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Monsignor Yennock on Our Father - Homily from July 28, 2019

Jul 29, 2019

OUR FATHER JULY 28, 2019

SEVENTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

 

WHEN THE DISCIPLES ASKED JESUS TO TEACH THEM HOW TO PRAY HE BEGAN WITH “OUR FATHER WHO ART IN HEAVEN…”

 

TODAY WE ARE GOING TO LOOK A LITTLE DEEPER INTO THIS PRAYER HOPING THAT IT WILL REVEAL TO US SOMETHING ABOUT THE FATHER.

 

I HAVE ASKED NATHAN SMITH TO HELP ME IN THIS DIALOGUE. NATHAN GETS TO BE HIMSELF, AND I GET TO BE GOD BECAUSE I AM OLDER.

 

 

NATHAN   OUR FATHER

 

GOD:          EXCUSE ME?

 

NATHAN   WHAT?

 

GOD:                   YOU CALLED ME.

 

NATHAN   IS THAT YOU FATHER?

 

GOD:                   OF COURSE, DON’T YOU THINK I LISTEN?

 

NATHAN   YES, BUT---

 

GOD:          NATHAN A FATHER IS ALWAYS LISTENING FOR THE NEEDS OF HIS CHILDREN.                 

 

NATHAN   YES, I KNOW, BUT…?

 

GOD:          NATHAN, I WONDER IF YOU KNOW HOW SPECIAL YOU ARE TO ME? I  MADE YOU TO MY IMAGE AND LIKENESS.  I REALLY CARE ABOUT YOU.DO YOU REMEMBER THAT MY SON TOLD YOU TO CALL ME FATHER. I LOVE TO HEAR YOU CALL ME FATHER.

 

NATHAN   WELL, I JUST THOUGHT—WELL YOU KNOW.

 

GOD:                   NEVER MIND, GO ON.

 

NATHAN   WHO ART IN HEAVEN

 

GOD:                   DO YOU REALLY BELIEVE IN HEAVEN?

 

NATHAN   YES FATHER, I DO BELIEVE IN HEAVEN. . I READ ABOUT HEAVEN AND HELL IN THE BIBLE.

                     MY RELATIVES AND FRIENDS ARE THERE.  I HEARD THAT THE SAINTS AND ANGELS ARE THERE. I HOPE I’LL BE THERE MYSELF, SOME DAY

 

GOD:                   NATHAN WHERE DO YOU THINK HEAVEN IS?

 

NATHAN   I DON’T KNOW. WHEREVER YOU ARE I GUESS.

 

GOD:          DO YOU THINK YOU WILL BE HAPPY IN HEAVEN (IF YOU MAKE IT)?

         

NATHAN   I MUST SAY YOU’RE NOT VERY ENCOURAGING. YES, I THINK I’LL BE HAPPY THERE. I MEAN SURE I WILL. I MEAN OF COURSE I WILL.

 

GOD:          NATHAN YOU DON’T SOUND VERY CONVINCING. WOULD YOU BELIEVE THAT SOME PEOPLE CAN’T WAIT TILL THEY GET HERE. AS I LISTEN TO YOU, I DON’T HEAR A LOT OF ENTHUSIASM.

 

BY THE WAY, IF YOU DON’T MIND MY SAYING SO YOU DON’T SEEM TO FIND MY COMPANY VERY INTERESTING RIGHT NOW. YOU DON’T SPEND MUCH TIME TALKING TO ME. IT MUST BE YOU DON’T THINK I’M VERY EXCITING, OR FUN TO BE WITH.

 

 

NATHAN   WELL IT’S NOT THAT.  I’M PRETTY BUSY WITH FAMILY AND SCHOOL AND SPORTS AND HOMEWORK AND EVERYTHING.

 

GOD:          I UNDERSTAND. UH, I’M A LITTLE BUSY MYSELF. BUT NEVER MIND-- CONTINUE.

 

NATHAN   HALLOWED BE THY NAME

 

GOD:                   DO YOU KNOW WHAT HALLOWED MEANS?

