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Monsignor Yennock's Homily from August 12, 2018 - Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Aug 13, 2018

NINTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

AUGUST 12, 2018

IN A PLAY BY THORNTON WILDER A WIFE, AFTER MANY YEARS OF MARRIAGE, SAYS TO HER HUSBAND: “I DIDN'T MARRY YOU BECAUSE YOU WERE PERFECT... I MARRIED YOU BECAUSE YOU GAVE ME A PROMISE.” AND THEN SHE TAKES OFF HER RING, LOOKS AT IT, AND SAYS: “THAT PROMISE MADE UP FOR YOUR FAULTS AND THE PROMISE I GAVE YOU MADE UP FOR MINE. TWO IMPERFECT PEOPLE GOT MARRIED, AND IT WAS THE PROMISE THAT MADE THE MARRIAGE.

“WHEN OUR CHILDREN WERE GROWING UP IT WASN'T A HOUSE THAT PROTECTED THEM; AND IT WASN'T OUR LOVE THAT PROTECTED THEM—IT WAS THAT PROMISE WE MADE TO ONE ANOTHER. IT WAS THE PROMISE THAT MADE THE MARRIAGE.

GOD MADE A PROMISE TO THE HUMAN RACE FROM THE TIME OF THE FIRST MAN AND WOMAN TO THE BIRTH OF JESUS CHRIST. HE PROMISED THAT HE WOULD SEND A SAVIOR INTO THE WORLD. WE CALL THAT PROMISE A COVENANT.  ANOTHER WORD FOR COVENANT IS TESTAMENT. THAT IS WHERE WE GET THE WORDS OLD TESTAMENT AND NEW TESTAMENT.

THE BIBLE IS GOD’S BOOK OF PROMISES.HIS PROMISES ARE SPOKE TO THE PROPHETS. WHEN HE MAKES THESE PROMISES HE MAKES THEM IN THE INTIMACY OF A CONVERSATION WITH AN INDIVIDUAL HUMAN PERSON.

GOD SPEAKS PERSONALLY TO ADAM AND EVE. THE BIBLE DESCRIBES ADAM AND EVE WALKING WITH GOD IN THE COOL OF THE EVENING. GOD IS THEIR FRIEND.

GOD SPEAKS TO NOAH AFTER THE FLOOD. THE BIBLE SAYS: NOAH WAS A GOOD MAN. HE WALKED WITH GOD.

ABRAHAM HAS A PERSONAL CONVERSATION WITH GOD WHO SAYS TO HIM: YOU WILL BE THE FATHER OF A GREAT NATION. I WILL MAKE YOUR DESCENDANTS AS NUMEROUS AS THE STARS IN THE SKY AND THE SANDS ON THE SEASHORE.

MOSES IS CALLED GOD'S FRIEND. IN THE BOOK OF EXODUS 33:11, WE READ: "AND THE LORD SPOKE TO MOSES FACE TO FACE, AS A MAN SPEAKS TO HIS FRIEND”.

GOD ALWAYS SPEAKS IN PERSON TO THE PROPHETS. THE PROPHET IS NOT A MOUTHPIECE BUT A PERSON; HE IS NOT AN INSTRUMENT BUT A PARTNER. HE IS NOT A MESSENGER BUT AN ASSOCIATE OF GOD. GOD SPEAKS TO THE HEART OF JEREMIAH: “YOU WILL SEEK ME AND FIND ME WHEN YOU SEEK ME WITH ALL YOUR HEART”. (Jer. 3:10)

IN THE INTIMACY OF THEIR HEARTS GOD PROMISED TO SEND A SAVIOR. JESUS CHRIST IS THE FULFILLMENT OF GOD’S PROMISES.

WHEN THE SAVIOR FINALLY COMES, HE DOES NOT COME AS AN ANGEL. HE DOES NOT COME AS SOME IMPERSONAL FORCE LIKE A BURNING BUSH, OR A CLOUD BY DAY AND A FIRE BY NIGHT.                                                                                                               

HE IS BORN OF A WOMAN, THE VIRGIN MARY. HE LIVES IN THE MIDST OF A FAMILY WITH JOSEPH IN THE CARPENTER SHOP.

WHEN JESUS BEGINS HIS PUBLIC LIFE HE TEACHES HIS DISCIPLES IN SMALL INTIMATE SETTINGS--ALONG THE SEASHORE-- ON A HILLSIDE --IN A BOAT.

HE MINISTERS TO PEOPLE AROUND A DINNER TABLE. HE HAS DINNER WITH MATTHEW AND ZACHAEUS AND THEIR FRIENDS. HE GOES TO BETHANY WHERE HE EATS WITH MARY AND MARTHA AND LAZARUS.

JESUS IS A WARM AND LOVING GOD WHO IS UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL WITH HIS FRIENDS. .HE HEALS THE SON OF A WIDOW—THE DAUGHTER OF A SYNAGOGUE OFFICIAL, A WOMAN IN THE STREET, A BLIND BEGGAR ALONG THE ROAD. THIS IS A WARM AND PERSONAL GOD WHO DOES NOT KEEP HIS DISTANCE.

