August 2, 2015

A HOMILY FOR THE EIGHTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME-CYCLE”B”- 8/2/15- SMG

+ Pax et Bonum!  Peace and goodness to you this day!

On March 27th 1992, the rock band U2 was continuing their ZOO TV tour in Detroit, Michigan.  In the middle of the concert, and on the huge multi-media stage, the lead singer of the band, Bono, called up a local Detroit pizza shop and ordered 10,000 pizzas for the crowd.  An hour later, the pizza shop delivered about 100 pizzas for the huge crowd.  And U2 picked up the tab.  For years after that Detroit concert, U2 concert-goers wondered when Bono would do it again.  Apparently, free food makes quite an impression.

We know this today from the free samples that grocery stores often have on the weekends.  You can take your whole family to Costco or Sam’s Club, for lunch on Saturday, just taking advantage of the free samples.  Hickory Farms of Ohio used to do this at the mall, at Christmas time.  Sometimes, McDonald’s and Hardee’s, will give you a free sandwich, when you buy one of greater or equal value.  We love free food.  Everybody’s got to eat.  We like to eat even more when we don’t have to pay for it.

This seems to be the same dilemma facing Jesus today.  It seems like the U2 story all over again.  The Feeding of the 5,000 men, from last week’s Gospel, has made quite an impression on a lot of people.  And all of us sudden lots of folks are looking for Jesus, not for His message of salvation, but for free lunch.  This is a problem.  The new question that suddenly needs to be asked, is “Why are you following Christ?”  “What are you looking for?  And, is it possible to be following Jesus for the wrong reasons?  And the answer of course, is yes.  God is offering us something so much more than a free lunch.  God’s not just offering us a warm and fuzzy feeling that lasts only for a short time.  God’s promises aren’t for the satisfaction of our appetites while we are in this world.  God has a long-range plan for our salvation and for our happiness.  And it is way out of this world!  God’s little blessings are awesome.  He has been very good to us in this life.  But the bigger plan, the real gift is yet to come.  And it is way better than pizza!

Our preview of things to come, for us as Catholic Christians, is the Mass.  Every time we go to Mass we get a little glimpse of the fulfillment of what God is promising us.  Our prayer together at Mass is not always easy.  Sometimes we don’t like the homily.  Sometimes we don’t like the priest.  Sometimes we don’t like the music.  But every Sunday, the Mass brings all of us together, in the most perfect prayer and worship of God that we have.  Mass is not about our individual prayer.  Mass is liturgical prayer, our common prayer together.

In the next several weeks, our Diocese is making several changes to the Mass.  Don’t worry, the words aren’t going to change again.  In fact, many of these changes are going to seem very familiar, because we are going back in most instances, to the way that things were before 2003.  This weekend, here at St. Maria Goretti, we begin the process of putting the new changes into effect.  Each parish is doing this at different times and in different ways, but by Sept. 13th, all the changes are to be put into effect.

So, this week, at the Preparation of the Gifts, the priest or celebrant makes an invitation to the congregation to pray for the acceptance of our Sacrifice.  The priest says…”Pray my brothers and sisters, that my sacrifice and yours, would be acceptable, to God our Almighty Father.”  Sound familiar?  Then, in the only line in the whole Mass that the priest cannot pray with you, the congregation says…”May the Lord accept the Sacrifice at your hands, for the praise and glory of His name, for our good, and the good the Holy Church.”  Again, you know these words.   Starting today, we do not stand at the invitation of the priest, as we have been doing since 2003.  Beginning today, you will stand at the conclusion of the people’s prayer, or at “…for our good and the good of the Holy Church”.    This is one of two big concerns of our Bishop.  You can read more about today’s change and why this is happening now in this week’s bulletin.  Over the next three weeks, we will be implementing all of the new changes to the Mass here at St. Maria Goretti.   Again, the goal, is to help all of us to pray better together as Church.

+  May God bless us today,  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit….                  AMEN !!!

St. Maria Goretti…                       Pray for us !!!