 

NATHAN   YES. I THINK HALLOWED MEANS HOLY. FATHER I REALLY PRAY THAT YOU’RE NAME BE HOLY AND HONORED. I KNOW THAT I DON’T SPEND MUCH TIME WITH YOU BUT I REALLY RESPECT YOUR NAME.  AND I RESPECT YOU, A LOT.

 

GOD:          THANK YOU NATHAN. SOMETIMES PEOPLE DON’T HONOR MY NAME. YET I DO APPRECIATE THAT BILLIONS OF MEN, WOMEN AND CHILDREN HAVE HONORED MY NAME AS YOU ARE DOING RIGHT NOW. I’M PLEASED WITH YOU NATHAN, I’M VERY PLEASED.

 

NATHAN   THANK YOU FATHER. HOLY BE YOUR NAME.

 

GOD:                   WHAT ELSE DO YOU NEED TO SAY?

 

NATHAN   THY KINGDOM COME

 

GOD:          DIDN’T MY SON JESUS TELL YOU THAT MY KINGDOM WOULD COME?

 

NATHAN   I KNOW, FATHER, BUT IT HARDLY SEEMS LIKE YOUR KINGDOM IS COMING. LIFE IS PRETTY HARSH DOWN HERE—THE WAR IN AFGHANISTAN, THE TROUBLE AT THE BORDER AND IN THE MIDDLE EAST. SO MANY PEOPLE WHO DIE IN  EARTHQUAKES AND HURRICANES AND ALL THE OTHER DISASTERS IN THE WORLD.

 

GOD:          YES I KNOW.  I CAN’T TELL YOU HOW SORRY I AM ABOUT ALL THAT. I HOPE YOU KNOW THAT I DIDN’T CAUSE ALL THAT SUFFERING?  SOME PEOPLE DO BLAME ME FOR ALL THE EVIL IN THE WORLD. BUT IT WAS YOU FIRST PARENTS WHO MADE THE DECISION ABOUT EVIL. THEY COMMITTED THE FIRST SIN AND PEOPLE CONTINUE TO SIN—

 

YOU KNOW NATHAN I MADE A BEAUTIFUL DESIGN FOR THE WORLD BUT MY CHILDREN CONTINUE TO IGNORE MY PLAN AND BAD THINGS HAPPEN.  

 

NATHAN   FATHER COULDN’T YOU STEP IN ONCE IN A WHILE AND PREVENT SOME OF THESE THINGS FROM HAPPENING? DO YOU KNOW WHAT I’M SAYING?

 

GOD:          I UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU’RE SAYING. BELIEVE ME IT’S NOT EASY FOR A FATHER TO SEE HIS CHILDREN SUFFER. BUT YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND THE GIFT OF FREEDOM THAT I GAVE YOU. I RESPECT THAT FREEDOM. THAT’S THE WAY I SHOW YOU MY LOVE. IF I INTERFERRED EVERY TIME SOMETHING BAD WAS ABOUT TO HAPPEN YOU REALLY WOULD NOT BE FREE. TRUE FREEDOM HAS CONSEQUENCES.

 

NATHAN   I NEVER THOUGHT OF IT THAT WAY BEFORE. THIS MYSTERY OF EVIL IS GETTING PRETTY HEAVY. COULD WE GET BACK TO THE KINGDOM? HOW DO WE MAKE THE KINGDOM COME?

 

GOD:          FIRST, YOU HAVE TO GET TO KNOW MY SON. HE REALLY IS THE WAY AND THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE.  FOLLOW HIM. DO WHAT HE ASKS YOU TO DO. KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS.  IT’S UP TO YOU TO MAKE MY KINGDOM COME.  IT’S REALLY UP TO YOU. AND NATHAN DON’T WORRY-- MY HOLY SPIRIT WILL HELP YOU.

 

NATHAN   FATHER, WHEN WILL JESUS COME AGAIN TO CLAIM HIS KINGDOM? SOME PEOPLE SAY THE END OF THE WORLD IS COMING SOON. IS IT?

 

GOD:          NATHAN, DON’T BELIEVE ALL THOSE PEOPLE WHO ARE TELLING YOU THAT THE END OF THE WORLD IS RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER. THEY DON’T KNOW.

`                  I’M THE ONLY ONE WHO KNOWS WHEN THE END OF THE WORLD IS COMING.

