Homily – July 7, 2019

We know from Paul’s letters to the churches he founded that he had a deep personal relationship with Jesus. He would say of himself, ’I live now, not I, but Christ lives in me and the life I live, I live trusting in the love of Christ who died for me.’ In another letter Paul writes, ‘for me, to live is Christ.’

These powerful words that begin our second reading say everything about Paul’s relationship with Christ, ‘May I never boast of anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world crucified to me and I to the world.

Paul “glories,” not in his circumcision as assign of his Jewishness as some of the Jewish coverts of Galicia did, Paul’s boast was in the life giving cross of Christ, by which the world is crucified to Paul and Paul to the world.’

Paul is utterly rooted in trust, the blessed assurance in a God who bears and nourishes all of us, who would also die for love of us.

So much of the words of Paul sound like a deep personal relationship with Christ Jesus. But it is more. Have you ever heard a person say that they have accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior? It sounds like, ’just the two of us.’ For Paul who did have a deep personal relationship with Christ, but for Paul it was much more than that. Paul saw himself as a member of the Christian community which he describes as the body of Christ. Paul writes to the Christian community in Corinth; ‘ just as the body is one and has many members so it is with Christ…we are all baptised into the one body, Jews and Greeks, slaves and free, male and female. One member cannot say to another, ’I have no need of you.’ In other words, we’re all in this together.

Right now we are members of an embarrassed church because of the sins and crimes of priests and the cover-ups of our bishops seeking to protect the reputation of our church. It’s all coming crashing down around us. That’s part of the picture. But as the eyes and ears and hands and feet of the body of Christ we Catholic Christians are to work to bring peace and justice to our troubled world. Our parish family of St. Gabriel’s is a microcosm of the whole church in our many efforts to help the hungry and homeless, in the way we’ve welcomed and supported refugee families from the Middle East, in our hospital visitors, our support of the Good Shepard Refuge and Rosalie Hall, our support of Share Life, the work of St. Vincent de Paul, in our support of Just Coffee and our young people’s involvement in local issues. We are the Body of Christ in our own simple and small ways bringing Christ love and healing to all the people who come into our lives.

Someone once said that there are two things in life we can’t do alone – get married and be a Christian. Remember the song from the musical Carousel, you’ll never walk alone? We’ll never walk alone, we’ll never pray alone, we’ll never suffer alone, and we’ll never serve alone. We are the Body of Christ. We are all in this together.

As we continue this Mass we give thanks to God for inviting us into our own personal relationship with Jesus. May we be blessed to know that this personal relationship is best lived appreciating the relationship we have with all who believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.