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.
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?”
everything. He said, “What I really need is to know how to serve
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
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
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
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
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
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
It’s that letting
go that is the constant challenge for all of us.
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
She said, “No. It’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
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
And so God is
saying to us today, “How much are you
willing to give to let me into your life?”
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?”
* * *
Monsignor Michael Kuse is pastor of Blessed Sacrament
Parish in Quincy, Illinois.