 

NATHAN   I MUST SAY THAT I AM CONCERNED ABOUT IT. IT’S AWFUL SCARY.

 

GOD:          NATHAN, REMEMBER HOW JESUS TOLD YOU NOT TO BE AFRAID AND NOT TO WORRY? JUST HAVE FAITH AND TRUST IN ME. BE READY. BE IN THE STATE OF GRACE. SOME DAY I’M GOING TO CALL YOU TO ENJOY THE KINGDOM WITH ME.  JUST BE READY. WHAT ELSE IS ON YOUR MIND?

 

NATHAN   THY WILL BE DONE ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN.

 

GOD:          YOU KNOW NATHAN THE PEOPLE UP HERE IN HEAVEN HAVE NO PROBLEM DOING MY WILL. BUT THE PEOPLE ON EARTH SEEM TO HAVE LOTS OF TROUBLE WITH DOING MY WILL. I KNOW IT IS NOT EASY. THE COMMANDMENTS SEEM LIKE A BURDEN TO YOU BUT THEY ARE REALLY THERE TO HELP YOU TO GET ALONG WITH EACH OTHER AND BE HAPPY. YOU HAVE TO TRUST ME ON THIS.

 

NATHAN   I TRY. WE ALL TRY. HONEST WE DO. WE RESPECT YOUR WILL. WE REALLY DO WANT TO FOLLOW YOU. FATHER SOMETIMES IT REALLY IS DIFFICULT. I MEAN PEER PRESSURE AND TV, THE COMPUTER, AND THE CULTURE THAT WE’RE LIVING IN. IT’S NOT EASY.

 

GOD:          YOU KNOW NATHAN THIS IS A BIG UNIVERSE. THERE ARE BILLIONS OF PEOPLE. SOMETIMES IT GETS REAL COMPLICATED. YOU HAVE TO TRUST ME. REMEMBER THE EVENTS OF SEPTEMBER 11. THEY WERE HORRIFIC. EVEN I FELT LIKE CRYING. BUT I SAW SO MANY PEOPLE TURN TO ME. I SAW SO MANY HEROES—POLICEMEN, FIREMEN, MEDICAL WORKERS, CLERGY AND CONSTRUCTION WORKERS. I WAS SO PROUD OF THEM

 

NATHAN   I DO TRUST YOU, FATHER. BUT A LOT OF THINGS SEEM SO SENSELESS—THE HOMELESS, VIOLENCE, CHILDREN STARVING IN AFRICA, WARS, THE WORLD TRADE CENTER; I’M SORRY BUT IT JUST DOESN’T MAKE SENSE TO ME.

         

GOD:          I KNOW IT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE TO YOU NATHAN. YOU’RE IN A DIFFERENT PLACE THAN I AM. I JUST WANT YOU TO KNOW ONE THING. I CAN ALWAYS BRING GOOD OUT OF EVIL. YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND THAT NOW, BUT I PROMISE YOU THIS—YOU WILL NEVER BE DISAPPOINTED. REMEMBER, I HAVE THE LAST WORD.  THINK ABOUT IT. HAS ANYONE ELSE OFFERED YOU ETERNAL LIFE?

 

NATHAN   FATHER I KNOW THAT YOU ARE GOD. I KNOW ABOUT YOUR PROMISE THAT WHOEVER BELIEVES IN YOU WILL HAVE ETERNAL LIFE. I BELIEVE THAT.  I’LL TRY TO ACCEPT YOUR WILL AND TRUST YOU. IT’S NOT EASY BUT YOU KNOW WHAT? WHEN I THINK OF ALL THE HEROES WHO HAVE GONE BEFORE ME IT GIVES ME HOPE.

         

GOD:          NATHAN THANK YOU FOR TRUSTING ME. I PROMISE I WON’T LET YOU DOWN. I REALLY LOVE YOU. I PROMISE THAT I WILL TAKE CARE OF YOU. PLEASE DON’T EVER GIVE UP.WHAT ARE YOU THINKING NOW?

 

NATHAN   FATHER, WHEN I STARTED THIS DIALOGUE WITH YOU, I DIDN’T REALIZE IT WOULD GET SO DEEP. I DON’T MEAN ANY DISRESPECT BUT YOU’RE REALLY TOUGH SOMETIMES, ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU CHALLENGE ME.

