Saturday, October 7, 2017

Instruments of His Peace - Homily for the 27th Sunday in OT

On Wednesday of this past week, we celebrated the memorial of St. Francis of Assisi. Most children love him because of his love for animals. But my love for him is found in something he said-- he said, "We have been called to heal wounds, to unite what has fallen apart, and to bring home those who have lost their way."

That's lovely, isn't it?

Throughout this week, that word "healing" has been on my heart. The last time I had this on my heart, I preached about marriage and divorce. And as I started that homily, people thought I was going to preach about how divorce is bad and so on. But, instead, I simply acknowledged that there have been many people who have been hurt. Whoever's fault-- it hurt. And the point was to let everyone know that Jesus is here for them. And He doesn't condemn them; no, He still loves them and His mercy-- His mercy is going to see us through. And so I invited any divorced person who felt like they didn't belong to come and see me because Jesus' healing is for you.

That week, a woman in her 20s took me up on that offer. She was divorced. She had been through hell. She had left and she wondered whether God still loved her. She had pretty much given up. But we talked. And we cried. There was a remedy for her and there was great healing. It was beautiful.

So, I just want to say: if you are divorced and feel lost or that you don't have a place here, come to me and we can talk about it. Jesus is here to bring you healing.


Now, this healing, I know, is not only for the divorced.

My thoughts turned to the events in Las Vegas. We need healing here, too. Because we're scandalized at how a person could have done this. For the past week, we have heard and seen the stories, often grotesque, and they hurt us. We lose faith in humanity and sometimes we lose faith in God.

The words of our second reading immediately came to my mind:
Brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. ... Then the God of peace will be with you.
It is easy to focus on what is bad in the world, but we need to think about what is true and honorable and pure and lovely-- not because it puts our heads in the sand. No, it's because these things heal us.

Truth heals us. Thinking of what is honorable heals us. They are instruments of God's peace.

So, here's the truth: "where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more." That's the truth. And what that means is, as horrible as those events were last week, there was more grace than there was evil. Indeed, there was one or two men doing horrible things, but there were tens if not hundreds of people who were doing honorable things: people covering others and in effect sacrificing themselves for their friends. Nurses, doctors, officers, numerous Good Samaritans -- yes, dear friends, there were more saints made that day than there were devils.

Think about these things. Then the God of peace will be with you. He will heal us.


I think this is so important, because as we are healed, we can then turn and do what St. Francis said: that "We have been called to heal wounds, to unite what has fallen apart, and to bring home those who have lost their way." We become instruments of His peace.

And so I think of one more person. And I think this is the reason why the word "healing" has been on my heart this week. It's those who have been hurt by abortion.

Immediately, we may think of the woman. But I think of both parents. Both are affected. And maybe you felt trapped or were pressured or didn't know or were afraid. Jesus is here to bring you healing. Here's the thing: when Jesus was in the Garden at Gethsemane, He saw all of our sins. All of them. He saw all of them and He loved us anyway.

That's the truth. And do you know what is pure and gracious? That if we believe Him and receive His mercy, we will be reunited with our children. And they will forgive us too, because there are no grudges in heaven. Isn't that lovely?


Now, I know, as soon as the topic of abortion comes up, there are some who make arguments against the Church, about how we can't legislate morality, or about how our teaching burdens humanity with children born into poverty and is unfeeling to victims, as of rape, for example.

And I thought about addressing each one of these in one homily and perhaps some day in the near future I will. But, for now, I simply wish to offer the words of someone wiser and more loving than me: Mother Theresa. She who knew about healing and burdens and poverty, she who was deep in the trenches of it all. Here's what she says:
"I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child... And if we accept that a mother can kill her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? ... As always, we must persuade her with love and we remind ourselves that love means to be willing to give until it hurts. Jesus gave even His life to love us. So, the mother who is thinking of abortion, should be helped to love, that is, to give until it hurts her plans, or her free time, to respect the life of her child. The father of that child, whoever he is, must also [learn]" ... [But in abortion], the father is told that he does not have to take any responsibility at all. ... Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion."
In short: Abortion is not pure. It is not lovely. And this is the truth.

Think about these things and the God of peace will be with you.


"We have been called to heal wounds, to unite what has fallen apart, and to bring home those who have lost their way."

Therefore, whenever we speak of any of these issues-- divorce, current events, abortion-- let us "have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, ... make your requests known to God." Let us ask for His healing and then, in those words of St. Francis, become "instruments of His peace."

May this Sacrament of Charity so strengthen us. And may His peace be with us.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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