homily – July 16

Mark 6:7-13

You know we begin each Mass calling to mind the blessing with which we’ve been blessed – this is meant to keep us in an attitude of gratitude. Our second reading reminds us of that blessing that is the basis of all our other blessings – our reading starts with an act of thanksgiving – blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ – why? Because, before the world began God chose us in Christ – – God destined us for adoption to be his sons and daughters. All this – before the world began.

It’s difficult to get our heads around such a wonder –

I tell this story at every baptism – I was having coffee with some friends one morning. This woman had just come back from a trip to Rome and was loaded down with photos – she was showing us pictures of St. Peter’s – then she stopped and said – isn’t this amazing – I’m Anglican, Paul you’re Catholic, Lowell you’re Jewish – and then she said to the fourth member of our group – Jack what are you? – and Jack answered – I’m nothing – that answer hung in the air for a bit and then we went back to the photos. The next day the reading for the morning Mass was from this letter to the Ephesians – and I thought of that conversation from the day before – and Jack’s response “I’m nothing” Jack meant he had no religious affiliation – but so often too many people think for whatever reason – they are nothing – they have no worth, no value. Maybe they’ve been told they are a disappointment, they haven’t measured up to a mother or a father’s expectations of them – maybe they feel they are nothing because they have disappointed themselves, maybe they feel they haven’t lived up to their own possibilities – they blew it.

One of the hardest death watches I ever had was with a man who was convinced til his last breath that the world would have been a better place if he had never been born. For whatever reason he was convinced his life was a total waste.

None of us can say “I’m nothing” Not if we keep in touch with that amazing grace – this original blessing – before the world began God chose us in Christ to be his adopted sons and daughters.

I visited a family recently and one of the daughters and her husband had just returned from China where they went and adopted a little girl. They chose her and offered her a love and a life and a future that would never have been hers in China. Hopefully this beautiful little girl will always be grateful for having been chosen to live in a new land – hopefully she will take advantage of all the opportunities that will be hers.

Hopefully we will always be grateful for having been chosen by God before the world began, to be His own. In one of his letters St. John writes – this is the wonder, not that we love God but that God first loved us and sent his son to be our savior. – How can be best show our gratitude for such a gift – we best show it in our daily awareness of our giftedness – we best show it by our daily trying to put on Christ – to be a Christ like person and rid ourselves of all those un Christ like ways of living and thinking and relating to family, friend and stranger – its not easy but it is possible because we know that the God who began this good work in us – before the world began – will bring that work to completion.

We can continue the Mass praying for ourselves and for each other that we always be mindful and grateful for our original blessing – before the world began God chose us in Christ to be his sons and daughters.