Some years ago I read a book by Fr. Gregory Boyle, SJ, about his Homeboy Industries. Fr. Boyle was just given the Laetare Medal at Notre Dame this year. His address was beautiful. Watch it below. There is also a great video here, worth a watch, and from that I’ve snagged these lines….
- “How can we develop a kind of compassion that stands in awe of what the poor have to carry, and not in judgment of how they carry it?”
- “We must obliterate this illusion that we’re separate. No ‘us’ and ‘them’, just ‘us’. For there is an idea that has taken root in the world–it’s at the root of all that’s wrong with it–and the idea is this: that there just might be lives out there that matter less than other lives.”
- “It shouldn’t surprise us that God’s own dream for us–that we be one–just happens to be our own deepest longing for ourselves.”
La belleza de Dios es que siempre hay más. The beauty of God is that there’s always more. In our first reading, we hear about a fellow named Apollos, a native of Alexandria. He was a great speaker, a wise man, an authority on the scriptures. Very religious guy. He was talking beautifully about Jesus in the synagogue, with great spirit. But then Priscilla and Aquila hear him speaking, and they take him aside to explain some things a little better. Even this expert had something to learn. It’s the same with us. The beauty of God is there’s always more, he always goes deeper.
We have reached the end of the year! Today’s rain reminds us of our blessings (rain is a symbol of God’s blessings…since without it we have no life). So we thank God for all the new friends we have, the new things we did, the new things we learned. It’s been a year filled with blessings! Our cup runs over. God has downpoured graces into our lives. Thanks be to God. The rain also washes away all the bad things, the bad days we had last year. Rain does that….it purifies and cleanses away the ugly and blesses us with the beautiful. Thanks be to God for a wonderful year!
What imprisons us from living and sharing the faith??
- We see Paul and Silas in our first reading, who were literally within prison bars that prevented them from bringing the good news to people. Until there was an earthquake and God opened up the gates.
- Today is the feast day of Pope Gregory VII, the 157th holy father. He was imprisoned from his evangelical efforts by the Roman emperor Henry IV, who did all he could to minimize the power of the papacy and Gregory in particular. He even named an antipope (Clement III). God took care of that situation, though, and Gregory became a very important figure in the 11th century church and in the development of the doctrine of the papacy and our papal practices that survive to this day.
- I think a lot of people are in some kind of prison that prevents them from sharing the faith….be it fear, or busy calendars, or sins and addictions, or simply apathy.
But God wants to bring those prison walls down.
I would like to begin my homily with some news today. Last Tuesday, I received word that I am being transferred this July to be the administrator of St. Joseph’s Parish in Shelbyville and sacramental minister at St. Vincent de Paul Parish, also in Shelbyville. I have to tell you that, when I go the call, my first question was: “But who will come to OLG?” Hang tight, I’ll answer that in a minute. My second question was, “Are there donuts after Masses in Shelbyville?”
But you should know that I love this parish with all my heart. I feel like we are a family here. It will be hard to leave. I look out each day at Mass and think, “I remember that baby’s baptism,” or, “I remember burying her husband,” or, “I remember going to their house and playing basketball with that kid,” or, “I remember her last day of 8th grade.” It has been an incredible journey with you and I will miss you something crazy. Winnie the Pooh said, “How glad I am to have something so special that will make saying goodbye so hard.” Amen. But fortunately, today is not goodbye. I have a month to get that all put together. I am here through July 4. Then I will depart.
Today Acts 16 tells us: “[Paul and Timothy] traveled through the Phrygian and Galatian territory because they had been prevented by the Holy Spirit from preaching the message in the province of Asia. When they came to Mysia, they tried to go on into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them, so they crossed through Mysia and came down to Troas.” I remember Bishop Doherty preaching on this text at my seminary graduation. He said that we tend to think of life as a kind of slingshot, where we are set in a single direction all the way till our reward. But the reality is there is lots of “pinging around” when we follow the Spirit. It’s not always comfortable! Sometimes God shuts us down, or sets us in some unexpected direction. Or he prevents something we anticipate from happening. But thanks be to God for the pinging around. Life would be rather borning without it.