21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

Sunday, August 25, 2019
Fr. Kyle
Homily transcription: 

8-25-19 (Will to love)

About a week ago I was at the state fair with some priest friends of mine and I remember thinking that I should avoid eating too much fried food while I was there.  It wasn’t until I was half way through my 3rd footlong corn dog that I thought, “I have no willpower when it comes to fried food.”

But how is our willpower when it comes to following Christ?  In the gospel, Jesus talks about what it takes to be saved, what it takes to be a disciple and enter through the narrow gate.  He tells his disciples that many with try but will not be strong enough.  So often we say we want follow Christ but in truth we don’t really will it at all.  As one wise and holy person put it, I am willing to become a saint, but when it comes to making sacrifices and doing difficult things, we tell God, “I want to be a saint, but I don’t want become a saint that way.”  We are willing to be devout, but only up to a certain point.  We are willing to live like Christ, so long as it doesn’t cost us too much. 

Here’s the thing, to enter through the narrow gate and follow Christ takes love.  And, as we talked about last week, love is not some pretty feeling like what we see on a cheesy hallmark Christmas movie.  It is an act of the will… But so often we are only truly willing to be cheap with God.  I had a professor in seminary who used to say, “men, don’t be cheap with God because he has not been cheap with you.”  Even when God has been generous with us and given us the beauty of creation, the love of family and friends; even when He has given us our very life itself and given his own life on the cross, we are so cheap with what we give God.  Don’t be cheap with God because He has not been cheap with us.

The invitation to enter through the narrow gate is an invitation to fall in love with Christ.  But our cheapness can get in the way of that love.  Imagine the vows of a loving couple on their wedding day if they were as cheap with each other as we are sometimes with God.  It would sound something like, “I take you to be my wife, up to a certain point.  I promise to be faithful to you in good times and in bad times as long as they are not too bad.  In sickness and in health as long as you are not too sick.  I promise to love and honor you so long as it does not cost me too much.  This is like what we tell God when we are being cheap with our love!

I don’t really have any willpower when it comes to eating corn dogs at the state fair, and that could have an affect on my waste line.  But if I lack willpower in my relationship with Christ, that will affect my heart; it will affect my joy and fulfillment in this life; it can even affect my eternal life.  God invites us to enter through the narrow gate and into a life of authentic love, beauty and joy but only if we are willing.  May we not be cheap with God because He is not cheap with us.