Story Homily: Who Are You?
There once was a wise and saintly man who lived in a small stone house with a thatched roof. He lived high in the mountainous region of the kingdom but nevertheless many people came to visit because he was so wise and he imparted his wisdom to every visitor in the land. Everyone who visited him was changed, many came saying they understood who they are more than before they visited.
Pilgrims traveled from the farthest corners in the kingdom. For some that journey was a difficult and painful journey that took many, many days, but they came to learn from this saintly man. For knowing just a tiny part of his wisdom was worth the difficult and painful journey.
What is worse is not only was the journey far, but it was high in the grassy plains. Indeed, some could not make the journey it was so high, so they sent others along as their messengers.
One day, a pilgrim, a young man from the shore asked the saintly man: “Kind sir, from where do you get your wisdom?”
He began to tell the story of the day his life changed.
“Many years ago, I was just like you, but I was struck by this powerful question in my prayer. ‘Who am I, Oh Lord? Who are you, Oh Lord?’ I remember that question was in my mind everyday even to the point that I could not get it out of my mind.’“Who am I, Oh Lord and Who are You, Oh Lord?’
“One day, I was walking through the kingdom pondering these questions when I came upon a deep green forest. As I looked up at the trees and noticed that with their branches raised they appeared to be praising God every day. Who are the trees? I thought, and realized, they are beings that serve all creatures while they praise God. I realized I understood what trees are, but who am I?
“I walked deeper into the forest and it was so thick, that it turned dark, dark as night. I became aware of a small gentle wind and with each gust I could hear the wind seem to say: ‘Who are you?’ I never had that experience, before or since and the question seemed to get louder and as I too asked the question in my own mind over and over again. ‘Who am I, Oh Lord and Who are You, Oh Lord?’
“As I walked deeper into the forest and into the darkness, I noticed that many of the animals sounds that often filled every forest stopped. All I heard was the wind and I heard the wind speak over and over again: ‘Who are you?’
Even though the forest was filled with silence, the sound of the wind and my own soul asking that question over and over again became so loud in my heart and in my mind that I screamed it out: “Who am I, Oh Lord and Who are you?”
It was then that a tiny sliver of light came through the canopy of the forest and fell upon a small house just ahead and I took that as a message to walk to that house. Again, I heard no noise except the wind for the entire forest was silent and I felt that every animal every squirrel, every wolf, every bear and even every other animal in the forest was watching me go into that house. Not like they wanted to trap me, but to see if I would go. It was as if they would be filled with joy to see me discover what was inside.
I pushed open the old, weather-worn, wooden door and it creaked as if it had not been open for centuries. I pushed away cobwebs and looked forward. I saw that sliver of light fall upon a book that was sitting on a wooden table. Next to the book was a candle that appeared to be burning but was not being consumed. The book was open and the light fell upon this simple sentence:
Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth.
As you sent me into the world,
so I sent them into the world.
And I consecrate myself for them,
so that they also may be consecrated in truth.” (cf: John 17: 17-19 NABRE)
Then beyond the book, I saw through the reflected light in the shadows on the far edge of the room a baptismal font and these words etched upon the wall. In fact, they appeared to be glowing.
The God of power and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ
freed you from sin. He gave you a new birth by water and the Holy Spirit,
and welcomed you into his holy people.
He anointed you with the chrism of salvation.
As Christ was anointed Priest, Prophet, and King,
so may you live always as a member of his body,
sharing everlasting life. (cf: Baptismal Rite)
I immediately fell to my knees for I then realized who I am.
I was anointed into truth and into the ministry of Jesus Christ Priest, Prophet and King when I was baptized long ago. Right there in that room before that book, that candle, that baptismal font and those words, I chose to live as a child of God fully aware of who I am.
All I do in my wisdom is invite those who are likewise baptized to realize who they are and those who are not to seek out the gift available to them through the action of the Holy Spirit in their lives in the Sacraments.”
Finally the wise saintly man said to the one who asked him: “And you, do you know who you are?”