33rd Sunday (Note & Bulletin)

When my parents were growing up it was common for people to think that our world was always getting better, and that they would enjoy a higher quality of life than their parents.  By the time I came around such a “positive” idea was breaking apart.  When we look at our world it sometimes seems as if humanity hasn’t learned much, that we can be as cruel, violent, unjust and unloving as at any time.  As believers we want a world in which we can concretely identify the presence and providence of God.  Like the people in the Gospel, who were looking at the Temple and speaking about “how it was adorned with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God,” we naturally want evidence that our God possesses a power that fixes all things and makes all things right.  And when our world and our lives do not seem to be marked by this power, it is equally natural for us to wonder about God’s presence. 

Our difficulty as Christians is that our God, out of love, has emptied himself.  God has made himself poor and weak, in a way, so that we may be strong with the knowledge of his love.  God’s presence and providence that we so desire is not primarily to be found in institutions, buildings, or even a physical world.  It is to be found within the human heart.  The Kingdom of God is within! Christians do not live on the surface.  Rather we are invited to live with the profound depth of God’s loving whisper in our hearts. “Buildings with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God,” efficiently run church programs or even lives that are ordered and disciplined, are not the prize we seek. Like the God we adore, who emptied himself, we too are invited to empty ourselves of what we think are signs of strength.  Buildings fall down, programs become irrelevant, and our lives quickly become a mess, and yet the voice of God remains in our hearts.  With Christ the temple is no longer a structure of riches, God’s temple is each of us.  Beauty is not found in stones or efficiency.  Beauty is found in the face of every person.

I remember a few years back, a photo made the rounds in the news, it showed Pope Francis embracing and kissing a terribly disfigured man.  The image can be helpful for us.  It may be hard for me to think of myself as God’s temple.  I can think of my heart and spirit as being terribly disfigured, but do we have a faith that gives us a courage to allow God to embrace and kiss us?  Our God emptied himself so that we may be filled, that we may be filled with the healing balm of his love.

If our world is to improve, becoming more just, more gentle and more loving, we must have a courageous faith that allows ourselves to be filled with God, no matter how worthy or unworthy we feel ourselves to be.  The signs of the coming of God’s Kingdom are marked by the depth of our acceptance of God’s gift of love.  The Psalm reads, “let the hills sing together for joy at the presence of the Lord.”  What is the joyful song that our God so longs to hear?  It is our “yes.”  Beauty is not found in stones or efficiency.  Beauty is found in the face of every person. God comes to embrace and kiss, God comes to love.  We are his temple, please, let us say “yes.”

God Bless & Take Care!

 

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Weekly Parish Bulletin417.92 KB

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