Sunday July 24, 2016
Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
You may know our Holy Cross novices from Sunday mornings when they served in various ministries during this past year at Sacred Heart and Our Lady of Perpetual Help. I invite you to support their vocations in the Congregation of Holy Cross as they make their First Profession of Vows this coming Saturday, July 30, at 10:00 a.m. in Sacred Heart Church. Please join us in the Eucharist this Saturday to pray for these vocations within the Church. They need your prayer and you need their witness.
After their profession of vows, these six men will return to the University of Notre Dame for four years of graduate school before professing final vows and being ordained deacons. A year after that, they will be ordained priests in the Roman Catholic Church.
Fr. Neil Wack, CSC, vocation director for the Congregation of Holy Cross, will be preaching at all of the Masses next weekend at Sacred Heart. (Fr. Neil served in the Tri-Community some years ago and is very eager to see you all again!) Pray for him and all of our men in formation.
Luke’s gospel (11:1-13) is incredibly full of insights and grace this weekend. Jesus speaks to us about living a generous and persistent life of faith. He teaches us the words of the Lord’s Prayer, and tells us a story about getting beyond selfishness. This weekend’s gospel is a powerhouse of love.
Jesus says some of the most important words in the gospels: “And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”
I understand that at first glance these words do nothing for a wounded warrior coming back from war to his home in Colorado Springs. I know these words cannot be used willy-nilly for the people who lost loved ones in Orlando this past June. These words are difficult to swallow when a husband tells his wife at dinner that there is another love in his life. I know these words are difficult to take into our hearts; we resist them, even, because our lives have not turned out the way we hoped. But no matter our life and the circumstances that shape it, God is invested in the human heart.
So often we look to other people to fill the gaps in our prayer. That never works. We blame God for destruction and violence when often mental illness, or hatred, or religion-gone-wild is to blame. God does not leave us orphaned. Love within is there to heal, to reconcile, and to bring about a new way of living. Our safe place in life is the love of God.
These words of Jesus are not wrong or off base. These words are not pious piffle. They are there in today’s gospel to form our hearts and our vocations within the Church. These words are an act of created love from the divine mouth of Jesus.
I invite you to sit with these gospel words from Luke this week. Use them to find what you need in your life and heart. Here are some thoughts to consider:
What do you most need from God today?
What are the obstacles you carry within your heart that keep you from asking for what you need?
Do you know how to pray from your heart?
Do you have the courage to ask?
Do you have the courage to receive an answer that is not what you asked for?
Are you willing to live a more generous life?
Are you willing to let go of past hurts and seek the face of Jesus?
Do you have the courage to extend your talents and love to others?
How have you sought the Lord before?
What difference does prayer and service make in your life?
Are you stuck in a rut in your old age?
Would you be willing to knock and open the door to the love God has for you?
What resistances do you hold on to in yourrelationship with Christ?
What if Jesus opened to the door to you? How would you react?
How do you pray for this new opening?