12th Ordinary Sunday (Note & Bulletin)

One of the most difficult days of my year is interview day for new staff members at Camp Ekon, the Jesuit summer camp for children.  We always have more applicants than positions, and, as seventeen year olds, they are all filled with enthusiasm for camp and desperate to be able to work there.  In selecting people we of course consider the gifts that they bring, such as, will they fit into the staff community, do they have any special qualifications for any special activity, and will they be a good leader of their peers and of the children?  We also want to make sure that the personalities on staff are somewhat different.  As you know summer camp is very extroverted, it’s loud and full of fun.  But we realize that not every person is extroverted and loud, some children are introverted and quiet and so we make sure that we hire a couple of introverts that can better relate to the quiet kids.  On the surface being introverted and quiet is not a plus to be a camp counsellor.  Even though it’s not a plus on the surface it is definitely needed and in fact enhances how the staff can care for the children.  

What this tells us then is that our weaknesses, or those areas where we have fear, is not such a big deal to God.  We most often think that our weaknesses, our fears and our imperfections limit and even, perhaps, prevent our participation with Christ in proclaiming God’s Kingdom.  We may say to ourselves ‘he or she is more gifted and so more able to help God.’ We may say that ‘he or she does not seem to have as much struggle in their life, therefore they are more free to help God.’ And so we can see ourselves as a disappointment, as being inadequate to assist God in His word. While those thoughts and feelings may be understandable, are they not a foolish lie?  I think they are both foolish and a lie because in this coming week we will celebrate the Solemnity of St Peter and St Paul.  It is true that St Peter was the first to identify the Lord as “the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  And it is true that as an older man he would give his life for Christ.  It is also true, however, that St Peter did not always seem to understand what Christ was saying or doing, nor was he always faithful –remember his denials.  As for St Paul, we know that he was a persecutor of the early Church, he was even present when St Stephen was martyred.  It seems then, like ourselves, that these saints also had weaknesses and imperfections.  Yet we would never say that their weaknesses and imperfections then excluded them from loving God, being loved by God, and serving God.  And if it’s true for them, can it not also be true for us?

This past week we celebrated the Feast of the Sacred Heart.  This is one of my most favourite devotions in the Church, especially because of the statue that is associated with it.  With the statue of the Sacred Heart we often see Christ’s heart enflamed with his arms open.  The Lord’s heart is burning with love for each of us and his arms are open to embrace us.  I can sit in front of the Sacred Heart and wonder if his heart burns for me and his arms are open to me.  Not wanting to be rejected, I can hesitate, I can just sit there.  But we never have to be afraid of rejection by God.  The Lord has shown us with his every word and action that we are always loved by Him, and no thing can ever change that.  The witness of St Peter and St Paul makes this clear for us.  Like them we have our weaknesses and we have our imperfections, but what is singularly important is that His heart burns for you and His arms are grasping to embrace you.  And so, let’s take a big step together, like St Peter and St Paul, let us be loved by His heart, and embraced and held by His hands.

God Bless, and Take Care!

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