Monday, March 10, 2008

"The Call to be Set Free"

In reading a homily such as this, especially during Lent, we certainly can apply the contents to ourselves but also think of its application in the life of Matt Talbot, since we have a perspective of him through biographies not only during this drinking days but also his years of sobriety and total dedication to the Lord and his Mother. Even if we are not fully aware of any addictions or as Gerald May says, "attachments," we have at least inklings of "parts of ourselves that are wounded or dead, imprisoned or in darkness." Are we willing to go to any links, today, to leave behind that which does not give us life and accept the Lord's call to be set free?

He Already Knows
March 8, 2008 Homily

Monsignor Dennis Clark, Ph.D.

Ez 37:12-14 / Rom 8:8-11 / Jn 11:1-45 or 11:3-7, 17, 20-27, 33b-45

A priest was teaching his weekly Bible class, and he asked the members how they'd introduce themselves to the Lord when they got to heaven. The first one said, "Lord, I'm Joan. I was married for 47 years; I raised three wonderful children, and I always baked the cupcakes for school. That's who I am."

Another said, "Lord, I'm George. I was the biggest contractor in the county. Almost all of my buildings were good; and I tried to watch out for the little guys. That's who I am."

And another said, "I'm Harry. I was the school janitor all my life. Kept the place real clean, and was never mean to the kids either. That's who I am, Lord."

And so it went till finally it was the turn of the oldest man in the group. He spoke very softly: "I won't need to introduce myself," he said. "The Lord already knows who I am."

The Lord already knows who we are from the inside out, and he looks at you and me with the same love that he had for his dear friend Lazarus. He knows out successes and our triumphs. He knows how much they cost us. And he's very proud of us.

But he also sees what's dead in us, just as clearly as when he looked at the dead Lazarus. He smells the smell. He sees the parts of us that are locked up behind solid rock, as Lazarus was. He sees the parts of us that are so tied up that we can't move. And he calls out to us by name, just as he called Lazarus. "Come out!" he says. "Don't stay in that place of death any longer. Come out into the fresh air and the light; and be released from your bonds, whatever they are. Come out, and live, and share our friendship. Come out!"

That is Jesus' call to each of us this day. "Leave behind what cannot give you life, and come into deeper friendship with those who can give you life: the Lord and his good people." That is Jesus' call.

If we are to answer his call, we must name the parts of ourselves that are wounded or dead, imprisoned or in darkness, and then give those parts of ourselves to him to be healed, resurrected, and set free. That is what he'll do for us, if we let Him.

So let us spend a little while with him in the quiet of our heart. Let us name our darkness, our prison, our woundedness — whatever it may be — and give it all to him. We can count on him and trust him, because he loves us even more than we love ourselves. Thanks be to God!