FINALLY AT THE LAST SUPPER HE SAYS TO HIS APOSTLES: AS THE FATHER HAS LOVED ME SO I HAVE LOVED YOU. AND THEN, JESUS SAYS THE SAME THING TO HIS DISCIPLES AS HE HAD SAID TO ADAM AND EVE, TO NOAH, TO ABRAHAM, MOSES AND THE PROPHETS, JESUS SAYS TO HIS DISCIPLES: I CALL YOU FRIENDS BECAUSE I HAVE MADE KNOWN TO YOU EVERYTHING I LEARNED FROM MY FATHER. THESE ARE THE WORDS OF A CLOSE FRIENDA MEMBER OF THE FAMILY.

BUT THERE IS MORE! OUR GOD IS FULL OF SURPRISES. AT THE LAST SUPPER WHILE THEY WERE AT TABLE HE TOOK BREAD AND SAID: THIS IS MY BODY WHICH WILL BE GIVEN FOR YOU. THIS CUP IS THE NEW PROMISE IN MY BLOOD WHICH WILL BE POURED OUT FOR YOU. THE HOLY EUCHARIST, THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST IS THE MOST PERSONAL AND INTIMATE WAY IN WHICH GOD CAN HAVE COMMUNION WITH US. HOLY COMMUNION IS A CONTINUATION OF GOD’S PROMISE TO BE CLOSE TO US.

WE REJECT THE NOTION THAT THE EUCHARIST IS ONLY A SIGN, A SYMBOL, A MEMORIAL OF SOMETHING THAT HAPPENED A LONG TIME AGO. A SYMBOLIC UNDERSTANDING OF THE EUCHARIST IS NOT CONSISTENT WITH THE RELATIONSHIP THAT GOD HAD WITH PEOPLE IN THE OLD TESTAMENT. WE CANNOT BE FRIENDS WITH A SYMBOL. WE CANNOT TALK TO A SIGN.

IN HOLY COMMUNION WE MEET A LIVING PERSON—THE RISEN JESUS. HE IS OUR FRIEND. HE WANTS TO SPEAK TO US AS HE SPOKE TO ADAM AND EVE, AND NOAH, AND ABRAHAM AND MOSES AND THE PROPHETS.

IN HOLY COMMUNION WE SAY WITH PETER: “YOU ARE THE CHRIST THE SON OF GOD”. IN HOLY COMMUNION WE SAY WITH THOMAS: “MY LORD AND MY GOD”. IN HOLY COMMUNION WE SAY WITH PAUL: “I LIVE NOW, NOT I, BUT JESUS CHRIST LIVES IN ME.”

I WILL NEVER FORGET A WONDERFUL METHODIST WOMAN WHO SAID TO ME: AS A LITTLE GIRL I ALWAYS ENVIED MY CATHOLIC FRIENDS. I HAVE ALWAYS HAD AN INTENSE DESIRE TO RECEIVE MY LORD IN THE EUCHARIST. SHE HAS SINCE TAKEN INSTRUCTIONS AND WAS RECEIVED INTO THE CATHOLIC CHURCH. THE METHODIST CHURCH TAUGHT HER TO LOVE JESUS AS HER PERSONAL LORD AND SAVIOR. IN THE HOLY EUCHARIST SHE FOUND THE SAVIOR THAT SHE LOVED SO MUCH.

SHE GENUINELY BELIEVES IN THE REAL PRESENCE. SHE IS OVERCOME WITH JOY EACH TIME SHE RECEIVES HER SAVIOR IN HOLY COMMUNION. I HAVE NEVER KNOWN A PERSON WITH MORE FAITH AND DEEP DEVOTION.

WE ARE SO FORTUNATE IN OUR PARISH TO HAVE OUR LORD AND SAVIOR AVAILABLE TO US IN OUR ADORATION CHAPEL 24 HOURS A DAY, SEVEN DAYS A WEEK. ABRAHAM, MOSES AND THE PROPHETS HAD LIMITED ACCESS TO GOD. WE CAN BE INTIMATE WITH HIM ANY TIME WE CHOOSE. “I AM THE BREAD THAT COMES DOWN FROM HEAVEN”.

WHEN POPE JOHN PAUL II WROTE HIS LETTER PROCLAIMING THE YEAR OF THE EUCHARIST, HE SPOKE ALSO OF CONFESSION AS A PREPARATION FOR RECEIVING HOLY COMMUNION WORTHILY.

I BELIEVE THAT ONE OF THE REASONS SOME OF OUR PEOPLE ARE NOT HEALED BY THE EUCHARIST IS THAT THEY STOPPED GOING TO CONFESSION.

