There are a couple of typos but if I waited to fix them I wouldn’t get it up. Going fishing tomorrow for the Bishop’s tournament. Should be interesting since I haven’t fished (other than deep sea fishing) in about 10-15 years.
Homily Ė 13th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Year C)
All three of todayís scripture readings deal with Godís call for our lives and how we respond to that call. In latin the verb call is vocare. It is from here we get the word vocation. Vocation is the word that means Godís call for our lives, and each of us has a vocation. In fact we each have at least three:
Every single person has a personal vocation. That is that they were called forth from non-existence for a reason. Each person has a purpose. Nobody is an accident and there is no such thing as an unplanned pregnancy. In Godís plan each of us has a place and a purpose. That purpose is what gives us dignity.
God is all knowing, all powerful and all good. I think there would be few arguments from anyone in this parish on that. Letís look at each one individually.
God is all knowing. What this means is he knows everything that is and he is always right. So in his plan for us he knew every possibility that could happen and he chose to create us. That means that no human being is a mistake. To argue that you would have to say God was wrong. He isnít. To say that someone shouldnít exist is to question Godís Wisdom and Knowledge. To do so is stupid and arrogant. God knew what he was doing when he made you and he made you the way you are. Even in your deepest moments of self doubt and pain, when you think you are no good and should have never been born, remember then that God disagrees with you and he is always right. You are not a mistake.
The next one is that God is all powerful. Very simply put he could have made you anyway he wanted to and he still made you the way you are. Many times we think of good ideas but donít have the power to make them happen. This isnít the case for God. He thought of a perfect plan that included you the way you are and he made you the way you are. His knowledge wasnít limited by his power. Whenever someone doubts your worth, or questions your gifts, or even if you doubt your worth or question your gifts, know that God doesnít. He planned you and he made you. He could have done it different but he didnít. Anyone who tells you different is doing the work of Satan the Father of lies.
The third is that God is all good. God is incapable of doing something imperfectly. His nature is that he is all Good. No imperfections exist. Therefore the will of God is perfect. In his perfect goodness, in his perfect knowledge, he decided you should exist and because he is all powerful he brought you into being. You are a part of perfection if you choose to work according to Godís plan. Anyone who tells you different is a misinformed or a liar.
Godís plan that called you forth from nothingness includes a purpose for your life. All of us that are baptized share a universal call as well as a specific one. Our universal call is to holiness. At baptism we each have the Divine life of the Trinity come to dwell in us. It gives us rights, but also responsibilities. It means we are called to love God above all else. We are called to love our neighbor as our self. We are called to practice the faith handed on to us by the Apostles. We are called to keep Godís commands. We are called to deny ourselves, take up our cross daily and follow Christ. Each one of us is called to Holiness without conditions, terms or stipulations and we are called to that Holiness daily. That is the call we share in common by virtue of our baptism. It is the reason for which we were created.
That holiness is lived out in different ways, each according to our specific vocation. He is to preach and to teach. The priest is called to be a shepherd and to order and govern the Church of God in union with his Bishop and the pope. The religious is to be a witness to the world that this world is not our home and higher things away. The laity have their own unique call and purpose as well. They are called to sanctify the temporal order; That is those things having to do with time. All the things of this earth are supposed to be ordered and made holy and bring glory to God. This job belongs specifically to the laity as their call from God. That is why faith can not be divorced from daily life. In fact the call of the laity is to take that faith life into a Godless world and transform it, sanctify it, and order it back to God.
Our purpose, our vocation is not ours to choose. We cannot tell God why he created us. Our purpose and call from God was set before we were ever created. We can discover it and live according to it or we can rebel against it. The surprising and dangerous thing is that many do not even ask God what he wants them to do with their lives. Rather they tell him. I am going to be this. I am going to do that. We want to be the masters of our lives. We want to define our meaning and purpose. We donít want to be told what we are. We think we are all knowing, all powerful, and all good. We argue with God about what is best, we argue about what is good, we argue about who has the power to decide. If we choose rebellion then we choose slavery to a lesser good rather than for the perfect purpose for which we were created.
This is what our second reading speaks about. Stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery. You were called to freedomÖ but do not use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh. Galatians speaks of the war between the flesh and the spirit. That is Godís spirit living in us and our flesh. And the scripture says that the flesh has desires against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh; they are opposed to each other so that you may not do what you want.
We are all faced with a decision. We can live according to the purpose for which God created us or we can live according to our own purpose and desires. To live according to Godís law and spirit brings us freedom for he is all knowing, all powerful and all good. To live according to our own flesh and desires that are in contradiction to Godís law means that we choose slavery because we are not all knowing, all powerful and all good.
Two of the three men in the Gospel today heard Godís call and started to answer but set conditions. Jesus refused their conditions. He wants us unconditionally. If he allowed us to set conditions then he would have to allow imperfections and he calls us to perfection and will accept nothing less. Our purpose and our response if we wish to be free and happy must be like that of Elisha. We must leave everything, and give away all if it is required of us in order to follow God. We cannot set the hand to the plow and look to what was left behind. Only if we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and his will for our life will we be able to answer his perfect call for our lives.
If you truly want to be happy then you must find a quiet place and ask God what he wants you to do with your life. This must be a daily question we ask. What is your will for me? If his will is perfect why would we want anything else? If he is all knowing, all powerful and all good, and we are not, why would we not ask him and just do what we think is best. You were created for a purpose and can be a part of a plan for perfection or you can choose to reject that plan and follow your own. You must decide. Freedom or slavery; Godís will or your will, Spirit or flesh? The choice is yours. Choose well.