Homily: Father Mike Kuse
Blessed Sacrament Parish
September 30, 2012 - 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time
10 AM Service
If you remember, a couple of weeks ago I mentioned that Jesus is really going to open us up to what we need to strive for. He told us on that Sunday, “Let the Devil get behind you. Make sure that you kick everything out of the way that takes you away from holiness.”
Last week they were fighting over who was the greatest. Who would be on the inner circle? Who was really going to be with Jesus and who wasn't going to be with Jesus? And he reprimanded them. He said, “In my Kingdom you are all equal. Don't start playing games with each other.”
This morning he touches on another aspect of it. It almost seems cruel and I can't believe Jesus would say, “Cut your foot off. Cut you arm off. And pluck your eye out.” Jesus is all about love. And Jesus says, “I am all about love but I want you to know that if you are going to follow this path of holiness, and you are going to see everyone as your sisters and brothers, then everyone is welcome - so don't be jealous. Don't think that you are not receiving all that you should have.”
We sometimes forget that this is God's Kingdom and God welcomes us into the Kingdom. It's not like it started with me, or you, and we thought it would be kind of nice if God would become a part of us. So he is saying, “Just cool it a little bit.”
Thank God for what you have and what you can do, and when you do it, do it for your sisters and brothers. Don't do anything that is going to set you apart. If you are in one heart and one mind with everybody else, there's no reason that there should be any jealousy, any separation.
All of us have been jealous at one time or another - maybe for something stupid, maybe for something serious - but if we let God lead us we find out, “I had no reason to be jealous. God has given me what I need.” But he is also saying, “I didn't give it to you to hold on to. I gave it to you so that you could let it go.”
When we put jealousy into the secular world we could think about someone in this way: "Well, this person got the job I should have gotten, or this person gets to go to that school and I wanted to go to that school, or this person married the one I was in love with. And it goes on and on and on.
Sometimes when you just sit back you can smile at the jealousy. But what it does, if you let it, it will just eat you alive. You're holding on to something and so much anger, and the other person is having the time of his life. They could be in Hawaii having a fantastic vacation and there you are thinking, “Why did they get to go there? Why shouldn't I be allowed to go there? I should be the one going there.” It's like - get a life.
Look into the mirror and see what's there for you and see if you can welcome everyone and appreciate everyone doing something to build the Kingdom of God.
When it comes to faith it's important for us to know, if I have the privilege of being given the gift of faith and I welcome that gift, then it's my opportunity and the commandment for me to give my gift to someone else. It's never meant, “I've got it. You can't have it.”
Sometimes we feel that way. Sometimes we take it for granted.
Yesterday, when I was at a wedding and was greeting people, a beautiful lady walked out and greeted me and said, “Hello. My name is so and so. I'm the token Jew here at this wedding.” And I said, “Welcome. I've been a token many times in my life.”
Nobody should ever be a token anywhere, you just simply have to say, “We're all the people of God. We all have something to share and to receive.”
It's when someone has a gift, and they don't want to develop the gift, and they do not want to share the gift that Jesus simply says, “You know, you ought to just cut your foot off, get rid of your hand, get rid of your eye because you don't deserve your gift. You won't share it with anyone.”
It all starts within our own homes and our own circle of friends. We need to make sure that we mold each other.
When children grow up, whether there's an only child, whether there's six or eight children - it doesn't make any difference. Children will fight and squabble. That's part of learning who we are and what we can give and what we can receive. But when we finally get to adulthood, we have to accept the mantle of grace and we have to be able to say, “I would not be the person I am if it hadn't been for my sisters and brothers.”
We needed to fight and argue in order to realize that we are the same, and we are also different. That is what makes us family. That's why this person is a very good friend of mine. Not that I hate the rest of the world, but this person and I have been able to give and to receive, and throughout life we have molded into one.
Jesus tells us this morning, “When you receive the body and blood of Christ, you are all receiving the same thing. It's not like we are giving out M&Ms up here and you come and say, “I only like the red ones, I want the green ones, I want the blue ones.” It's all the same wafer. It is all the same blood of Christ.
That is what makes us different. That is what makes us the same. Jesus says, “That is my Kingdom. That's why I'm very firm in telling you - you either get it, or you don't get it. But blessed is the
child … .” Every week he's brought the child into it. He's saying, “Blessed are those children who get it, who live it, who love it.”
So this morning may you and I leave church knowing that, yes, I may be jealous fifteen times this week, but I do know in my heart I only want the best for everyone, including myself.
Monsignor Michael Kuse is pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Quincy, Illinois.