Friday, May 11, 2012

Dear Homilist

Dear Homilist,

I want you to tell me about Reality. Look into those readings and bring out for me what is most real, what connects these deepest realities to my life, or what can if I am open to it.

Colossians 2:17:  "Reality is found in Christ." By "that which is most real" I do not mean the concrete. I see these concrete realities. I live surrounded by them all the time. These are signs of things. They did not make themselves; they do not give themselves meaning. Ultimately, God is the Creator, and even though human beings do produce new things they themselves do not make themselves nor give themselves meaning. Reality is what comes from God alone and draws to God alone.

"Greater love has no man than this: that he lay down his life for his friends." Yes, a firefighter does this by running into a burning building to rescue a person and therefore we should pray for these heroes and be grateful for them. But the heart of the gospel is not to just admire some other schmuck somewhere who is actually doing what Jesus asked because, heck, I sure could never do that.

Dear Homilist, please teach me how to be "the firefighter" in reality. Teach me about prayer and fasting, teach me about witnessing to the work of God in my life, laying out for public consumption all that God has poured into me. Teach me how my spiritual offerings, in union with the grace of the Holy Spirit, pour out that love of which there is none greater -- the very love of God received by me and given again. That's what truly saves lives.

We have a mission. Jesus told us to make disciples and preach the gospel to every creature. I can't do that unless I learn about Reality, which is God's immense love poured out for me and through me for the salvation of souls. Dear Homilist, please take the mission seriously. It's your job to give us the equipment to save souls by handing on the Word of God, illuminated by the Paschal Mystery. The Word needs to go into your burning brazier of love, your heart, and be ministered unto our hearts like a lit coal touching other coals. Please, please, don't tell us to be nice. I can read a fortune cookie and get that. Stoke the fire of love in us, with all the sacrifice and risk and intentionality and selflessness and ardor (and everything else) that entails for our part.

We can all get caught up looking at mere shadows. Keep your eyes on Reality, and point us there.