July 15, 2018

A HOMILY FOR THE FIFTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – CYCLE “B” –  7/15/18 – SMG

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

Who can’t remember the joy, the excitement, the thrill, the absolute and complete humiliation of picking teams on the playground for recess, or for gym class, or in the neighborhood for a pickup game of virtually anything?  Really, we couldn’t come up with a better way of picking teams, than that?  In Junior High, picking teams for gym class had more importance that the NFL draft!  It got rough out there.  And there were plenty of scars left along the way, especially if you weren’t such a great athlete.  These picking teams situations led to many, self-searching questions:  Would we be picked?  Would someone choose us?  Were we good enough?  And all of us this could lead to self-doubt and a real lack of confidence.

Sometimes, many of us will approach our Faith and our relationship with Jesus in exactly the same way.  Would God really choose us?  Are we good enough for God?  The Good News for each of us, as we gather here this weekend, is that God already has chosen us.  We’ve been picked!  We’re on God’s team by virtue of our Baptisms!  And God does send us out to go and do His work, that we can accomplish through His Grace, His power, and His authority.   God certainly equips us well, to be members of His team!

The other part of the deal is that we are not alone.  Look around you here today, look at how many others are on our team!  We are all brothers and sisters in Christ, and we are not alone in this mission!  There are so many of us, that if we were playing dodge ball, in gym class, there’s no way that we wouldn’t win!  Jesus sent the disciples out two by two.   We too are always encouraged to find others who will work with us, as we strive to follow Jesus.

And yet, it is not up to us!  Jesus didn’t sent the disciples out saying, “Do your best!”  Jesus sent the disciples out and He gave them authority.  He gave them power!  He gave them what they needed to do the mission that He was entrusting to them.  Look at all the saints!  Jesus gave them the strength, the power, the authority, and the grace that they needed to do incredible things, from the Apostles on down!  Our Gospel today says, “The twelve drove out many demons, and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.”  The Apostles were doing the same work, the same miracles, as Jesus did!  The power of God was being passed on and passed down in His Church.

Look at our Patroness, St. Maria Goretti, who we celebrate here this this weekend.  St. Maria Goretti was a little eleven year old girl!  There’s no way that anybody expected her to be a shining witness to our Faith!  And yet God’s strength and grace, enable this little girl to stay true to her faith and to God’s teachings.  God’s power was what made this young girl so strong and committed to her Faith, that she would rather die, than do something that she knew was wrong.  It was God’s protection that was with her when Alessandro Serrinelli stabbed Maria fourteen times with that dagger.  And it was God’s mercy and love that were with St. Maria Goretti, when

 

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she forgave him!  That just doesn’t happen!  God enabled St. Maria Goretti to do all those amazing things!  We cannot do it by ourselves, but when we work with Him, we can do anything.

This weekend, we also come together to celebrate and honor another Maria!  Sister Maria Clare Smith, who grew up here at St. Maria Goretti, is now a finally professed sister of the Franciscan Order.  We are all so very proud of Sister Maria Clare.  God has taken one of us, and has done incredible things with her.  Who knows how many lives Sister Maria Clare will touch in her lifetime?  The possibilities are endless!  And we are all witnesses to this!  This is what it means to be called, and chosen, and to be sent out into the world bring Jesus’ love and mercy to others.

But guess what?  But wait, there’s more…  The same God, the same Jesus Christ who sent the Apostles out two-thousand years ago, and empowered them to begin building the Church!, the same Lord who gave strength and grace to St. Maria Goretti, that enabled her to become a super child saint, and role model for all of us, and the same God who called Sister Maria Clare to make her final vows as a Franciscan Sister, that exact same God calls you and me every day to be His disciple also.  You wouldn’t be here today if that wasn’t true.  You ARE CALLED!  And just like all of these others, you will be empowered and strengthened to do things, that you can’t even begin to imagine doing, as we gather here today.  You can do the impossible with God.  But you will never be able to do it by yourself!  You want to be on God’s team!

And so, you have been chosen.  God has picked you to be on His team because He already knows the great things that you are going to do.  You don’t have to be good enough.  You don’t have to be super strong.  You don’t have to super holy.  You have been chosen by God to be on His team, the Church.

Let us take seriously that responsibility.  Now, we have to take Him and His love out into the world.  We’re not alone.  He is with us and we have one another.  And most importantly, we have a two-thousand year old history, that proves just how well this all works.  Don’t be afraid.  Let’s get to work.  Nobody is going to be bored!

+  May God bless us as we build His Kingdom,  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…             AMEN !!!

St. Maria Goretti…       Pray for us !!!