posted on March 17, 2013 18:07
Homily: Father Mike Kuse
Blessed Sacrament Parish
March 17, 2013 - 5th Sunday of Lent
10 AM Service
You and I, two weeks ago, were the Samaritan woman at the well. Last week we were the man born blind. And today we are Lazarus. We're in the tomb. We've all died. Under normal circumstances it's over for us. People outside are mourning. They are going to miss us. It's in the midst of that that Jesus comes alive. Not because he is the young man who is Jewish and his father were Mary and Joseph. He comes alive because he was sent here to be, and is, and always will be, the Son of God.
This morning we might just think of a place in our life where Jesus entered into our life, set us free, and then said, “Go on and live.” It could have been when we were alone, it could be with a group of people. For some things in life it's just like it happened yesterday.
I lived in a small town south of Champaign and Urbana. The town next to me was called Pasotum, Illinois. When I arrived there I had never heard of Villa Grove, where I lived, or Pesotum. I asked somebody, “How do I get there?” And I was given directions. Well, when I got there I met the people from Pesotum. And I said to them, “Your faith has a richness here.” It was a small country parish and the parish was on a blacktop road, and there was a beautiful church and there was a house for the priest and next to the church was the cemetery.
So they told me their story. The older members, who years ago were small children in the parish, began to re-live their stories. They told me, “You have to remember, Father, when this parish was founded there were no cars. There was just the horse and buggy. And every Sunday morning each family would all pile into the buggy. For some of us today five miles is nothing, but back then five miles in a horse and buggy was quite a trek. And we left our farms and we came from all directions, and we would come and then have Mass.
“We all brought food and after Mass we had what we call today a 'potluck.'
We gathered and we all ate together - the families and the children. We all grew up together. Today whenever we come to church we all go and visit the graves of our loved ones. They were all members of this parish.
“Then, at three o'clock in the afternoon, we cleaned up all the food and then we went back into church and had Vespers and we ended Vespers with Benediction and then while it was still daylight we gathered our children and got into the buggies and we went home.”
If you remember the passage this morning when Jesus says, “When you do things in daylight the light will always shine. In night you would stumble.”
That whole experience of a faith community took place every Sunday in daylight. What they did to pass on the faith was done in the light and Jesus shared the power of who he was.
Today you and I live a different style of life. You can leave Mass in a few minutes and drive to St. Louis and have lunch and go shopping and come back and go to work tomorrow and nobody thinks anything about it. But we have to remember that now we still are the people of God. We still want that light to shine. We need each other. We need are own family unit, we need our parish, we need our wider community.
So this morning, this is Pesotum. And we've come to pray. But we are also like Mary and Martha. We have the things in us that weigh us down, the things we just worry about. And we are asking Jesus to show us the light and to be that light so that we can resurrect ourselves for another week.
We're asking the elect of our parish and the elect of parishes across the world, “Let the light shine. Live your faith in the light. That's what it's all about. The darkness pulls us away but the light always sets us free.”
We fall asleep at times and sometimes we die. But if you noticed in the Scripture, when Jesus heard about Lazarus, he didn't say, “OK, guys. Come on. We've got to run right back there. He just kept on being God. When he finally knew that after two days Lazarus has to be dead he decided, “I need to go back and I need to make sure he has died so that I can bring him back to life.”
You and I have to remember that God can bring us out of anything into life.
Someone can be totally upset about something and ready to take his own life and Jesus would say, “I will be there. You just have to know how much I love you, and I will always bring you to life.”
So today as we leave church, we are men and women and children of life. We have to have the courage to go forth. It was the courage that Patrick had as we celebrate St. Patrick's Day. We do a lot of wining and celebrating and we dress up in green. We have fantastic parties. We have to remember, Patrick was in Germany and he was sent from Germany to Ireland to people he did not know and he was asked to be the light of Christ.
It was not about shamrocks. It was about God wanting to change the people.
He wants to change us if we will only let him enter - and to be as close to him as he was to Mary, Martha and Lazarus. And he wept for them. His final message to them was, “Some day you will fully understand.”
Someday you and I will understand.
Monsignor Michael Kuse is pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Quincy, Illinois.