14th Sunday Year C - Homily 1

Homily 1 - 2007

Jesus’ major concern was always the crowds, the world out there, the real world of messed up people deeply loved by God the world of which we are part. As Jesus looks at Horsham/Murtoa today/night, his major concern is not us Catholics, but everyone in Horsham. No favourites. We’re all important; all loved deeply.

He would love us all to wake up to the possibilities on offer, to break free from oursense of “business as usual” – from the busyness, the boredom, the pain, the distraction and the non-stop action that seem to fill most lives . We would love us all to wake up to the possibilities of life to the full, (or to what he called in today’s Gospel: the Kingdom of God), to lives empowered by love, and interacting purely on that basis, not self-interest, not promotion, nor “what’s in it for me”, but on the basis of a real concern for each other.

As Jesus remarked in today’s Gospel: The harvest is rich, but there’s a need for labourers, for people ready to share their own hopes and their own deep desires with others. He himself sent out seventy-two to do that – unnamed, perhaps unnoticed, all pretty clueless – just like you and me – just people who believed that things could be different, people who yearned for things to be different – who didn’t have the answers but who had a deep longing for things to change for the better - for their own lives, and for the lives of others to be better – people who wished that peace be the experience of all, themselves included. Whatever house you go into, let your first words be: Peace to this house!

Who are those unnamed, unnoticed people whom Jesus would love to send to help peace reign and deepen in Horsham? That’s where the Church comes in. That’s what it’s for.

So that’s also where we come in. When we were baptised, we were anointed on the forehead with chrism to highlight the fact that, through our christening, the Holy Spirit had anointed and commissioned us as priests, prophets and kings with Christ, the Anointed One. We live out our prophetic commissioning as we try to lead others to join with us in exploring the practical consequences of living in a world created and sustained by a God who is sheer love.

What do we need to fulfil our role? Not much. We’ll be like lambs among wolves, in fact, so no particular poweror giftedness or resources: no purse, no backpack, no reeboks – just a deep longing that people find peace: Let your first words be: Peace to this house. No great theological knowledge, either, just the sense that, when open to God and to God’s way of love, things can be better. The Kingdom of God is very near you. We won’t win them all; but we do what we can - be persons who genuinely care: Cure those in it who are sick.

We come here together each week to celebrate Eucharist. It’s a great learning experience. Lambs among wolves sometimes finish up as lambs of sacrifice. (We can probably all relate to that: we’ve all hadour own share as wolves in tearing other lambs to pieces. We’re not squeaky clean.) But if we genuinely seek to live in love and to encourage others to live accordingly, there will probably be a few wolves around ready to make sacrificial lambs of us.

That is what happened to Christ. That’s one of the things that we remember each week. We also remember that no one could talk him out of his determination to live in love - whatever the cost. But more importantly, we remember that Christ, the totally innocent sacrificial lamb, was raised on the third day. His approach was right after all.

We come along consistently each week to remember all that - in the hope that gradually we’ll get the same unshakeable conviction.