The power of the Word: A homily for the 15th Sunday of Ordinary Time (A)

bibleI want to focus on two things today.  1) God’s word for us and 2) God’s purpose for us.

God’s word for us.  We know the power of a word.  When someone says a good word about me, if it’s really good, I think about it for days!  And conversely, when someone says something less than kind, sometimes such a thing might keep me awake a night. I suppose it is the same for all of us.  We know the power of a human word.

And yet God’s word is a thousand times more powerful. Our first reading tells us that God sends his words down for a purpose.  He speaks them for a purpose.  And his word is meant to change our lives!  Change the world!  I think about Millard Fuller, a man who founded Habitat for Humanity.  Do you know that over half a million houses have been built with Habitat?  I heard how he felt a calling to create Habitat because he was reading Matthew 25.  That’s about 2 million people whose lives have been bettered because one man read one chapter–maybe one verse–of Scripture and acted on it.  That’s pretty wild!

I know this.  I know that men are better husbands and fathers when the read God’s word.  And women better mothers and wives.  Kids are better kids.  We must make God’s word a DAILY part of our lives.  As Fr Larry Richards says, NO BIBLE NO BREAKFAST, NO BIBLE NO BED.  His word has real power.  He has a lot to say to us every day.

Sometimes it’s kind of small, but yet important.  You know I came here from Greenwood. I have to tell you that although I was so happy to be coming here, I was quite sad to leave and a bit…nervous….about the assignment here.  My last day thereat OLG, July 4, I discovered that I had an overdue library book from the school library.  It had been under my bed for a year and a half!  So I went over to the school to return it.  Walking those school hallways, a thousand memories flashed into my heart and sadness overtook me at the thought of leaving all those kids and memories behind.  I put the book down on the librarian’s desk and turned around.  There is a bulletin board there, and each of those recent 8th grade graduates had posted a scripture verse there.  I’d seen them before.  But my eyes immediately went to one of them….it was a God thing.  It was the scripture that Connor had chosen.  It was Josh 1:9: “Be strong and courageous, do not be terrified. Do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”  Peace came over me and I said, thank you God and crossed myself.

God always has something to say.  We better be listening.

2.  God’s purpose for us.  We hear in our Gospel, the purpose of the ear is to hear. The purpose of the eye is to see.  The purpose of a seed is to grow.  The purpose of God’s word is to do his will.  Everything has a purpose.  It is a good exercise, I think, every now and again to ask: What is my purpose today?  This week?  In my life??  God made us all for a reason, for a thousand reasons.  Ours is to discover why.  It also strikes me as a good idea to ask: what is the purpose of this parish?  Why do we exist?  What is it that we do?  What for?  More on all that later!