Do we believe the Church was founded by Jesus Christ? Do we believe that her demands- though heroic- will actually bring us joy? That’s a question we need to ask ourselves, because the world is certainly asking it of us. Not only are they asking, they have already condemned us hateful bigots.
I had the honor of presiding over the wedding of Garrett and Kylee Conners this weekend, a great Montana couple who who witnessed well to the power of this sacrament and are more than ready for this wonderful adventure together. Enjoy the homily!
Jesus, in his Baptism, gives us a direction forward into this difficult life. He makes very clearly to us that this life involves a death, that no one escapes this life without giving himself away, so why not give our lives for something worthy.
Our culture believes our relationships are fundamentally about me. Is this relationship making me “happy”? Does this person give me what I need? Are my hopes and dreams the main focus of this relationship? Why are these the questions we ask first? Because our fundamental disposition is that of taking. We all believe, to some degree, that our happiness is about taking- whether material, emotional, or spiritual.
So what is it really about?
We not only are a mystery to ourselves concerning our past, but our future is unknown as well. We tend to respond to this in one of two ways: either with a hyper-planned scenario that attempts to cover every possible outcome (older generations tended toward this) or to just say forget it-
Many in my generation, millennials, tend to say something like: we are 25 with too many degrees, mediocre job prospects and an insurmountable pile of student debt with compounding interest; forget planning and enjoy that $5 coffee right now.
I don’t think we realize how often we lie, gossip, and behave selfishly- especially in our work for that is where it is most easily justified. John the Baptist came to reveal to 1st century Galileans how utterly mediocre their lives were. Yet, he also made it clear that the life of a saint, the way of perfection, is right before you, it’s in your midst, it’s the call to true charity and humility in your everyday life and it’s not optional for the Christian.
This is the third part in a four part formation series for the Catholic Youth Coalition in the Diocese of Helena.
With only one session to look at the Church, I focused in on the martyrs and Desert Fathers and Mothers as an incredible witness to the power of the gospel. This is something that inspires us to give our whole lives, to give up the world. Here is the Audio from that talk.
The climate of western culture has created a new and unique form of dialogue which usually consists of carefully crafted homage to tolerance followed by a lambasting of anyone who disagrees with the personally held position.
When we look to ourselves for our identity instead of looking to the one who made us, we end up putting our whole identity in some trait, some feature that we think makes us unique or empowers us, or makes us worthy of love. Yet when we do that, we inevitably compromise who we are. We take a part of ourselves and make it the whole. We take something that may or may not tell part of our story and we make it our whole story.
What other option is there?
Why do the scriptures so often speak to us of the end times when God obviously doesn’t plan to tell us his plan for that day of judgment? In fact, it does not even seem a part of Jesus’ divine mission to know the day or the hour of that coming. In speaking of it, just he seeking to instill fear in his listeners? Or is he giving them hope for eternal life? Yes on both accounts.
Evil is framed according to a narrative that suggests it’s somehow all outside of us, it’s too powerful to be grappled with, and it might be on your doorstep soon. This is not, however, what our gospel today suggests. In fact, Jesus paints a very different picture than the news, and today’s gospel contains a truth which we both need to hear and don’t want to hear.