Wednesday, March 9, 2016


Homily for March 10th, 2016. John 5:31-47.       
“You do not believe the one [the Father] has sent,” Jesus says in the gospel we have just heard. The common expectation was that the Messiah would be a figure of glory and power. How could people raised on such expectations reconcile them with this man Jesus who been born and raised in their midst? AWe know where this man is from,@ they say in John=s gospel. ABut when the Messiah comes, no one will know where he is from.@ (Jn 7:27) Matthew reports a similar reaction to Jesus when he returned to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and taught in the synagogue there. AIsn=t this the carpenter=s son?,” they asked. “Where did he get all this? They found him altogether too much for them.@  (Mt 13:55f)   
God comes to us most often in the normal events of everyday life. God came to me some sixty years ago through a child=s voice in the confessional saying: AI stamp my foot at my mother and say No.@ That hit me hard. That little one is so sorry for that small sin, I thought. My own sins are worse B and I=m not that sorry. I believe that the Lord sent that child into my confessional to teach me a lesson. I=ve never forgotten what that little one taught me.
An African proverb says: AListen, and you will hear the footsteps of the ants.@ God=s coming to us is often as insignificant as the footsteps of ants. God is coming to each one of us, right now. He is knocking on the door of our hearts. He leaves it to us whether we open the door. How often we have refused to do so, trying to keep God at a distance because we fear the demands he will make on us.  Yet God continues to come to us, and to knock. He never breaks in. He waits for us to open the door. As long as life on this earth lasts, God will never take No as our final answer.

Refusing to open the door means shutting out of our lives the One who alone can give our lives meaning; who offers us the strength to surmount suffering; the One who alone can give us fulfillment, happiness, and peace. Keeping the door of our hearts shut to God means missing out on the greatest opportunity we shall ever be offered; failing to appear for our personal rendezvous with destiny.

Opening the door to God, letting him into our lives, means embarking on life=s greatest adventure. That is the most worthwhile thing we can do with our lives C at bottom the only thing worth doing. A Trappist monk who helped me cross the threshold into the Catholic Church over 65 years ago said it best when he wrote: “To fall in love with God is the greatest of all romances; to seek him the greatest human adventure; to find him the highest human achievement.”