I ASKED SOMEONE RECENTLY WHEN SHE WENT TO CONFESSION LAST. SHE SAID: “I DON'T NEED TO GO TO CONFESSION. I TELL MY SINS TO GOD. THAT'S GOOD ENOUGH”. WELL JESUS DIDN’T THINK THAT WAS GOOD ENOUGH. THE SAME JESUS WHO GAVE US THE SACRAMENT OF THE EUCHARIST, GAVE US THE SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION. HE WANTS HIS FRIENDS TO LIVE IN PEACE.

EVERY SACRAMENT IS A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST. WE HAVE AMPLE PROOF IN THE OLD TESTAMENT THAT GOD WANTS A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH US. BELIEVE IT OR NOT YOU ARE SO IMPORTANT TO GOD THAT HE WANTS TO BE YOUR FRIEND.

HE WANTS TO LIVE INSIDE OF YOU. IF WE REALLY BELIEVED THAT JESUS WANTS TO BE OUR FRIEND, WE WOULD HAVE NO PROBLEM WITH CONFESSION. WE WOULD BE EAGER TO SAY: “MY FRIEND, I’M SO SORRY THAT I HAVE BROKEN YOUR HEART. PLEASE FORGIVE ME”.

CONFESSION IS LIKE GOING TO THE HOSPITAL FOR SURGERY TO REMOVE SOMETHING THAT IS HARMFUL FOR US. THE HOLY EUCHARIST IS LIKE GOING HOME FROM THE HOSPITAL WHERE WE ARE HEALED BY THE FAITHFUL PRESENCE OF OUR LOVED ONES.

ONCE WE HAVE EXPERIENCED THE HEALING PRESENCE OF JESUS IN THE SACRAMENT OF CONFESSION WE ARE READY TO EXPERIENCE A DEEPER HEALING IN THE SACRAMENT OF THE EUCHARIST.

THERE ARE TIMES WHEN YOU FEEL LONELY AND REJECTED, WHEN YOU FEEL DISCOURAGED OR DEPRESSED, WHEN YOU HAVE EXPERIENCED HURT AND DISAPPOINTMENT. THERE ARE TIMES WHEN YOU FEEL LESS THAN WORTHY BECAUSE YOU FEEL LIKE THE WORLD HAS DISCARDED YOU.

OUR FATHER KNOWS OUR FAILURES. HE KNOWS OUR WEAKNESSES. OUR FATHER KNOWS THAT WE APPROACH HIM WITH FEAR AND TREMBLING. LIKE A LITTTLE CHILD, WE THINK, “I KNOW HE WILL GIVE UP ON ME THIS TIME.

CAN YOU IMAGINE A LITTLE CHILD MAYBE ABOUT 6 OR 7 YEARS OLD, HUNCHED OVER HIS SCHOOL DESK? HE’S LOOKING AT A SHEET OF PAPER ALREADY BLOTCHED BY PENCIL SMUDGES AND ERASER CRUMBS. HE GLANCES AT THE TEACHER. HE SIGHS AND SLOWLY RISES FROM HIS SEAT AND WALKS TOWARD THE TEACHER'S DESK. "WHAT WILL MY TEACHER SAY TO ME THIS TIME? HOW WILL SHE PUNISH ME FOR MY SLOPPY WORK?

I’M GOING TO READ A POEM TO YOU.THIS POEM WAS WRITTEN BY A TEACHER, (KATHLEEN WHEELER), WHO DESCRIBES SUCH A SCENE.

"HE CAME TO MY DESK WITH A QUIVERING LIP,

THE LESSON WAS DONE.

'HAVE YOU A NEW SHEET FOR ME, DEAR TEACHER?

I'VE SPOILED THIS ONE.'

I TOOK HIS SHEET, ALL SOILED AND BLOTTED,

AND GAVE HIM A NEW ONE ALL UNSPOTTED,

AND TO HIS TIRED HEART I CRIED.

'DO BETTER NOW, MY CHILD.'

 

I WENT TO THE THRONE WITH A TROUBLED HEART,

THE DAY WAS DONE.

'HAVE A NEW DAY FOR ME, DEAR MASTER?

I'VE SPOILED THIS ONE.'

HE TOOK MY DAY, ALL SOILED AND BLOTTED,

AND GAVE A NEW ONE ALL UNSPOTTED.

AND TO MY TIRED HEART HE CRIED,

'DO BETTER NOW, MY CHILD.'"

 

GOD WATCHES YOU THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY. HE SEES HOW HARD YOU TRY. HE SEES WHEN YOU FAIL. BUT HE IS ALWAYS READY TO GIVE YOU A NEW DAY.

WHEN YOU FEEL LIKE A FAILED CHILD REMEMBER THAT GOD IS YOUR FRIEND. HE IS WAITING FOR YOU IN THE SACRAMENT OF CONFESSION AND HOLY COMMUNION. HE IS WAITING TO SAY TO YOU: DO BETTER NOW MY CHILD.

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