

New Yorker Article:  The New Yorker _ Sep 09, 2013_The Return

“Everything I do has an effect on other people.”  You will find an example of this on the front page of the September issue of The Montana Catholic.  Because the president of Syria oppresses his people, a 10-year old Syrian boy works in a weapons factory for 10 hours every day except Friday. “Everything I do has an effect on other people!”

Jim Hogan4According to Luke, as his close companions began to understand what Jesus is about and what he was entrusting to them, they felt inadequate to the task.  He was leading them beyond the boundaries of their religion into a new vision of God and human life.

How do you feel when you hear — “Christ is calling you to love all people, including your perceived enemies, without condition?”  If you feel overwhelmed by that expectation, then you can understand why his close companions implored him, “Lord, increase our faith.” 

Most folks think faith is a source of comfort, or means believing in creeds, doctrines.  Not so!  Faith is trusting God will expand my ability to love every person in every circumstance and event.

“If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.”  Jesus was exaggerating to make a point.  Humans cannot throw trees around.  His point is that loving without condition makes the impossible possible!  Ponder that!  Loving without condition makes the impossible possible!

When Mary Magdalen experienced the Risen Christ she was bewildered and frightened.  The others dismissed her reports until they also experienced the Risen One.  For a time that early community was a small handful.  Soon they were 100, than 1,000, then 100,000.  Now twenty centuries later, the church numbers more than a billion people on five continents.

Those numbers, in themselves, are insignificant.  Our nation claims to be “Christian.”  What does that really mean?

I highly recommend an article in the September 9 issue of the New Yorker magazine.  The title of the essay is “THE MILITARY LIFE.”  It is not recreational reading but a serious essay about the traumatized veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan.  I recommend it because we are an extremely militarized nation and most of our citizens are abysmally ignorant about the implications.

“Support our troops” became our nation’s mantra as we sent two million of our young people off to Iraq and Afghanistan where they and multitudes of Iraqis and Afghans were traumatized by violence and death. Today the only echoes of that mantra are faded bumper stickers or posters!  Studies claim that between twenty and thirty percent of veterans returning from those two wars suffer post-traumatic-stress disorder.  If those studies are correct, roughly 500,000 of them are mentally and spiritually wounded. The majority of our “wounded warriors” probably claim the name “Christian.”  What does it mean to be “Christian?”  Perhaps as many as fifty percent self-identify as “Catholic.”  What does it mean to be “Catholic?”

The Risen Christ modeled for us what it means!  The Risen One is leading us into a new vision of God and human life.  He has entrusted us with a world-changing power.  It is the power of unconditional love!  For twenty centuries a few among us have demonstrated the power of such love to transform our disillusioned and weary world.  Christ empowers all of us to do the same. Neither a homily nor citizen initiative will free us of our national addiction to military power and violence.  However, in Christ all of us have been empowered by God to love without condition.  The essay in the New Yorker made me think that like his first companions who formed the post-resurrection community, I also need to implore, “Lord, increase my faith.”  So I pray, “help me trust that God will expand my ability to love.”  Unconditional love has the power to transform our disillusioned and weary world because “everything I do has an effect on other people!”

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3 Responses to Weekly Homily from Father Jim Hogan for October 6, 2013

  1. bud malby says:

    If someone can supply the link to the New York Times article referenced by Jim Hogan, THE MILITARY LIFE, I’d appreciate having it.

  2. bud malby says:

    Thanks Rosemary,
    For posting the article from New Yorker Magazine. One can’t really get the impact of this homily by Jim Hogan without reading it. Thanks, Jim, this is one of your most powerful talks, made more so by the illustration.

  3. Sheila Giesler says:

    My thanks to Jim for this powerful message. I’d read the homily yesterday, and the definition of “faith is trusting God will expand my ability to love every person in every circumstance and event” stayed with me and caused me to reread. This time I took time to read the New Yorker article. Bud Malby is correct in saying how this article adds to the impact of the message. Right now, I’m caught between my fears caused by my own inabilities, my lack of experience, and my desire to believe that such a faith and such a God exist.

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