Homily: Father Mike Kuse
Blessed Sacrament Parish
October 14, 2012 - 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time
10 AM Service
We could put a sign in front of the church here that says, “The Church is For Sale.” And Jesus would say, “Go ahead and sell it.” But he says, “You who are my sons and daughters, you will never be for sale. No one can purchase the Kingdom of Heaven.” That's what you and I wrestle with every day of our lives. We try to buy heaven, we try to mentally work through everything. But I'm sure God understands “if I do this - that's OK, I don't really mean this, but I still want heaven.”
Every day of our lives that situation arises. God says, “You know, heaven is my gift to you and I give it freely, and I love you. And it's not bogus, it's the real thing - it's not a building, it's parts working together.”
Jesus invites us to remember how we came into the world. Blakely came from her mother's womb totally naked and completely in touch with God. No one could buy her. Mom and Dad had to receive her.
When you and I die, we still don't believe that we can't take everything with us. Somehow there's got to be room in heaven for this bedroom, or this outfit, or this car, this house, or this something. “I want to take it all with me because it's mine.”
But Jesus says, “No. When you come to heaven, just remember you come into heaven naked just like you came from your mother's womb. I don't understand your thinking, but your task in life is to understand my thinking. I know it's not easy. But that's what you have to do to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.”
That's why Jesus always uses the example of children. When children come into the world, they can't speak. But they hear, and they see, and they feel. All they ask - whether it's Mom or Dad, sister or brother, Grandma or Grandpa, it doesn't matter who it is - “Would you just hold me, because if you don't hold me I am going to start crying. All I really want is to be held. I want that sense of belonging, and I don't have any money to buy it. All I can do is think, 'Will you please hold me.' And I can tell just by the way you hold me that I am being loved.”
Then we go through the process of living and what do we do? We can't wait until Blakely takes her first steps - when she will be able to feed herself, then go to the bathroom alone, then go to bed alone - and we want everybody to be absolutely independent. Yet throughout our lives, we are all saying to one another, “Will you just be there for me? It's scary. But I know what I really want in the world more than anything else is to experience love.”
And love is not easy. It's not always easy for a Christian family to always be of one mind and one heart. It's not easy for a couple to be of one mind and one heart. That's why we have permanent relationships. That's why families are asked to stay together, forgive each other, love each other, because the most important thing is that you belong.
In order for us to do that we have to be naked - not physically naked - we have to be spiritually naked. “I know I can't buy heaven, but I know that if I live the Gospel - the gates of heaven will be open for me.”
That's a powerful message.
You hear many stories about people seeing St. Peter at the Golden Gates. There was a man that went there one day and St. Peter said, “Who are you?” And the man answered, “Well, you know me.”
St. Peter said, “Well, I don't think I do. I don't see your name in the book.” St. Peter asked, “Did you ever help anybody?”
The man answered, “Oh, yes. I went to church. I put a quarter in the collection once.”
St. Peter said, “Well, let me go check that out. Are you sure?” So St. Peter went back to check and soon returned and said, “Well, I'm sorry. We have no record of that - but here's your quarter back.”
That's how you and I want to buy heaven. “God, I'm going to tell you. This is what I'm going to give you to get into heaven.”
And God says, “Get sober. I'm going to tell you now how you will get into Heaven. So it comes down to us to be children, and to always remember how we came into the world, and how we are going to leave the world.”
Jesus says, “While you're in the world, just remember one thing - I can never stop loving you. And I ask you to never stop loving each other.”
Monsignor Michael Kuse is pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Quincy, Illinois.