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WEDNESDAY HOMILY: Empty. Your. Baggage.

By Fr Samuel Medley, SOLT
September 25th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Get rid of your baggage: your worry, your focussing on the decaying part of the Body of Christ, your fear of so many futile and pointless things.  As He says in the Gospel, "Take nothing for the journey, neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money, and let no one take a second tunic," meaning live in the providence of your Father.  Abba your tender and powerful Father will provide you with the joy and freedom you need to be a living proclamation of the Gospel.

HYTHE, KENT, UK (Catholic Online) - It is happening constantly.  Your body is constantly decaying and dying, parts of it anyway, and new life is constantly being reborn.

Millions of cells in your body are dying every second, and many more are being created.  Apply this analogy to the Body of Christ, the Church.  There is always death and always life.  There is always that which needs to be purged, turned, repented.  This could be voiced in the prayer of Ezra who says, "My God, I am too ashamed and confounded to raise my face to you, O my God, for our wicked deeds are heaped up above our heads and our guilt reaches up to heaven."

YET always there is new life, new grace, new hope in the Church.  This could be voiced in the prayer of Ezra as well, "mercy came to us from the LORD, our God.Thus he has given us new life to raise again the house of our God and restore its ruins, and has granted us a fence in Judah and Jerusalem."

This is not only the catabolic, or dying, and anabolic, or creative, power of the human body, but also of the divine Body of Christ, the Holy Church of the Living God.

The first reading for today described this process for the people Israel, a people in exile felt as though they were dying off.  Yet, God extended them hope by moving the Persian rulers to permit Israelites to return home and build a new temple. 

The Gospel describes an act that Christ did millennia ago.  He gave the apostles authority to cast out devils, heal the sick, and proclaim the Gospel to all creation.  And it didn't just happen long long ago in a land far far away.

Since it is an act of God made man, it is a kind of eternal act.  This act is constantly being repeated every moment of the Church's life.  Like new cells of the body being regenerated, new gifts of grace are constantly healing, constantly exorcising the beloved souls of God of the presence of the evil one, and constantly calling the apostolic nature of the faithful to serve and proclaim the Gospel.

You know it is tiring to listen to Catholics who constantly look at the death, decay, or the kind of catabolic and necessary purifying of the Church and get all weird about it, as if the Church is suddenly going to fall apart or die.  Do they learn this from the world?  Is that where they get this un-Gospel like morose negative bitterness from?  Boo.  Bad.  Blah.  What?  As if God wasn't in charge?  As if he wasn't constantly regenerating the apostolic power of the Church like millions of anabolic cells being reborn every minute.

WHERE IS YOUR FAITH?

Focus.  On.  The.  Gospel.

Jesus is very much alive in the Church and He is constantly giving us the authority over hell and over disease.  Claim it!  Pray as if your prayers matter.  Preach as if your preaching is actually Jesus Christ, the living Savior, moving mountains by your witnessing.  Be very poor by knowing that God desires you to

EMPTY YOUR BAGGAGE!

Get rid of your baggage: your worry, your focussing on the decaying part of the Body of Christ, your fear of so many futile and pointless things.  As He says in the Gospel, "Take nothing for the journey, neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money, and let no one take a second tunic," meaning live in the providence of your Father.  Abba your tender and powerful Father will provide you with the joy and freedom you need to be a living proclamation of the Gospel.

People who focus on the very important breaking down of the Church as if it were the end, as if the Crucifixion was the last chapter, apart from the glorious and victorious Resurrection, are very much afraid to let go.  They are afraid to empty themselves.  They might say that God is good with their lips or even in their minds, but they are not deeply convinced in their being that God the Father is truly good, that He is a good provider.  They do not feel provided for. 

Like empty, hungry, hurting children, they cry and spread worry and anxiety and hopelessness, but surely not the Gospel.  Because they don't see emptiness as a predisposition for the Gospel they oppose the sufferings given to the Church by the hands of the world that are designed to empty the Holy Church of its baggage so that it can be truly open for the superabundant overflowing gifts of the Spirit.

It is only with a real relationship with God as Abba Father that one can come to this fundamental evangelical poverty, this catabolic, purifying, dying, crucifying, suffering part of the Gospel so that the anabolic, restoring, life-giving, victorious, rising from the dead can truly happen.

Those blessed souls, those glorious sparks that dart through this darkness, who truly know Abba and do believe He is all-good and all-provident - they shine like stars in the sky of history, guiding the rest of us on our way toward the eternal Jerusalem.

May Our Lady, call us to the new evangelization, may she reveal to us the tender goodness of the Father, that we may truly accept the living words of Christ as our call to holiness and life.

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Father Samuel Medley, SOLT, is a priest of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity, and is based in Hythe, Kent, United Kingdom.  He speaks to groups around the world on Blessed Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body.  Visit his homily blog http://medleyminute.blogspot.com or his blog on sexual ethics http://loveandresponsibility.org

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