Reflecting on 21 Centuries of Faith

Homily: 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A

Today’s first reading is a beautiful invitation to enter into a relationship with the Living God. It is an invitation to you and me.

Seek the Lord while He may be found; call to him while He is still near.

At first glance, we might wonder if these are dead words from a dead prophet taken from an irrelevant book. But our Lord continues after this reading to declare,

So shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but shall do what pleases me, achieving the end for which I sent it.

Who is invited? The first type of individual is the thirsty and the dead-broke.

All you who are thirsty, come to the water! You who have no money, come, buy grain and eat; Come, buy grain without money, wine and milk without cost!

Many of us here are thirsting for something more in our lives. You may feel like:

  • Your hopes have dried up
  • Dreams you wait upon seem never to be fulfilled
  • At the end of the day, week even month that you are going down a dead-end street again and again.
  • We may feel empty, unfulfilled, dissatisfied.

Always knowing, sometimes just hoping, that there has to be more to this life we live.

The second type of individual is the self-sufficient. It is who Isaiah addresses when He says,

Why spend your money for what is not bread; your wages for what does not satisfy?

The first type of person has nothing while the second is someone who has money, who has the strength to labor.

The first kind of person is spiritually bankrupt and knows it. They are thirsty and broke.

But the second kind of person isn’t there yet. He’s got money and he is spending it. He’s got strength and he is laboring.

But to what end…utter frustration. The self-sufficient person isn’t like the other guy burnt out, anxiety ridden, at the end of their rope. No. This individual is still working, dreaming, chasing, searching, experimenting—different job, different city, different car, different house, different wife, new computer, new boat, new books, new bike, new grill, new season tickets, new diet, new looks—there’s still a lot of looking around left in this person.

But there is never fulfillment:

  • Looks fade
  • People stop applauding.
  • The chateau is boring and the boat is just a large toy.

We are always trying to replace our Lord with fleeting relationships and things. And yet, these “things” are just a medication for a thirsting that can only be quenched by the Real Thing!

If we are honest, all of can find ourselves in one of these two caricatures. And so, where does this leave us? 

St. Augustine said it best,

Our hearts are restless O God until they rest in thee.

Isn’t this what Isaiah is encouraging? To seek after Him. To Come to Him while He is still near. We are never so close to our Lord but in Holy Communion and through suffering. Never be satisfied for something less than divine.

Living our lives in conformity to the gospel and the teachings of the Church may not seem logical or profitable, and our Lord knows this, for He said,

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, my thoughts higher than your thoughts.

The invitation today is from the one who declared Himself to be Living Water and the Bread come down from Heaven. So where do we go from here?

  1. Admit that there is something more and we are thirsty and dead-broke
  2. Reconcile ourselves through confession
  3. Commit yourself to prayer. Something more than just coming to Mass on Sunday
  4. Delve deeply into Scripture
  5. Surround yourself with like-minded individuals who are going to help you grow not only as a person but in your faith

It does not matter your age, income or where you are spiritually. There is always more and he will bless you richly. Is that not what was proclaimed in the gospel?

If we heed Isaiah when he declares,

Only listen to me, and you shall eat well, you shall delight in rich fare.

then we too will be able to sing

Late have I loved Thee, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new. Late have I loved Thee and feebly yet do. For Thou hast made us for Thyself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee. (Confessions: Chapter X)

 

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