These reflections are the leftover fragments from my homily this morning, Sunday December 15, 2013. Matthew 11:2-11. The Third Sunday of Advent.
December 15, 2013
I shared lunch with retired Bishop Richard Hanifen on Thursday.
I had not seen him since 1987 when I left Colorado Springs.
Bishop Hanifen ordained me a deacon in 1982.
He offered me a mission statement for my time as pastor at Sacred Heart.
“Teach people to change one word.”
“When you speak about ‘the’ poor, change ‘the’ to ‘our’.”
“If you do that in your time as pastor, that will be enough.”
“Then put ‘our’ into action.”
Isaiah the prophet tells us about real rejoicing.
The eyes of the blind will be open.
The ears of the deaf will be cleared.
The lame will leap.
The mute will sing.
Jesus reminded the disciples about what they had seen.
The weak have become strong.
This is authentic rejoicing on “Gaudete Sunday”.
We rejoice not because we have our fill.
Not because we get more than we need.
Not because we fill our homes with abundance.
Not because we have more than our neighbor.
We rejoice because God makes a home in despair.
God brings relief from our desire to drink and to harm our selves.
God offers love when we hate others.
God offers hope when our fear turns to violence.
God shows us how to live when revenge fills our thoughts.
We cannot separate people into categories.
We share a common poverty because we all need God.
We are in this life together.
Our lame shall leap.
Our deaf shall hear.
Our blind shall see.
Our immigrants shall belong.
Our mentally ill shall find relief.
Our addicted shall be free.
Our naked shall be clothed.
Rejoice because God has found a home in our earthly lives.
Bishop Hanifen then said, “And then give people hope.”