posted on July 15, 2012 16:20
Homily: Father Mike Kuse
Blessed Sacrament Parish
July 15, 2012 - 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time
10 A.M. Service
You notice in the Gospel this morning, in this passage he takes the twelve closest to him and he says, “I am going to send you in different directions. This is what you are to do. This is what you are to take with you.”
He's telling them, “Don't fear anything, and don't let anything get in the way.”
This morning I would like to have us reflect on baggage. Have you ever had the experience, or watched people at the airport - they put their suitcase on the scale and it weighs too much. They have to take it off and unzip it, and they don't know where to shove this and where to shove that, and then if it's a couple one of them says, “I told you not to take all that.”
“I didn't know.”
“Well, now we've got this problem. Now it's going to cost us. It's all this baggage. It's all this stuff. You don't need an outfit for everyday. Just take what you need.”
Until finally, everything calms down, they zip it up - 49 pounds.
Well, Jesus isn't worried. Airports weren't around in his time. But he's talking about another kind of baggage. He says, “I put you in my Kingdom.” This morning he's going to put Anna Marie in his Kingdom and she's going to hear a voice, and he's going to tell her, “From now on, you belong to me and wherever I send you, you will have everything that you need - so don't take anything else along.”
What is the baggage that you and I take through life that might upset us?
It might be the baggage of fear. “I really would like to take this job but I'm not sure if I'm going to like it and I don't want to move to another city and then have no one around and I'll be alone and so I worry: Is God with me or not?”
Sometimes we have the baggage of having a lack of confidence. Someone
could say, “We'd like to have children, but I don't know if I'd be a good mother or father.” God says, “Don't worry about it. The kid's going to raise you anyway. You'll do all right.”
Jesus is looking at us and saying, “You know, what you have to remember is to be a person of prayer. If you're not praying, that's something. The baggage that you don't need is to be a person not praying, because no matter where I send you you're going to have difficult times.”
And he's saying, “You need to be a person of love because if you don't love who you are, then that's a problem. But remember, in my eyes - you're perfect. You don't need any plastic surgery, you don't need anything. You're perfect in my eyes. So I'm just sending you out there. All you have to do is love. The rest of it will take place. But if you don't know how to love, and you don't love yourself - that's baggage you don't need.”
He's also telling us, “Every person that you meet when I send you out there, you have to remember, is also your brother or sister.”
Sometimes we have to stop and think, “Oh, well, what I if I don't like that person?”
Jesus says, “That's not why I'm sending you. Because maybe when you encounter this person, he will change and you will change. That's why you're being sent. So I'm not asking you to make judgments before I send you out into the world. I'm just asking that you accept each other.”
We know how that can create hurts, and if we create hurts we really are not prophetic. And if we are going to be prophetic it's not because “I'm so great and I've got something to share.” It's just that: “I'm the image of Christ and I need to let Christ speak through me. If I do that, I have no extra baggage.”
Another way of putting all of this is that we simply live a simple life. In our day and age, it's very difficult. In the time of our grandparents and great-grandparents, simplicity was no big deal because they didn't have that much. They weren't trying to squeeze too much into a suitcase, they were just willing to have enough.
Most people, if you go back 50 or 100 years, if they needed something they waited until they had the money before they bought something. When they had the money then they purchased it. But until they had the money saved they lived with what they had.
Jesus says, “That's what it's all about, and when you have a simplicity of lifestyle, you don't have to have fear. You don't have to worry about anybody being better or less than yourselves. You will know how to love, because your neighbor will be just as you are.”
Have you ever thought that sometimes in the material world in which we live, very seldom do people have to go ask someone to help them.
Number one, some people don't know their neighbors. Number two, “I'll just go out and get something, I don't need to ask anyone's help.” And number three, “I don't want to be embarrassed in this day and age. I want everyone to know I have everything.”
Jesus kind of sweeps right through all of that and he says, “You know, if you put that in Christian terms - to have a simple lifestyle - you have to know love, you have to know how to forgive, and you have to know how to listen. That is how the twelve healed. If today God sends any one of us into a situation that we are not anticipating at this moment, and he puts us there to help someone - in helping that person one of us is going to feel so good, and the other is going to be so grateful.
That's the message. That's when there's no baggage. That's when nothing stands in the way of any one of us being a Christian and being the person who we are.
You and I have to remember that we are the people we have always been. No one changes. So today as we baptize Anna Marie, we are asking to be prophetic for her and that she can be prophetic for us. We pray for the kids who are making a TEC because when they go they are asked to bring nothing. “We'll give you everything, and we'll send you home with more.”
Yesterday, seventy or eighty kids from Notre Dame left to go on a Catholic Heart Workcamp. They are going to a city where they've never been, and they are going out there without any baggage. They are going to paint houses, and mow grass, and do odd jobs around the house. And before they leave, the people they serve will come and meet them and they will pray and they will eat and they will celebrate together. That's the message of this Gospel. Those are the things that change all of us.
Jesus says, “When I call you, don't be afraid. I will dress you. I will give you everything that you need.”
May you realize - may I realize - there is a blessing when we allow God to touch our lives