Fr. Brian Zumbrum’s homilies and reflections are posted weekly at Leaven in the World. To see the archive of all his posts, just click here: Salesian Sermons
29th Sunday in Ordinary Time | October 18/19, 2014
PROTIP: Before reading on, be sure to take a look at the Sunday readings here. This homily focuses on the Gospel reading.
When I took my first vows as an Oblate, I was presented with a cross.
Like a wedding ring, this cross is laden with symbols. It is passed down from one Oblate to another, uniting us with those who have gone before us. It is filled with relics from our patron saints, reminding us to embody the Salesian spirit that they witnessed to in their own lives.
But the most unique feature of the cross is that there is no body on the cross.
I would quickly learn that this was done on purpose.
To remind us as Oblates that we are to be Christ’s body in the world.
That when people hear us speak, they should hear Christ.
That when people meet us, they should meet Christ.
That like the coin of Caesar, we too have been stamped with an image. The image of Christ that we received at our baptism.
We have been claimed, chosen by our God.
And in turn, our entire life now becomes an offering to God.
It’s beautiful theology.
And absolutely terrifying to live out in practice.
Because, I don’t know about you, but my life is not exactly an ideal offering.
I would love to start each day leaping out of bed ready to praise God in song. Instead, I hit the snooze button and reluctantly get out of bed when I absolutely must.
I intend to spend a solid half hour in prayerful meditation. Instead I find myself going through the motions, my brain already worrying about the to-do-list that lies ahead.
I find myself working on a half a dozen projects simultaneously, without ever really accomplishing any of them to the best of my ability.
I find myself talking to people without really listening. I have answers ready without ever stopping to really hear the questions.
I allow precious moments each day to slip away in a haze of stress, anxiety, or frustration.
I know everything I should be grateful for, but I prefer to dwell on what went wrong that day.
I come home exhausted, ready for the day to end.
I hear this Gospel and I ask myself, is this really my offering? Is this my gift to God?
I believe that if we are honest with ourselves, we know that our lives are not perfect.
We are overscheduled, over-caffeinated, and sleep-deprived
Our lives are filled with minor irritations that grate on our nerves.
We are faced with bodies that are slowly falling apart or hormones that are difficult to control.
We have every good intention of getting to mass or praying more often or scheduling more family time, but then these moments slip away with another deadline, another errand, another family demand.
We can look at our lives and question whether we deserve to bear Christ’s image. To be his divine currency in the world.
The answer is no. We don’t deserve it.
But God has chosen us anyway.
He could have chosen perfection. But instead he chose us.
He chose us . . . The broken and the weary. The young and the old. The sick and the sorrowful. The stressed and the lost.
To be his image. To be his offering.
For under all the rust, Christ sees the precious metal of which we are made.
He sees the random acts of kindness that we do for one another.
He sees the hands that we extend to one another, to help each other through the messiness of our lives.
He sees the love that we bear for each other, no matter how imperfectly we may show it.
He sees us striving to become better people. To allow his image to shine.
He sees the courage that it takes for us to admit we are wrong, to name our faults and foibles, to ask for forgiveness.
He sees the joy that we find in the people we share this journey with. He sees our gratitude for the blessings of creation that are all around us. And he declares it good. He declares us good.
No, our lives our not perfect, my friends. But we have still been chosen. Each of us has been chosen.
May we find the courage and strength this day to continue on our journey to bring Christ to the world.
May God be Praised