Homily – 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

Homily – 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)
I am a pickup man. I won’t say whether I am a Ford, Chevy, or Dodge man because I wouldn’t want to alienate anyone for the rest of the homily. I love pickup’s. The only reason I don’t drive one is that I know that Texans, Pickups and snow don’t mix very well. But I have hopes of one day learning to drive one even in the snow so I can return to the trucks I love.
One thing I always joke about when I talk about owning trucks is that you never have a shortage of friends. While I owned my truck I would often get calls from “friends” to use it to move things. The phone would ring and it would be someone I hadn’t heard from in quite a while. After the obligatory chit chat I would hear the often repeated phrase “So were moving this weekend…” or “we just bought a ” do you think we can borrow your truck. Often times, being that I am a big guy they would extend the invitation to me to help them move as well.
Now I never once refused to help out my “friends” if I could help them. But I often did wonder about some of them. The only time I did hear from them seemed to be when something needed to be moved or they were in need of a truck. But one thing for sure is…. If you own a truck, you don’t have to wait terribly long periods of time for the phone to ring.
I think sometimes people treat God like he is a truck owner. They call him when they need him and not too many other times. Invariably he gets the prayer call, so God, how’s it going, I really need to talk to you more often but things get so busy, by the way can I get you to help me with ___________. Prayer time isn’t the priority it should be for us and we end up being poor “friends” to God. Our relationship is one of convenience rather than one of love. You know love right? Remember the first time you fell in love. You couldn’t wait to see your beloved, you would talk with them hours on end, you couldn’t wait to read that love letter that you saved and read over and over again, you would do anything to see them and it was agony if you couldn’t. Now granted that isn’t a mature love but you remember the feelings.
But mature love isn’t what many couples now a days experience either, long periods of no talking, being with the person is a burden or a nag, the spark has dimmed to a barely discernable glow. That isn’t love either.
I have had the privilege of seeing mature love in couples and it is pretty spectacular. It is what I would have hoped for if God had called me to marriage. A couple that enjoys being with each other, spending time in their presence. They still delight at their quiet times together. They too saved their love letters and still read them. It is a sacrificial love that has caused them to die to their own selfish desires for their beloved. I hope you have seen it as well. That is what we need to be shooting for in our relationship with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
Our readings today exhort us to perseverance in prayer and faithfulness in our relationship with God. The first reading clearly shows that we need God’s help to win the spiritual battle we fight on this earth. It also shows we need our friends and loved ones to help us, encourage us, and support us in staying faithful to our relationship with God. Our help is in the name of the Lord as the responsorial psalm is. But if our relationship isn’t more then we are simply using God for his truck or what he can give us.
Our second reading exhorts us to fidelity and faithfulness to God and especially faithfulness to the scriptures. I think one of the most terrible pains a person could experience is the infidelity of their spouse. I can’t imagine going through that and, as a priest, I have seen the terrible hurt it can cause. By virtue of our baptism we members of the Church, and the Church is the bride of Christ. How faithful are we to our Bridegroom Jesus Christ? What kind of marriage do we have with our spouse? Is it one that burns quickly only to fade to tediousness like the examples I mentioned above? Or is it one that is spectacular, where we love to spend time with our spouse, where sacrifice our own selfish desires for the betterment of the relationship and our beloved, where we still take delight in reading the love letters written to us long ago?
Our spouse is Jesus Christ and we are married to him by virtue of our baptism and that will never change. Only the way we view the marriage will change. Many people today have the mistaken notion that they will go to heaven no matter what because God will forgive them for anything, any infidelity they commit against their bridegroom. That is a serious error. If a priest or Catechism teacher ever taught you all people go to heaven they are wrong and I am sorry. Some people will go to hell. Why? Not because God stops loving them, but, because they stop loving God. Their marriage becomes tedious, nagging. They don’t like to spend time with their spouse Jesus Christ. Church becomes a burden. Being faithful to the Church becomes a burden, we want to do what we want and when we want it and our spouse doesn’t have any say. Prayer becomes a burden only to be used when we need something. Or we are constantly unfaithful to our bridegroom by sinning and never saying were sorry. No one would want to be stuck in that kind of marriage with that kind of spouse. And some of us ask for a divorce and those are the ones that go to hell. They think not being married looks better and they choose what C.S. Lewis called the great divorce. I encourage you to read that book if you never have.
We need to nurture our relationship with God daily through prayer and the reading of scripture. God wrote us many love letters long ago that still have relevance in our life. The second reading tells us they are useful for many things but we need them to be competent and equipped for good works. Not just anyone but one who belongs to God needs them. How many people in here have read the Bible? How many at least could honestly say they read the whole New Testament. If you haven’t then I would ask what are you waiting for? Is it too tedious? Do you not want to see what God wrote to you? Do you only listen to your spouse when you have to at Mass on Sunday’s? When is the last time you actually opened the Bible and read from it? Do you have one in your house? Do you know where it is? Does it have dust on it? Or is the does the spine barely have a crease in it? The Catholic Church teaches that Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ. You can’t love say you have a good marriage if you are ignorant of Christ. If you never speak to him. If you aren’t faithful to him and if you don’t read the letters that he died, literally died, to give you.
Prayer and scripture are the way we develop a solid, spectacular, love relationship with Christ. One thing I have learned as a priest, is that you really need to fight for them and as the second reading say be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient. Something will always come up that seems more immediate. But no thing will come up in your life that is more important. If we neglect reading scripture on our
In the end we will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ and our “marriage to him will be judged”. Some will seek a divorce. If you don’t love God here you won’t love him when you die. If you find the things of God a burden here then you won’t change your mind when you die. We need to love Christ here and now. We need to love spending time with him in prayer and reading God’s word. We need to fight for those times whether convenient or inconvenient. We need to sacrifice our own selfish desires for the betterment of the relationship. We need to do these things daily if we want to have a successful marriage to our bridegroom.
The good news is our bridegroom is always faithful to us and will forgive us if we choose to be faithful to the marriage. He will not abandon the marriage or seek to divorce us. No matter what has happened in the past we can always choose to be faithful. We can fall in love again. But we need to work at the marriage every single day if we want it to last. If we do not then it will end in divorce. What we choose now, every day of our lives, is what we will choose on our judgment day. A good marriage or a Divorce from our spouse. The choice is yours. Choose well.


One Response to “Homily – 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)”

  1. BrowniesBud Says:

    Fater Todd, Amen!!! It takes two to make a marriage. Sometimes I want the Church and God to do everything. Thank You

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