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Fr. Brian Zumbrum’s homilies and reflections are posted weekly at Leaven in the World prior to a given Sunday. To see the archive of all his posts, just click here: Salesian Sermons.
6th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A | February 15/16, 2014
PROTIP: Before reading on, be sure to take a look at the Sunday readings here. This homily focuses on the first and Gospel readings.
Think back to one of those moments in which you uttered a yes that would ultimately change your life.
Yes, let’s be friends.
Yes, I accept your offer.
Yes, I want to spend the rest of my life with you.
Yes, let’s move.
Yes, I’m ready.
But let’s be honest, what the heck were we thinking?
For every one of those yeses brought a lot more than we bargained for. Amen?
I think back to that yes that I proclaimed in front of my family, friends and brother Oblates as I pledged my life to my religious family.
I thought I knew what I was getting into. I thought I understood what I was going to have to leave behind.
But I never could have imagined all this life would involve . . .
Cleaning throw up off the wall of a middle school classroom building
Crawling underneath a car in my blacks to retrieve a lost kickball
Dressing as a leprechaun for a dodgeball tournament.
Sitting beside a stranger’s bedside for 12 hours waiting for him to take his final breath
Responding to suicidal e-mails at 1 AM in the morning.
Nor did I fully appreciate the no’s that would come with this yes.
No, my life is not my own.
No, I will not be anyone’s first thought on Valentine’s Day.
No, I will not have all the answers, even if everyone thinks I should.
No, the Oblates are not perfect. Neither am I.
And yet, if I could go back and do it all again. I would still say that yes.
For I believe that is what Jesus is getting at in his final words in the Gospel today.
Let your yes mean yes.
Even when there is so much we can never predict.
Even when those yeses close as many doors as they open.
For behind every one of these yeses, is the one fundamental yes that gives meaning to all the rest.
A yes that was spoken for many of us at our baptism.
A yes that we make our own every time we come forward to receive the body and blood.
A yes to Christ and one another.
And just like the other yeses in our lives, this yes can involve a whole lot more than we bargained for.
Having to forgive the ones we thought would never hurt us.
Saying no to the temptations that are blessed by our culture today.
Refusing to reduce others to objects for our own personal pleasure or gain
Refusing to respond in anger when we are wronged
Refusing to give up when things get difficult or when a seemingly better offer comes along.
Having to humble ourselves before God and acknowledge that we are not perfect. That we will fail to live up to the best of who we can be. But still choosing to whisper that “yes” as we stand back up and try again.
Caring about the others that are all too easy to ignore.
The silent men and women on the fringes who lives in cardboard boxes, or speak a different language, or grapple with a criminal record.
Those close to us who push every button. The ones who annoy us, let us down, betray us. The ones that we have pushed away or insulted. The ones that we judge and condemn
Facing our demons and conquering them. Our addictions to alcohol and anger, drugs and porn.
Our anxieties and fears of failure and abandonment, of losing control or losing our security.
Our bitterness. Our depression. Our doubts. Our regrets.
And yet, this is what we pledge anew every time we say Amen. We look back over our lives and we still say yes. I would do it all again. I would try again. I would believe again. I would hope again. I would love again.
Say yes my friends! Amen. Amen.
For your reflection, as you prepare for this week’s celebration of the Eucharist:
- A “yes” was spoken for many of us at our baptism, when we were too young to really grasp everything that “yes” entailed. Every time we come forward to receive the body and blood of Christ in the celebration of the Eucharist, we make that “yes” our own. Take the time to pray about explicit ways God is calling you to say yes — to say “Amen” — to the body of Christ and its members.
- As you pray with this week’s Gospel reading, are there parts of your life that God is calling you to say “no” to?
- St. Augustine tells us:
If you are the body and members of Christ,
then it is your sacrament which is placed on the table of the Lord;
it is your sacrament that you receive.
To that which you are, you respond: ‘Amen’ (‘Yes, it is true!’),
and by responding to it you assent to it.
For you hear the words ‘The Body of Christ,’ and respond ‘Amen.’
Be then a member of the Body of Christ that your Amen may be true (#1396).
As the gifts are being brought up to the altar this week, ask the Spirit to deepen your awareness of how, as a member of the body of Christ, “it is your sacrament which is placed on the table of the Lord; it is your sacrament that you receive” [emphasis added].
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net