 

GOD:          DON’T FORGET NATHAN THAT YOU’RE THE ONE WHO STARTED ALL THIS WHEN YOU BEGAN SAYING THE LORD’S PRAYER.

 

NATHAN   WELL, I GUESS I REALLY DIDN’T KNOW WHAT I WAS GETTING INTO. I THOUGHT IT WAS JUST A SIMPLE PRAYER.

 

GOD:          YOU KNOW NATHAN PRAYER CAN REALLY BE DANGEROUS SOMETIMES.

 

NATHAN   I DON’T THINK I WANT TO GO THERE-----IF YOU DON’T MIND. GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD.

 

GOD:          THAT’S AN EASY ONE. BUT ARE YOU SATISFIED WITH ENOUGH BREAD FOR YOURSELF, FOR TODAY?

 

 

NATHAN   WELL IT WOULD BE NICE TO HAVE A LITTLE MORE THAN I NEED FOR SECURITY.

 

 

GOD:          I UNDERSTAND THAT, BUT REMEMBER HOW I CARE FOR THE BIRDS OF THE AIR AND THE LILIES OF THE FIELD? DO YOU THINK I WOULD DO LESS FOR YOU?

 

NATHAN   BUT SO MANY PEOPLE HAVE SO LITTLE. HOW DO YOU JUSTIFY THAT? SO MANY PEOPLE ARE HOMELESS AND LONELY, AND ALL THE REST OF IT. HOW DO YOU JUSTIFY THAT?

 

GOD:          YOU MAKE IT SOUND LIKE IT’S MY FAULT THAT THERE ARE POOR PEOPLE. DO YOU THINK THAT MAYBE HUMAN IGNORANCE, HUMAN GREED, HUMAN SELFISHNESS, PEOPLE CHEATING PEOPLE AND ALL THE REST OF IT MAY HAVE SOMETHING TO DO WITH WHAT’S GOING ON?

 

NATHAN   I DON’T MEAN TO BLAME YOU FOR EVERYTHING. I JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND. IT’S TOO MUCH FOR ME.

 

 

GOD           NATHAN, I CAN ONLY WORK THROUGH PEOPLE LIKE YOU.YOU’RE ALL I GOT. MY SON PLEADED WITH YOU TO HELP ONE ANOTHER. WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR THE POOR LATELY? DO YOU GIVE OF YOUR SURPLUS AND YOUR SUBSTANCE TO HELP OTHER PEOPLE?

 

NATHAN   SOMETIMES I DO. I MEAN-- I GUESS I COULD DO BETTER. I MEAN—AH-- YOU SURE HAVE A WAY OF GETTING ME MIXED UP. I  MEAN-- WHY DON’T WE GO ON TO THE NEXT ONE. FORGIVE US OUR TRESPASSES AS WE FORGIVE THOSE WHO TRESPASS AGAINST US.

 

GOD:          THE FIRST PART—WHERE I FORGIVE YOU IS EASY. BUT LET ME WARN YOU THE SECOND PART IS DANGEROUS.

 

NATHAN   THERE YOU GO AGAIN WITH THAT WORD DANGEROUS. WHAT DO YOU MEAN? HOW CAN PRAYING BE DANGEROUS?

 

GOD:          I DON’T HAVE A PROBLEM FORGIVING YOUR SILLY LITTLE SINS WHEN YOU SAY YOU’RE SORRY, AND YOU MEAN IT. AFTER ALL MY SON TOOK CARE OF YOUR SINS A LONG TIME AGO WHEN HE DIED ON THE CROSS FOR YOU.

 

NATHAN   I SEE WHAT YOU MEAN WHEN YOU PUT IT THAT WAY. SOMETIMES I THINK I DON’T TRUST YOUR COMPASSION. BUT YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND THAT I HAVE BEEN DISAPPOINTED BY A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO JUST DON’T FORGIVE. BUT WHAT DO YOU MEAN ABOUT THE PART THAT IS DANGEROUS?

