Sunday, August 18, 2019

Fr. Kuller – Radio Mass Homily
August 18, 2019 – 20th Sunday Ordinary Time

Our Readings, today, remind us that our world and our experience on the surface are anything but smooth sailing. The prophet Jeremiah must have annoyed a fair number of people to end up in the cistern. The letter to the Hebrews and our gospel tell us that adversity of all sorts is what we face as we witness our faith and show how we are trusting of a God who is faithful to us despite that harmony and comfort do not always prevail.

The dynamics of sin and selfishness put people at odds with one another. Motivations become mixed, and self promotion and special interest serving is at the expense of unity and peacefulness that really are our hope and dream.

None of this is new. Human nature has remained unchanged since the time of Adam and Eve. We have struggled through the centuries to enjoy the benefits and rewards of not only our individual success, but the success of our human community. But there is the rub. Agreement and consensus are at the heart of sound decision making.

The challenge is how do we come to know and put into practice what is the best thing for us that is true, authentic, and in accord with God’s will for us. Individuals always emerge who attempt to speak for the community,. And they are not always well received. Or individuals emerge who are able to tap into the darker side of human motivation and become agents of discord and destruction. We all dive into the effects of our baptism whether we want to or not simply because we are in the midst of our fellow human beings. Baptism does not change our nature, but gives us the grace to make the best out of it. Relationships and recognizing that no one person has a monopoly on applied truth are the keys to being the authentic persons God has made us to be.

Ironically, in faith, we believe that we do possess ultimate truth because we are conformed in every way to God’s life through our unity in Christ. The fire that burns in our hearts for the desire for all good things can consume us and blind us to our potential, or it can enlighten us to be open to the Holy Spirit who gives us the courage and freedom to move away from self-interest into a willingness to accept the generosity of love that can accommodate the nuances of good intentions.

We all want it all and we all want it to be just the way we think it should be. Maybe in heaven it will be just like that, but in the meantime, what are we to do? Of course, we carry our crosses, but not in some endless circle of drudgery. Our Savior impels us to see beyond the limits of mere human nature. We take on Christ, his mission, his zeal, his fervor. We want his fire to spread to the hearts of all God’s loved sons and daughters. The struggles will be there for sure. The end goal of eternal happiness can seem to be at some foggy distance away. We plod through differences of viewpoint and opinion. Techniques and methods will be tried and tested. Our spirits may be deflated when we face that brick wall. And yet, we hope and we believe that we will be pulled up out of that cistern to continue the work of bringing fire to the earth. 

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