Gospel and Homily Transcript
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets.
I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.
Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away,
not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter
will pass from the law,
until all things have taken place.
Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments
and teaches others to do so
will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven.
But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments
will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.”
UNEDITED HOMILY TRANSCRIPT
Jesus says in today’s gospel that he has gone to fulfill the law and the prophets to fulfill meetings to complete the rethink about it and play with that word a little bit fulfill to fill to the full two fulfill each one of us to fill our hearts with the fullness of God’s grace there was reflecting on it reminded me of one of my favorite texts in the New Testament John chapter 10 verse 10 Jesus saying I have come that you may have life and have it to the full to fill your hearts to the fullness of God’s grace is particularly difficult to believe these days where the hearse so many intractable problems wherever we look at our political system can continues to remain broken and dysfunctional not only on the inner on the national international stages as well as on the local stages there so much there politically to be discouraged and if we look to the church we continue to see impractical part intractable problems if we look at any of the institutions of the corporations that we work with I suspect you’d be hard-pressed to say well our organization as a model of function and people getting along so well and so harmoniously with each other we seem to be at loggerheads with each other there’s lots to be discouraged we can look at that is simply an invitation to despair or we can look at this as an opportunity to lean into the Lord and to say Lord you alone are going to fulfill the deepest desires of our hearts so many of the last popes have reminded us of the great danger of our age is secularism is that we increasingly we think that we can solve our problems by ourselves if we just have the latest gadget if we just make another breakthrough in medical science if we just have another breakthrough in psychology or technology or its economics we continue to turn to all of these different sources and surprise surprise as much advancement as we get we end up with more problems what the Scriptures say over and over again is our hearts are restless and they will not rest until they rest in the Lord St. Augustine first come up with that insight and it remains as true today as it was when he announced it and these stories of faith that we hear every day when we come to master we pick up our Bible reminded us of the peoples of the past who have suffered just as we have suffered in many ways far more the Protestant New Testament scholar and she writes one of the favorites of Bishop Baron has remarked the Old Testament is like an unfinished symphony it finds its fulfillment in Jesus that’s not to say that everything that came before it is without value but it’s incomplete our lives reach their completion when we unite our lives with the light of life of Jesus when we unite our sufferings and our joys with the life of Jesus those who have come before us in the Old Testament and in the New Testament can give us hope to think about the saints who have gone before us and the struggles that they have endured think about any St. that’s her favorite saint of yours and you know that they pass through very difficult times personally and culturally I think I’m very familiar with the course of St. Ignatius Loyola and relook at what was going on in his time the church was in shambles when St. Ignatius lived we been blessed with a series of very holy popes during Ignatius times the Pope was openly living with his mistress the cardinals that were in charge were notorious for fostering their children and everybody knew it and they were brazen and live this way openly the church was ripped in half with in the midst of the Protestant Reformation was a time of great discouragement Ignatius himself who took and he and his followers took a special vow of obedience to the Pope was under great suspicion by the Pope and one bulb at one time the pope actually sent his soldiers into the Jesuit residence and had it ransacked so much did he distrust Ignatius because he was a Spaniard and the Pope was an Italian in Spain and Italy were at war with each other this is the Pope that Ignatius is serving in the midst of that Ignatius didn’t give up on the church he didn’t throw up his hands and say well everything’s going to hell he leaned in more deeply in his trust in the Lord he allow the Lord to fill that emptiness in his heart that a in his soul we have many problems within our own age but we have a lot of heroes that we can look to as well within our own time this wonderful example of St. John the 23rd who called the second Vatican Council followed by Paul the sixth followed by St. John Paul the second three popes and in a row named as saints and even if you disagree with some of Pope Francis is theology it would hard to it would be hard to say that a man is not extraordinarily holy in his dedication and his love for the for the poor and the exemplary simplicity of his lifestyle yes we got all kinds of problems in our church no doubt about it but we’ve also had some extraordinary examples or even within our own time so many of us can remember in living memory St. Mother Teresa and her words of inspiration our first reading today reminds us in this book of Deuteronomy of what Moses said take these things to heart and do not forget what your own eyes have seen and teach them to your children don’t forget we seen lots of problems but we’ve also seen extraordinary examples of holiness of people who were in the midst of the problems in the struggles and the difficulties kept their eyes on Jesus and said Lord you alone are going to fulfill me to answer that emptiness and that ache within our own hearts been thinking a lot about my own life recently last year is as you know I celebrated 50 years as a Jesuit and on Sunday I went back to the high school that I graduated from Loyola Academy in Wilmette did a presentation there for friends of the Jesuit province and at the high school they have the pictures of all of the classes that that have graduated and went along end and from my class and remembered many of my classmates and then looked at my old picture there of this 18-year-old boy naïve in so many ways thinking about just that transition from high school in India Jesuit life and I smile at it now but I thought I was making such a huge sacrifice and entering the seminary and giving up my girlfriends and giving up my independence and giving up my Ford Mustang and giving up my long beautiful hair and all all of these things that I thought all right I’m giving to these to the Lord Lord you better appreciate all that I’m giving to you I look back and whatever I’ve given to the Lord has been so minimal in comparison to what the Lord has given to me the absolute privilege of serving you is as a priest of the joy that comes in allowing the Lord’s grace to enter into our hearts not trying to wax eloquent her sound overly pious here trying to be honest that whatever I’ve given to the Lord feels so minimal compared to the grace and the love the Lord has given in return and if I look back on it when I entered that the Jesuits I wanted to be a doctor in high school many people said you know you got this gift in and drama you were you interested in drama in high school know the answer is no I didn’t have any time I was a shock or was a miserable failure as it would be Jock and it was an intellectual it was math and science and sports that’s that’s you wanted to impress the girls you know you could be an athlete you know and that was that was my focus when I entered into the college I went into a horrible depression I was depressed for most of my early years in the Jesuits in that time and in college and I look back on that that now and I say that depression was in some ways God’s gift to me because it forced me out of my head and I was living in my head it forced me into my into my heart I started to discover poetry and drama music and dance and those were those were things that lifted me out of the depression and they opened up a whole world that had been close to me prior to that and in the midst of that I found God’s grace at work in my life in a whole new way look back on the struggles within your own life and I think if you’re honest you won’t see God abandoning you you’ll see God inviting you to come closer to lean in more deeply even the loss of our loved ones the pain of death which is probably the most excruciating pain that any of us will undergo the loss of our loved ones is an invitation to turn from simply loving a human being to turning more deeply into recognizing that the Lord alone is going fulfill the deepest desires of our hearts the lesson of the saints is that in the midst of the struggles and the hardships it’s an invitation a hidden invitation a dark grace to turn to the Lord who alone is going to fulfill us if these stories that we read day after day year after year mean anything at all it means that were not going to find our fulfillment through economics or politics or the arts or our own human achievement as important as wonderful as that’s going to be the fulfillment of our heart is going to rest in the Lord alone. Amen? Amen.