Homily - Thirteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time
June 26, 2022
Hello ,

Clearly, our destination is eternal life; and clearly the Way that Jesus introduces is a simple way. It is the way of love. He constantly challenges those who understood older ways, the law, as that way was far more rigid. And Jesus comes along and just simply says the law is completely fulfilled in the law of love.

Here is the my homily for the Thirteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time. Please feel free to share it with others.

See everyone next Sunday at masses!

God bless,

Fr. Brendan
Gospels our Map and Jesus is Our Way
They tell us that maps are the most important
historical documents of human beings.
They say that the map is a tool to
exchange knowledge about space and time.
Those who produce maps, cartographers,
they have layers to any map.
It is not a single dimension.
A lot of people may not think so but it is true.
When was the last time you looked at a map?
It is all Google maps now.
But maps of old had layers.
If you look at a map of Texas for example,
the size of the lettering for Dallas or Houston
is clearly larger than Uvalde, which would be tiny.
The reason for that is obviously the lettering
would be done according to population size.
The letters would be larger because the population is larger. [1]

Then there are all sorts of our layers to a map they can add:
topography with vegetation, and mountains, etc.
We can see how many layers that they can get put onto a map;
and all those layers put give meaning to their narrative.
It was a way to communicate meaning in that era.
It was not just a single dimension.
The primary purpose of a map is to get you from one location to the next.
It is a dynamic document.
All of this is to say that a map is far more dynamic
and it is not a static document.

The reason I bring this up is
because I think the gospels are maps for us.
They guide us from a location to a location
and I suppose in one sense, Jesus is the cartographer;
indeed Jesus is the map himself as well
because he is the way, the truth and the life.
He shows us how to get from one place to the next.
He is not a single dimension either.
He tells us how we are meant to travel so to speak.

Clearly, our destination is eternal life;
and clearly the Way that Jesus introduces is a simple way.
It is the way of love.
He constantly challenges those who understood older ways,
the law, as that way was far more rigid.
And Jesus comes along and just simply says
the law is completely fulfilled in the law of love.
The difference is there is a sense of urgency to Jesus’ mission,
not just his own mission but for the mission of all of us.
And he calls us constantly.
We hear that today, four times, “Follow me.”

The Way of Jesus, this map of Jesus
if you would, is a dynamic process too.
It is one of constantly following.
The word “disciple” for example,
we think of as more of a noun but
when you translate it, it is actually means “a follower”
and is more of a verb than a noun.
Anyone who is a disciple is a follower, the activity of following.
We need to see being a disciple of Christ as not a noun
but more what we do;
that we are a follower of Jesus in all that we say and do.

That is why we come to the Eucharist too.
If this Eucharist becomes a noun
or something we just attend like an event
then it we are not really living the Eucharist.
It is meant to be a verb that we live the Eucharist;
we become what we receive.
We become the Body of Christ for others.
We become the Blood of Christ poured out for others.

This is the same dynamic reality
and that is what brings us meaning in our life.
That singular purpose is to follow Jesus in what he says and does.
In the readings today you can get that sense of dynamic reality
and urgency that is set before anyone who would be a would-be disciple;
that is they are called to follow and
to leave everything behind right now to go on the journey;
to follow the map.
There is a treasure.
Don’t wait. Just go.

That is all great but how do we apply that to our own lives?
We have to look at our own lives
and not think of our lives as a static reality
like a two-dimensional map somehow;
that we just look at it but that it is a dynamic reality.
It calls us to actively follow it.
And that Jesus is that Way.
He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.
He is the one who will show us.

In the second reading today we hear from St. Paul to Galatians
and he advises on how to live this way of the Jesus.
He tells them to live in the Spirit versus the flesh.
This word “flesh” would be better translated for our ear as “ego.”
We are called to listen to the “spirit” versus to our “ego.”
He goes on later in this book to tell them how to measure it,
he calls it the fruits of the Spirit.
This is how one can know when one is following the way of Jesus.
He tells us the that fruits of the Spirit are:
peace, joy, love, kindness, gentleness, patience, generosity,
faithfulness, and self-control.

Now if we want to measure ourselves,
it is important to not get tricked by the devil
and to measure ourselves too close together;
in other words not day after day, or week after week
because that is not how we measure the fruits.
We do not plant a tree and expect it to bear fruit in the next week.
We have to wait for it to bear fruit.
We have to water it.
We have to nurture it.
Then we wait for the fruit to bear.

It is the same for us.
We have to measure ourselves maybe over a year’s time.
And when we go over a year we reflect:
Am I gentler than last year?
Am I more generous than I was last year?
Am I kinder than I was last year?
These are good questions to ask ourselves.
And then we will know if we are following the map.
Then we will know if we are following the Way
and if we will reach our destination.
And if we are not, don’t stress, just look at the map and say,
“What am I doing?”
And get back on to where our journey will take us.

It’s a dynamic reality and what we do today
when we come to Eucharist is to participate
in that dynamic reality and to once again take up the map of the gospel,
to follow the Way of Jesus
and let it take us to our eternal reward.
It is a dynamic way.
Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life.
The gospels are our map and Jesus is the Way.

[1]Brené Brown, Atlas of the Heart (Random House, November 2021)
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