Blessed Sacrament Parish
Homily by Monsignor Michael Kuse
July 5, 2015 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Reading I Ezekiel 2:2-5
Reading II 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
Gospel Mark 6:1-6
Is God’s grace enough for us? Have you ever thought, “I’m not so sure that God’s grace is so wonderful, because if God’s grace is so wonderful he wouldn’t let this happen.” God simply says, “Do you ever think that I am letting this happen so that in your weakness you will become strong, and when you pass through that moment you will realize I was with you through it all.”
That’s a powerful message. For you and I to welcome that, two ingredients are necessary. One is: You and I must be humble. And two: We must have unending love within us. We can’t have the love unless we are humble and unless we have both of them — otherwise God’s grace will never be sufficient for us.
Just imagine if you and I had a glass. We just had some orange juice. We didn’t drink it all. We can see the stain of the orange juice and there is still a little in the bottom. Would you hand that to someone and say, “Would you go get me a beer, or a coke and just put it in this same glass. It’s all right.”
What we usually do is: We wash and we rinse the glass. We empty the glass first, and after we empty and rinse it, then we put in something new and fresh.
Jesus uses the example of the wineskins. But in our life it’s that glass. We throw it into the dishwasher or we wash it by hand or just rinse it. But we always empty the glass and clean it first so that something new can be put into it.
But as long as coffee is in the cup, or beer in the glass, or soda in the glass — do not mix some other drink with it until the cup is cleaned. Jesus says, “In your life you really need to empty that glass over and over and over again. That’s why you come to Mass. It’s not because it’s the “in” thing to do. We come to Mass because I need it, and you need it. Just a few minutes ago you asked God, “Forgive me for not cleaning out my glass this week. I got upset with my family, I didn’t speak to a co-worker, I didn’t pray this week. Forgive me. Clean my glass. I want to see this week come ahead and I want this week to give me everything that I need so that when you want to pour something into my life — I’ll be ready to accept it.”
A few years ago there was a woman who tried out for “Britain’s Got Talent” and she did not look like Madonna or Marilyn Monroe. When she went out on stage you could hear the rumblings in the audience. “What’s she doing on stage?” people whispered. “Who does she think she is?” Then she started to sing and while she was singing there was a hush throughout the auditorium. When she finished everyone in the audience stood up and applauded and the applause when on and on and on. “How could this lowly woman be given such a beautiful voice?” someone asked.
You and I may not be on “America’s Got Talent” but everyday we can look at each other and ask, “Is your glass empty? If it is, I’d like to give you something, and if it is not empty — then I’d like to ask, ‘Can I rinse it out for you? You are going to enjoy what I am going to give you if you are free of everything else in your life.’ ”
That is a powerful message.
Jesus was in his hometown. The first reading told us that prophets are the ones who make the difference. If you read the Bible, it tells how all the kings and queens have their role and place. But it is the prophets who are the ones who know how to enter the glass and fill it.
You and I through baptism and Eucharist and confirmation are called to be prophetic. That is the nature of who we are. Sometimes we have to wait, sometimes we have to be humble just like Susanne Boyle, who always had that voice but then, all of a sudden, everything blossoms.
If I were to do a survey here is the question. “Do you love each other? Do you love your wife or your husband? Do you love your children? Do you like to have the grandchildren over? Do you like to go out with your friends?” And everybody would answer: “Yes.”
But if I ask you, “How well do you know them, how well do you love them, and how much do they love you?” Probably there is something within all of us that we have never revealed to anyone else and if we did — it may sound stupid. And yet, you love your friends, and they love you. Jesus says, “True love means throughout your whole life you have to work at loving others. And every day you have to say, ‘Rinse out my glass.’ ”
At home when a family has small children, or grown children, and they go to bed at night what should be said is, “Good night. I love you.” The little kids will give you a kiss. The older ones say, “See you in the morning.” They never miss that moment. We never know when one person is not going to wake up and then you would say, “I missed it. I should have emptied my glass. Now how can I forgive myself?”
Jesus says, “Don’t put yourself in that bind. Always make sure that you are always rinsing out that glass, that you will always be a prophet, that you will be humble, and that you will have gifts. You don’t have to have a tattoo or wear a T-shirt — you just need to live. And if we do have love then we are a loving people and we will see it over and over and over.
So this morning Jesus is saying, “I just want you to get your act together so that you’ll know that my grace is enough for you. And I want you to know that if you keep drinking out of the same glass — one day chocolate milk, one day a beer, one day a Manhattan, one day iced tea, one day water and it’s always in the same glass — after a while you are not going to taste anything.
But if the glass is clean you will say: “Fill my life. I have sinned and I am weak but you told me, through Paul, that it is through my weakness that I become strong.”
This morning we have all come here because we are lovers. We are all humble. We know God has to be first. We have all come here this morning saying, “Lord, I’ve just acknowledged my sins. My glass is clean and it’s empty. Just fill my glass.”
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Monsignor Michael Kuse is pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Quincy, Illinois.
(TASCAM DR 40 file 0003)