Mons Yennock Homily: OUR FATHER: JULY 6, 2014 FOURTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

Jul 11, 2014

OUR FATHER: JULY 6, 2014 FOURTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

IN TODAY’S GOSPEL JESUS SAYS THAT NO ONE KNOWS THE SON EXCEPT THE FATHER, AND NO ONE KNOWS THE FATHER EXCEPT THE SON AND ANYONE TO WHOM THE SON WISHES TO REVEAL HIM. WHEN THE DISCIPLES ASK JESUS HOW THEY SHOULD PRAY HE REVEALS TO THEM THE PERSONALITY OF THE FATHER IN THE PRAYER THAT WE ARE SO FAMILIAR WITH.

THE LORD'S PRAYER IS ONE OF THE BEST LOVED AND MOST SPOKEN PRAYERS ON THE PLANET. ON EASTER SUNDAY, IT IS THOUGHT THAT OVER 2 BILLION PEOPLE WORLDWIDE RECITED THIS PRAYER. IT IS USED IN CHURCH SERVICES, SCHOOLS, IN SMALL GROUPS AND IN MANY INDIVIDUAL PRIVATE TIMES WITH GOD.

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 ASHLEY MORGAN TO HELP ME IN THIS DIALOGUE. ASHLEY GETS TO BE HERSELF AND I GET TO BE GOD BECAUSE I AM OLDER.

ASHLEY           OUR FATHER

GOD:               EXCUSE ME?

ASHLEY           WHAT?

GOD:               YOU CALLED ME.

ASHLEY           IS THAT YOU FATHER?

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

ASHLEY           YES, BUT---

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

ASHLEY           YES, I KNOW, BUT…?

GOD:               ASHLEY, DO YOU KNOW HOW SPECIAL YOU ARE TO ME? I  MADE YOU TO MY IMAGE AND LIKENESS.  I REALLY CARE ABOUT YOU.THAT’S WHY MY SON TOLD YOU TO CALL ME FATHER. I LOVE TO HEAR YOU CALL ME FATHER.

ASHLEY           WELL, I JUST THOUGHT—WELL YOU KNOW.

GOD:               NEVER MIND, GO ON.

AHLEY             WHO ART IN HEAVEN

GOD:               DO YOU REALLY BELIEVE IN HEAVEN?

ASHLEY           OF COURSE. MY ANCESTORS ARE THERE.  THE SAINTS AND THE ANGELS ARE THERE. I HOPE I’LL BE THERE MYSELF, SOME DAY. BESIDES YOU FIND HEAVEN AND HELL ALL THROUGH THE BIBLE.

GOD:               ASHLEY WHERE DO YOU THINK HEAVEN IS?

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

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

ASHLEY           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:               ASHLEY 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. AND 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.

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

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

ASHLEY           HALLOWED BE THY NAME

GOD:               DO YOU KNOW WHAT HALLOWED MEANS?

ASHLEY           YES. I THINK HALLOWED MEANS HOLY. LIKE HALLOW EEN MEANS THE EVE OF THE HOLY SAINTS. 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.

GOD:               THANK YOU ASHLEY. 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 ASHLEY, I’M VERY PLEASED.

ASHLEY           THANK YOU FATHER. HOLY BE YOUR NAME.

GOD:               WHAT ELSE DO YOU NEED TO SAY?

ASHLEY           THY KINGDOM COME

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

ASHLEY           I KNOW, FATHER, BUT IT HARDLY SEEMS LIKE YOUR KINGDOM IS COMING. LIFE IS PRETTY HARSH DOWN HERE-- THE IMMORALITY, HUMAN TRAFFICING, THE EVENTS OF SEPTEMBER 11, THE WARS IN THE MIDDLE EAST, THE EARTHQUAKES, HURRICANES  AND ALL THE OTHER DISASTERS IN OUR COUNTRY.

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 IF YOU LOOK IN THE BOOK OF GENESIS IT WAS ADAM AND EVE WHO MADE THE DECISION ABOUT EVIL. THEY COMMITED THE FIRST SIN AND PEOPLE CONTINUE TO SIN—THEY CONTINUE TO DISTORT MY DESIGN FOR THE UNIVERSE.  

ASHLEY           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. IT’S A SIGN OF MY LOVE. IF I INTERFERRED EVERY TIME SOMETHING BAD WAS ABOUT TO HAPPEN YOU REALLY WOULD NOT BE FREE. TRUE FREEDOM HAS CONSEQUENCES.

ASHLEY           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 THECOMMANDMENTS.  IT’S UP TO YOU TO MAKE MY KINGDOM COME.  IT’S REALLY UP TO YOU. AND ASHLEY DON’T WORRY-- MY HOLY SPIRIT WILL HELP YOU.

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

GOD:               ASHLEY, 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.

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

GOD:               ASHLEY, 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?

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

GOD:               YOU KNOW ASHLEY THE PEOPLE UP HERE IN HEAVEN HAVE NO PROBLEM DOING MY WILL. BUT THE PEOPLE ON EARTH SEEM TO HAVE TROUBLE WITH 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.

ASHLEY           I TRY. WE ALL TRY. HONEST WE DO. WE RESPECT YOUR WILL. WE REALLY 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 ASHLEY 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

ASHLEY           I DO TRUST YOU, FATHER. BUT A LOT OF THINGS SEEM SO SENSELESS—THE HOMELESS, VIOLENCE, CHILDREN STARVING IN AFRICA, THE WAR IN IRAQ; 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 ASHLEY. 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?

ASHLEY           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:               ASHLEY 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?

ASHLEY           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 ASHLEY THAT YOU’RE THE ONE WHO STARTED ALL THIS WHEN YOU BEGAN SAYING THE LORD’S PRAYER.

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

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

ASHLEY           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?

ASHLEY           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?

ASHLEY           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?

ASHLEY           I DON’T MEAN TO BLAME YOU FOR EVERYTHING. I JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND.

GOD                ASHLEY, 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?

ASHLEY           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.

ASHLEY           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. YOU SEE MY SON TOOK CARE OF YOUR SINS A LONG TIME AGO WHEN HE DIED ON THE CROSS FOR YOU.

ASHLEY           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.

ASHLEY           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 ASHLEY? I THINK YOU’RE GETTING THE MESSAGE.

ASHLEY           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.

ASHLEY           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.

ASHLEY           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 SEX AND MONEY AND DRUGS. I’M NOT REALLY SURPRISED THAT YOUR RACE MADE A MESS OF IT. BUT I AM DISAPPOINTED. AND SINCE YOU PUT ME ON THE SPOT, I HAVE TO TELL YOU AGAIN. I  LOVE YOU. THAT’S WHY I MADE YOU FREE. THE BOTTOM LINE TO ALL OF THIS IS THAT I LOVE YOU.YOU KNOW WHAT? (NOW YOU’RE GOING TO MAKE ME CRY.) 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. WHEN YOU OVERCOME TEMPTATION YOU TELL ME THAT YOU FREELY LOVE ME. THAT MAKES ME VERY HAPPY. YOU WILL NEVER KNOW HOW HAPPY THAT MAKES ME.

ASHLEY           FATHER I’M REALLY MOVED BY YOUR LOVE. DOWN DEEP, I KNOW THAT YOU LOVE ME. AND I KNOW THAT I NEED TO GET OUT OF TEMPTATION. PLEASE FATHER DELIVER US FROM EVIL.

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

ASHEY             AMEN, FATHER.

GOD:               AMEN, ASHLEY