Sunday Homily: Bringing Christ into Every Part of Your Life
The second reading today is from Paul’s Letter to the Philippians. Paul is in prison somewhere and scholars do not know where and he writes this letter to Philippi. The New American Bible Revised Edition explains that Philippi, named for and by Phillip the Father of Alexander the Great, obviously centuries previous. It is also famous as the place where Brutus and Cassius were killed, they were the slayers of Julius Ceasar and it was also the first Christian community in Europe.
This passage we see here is a small one and it is commonly quoted as a way to turn from anxiety, but a close study of it shows it is packed with information.
What Paul is teaching is that if we focus on Christ we will be strong to work through anxiety. The reason is that if we realize that our greatest desire is what Christ wants for us then we will understand even the worst that can happen if it leads us closest to Christ is a great thing.
This reflects a great attitude that is part of what it means to be Christian and it is often misunderstood, just ask the fine folks of the Associated Press.
This week, the news service criticized judge Amy Coney Barret because she belongs to a Catholic community that promotes a personal relationship with Christ. Oh my stars.
Developing a personal relationship with Christ is a central element of Catholicism. Many because it was not emphasized prior thought it was just an evangelical or even a protestant or Pentecostal thing, but it is not. It is a central element of Catholicism.
We can see this in today’s second reading.
What is St. Paul actually saying here: It is simple—The more we draw closer to Christ and seek His will in our lives, the more we draw closer to the source of whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
The lesson here is that no matter what happens, God’s providence is alive in your life, trust in that and know that as the saying goes all things work for the good of those who love God.
So to put it another way. Think of what may be going on in your life that you find extremely painful and difficult.
Now the Catechism of the Catholic Church said that every need in our lives can be an object of petition. So bring all issues good and bad to prayer. Be thankful for the good things and petition for God’s assistance in the bad.
What if Christ were to say to you, “My child, you are going through this difficult time to prune from you all those things that will draw you away from me and draw you to those things that will leave you abandoned with nothing.” What would you say to him?
I had the opportunity to interview Fr. Duffey who is the executive producer of a movie coming out this week about the life of Father Patrick Peyton. Known as the Rosary Priest. I highly recommend this movie. In his story you will learn that nearing his ordination to priesthood he encountered TB and it was crippling and basically almost killed him and of course almost torpedoed his vocation. However, this disastrous year was what changed him and made him the rosary priest. It was the miraculous healing of this disease that led him to find his true vocation of leading people to know the power of the rosary. This a tangible example of St. Paul’s words.
Ultimately, St. Paul is saying—God is with you in this and know that what you may lose is nothing compared to what you will gain. God is guiding you through the whole process. You will understand that you may be going through a pruning and that pruning will lead you closer to everything that the human heart actually desires. This will apply to our experience with Covid-19.
Every painful process is drawing you closer to Christ and it will lead you to the greatest of all joys, but you must go through it.
Some may be saying “Yes, father, but these words are not putting an end to my pain.”
True, but do not think I have not had other forms of pain that I suffered, crippling at times that is true. Do not think I have not taken those pains to prayer and do think I am like pollyanna just said how wonderful it is to go through this. Think rather more accurately that I have spoken to the Lord in my prayer saying in the most anger filled and hostile terms all to learn the principles I just spoke to you. So yes these words are coming from both my research and my experience.
Now stand back a minute and look at the election. Why is our country in such a contentious time? Simple because it is all about people seeking to do whatever it takes to mold the country the way they want it. They have their desires they want fulfilled and they want to ensure they are satisfied. It could be good retirement, good life, it could be access to world pleasures, it could be prosperity and it could be peace. All of them are for the most part not bad things. But look at the division, the anger the violence that are happening that are the fruit of those pursuits. Where does that come from. Legitimate desires perhaps but worldly based.
What is Christ calling you to experience, something far greater than anyone can find through any earthly process including the political. Therefore, if you stand back and watch the battle, you will see they are fighting for things that are nothing compared to what Christ promises you.
If is for this reason that St. Paul says trust in Christ and trust what you experience is leading you to Him. As Jesus expressed—Seek First the kingdom of God and all these things will be giving you besides.
So to fulfill what St. Paul is teaching. Bring everything to prayer especially your greatest worries and allow Christ to lead you through them closer to Him..