HOMILY: Would You Still Love Me the Same?

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 hereSalesian Sermons

24th Sunday in Ordinary Time | September 12/13, 2015

PROTIP: Before reading on, be sure to take a look at the Sunday readings here. This homily focuses on the Gospel reading.

So there is a song out right now that has been stuck in my head for the last few weeks.

It’s by Adam Levine and the refrain goes something like this . .

If I got locked away. If we lost it all today. Tell me honestly would you still love me the same. If I showed you my flaws, if I couldn’t be strong. Tell me honestly, would you still love me the same.

Now besides the fact that the tune is catchy, I couldn’t help but think about that refrain when I read the Gospel for this weekend.

For it seems like Jesus could have been singing this song to his disciples.

Throughout their time together, the disciples had witnessed Jesus’s power and might. They had watched him cure the sick and feed the hungry.  They had watched him rebuke the Pharisees and they had watched him walk on water.

And so Peter’s profession of faith does not come as much of a surprise for us.  For after all of that, how could Peter not see the truth of who Jesus was?

And yet, by the end of the Gospel, we recognize an unsettling truth about this profession of faith.  Peter had ultimately not professed faith in who Christ was, but in who Peter wanted Christ to be.

For the Jesus that Peter believed in could not be brought low. The Jesus that he believed in could not lose.  The Jesus that he believed in could not suffer or die.  For then the story would be over.  All of Peter’s hopes and dreams would have been crushed.

For Peter, there could be no cross.  For he did not yet understand the power of resurrection.

And so he rebuked him.  Revealing an answer to our song refrain.

No, Peter was not yet able to love Jesus the same.

For in those moments when Jesus would lose it all.  In those darkest of hours, Peter would deny him.  

See my friends, in Peter’s struggle to see how his confession of faith could still be true even in the face of death, we can see our own struggle to love Christ the same in the midst of our own crosses.

I don’t know about all of you, but these last few weeks have been filled with more than their share of crosses.

I have buried a former student.

I’ve been working overtime to compensate for our lack of an administrative assistant

Our community has shrunk by two members as people moved out of our house over the summer.

And just yesterday I celebrated the funeral of a father of two high school boys who died of brain cancer.

Yes, my life surely has its share of the cross.

And yet I have a feeling that I am not alone.  In fact, if I went around this Church and asked you to name your crosses, I can guarantee we would hear a litany of struggles great and small.

We would hear of aging parents and troubled teenage children.

We would hear of physical ailments and mental illness.

We would hear of cars that don’t start, conference calls that don’t end, and endless mounds of laundry

We would hear of drug addictions and financial troubles.

We would hear of broken relationships, deferred dreams, and dark nights of the soul.

We would hear of bullies and drama, phobias and stress.

And in the midst of so much darkness, the temptation is always there to begin to doubt the light.

To question whether Christ really is present.  To question whether God is really there.

And yet, as Christian people, our lives are not defined solely by the cross.  They are ultimately defined by the Resurrection.

And in is in this tension that we discover the truth about our own profession of faith.

My friends, we may not always be able to love Christ the same.

We too may have our moments of despair and doubt, of denial and grief.

But our God continues to love us the same.

Remaining with us whether we win or lose.  Whether we are standing in the shadow of the cross or basking in the joy of the Resurrection.

Working through us as we help each other to carry our crosses.

Lifting each other up when we fall.  Comforting one another when we grieve. Listening to one another when we must vent or process.  Standing beside one another when we are afraid.

For God’s love is without measure.  And it is extended to each of us.  Today.  Tomorrow.  Forever

Truly that is Good News indeed.  May God be Praised.

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