 

GOD:          YOU JUST HIT ON IT WHEN YOU SAID A LOT OF PEOPLE DON’T WANT TO FORGIVE.WHENEVER YOU ASK ME TO FORGIVE YOU IN THE SAME WAY THAT YOU FORGIVE OTHERS YOU ARE IN DANGEROUS TERRITORY. YOU ARE TYING MY HANDS UNLESS YOU FORGIVE OTHERS.

 

NATHAN   THAT’S SCARY! YOU MEAN THAT IF I DON’T FORGIVE OTHERS LIKE YOU FORGIVE ME I REALLY CAN’T ASK YOU TO FORGIVE ME? IF I HOLD GRUDGES AND HURTS AND SEEK REVENGE AND KEEP REMINDING PEOPLE OF THEIR PAST FAULTS THAT YOU CAN’T FORGIVE ME?

 

GOD:          YOU KNOW WHAT NATHAN? I THINK YOU’RE GETTING THE MESSAGE.

 

NATHAN   I DON’T KNOW IF I’M READY FOR THAT DANGEROUS PART OF FORGIVENESS.  FATHER, YOU REALLY EXPECT A LOT.

 

GOD:          A GOOD FATHER HAS TO CHALLENGE HIS SONS AND DAUGHTERS. I LOVE YOU. THAT’S WHY I EXPECT A LOT FROM YOU.

 

NATHAN   BEFORE YOU GO, THERE’S SOMETHING ELSE: THIS IS A BIG ONE. I FEEL KIND OF EMBARRASSED WHEN I TALK ABOUT IT. LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION.

 

GOD:          DO YOU REALLY WANT TO GET INTO THAT? IT SEEMS LIKE YOU’RE BLAMING ME AGAIN FOR YOUR TEMPTATIONS.

 

NATHAN   WELL, YOU MADE ALL THE THINGS THAT TEMPT ME

EVERY DAY—FOOD-- DRINK—SEX—ANGER-- POWER AND MONEY. AFTER ALL, YOU MADE THE WORLD THE FLESH AND THE DEVIL.

 

GOD:          EXCUSE ME, LET ME CORRECT ONE THING—I MADE ANGELS AND SOME OF THEM CHOSE TO ACT LIKE DEVILS. BUT YOU’RE RIGHT I DID MAKE EVERYTHING. BUT DIDN’T THE BIBLE TELL YOU THAT EVERYTHING I MADE WAS GOOD EVEN DRUGS AND MONEY AND SEX?  

 

NATHAN   FATHER, I STILL DON’T UNDERSTAND. WHY DO YOU ALLOW US TO SIN EVEN THOUGH SIN MIGHT LEAD US INTO HELL?

 

GOD           NATHAN, PLEASE HEAR ME WHEN I SAY THIS. I LOVE YOU THAT’S WHY I MADE YOU FREE LIKE I AM FREE. I WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT I AM NOT A ROBOT. I DIDN’T MAKE YOU A ROBOT. I DIDN’T MAKE YOU A MACHINE. YOU ARE NOT FORCED TO DO ANYTHING. YOU ARE FREE.

 

NATHAN   THEN WHY AM I TEMPTED?

 

GOD           WHEN YOU OVERCOME TEMPTATION YOU TELL ME THAT YOU FREELY LOVE ME. THAT MAKES ME VERY HAPPY. IT MAKES THE WHOLE CREATION WORTHWHILE.

 

THE BOTTOM LINE IS I LOVE YOU MORE THAN ANYONE IN THIS WORLD LOVES YOU.

 

NATHAN   FATHER I’M REALLY MOVED BY YOUR LOVE. DOWN DEEP, I KNOW THAT YOU LOVE ME. AND I KNOW THAT I NEED TO STRUGGLE WITH TEMPTATION. PLEASE FATHER DELIVER US FROM EVIL.

 

GOD:          NATHAN, YOU CAN COUNT ON THAT. I WILL DELIVER YOU FROM EVIL. I ALWAYS HAVE. I ALWAYS WILL. YOU ARE IMPORTANT TO ME NATHAN. I WILL ALWAYS PROTECT YOU. AFTER ALL WHAT’S A FATHER FOR?

 

NATHAN   AMEN, FATHER.

 

GOD:                   AMEN, NATHAN

         

 

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