Sunday Homily (Full Text)

Sunday Homily


Blessed Sacrament Parish

Homily by Father Mike Kuse

July 27, 2014




You and I have two things in common.  Number one, we are all sinners.  Number two, we all have the Eucharist and that’s where the tension is in our lives.  When Jesus opens the Scriptures for us today he is reminding us that there also are two qualities that enter into this tension.  One is competition, and the other is complexity.


All of our lives are very complex.  If you are having a good day, find someone who isn’t and they will just go on and on and you think,  “Oh, my gosh.”  But we all have our turns at both. 


The Scripture speak to us today.  It starts off with Solomon as a young man who is going to take charge of people, and Solomon is scared to death.  God speaks to him in a dream and asks, “Solomon, what do you need?”


Solomon had everything.  He said,  “What I really need is to know how to serve these people.”


God comes back to him and says,  “You truly do understand.  And now that you know that I called you by name to serve, you will have everything else way beyond what you need.”  Then Solomon woke up and he led the people for ages.


What do you and I hear in our dreams?  How is God speaking to us?  What does he really want to say?  Well, sometimes we do not let God into our lives because of the competition.  “God, just hang on for a week or two.  I’m real busy. There’s a lot of things going on, and when things quiet down, I’ll get back to you.”


And God says,  “Go ahead.  You’ll go through the suffering. You’ll go through everything.  I’ll still be waiting for you when you come back.”


Why are we competing with God all the time?  It’s one thing to say we have healthy competition.  You can get into a tennis tournament or a golf tournament and it may help you to be a better person. It may not have anything to do with golf or tennis, it may be that you had a good time being with someone else.  You may have had the desire to win, but it isn’t everything.


But if the only thing we are going to hold on to is a trophy, then what we would honestly have to say to God when he asks  “Do you understand?”  is “No, I don’t.  I’m not sure I get it.”


In order for us to release that competition and put some sense to our complex lives, that’s why we come to Eucharist.  We come here because there is a certain rhythm.  Nothing else is going on, this is not a sports bar, we don’t have TVs all around the place, we are not bothering you asking,  “Do you want a drink, do you want something to eat?”  We just say,  “Come here, and relax.”


This week I spent a couple of days with the priests I meet with every month.

We’ve been meeting together monthly for almost 35 years.  For those who are in marriage encounter, it’s what you call community.  If you are in Cursillo, it’s what you call a prayer group.  For us it’s people who understand each other.


We went to Chicago and we went to a place called The Claret House.  It’s a retreat center in Chicago run by the Claretians.  They do many things there.  One of the things they do is teach people how to quiet themselves, how to pray, and how to overcome competition and this complexity. 


There were five of us with the person who was going to lead us.  He came into the room and all he had on was a pair of underwear and a cloak over him.  He told us there were five chairs and five pads.  We could sit on a chair or sit on a pad.


He said,  “The first thing we are going to do is cross our legs.  But I will teach you how to cross your legs.”  He had us go into a movement so that the legs would interlock.  “Next,” he said, “I want you all to sit up.  There is no slouching in this.  Then I want to teach you how to hold your hands.”  And he taught us to hold our hands and he said,  “These hands will not separate during this time of prayer.”


Once he got us all situated he said,  “We are going to sit like this for 45 minutes.

You can keep your eyes closed, or you can keep your eyes open.”


He had two sticks and he slammed them together.  He had a chime bell and he hit it three times very slowly.  He said,  “I just want you to center yourself, and get everything else out of your life. 


He said,  “Some people will use what we call a mantra.”  You don’t do it out loud when you’re in a group, but in your own head you would keep repeating something like — God is love, God is love, God is love — and you just go into your own world.


After 45 minutes he tapped the chime three times, took the two sticks and slammed them.  It takes awhile to come out of that experience, and he said,  “You can use the bathroom or stand up and stretch and then come back.” 


We went through the same ritual for another 45 minutes.  You might try this some time at home for just five minutes.  You will realize how to quiet yourself down from this world, even when you don’t know how you are going to make it from one day to the next.  God says,  “Somehow I can’t get under your skin and into your hearts.  You think it’s your world and you keep trying to push me out and you want to be in control, but you simply can’t be in control because all it does is add frustration to your life.”


It’s that letting go that is the constant challenge for all of us.


Jesus talks about,  “Are we willing to give everything we have to buy that one pearl, something that is so blessed to us?”


It’s like the story of a boy who was out playing in his back yard and he happened to find a nice little stone.  It caught his eye, he picked it up, took it into the house, cleaned it off and put it on the table in the house and forgot about it.


One day a gentleman came into the house who was going to sell something and he happened to notice that stone.  He asked the woman, the boy’s mother,  “Is that your stone?”


She said,  “No.  It’s my son’s.”


The man said,  “It’s a beautiful stone.  Would you like to sell it?”


And the boy said,  “No.  If you want it, go ahead and take it.  It’s just something I found in the back yard.”


The gentleman knew that the stone was unique and worth a lot of money but he didn’t tell the boy or his mother.  The woman and her son gave him the stone, and he took it and immediately sold it.  And the person he sold it to sold it to someone else.  The third person paid $125,000 for that stone.  But the young boy said,  “If you want it, go ahead and take it.”


And so God is saying to us today,  “How much are you willing to give to let me into your life?”


Solomon opened up.  He didn’t ask for money, or stones, or jewels.  He just said,  “Give me the ability to serve.”


Maybe you and I can ask for the ability to love, and to forgive, the ability to not be preoccupied at all times, and to know that the most important thing is to know that we have God in our life.


We live a very fast-paced life.  Just in the Catholic Church alone, and it could probably be true in all other denominations, 85 percent of parents in the entire United States want their children to be baptized, to receive first Holy Communion, and to be confirmed.


Only 15 percent of those people bring their children to church on Sunday.   It kind of wakes us up.  Who is in charge?  Where is this competition?  Why is my life so complex?


But then we go back to the words of Jesus.


“Do you love me?  Do you love me?  Do you really love me?”


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Monsignor Michael Kuse is pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Quincy, Illinois.

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