30th Sunday of the Year (A) October 29, 2017 Mission Sunday
Who here is an alien? Don’t start looking around….
It includes people from outer space, undocumented workers…
I propose to you that all of you are aliens.
I want to talk about the first line from the reading from Exodus and the last line of the Gospel.
I’ve been talking a lot about what makes the Catholic faith unique.
A while ago I was talking about trusting our own judgment, but also the importance of trusting the judgment of the community. The group is empowered by God to move in the direction of what is right (if we desire it).
SO WE COUNT ON OUR OWN JUDGMENT BUT ALSO THE COMMUNITY’S.
Christianity is a faith path that believes that we experience God through the natural world.
Catholicism strongly believes that — we base all of our sacraments on nature
WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
We believe that God has infused the world with how life works.
It isn’t buried so no one can find out; or saved for just a few to discover.
Dripping from the world are things like justice, compassion, love, forgiveness etc.
Also there is what makes you happy, content, connected — finding meaning
Also there is the power to continue to discover your journey in life…
…what God wants of you: the tools to a meaningful life.
When you pray it is not for God to grant you something that he has been withholding —but for you to see and experience the presence of God, already in the world….
The rules of religion — its practices, doctrines, beliefs — are meant to help each other to discover how life works.
It is so easy to become disillusioned, looking at the world in the messiest part of our world and the messiest parts of our lives.
We see war, division, prejudices, crime, harassment and sexual assault, and on and on.
It seems like a good description of the absence of direction by God…
Someday you can ask God: “WHY?”— not only “WHY did this happen?”…
…or, “WHAT were you thinking when you let humans take over the job of saving the world?”
A lot of personal intervention might be good…
But that’s the human mission, whether you are religious or not; whether you are faith-filled or not. You can’t escape it; you can only get help with it.
OFTEN TIMES LIFE’S MEANING IS RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF YOU
It should be obvious to us, but sometimes the way we live or grow up hides them.
But when we wake up to them,
we say: “I should have known that” or, “I knew that, but I didn’t do it.”
Catholicism believes that God reveals life naturally.
It’s not rocket science.
It’s not math equations that you must memorize.
You can find it for yourself.
Or better put — together we can find it. We help each other to do that.
That’s the reason for the church. We help each other, challenge each other, push each other — to grow, to change, to discover, to become….
Back to you being an alien!!
The book of Exodus reading starts out by saying:
YOU SHOULD NOT MISTREAT AN ALIEN BECAUSE YOU WERE ONCE AN ALIEN YOURSELF
That means: cut people some slack; why do you want to hurt people; don’t you remember that you were once the person being hurt; remember how it felt; show compassion.
Jesus retranslates that into: Love your neighbor as yourself! Not just the neighbor we like, anyone can do that. Love is expansive — the neighbor is everyone!
Then one step further: treat others like you want to be treated.
Jesus says: you know what you’ve been through; how hard things have been; the mistakes you’ve made; the forgiveness you have received. Continually discovering this way to live empowers us. Empowers us to what? To keep it to ourselves? No! To go on mission!
Remember our parish mission: We support each other in experiencing a transforming encounter with Christ….who empowers us to become his presence in the world!
To show others how to live….
To change the world….
To make a difference….
Mission Sunday is not just about missionaries in foreign lands.
Being that’s not us — are we free from responsibility?
NO! YOUR DAILY LIFE IS A MISSION.
To live the way you’re called to live; to work at it every day; to be empowered to share it.
And when a community is so empowered it overflows itself.
Overflows to where?
To El Salvador, casseroles to the homeless, Angel Tree gifts to kids and families at Christmas…
Joppa outreach to the homeless
Stronger love and forgiveness in families
Service in the community
FCA; mentoring a classmate; leadership in the school.
YES — MISSIONARIES AT HOME
When you do that consistently, that is the definition of a good life, of loving God with your whole hearts, etc…
…and love of neighbor as yourself.
The meaning of life depends on these two commandments.
Remember — don’t forget it — we’re all aliens.