13th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

Sunday, July 2, 2017
Fr. Jon
Homily transcription: 

     Recently someone asked me if my work load lessens when most of the students are gone.  Yes it does, a little, thanks be to God.  But mostly it shifts, to planning for the fall, working with our Supple endowment campaign team, and lots of weddings.  Rarely do I accept out of town weddings, but somehow I got talked into having one this past Friday in Des Moines for some alums.  It was a lot of fun.  I ran into many recent alums, talked with some alums from many years ago, and had some parents of present day students tell me how much they appreciate the role that STA is playing in the lives of their daughters or sons.

     Some of them I had not seen for quite a few years, and now they are married with little kids.  When I ask them about their lives, they say something like this:  "My life is so different from when you knew me.  I go to bed early, although I get up at night with the kids.  There are no more crazy road trips where I can do whatever I want.  I am now involved in my parish and have become a responsible member of society.  I feel like my life is no longer my own, but on a deep level, I am happier than I have ever been before."

     This is what Jesus speaks of in today's Gospel, when he says that if we seek our own life, our own happiness, we will lost it.  But if we lose our life for his sake, we find life.

     Losing our lives for the sake of Jesus happens in many ways in our parish, and it is beautiful to see.  There are those who are dedicated to praying for other people's needs in our prayer network.  I think of all the behind the scenes ways that people serve in our parish and larger community.  There are those who are retired from a job but not discipleship, and see new opportunities to give of themselves.  Many among us generously share their time and treasure with those in need.  And some of us seek to do this in vocations to the priesthood, consecrated life and lay ministry.

     This week, I have seen losing one's life especially in the Sacrament of Marriage.  When I was in Des Moines, I visited a young couple from our parish whose first born child is in the hospital with serious health problems.  And they are there, every day, week after week.  I also visited a woman from our parish in intensive care.  And there is her husband of many years, there every day, week after week.

     This is the fun part of being a priest.  I get to be around lots of holy people like this.  Sacraments like these are what keep Sacraments like me going.

     In our Mass today, we will pray the fourth Eucharistic prayer, which has a line that I really like.  It says, "So we might live no longer for ourselves, but for him who died and rose again for us, he sent his Holy Spirit."  When I see such heroic love as I did this week, I wonder who such self-forgetful love is possible in this age of the selfie.  It is possible only when our spirit is touched by God's Spirit.  It is the Holy Spirit  who moves us to live no longer for ourselves.

     In today's Gospel, Jesus speaks of a counter-cultural truth.  If we seek only our own happiness, we will not find it.  But if we lose our lives for his sake, we find life.

     May our Eucharist today grant us the grace to be able to say what I hear from some of our alums, with a big grin on their faces:  I feel like my life is no longer my own . . . and I have never been happier.