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
27th Sunday in Ordinary Time | October 3/4, 2015
PROTIP: Before reading on, be sure to take a look at the Sunday readings here. This homily focuses on the first and Gospel readings.
Last weekend I had the privilege of officiating at my brother’s wedding.
It was quite a moment as I watched my brother and his wife proclaim their vows to one another, as my youngest brother and his wife looked on as best man and bridesmaid.
And as I watched my brother and his wife walk down the aisle to the thunderous applause of family and friends, I couldn’t help but think of our 1st reading for this weekend.
For I was watching two become one. Walking side by side into the world that awaits them.
A world with seemingly endless possibilities. A world in which dreams can be dreamt and fulfilled. A world in which love can’t help but triumph as the final word.
And in those moments when family and friends are dancing on the dance floor to the sound of music and the pulsating lights of disco balls and camera flashes, it is easy to believe that the world is perfect. That happily ever after is within our grasp.
But just like Adam and Eve discovered, the wedding day is the easy part.
It is the journey that lies ahead that becomes more difficult.
No disrespect to Walt Disney, but this world is not a fairytale. And despite our desires to the contrary, life rarely lives up to the ideal.
On the contrary, every one of us in this room knows the world that my brother and his wife walked into.
A world in which the minor inconveniences take their toll. Cars that won’t start and coffee cups that spill. Babysitters that don’t show up on time and teacher phone calls while we are at work. Construction on our evening commute and deadlines that move at the bosses’ whim.
A world in which we allow violence to plunge into our colleges and our churches, our movie theaters and our streets.
A world in which hospitals are collateral damage. A world in which families fleeing from war and conflict are viewed as statistics. A world in which our children and our planet are seemingly disposable.
A world in which relationships are severed by the cruel knife of infidelity and immaturity, of disease and domestic violence, of age and addiction.
Which makes the readings for this weekend so difficult.
For the teachings can come across as impossible. We can begin to fear our own ability to live up to such lofty standards. We can despair of the future of our own relationships or the relationships of those we love.
But my friends, Christ did not come to lay heavy burdens upon our backs.
On the contrary, Christ came to proclaim the truth of the kingdom of God. The truth that we are not meant to be alone. The truth that we are meant to become one. Not just as married couples. But as a Church.
Christ did came to uphold an ideal. An ideal that we see lived out each and every day.
By the young married couple struggling with the pain of infertility, who find comfort and solace in each other’s embrace.
By the friend who holds the phone close for hours as her best friend attempts to process the stress that she is currently under at both work and at home.
By the middle age couple who chooses to work through the revelation that one of the spouses has not been faithful. Who believe that the vows still keep them, even though they have failed to keep the vows.
By the teacher who shows up at the funeral of an 18 year old to bear witness to the love that he has for those children entrusted to his care.
By the elderly couple who has walked together for 50 years. Who have seen children married, grandchildren baptized, and who now prepare to walk together through the valley of the shadow of death.
By the hospice nurse who waits quietly beside the bed of his patient, keeping a silent vigil while her family rushes to get to the bedside in time.
And yet, at the same time. Jesus knows how to reach out to those whose lives are not ideal. Jesus knows how to walk beside each of us in our individual journeys and struggles.
When he encountered the woman at the well, he did not condemn her for her numerous failed marriages. Instead he offered her the opportunity to begin a new chapter in her life as his disciple and missionary.
When he encountered wounds, he healed them.
When he encountered guilt and shame, he offered forgiveness and freedom.
When he encountered fear, he offered courage and strength
Just as God once healed the wound in Adam’s side, as he and Eve began their life together.
My friends, the 1st reading continues to echo down to us thousands of years later.
Reminding us of this profound truth.
It is not good for us to be alone. We need each other. Broken and wounded as we are.
For with God’s mercy. With God’s healing. With God’s grace.
We too can become one
May God be Praised