Homily – August 21, 2016

Have you ever been asked that annoying question, ‘are you saved’? I wonder who asked Jesus that question as he travelled through their town, ’will only a few be saved?’ Always remember that Jesus our Christ did not come to earth and die on that shameful cross to send any of us to hell. He died to save us, to bring us to God. By his wounds we are healed. By his death we are all invited into eternal life with God. We are all invited into that banquet of life Christ has prepared for all of us. It is up to us to accept that invitation and, we might say, the dress code our invitation to life entails.

The dress code can be found in the teachings of Jesus and they can be very demanding. Love one another as I’ve loved you. Forgive others as I’ve forgiven you. Be there for your brothers and sisters in need as I am here for you. What you do for others you do for me.

This dress code requires discipline, self -control. It takes discipline, self –control to rein in our tendency to gossip or pass on a juicy bit of gossip. It takes self -control to determine what we watch on the internet and the amount of time we spend watching it. We all need discipline to restrain our tendency to racism or sexism or homophobia. Any doctor we visit reminds us how we have to watch, control what we eat and drink. How many of us have a discipline that sets a time for reading scripture or saying the rosary or setting a time to be quiet in private prayer? It takes discipline to come to celebrate the Eucharist with the parish family every week. It takes discipline to decide what our value system will be in the living of our lives; what is of first importance.

This evening many of you will be watching the closing ceremonies of the Olympics. The men and women who stood on the podium to receive medals of gold, silver or bronze climbed that podium because of their determination to succeed and that determination required discipline.

St. Paul reminds us they struggle to achieve a perishable crown whereas we struggle to achieve the imperishable crown of eternal life.

Lord, will only a few be saved? Are you saved? We are all saved because Jesus our Christ died on the cross for us. But will we know our salvation; will we know the glory of the daughters and sons of God? That depends on another question, are we willing to accept the dress code that came with our invitation to live the abundant life Christ offers each of us.

Maybe we should hear again the words of the opening prayer of this Mass; grant your people to love what you command and to desire what you promise, that amid the uncertainties of this world our hearts may be fixed on that place where true gladness is found. That takes discipline fortified by grace.