in Ordinary Time
A Homily - Cycle C - 2012-2013
by Rev. Luke Dundon
First Reading - Zechariah 12:10-11: 13:1
Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 63:2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9
Second Reading - Galatians 3:26-29
Gospel - Luke 9:18-24
Luke writes to explain that
Christ came to save everyone.
Once when Jesus was praying in solitude, and the disciples were with him, he asked them, "Who do the crowds say that I am?" They said in reply, "John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, 'One of the ancient prophets has arisen.'" Then he said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Peter said in reply, "The Christ of God," He rebuked them and directed them not to tell this to anyone.
He said, "The son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised."
Then he said to all, "If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it."
I just came back from a really fantastic event. Prior to Rome, the first seminary I attended was Mount St. Mary’s, a place where guys will enter seminary after working in the military, business, law, medicine, and all sorts of things . . . our class was small, only about 11 or 12, but over the two years that we were there, we got to know one another extremely well. We bonded in a way that amazed even the faculty. Given our number, you could call us an “ocean’s 11.” A dozen completely different personalities, divinely arranged to support one another in our mutual vocations to serve the Lord. Some were called to the priesthood. Still others left seminary and joyfully followed a vocation to married life. One of those called to married life just sealed the deal this morning in our college chapel. I didn’t know it, but about seven of the dozen of us managed to show up! It was like old times, asking each other how ministry was going, or how the marriages were going, how COOL it was that the good Lord allowed us to come back together again, if only for a few hours.
If you were to ask me to describe these men, then I’d be less interested in describing them and more interested in SHOWING them to you! Fr. James Dodson, who visited back in April, is one of them – it’s kind of like describing my own family to you, or if you were to describe your own family to me. Relationships that matter so much, you’d much rather SHOW me than simply talk about. I can tell you that these men are truly my BROTHERS, but if you could see me mixing with them, you’d see guys that basically can read each others’ minds, pick up each other’s jokes, and help each other accept the reality and beauty of their own lives and their own destinies. If I could, I’d love to bring them all here and show you, “here they are!”
So now our Lord is doing the same with us today – He asks us now, Who do YOU say that I am? Who do YOU SAY that Jesus is? Who is Jesus? Could we describe Him if the request was made? Could we show somebody if they asked? We have so many relationships that matter so much, but only one has specifically and intentionally died for ME, so can I describe who He is? Or, better yet, can I SHOW IT?
I don’t think it’s possible to really show WHO HE IS, until we examine who WE ARE. We could look at our Lord in the Tabernacle all day long, asking for a definition of His Godhood, but at the end of the day, I think His first response will be - my son, my daughter, before you describe me, look at yourself! Look at how valuable and loved you are! Behold, YOU are the one who I am watching every moment of your existence here on earth, YOU are the reason I came down to earth in the first place, YOU are the reason why I am here now in this Tabernacle, so small and vulnerable, so plain and humble. THIS is the Lord who today is SHOWING US who He is, how much He loves us, how incredibly valuable each of us are, how COMPLETE we are with Him . . . He is THRILLED to show us this relationship – so the question is posed to US today – are we also thrilled to live it? Are we just as excited to share it?
Sometimes you . . . but, dear Lord, sometimes no, for the cross can be difficult, and you do promise us a cross along the way . . . however, IF we go ahead and follow Him in faith, IF we accept this friendship, IF we are able to answer Jesus’ question tonight with confidence and love, even with the humility and suffering, and yes, the CROSS, then we will no longer be living the fantasy which is afraid of suffering and fears that TRUE LOVE won’t last . . . no, instead, we will finally be living in REALITY. A reality which allows God to be our first love, which allows US to be FILLED with His Love, which allows us to be FULLY ALIVE, which allows us to go out with excitement at the end of this Mass, and say to others, COME! Let me SHOW YOU . . . who Jesus is!