Homily Ė 3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time

Today I stand before you on my first Sunday as your pastor and I have an important message you need to hear. If you donít listen to another thing I say for the next few years I am with you, please hear this. Each and everyone of us here today was created for a Divine purpose and has infinite worth.
That is not some pithy phrase I toss out. It is not some warm fuzzy ďJesus Loves youĒ thing that I say to make you like me or because I want you to ďfeel goodĒ or because I donít have anything else to say. It is at the very heart of our existence. The devil doesnít want you to hear it, but He doesnít have the microphone and I donít work for him.
Lets walk through it. God is all powerful, all knowing, and all good. Hopefully everyone agrees with me up until this point, if not see me afterwards. God is all powerful. That means nothing happens that he canít control. That means when you were created you were not an accident. I donít care who tells you were; they are wrong or they are lying. You are a deliberate act of a God who could have done anything he wanted, but from all eternity he chose to create you. You have a purpose.
God is all knowing. That means that he knows why he made you. It wasnít a random act but a deliberate one. And he made you the way you are which means he didnít make a mistake. All of your strengths, all of your weaknesses, all of your gifts were planed by an infinite wisdom from all Eternity. If you donít like who you are, you either think God is wrong or you donít know who you really are. I can tell you right now God isnít wrong.
God is all Good. He does not create evil. He does not create bad things. He creates perfection. We are the ones that mess it up. He created you and that means that his perfect, infallible and deliberate plan includes you. If you choose to work according to Godís plan then you are a part of that perfection. If you choose not to, then you are a part of messing perfection up.
An Infinitely powerful, infinitely loving and good, infallible God, from all eternity had a perfect plan and that plan includes you. You are not a mistake. You are not a random act and you were created for truth, goodness, beauty and love. That is what you are worth as a person. That is what it means to have the dignity of a human person. Anybody who tells you different is a liar.
So Father Todd, what does this have to do with the readings? We look first to the second reading. Very clearly we see here that in Godís plan we each have a part to play. A unique part, but one that works together with every other part of Godís plan to form the perfect Body of Christ. It is much more than a simple analogy St. Paul uses. It is a profound truth. It is also a truth that is hard to accept for many modern ears.
We live in the age of cookie cutter houses, mass production and culture constantly telling us we need to conform to societies expectations and values. We Americans are especially sensitive to differences among people. We donít like to say someone is different. We think all men were created equal. It is true that all of us have equal dignity in the eyes of God. Every single one of us is a part of perfection. But it isnít true that we all have the same gifts. It isnít true that we all have the same callings. It isnít true that we all play the same role in Godís plan. It isnít true that we all get to pick the role that we play. Our role has been chosen for us by an All powerful, all knowing, all good and all loving God. We have different but complementary roles. As St. Paul says if we were all an eye, where would the hearing be.
God in His wisdom has called each of us from all eternity to play a role in his plan. We can choose to answer that call or we can refuse. But the call is still there and that call is our Vocation. Vocation comes from the Latin verb Vocare which means to call. Each and everyone one of us has a vocation, that is, a call from God. If we choose to answer that vocation, then we become a part of perfection.
Many people, however are tempted to dictate to God what their vocation is. Rather than ask God what he would like of them, what part they have to play in perfection, they would rather tell him. They say: I am going to be this; I am going to do that; I want to develop this gift; I donít like this about myself; I should be playing this role in his plan; I should lead, not serve. This last one is the same answer that Satan gave when he fell from grace. I will not serve, I will command.
Godís plan for us is for our happiness and our perfection. If we want perfection and happiness then we need to answer our call. Each one of us has a part to play. If we are an ear we shouldnít try to be an eye. The way that God made us is the only way we can be happy. We shouldnít fight against it, rather we should surrender to it. The only way we can do that is if we ask God what he wants, we listen for the answer, and we do what he asks. This is the key to our happiness.
The realization of this truth is what causes the Israelites to weep when the law is read to them. After a long exile from the promised land they were freed from the captivity and the Word of God was proclaimed to them again. They wept at its beauty. The wept because they had experienced first hand the fruits of breaking a covenant with God. They had disobeyed Godís word and experienced the fruit of their choice. When we refuse Godís plan for our happiness then we to become captives to our sin. Our lives are impoverished and we are blinded to the only Eternal truth that can make us free.
These are the truths proclaimed in the Gospel. Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of these promises. It is he who frees us from our slavery to sin. It is he who will open our eyes blinded by sin. He will end our captivity and poverty. He is the Word made flesh that came to dwell among us. He is the Word that calls us to our true vocation. He is our perfection and happiness, if, we choose to surrender our lives to his will and let them be transformed. If, we choose to listen to that word. Not a passive listening, but a listening like that of the Israelites. That is an active listening, anxious for Godís law, and anxious to obey it.
Every Sunday we come here and hear the Word of God proclaimed to us. Do we listen attentively, or do we daydream. Do we try to hear Godís call for us in the scriptures, or do we let them go in one ear and out the other. Every time the Gospel is proclaimed we should listen as if God is speaking just to us. Why? Because he is. He is speaking to us individually but we can only hear is voice if we are attentive and seek to know what he asks of us. Do we ask him what he wants of us or do we tell him what we want of him? Who is the King and who is the servant? Perhaps we refuse to serve.
Every Sunday we come to church and we receive in the Eucharist the true Word of God made flesh. We receive his very flesh and blood that gives us the life he promised. Do we receive it casually or are we aware of what we are receiving and do we show proper reverence?
If we want perfection and happiness we must answer Godís call and not our own. If we want to do that we must know what that vocation is. To know Godís call we must actively seek it everyday of our lives but especially in the Mass. The Giver is God and he never gives less than perfection. We just need to choose whether or not we will receive it from him. We choose whether we weep with grief or whether we weep with joy at the law. We choose whether we respond to what God calls us to or if we choose to ignore him and pass the hour thinking of other things. Ultimately the call is there. I know what my choice is. I choose to answer the call and to attentively seek Godís will for my life. The Question I lay before you is what will your choice be? The choice is yours. Choose well.

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