Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
FRIDAY HOMILY: Walking Around with Eyes Wide Shut
By Fr. Randy Sly
October 26th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
What astounded our Lord at that point is that while looking astutely at the weather, they refused to open the eyes of the soul to truly see what was happening then and there. Conditions were not only right for spiritual storms - they were taking place all around.WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - I'm a bit of a weather geek; always have been. As a ham radio operator of many years, I have been heavily involved with the National Weather Service in their severe weather spotting program called Skywarn. We were called into action whenever severe weather was a possibility.
Whenever a severe thunderstorm watch is issued, forecasters include a statement that "A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH MEANS CONDITIONS ARE FAVORABLE FOR SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS IN AND CLOSE TO THE WATCH AREA. These predictions are made on the basis of a multitude of computer models and observed data including satellite images and Doppler radar. Using all these resources, meteorologists can report the likelihood of storms way before the event would take place.
Not so in New Testament times; it was all based on what they could see. As Jesus pointed out in today's Gospel reading from Luke 12:54-59, Clouds in the west meant rain from the Mediterranean; a southerly wind indicated desert heat. It was obvious.
What astounded our Lord at that point is that while looking astutely at the weather, they refused to open the eyes of the soul to truly see what was happening then and there. Conditions were not only right for spiritual storms - they were taking place all around.
According to St. Matthew's Gospel (Mt. 9:36), Jesus saw it clearly and was "gripped with compassion" because of it. He saw humanity "harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." They were being attacked from the outside and didn't have the inner strength to withstand.
Sadly, many Christians today are wandering aimlessly in a self-imposed darkness, not aware of the inclement moral tempests we are experiencing. When we open our eyes, however, our spiritual weather map reveals the disturbances.
For example, the Tsunami of abortion engulfs over one million unborn babies each year. Tornadoes of terrorism are leveling churches around the world both in terms of physical property and believers.
Currently the U.S. is experiencing a perfect storm; we have one front carrying the winds of same sex marriage and another front leveling religious freedom. These two major events have combined to bring about a huge assault of men and women of faith.
All the while a spiritual drought is leaving many churches with lagging attendance and apathy among those who used to be vibrant about their faith.
I don't believe that Jesus brought up this indictment to the crowds and calling them hypocrites, simply for them to see how bad things had become. As he said a few verses earlier - which we heard in our gospel reading yesterday - "I have come to set the earth on fire." He wants to see conversion.
This fire is not one that consumes the produce of the earth. Rather it consumes the human heart with the fire of God's love. He wants to see a change in the weather from destructive patterns to a system of refreshing rains and brilliant sunlight, causing growth and maturity in the world.
St. Anthony Mary Claret wrote in the 19th Century, "Driven by the fire of the Holy Spirit, the holy apostles traveled throughout the earth. Inflamed with the same fire, apostolic missionaries have reached, are now reaching, and will continue to reach the ends of the earth, from one pole to the other, in order to proclaim the word of God. They are deservedly able to apply to themselves those words of the apostle Paul: The love of Christ drives us on.
"The love of Christ arouses us, urges us to run, and to fly, lifted on the wings of holy zeal. The zealous man desires and achieve all great things and he labors strenuously so that God may always be better known, loved and served in this world and in the life to come, for this holy love is without end."
The founder of the Claretians has given us a glimpse of apostolic zeal in action, fueled by fire of Christ's love. If one could live this life, especially when combined with like-minded and like-hearted pilgrims, together they could change our world.
In the epistle reading for today (Eph. 4:1-6), St. Paul writes, "Brothers and sisters: I, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace; one Body and one Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all."
In that one very long sentence, the Apostle combines the entirety of what is needed for practicing Christians to change the weather pattern - a life built upon the foundation of our unified faith under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. This is a life empowered by the Holy Spirit, where His fruit is seen and experienced by others. It is also a life consumed with divine love for God and our neighbor.
Assuming, then, that we are among those who are willing to open our eyes and accept the fact that this devastating spiritual storm is affecting humanity, we can begin today to be among those who will bring, as sailors like to say, "Fair winds and following seas;" in other words, conditions favorable to renewing the world.
We have everything at hand for living a renewed influential life. Paul's challenge to the Romans becomes our invitation, "I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect." (Romans 12:1,2)
Through the sacraments, times of personal prayer, reading of Holy Scripture and the wealth of spiritual resources available (particularly the Catechism) our lives can be transformed and ignited with a Holy love that will empower us as change agents in a world that needs what we can offer.
When I was growing up, my father traveled a good deal and would come home with interesting recipes from restaurants to try out on the family. One time he not only came home with a recipe but also a crate of live lobsters.
In explaining this amazing feast he was going to prepare, he told us that the key to good tasting lobster is to put the critter in cool water and then turn up the heat. The lobster would eventually "fall asleep" as the water heated and be boiled to perfection.
I truly believe many of us are like that lobster crawling around in warming waters. The heat has been turned up and we are falling asleep. If we're not careful, we'll be boiled as well. We must wake up, open our eyes and see what is happening around us. As St. Paul quotes from what was probably an ancient baptismal hymn, "Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light."
Father Randy Sly is the Associate Editor of Catholic Online and a priest with the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter (http://usordinariate.org) established by the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, through the Apostolic Constitution "Anglicanorum Coetibus."
Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)