17th Sunday OT Year C 2016

Can you think of a time where you wanted something so badly you were willing to do almost anything for it?  At a recent trip to Toys-R-US—which was strictly business related I might add—I was reminded just what kids will do for a toy they really want.  They will make promises there is no way they can keep like cleaning their room everyday for a year, they will say phrases such as pretty pretty please with sugar on top, and then they make the face, the one with the pouty lip and big eyes and they say something like if you really loved me you would buy me…WHATEVER I want.  Parents often buckle and give in because they are WEAK and love their children BLAH BLAH BLAH, this is probably why I ended up being a priest.

We as people love to see others who we care about fulfilled.  We want the desires of their heart come to fruition.  Parents especially want more than anything else for their children to be happy.  That’s easy when all it takes is a lego set or new clothes, it gets harder when it has four wheels or involves a career or a relationship.  But there is even a realization that you can do everything right and provide for every need out there and still more is required or there is just nothing you can do to help.  This feeling of powerlessness is beyond difficult .  The place to turn—not as if it were simply a last resort but really because He has been there all along the way is to the Lord himself.  Our God made a promise to us at the very beginning of our life with Him that He would be there for us that He would provide and lead us through all the twists and turns that happen along our way.  This moment in our life of faith was a really big deal and although we probably don’t remember it because we were just a little thing, but it occurred at our BAPTISM.

Baptism isn’t just a sacrament of initiation where the Church welcomes us into the family of God it is also a point of fidelity where we state that we live for something more than just ourselves, The Catechism states it like this, “Having become a member of the Church, the person baptized belongs no longer to themselves, but to Him who died and rose for us.”  Now that’s is hardcore.  That means that at our baptisms we profess our faith and promise to live it until the end of our time here on earth.

The Church reminds us of this fact at the very beginning of every funeral Mass—we have a sprinkling of holy water where the priest actually says: “In the waters of Baptism So&So died with Christ and rose with him to new life.  May they now share with Him eternal glory.”  What the what?  Did you catch that—in the waters of Baptism we died with Christ, does that make us the walking dead—or does that mean WE are the LIVING presence of Jesus Christ on this earth.

Really the answer depends not on God’s fidelity to us, that is unchanging and proven on the cross where as we heard from St. Paul Jesus has forgiven our sins and obliterated their bond against us—but have we been faithful to our relationship with Him.  This goes beyond Sunday obligations and enters the realm of being a true follower of Christ.  God wants nothing more than to make our lives filled with happiness, but He can’t do that unless we ask Him for more than helping us find our car keys when they are lost.  The crazy thing is He provides for those simple needs and desires SO what if we placed the desires of our heart, the ones that go beyond toys, go beyond this world, like our need for purpose and meaning, our desire for fulfillment and understanding.  Jesus says ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you.  God has good gifts for us, way better than the ones you can find at Toys-R-US, He has the Holy Spirit and power.

Because we were maybe too little to remember I invite us all to make a commitment right now to the Lord that we want to live our faith, we want to claim Christ as our reason for not just showing up here today, but for getting up everyday living for more than what this crazy world has to offer us.  For those of us who are ready to formally make that personal movement of the heart, I invite you to stand and I as your spiritual father will pray for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon us all.