July 19th Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Introduction

Faith is a wonderful thing, it can move mountains. That’s the message of scripture; Christ compares it to tiny mustard seed that becomes a great tree nurturing life of every kind. Lets appreciate our faith and confess any neglect in its practice..

Homily

There’s a fine scene in Star Wars. Luke, training as a Jedi, is asked to use “the force” to raise a spaceship from a swamp. He makes an effort but it sinks. Then the tiny Yoda concentrates and lifts the ship onto land. Luke says: “I don’t believe it”, and Yoda answers, “that is why you failed”. This echoes Christ’s words. He says faith brings us a power we cant even imagine. Such faith is needed today when there’s no shortage of cynics and skeptics. Of course, there’s place for healthy doubt, it usually deepens faith. But not if nothing is sacred and we make ourselves God, and morality a play thing of our dark desires. There’s no greatness in abandoning God and ignoring His Word, making the glib DJ on TV our Christ? The superficial world our scripture?

That’s not to say that all is negative nowadays, far from it, there’s so much good today too and faith. And lets applaud the progress in science, technology, medicine and so on. But every age has its underside. Militant secularist is a reality today and we must guard against it, for there is no true civilization without spirituality and the moral depth it enables. Happily, faith may be more authentic now, its not social conformism.

But a book I read recently said that we risk producing technological savages now, versed in technology but spiritually and morally regressive. Be that as it may, powerful militant, secular and libertine elements today would strip us of our great religious heritage and high moral sense? We must be on guard lest we sacrifice the faith on which we stand to such trends? For then when crises come we’ll have no deep inner life to sustain us. Once the earth of faith slips from under our feet only meaninglessness, nothingness and despair remains. By contrast Christ came “that we may have life and have to the full”.

So lets wake up and be wise. Worldly values pass and do not satisfy the soul. Where have 20th century secular prophets led us, to hell after hell. Vast numbers of human lives were lost and even more oppressed by our eras godless ideologues – Stalin, Mao Tse Tung, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussain, Ghadaffi, the list is endless. The one party state, the great leader replacing God, the secret police, the suppression of opposition, the vast military machines while people starve and their human rights ignored. That 20th century militant agnosticism is far from enlightened, the Pope reminded opponents when he visited Britain. That continues today in places like North Korea and Syria. By contrast Christ offers us God’s way of peace, truth, happiness and inner integrity; though fundamentalists distort that, they’re not Christian.

Many are realizing this in a postmodern era. They are seeing beyond the dead end of the faithless mind, and man-made distortions of His gentle spirit. Certainly in Ireland, real faith survived and sustained millions through endless persecutions. As one wise person said we in Ireland since Patrick have always lived with one foot in this world and one in the next. It made us great, enabled us to rise above everything. Lets maintain that noble enriching faith, heeding Christ’s words that true faith is the world’s hope, and believing people loyal to God through worldly attacks and religious aberration will triumph as Christ did on the cross of love and forgiveness. For all else fades to dust, but to the gentle Son of God belongs the kingdom, power and glory for this world and forever and ever, amen. So God’s good gentle people building our house on the solid grace-filled foundation of the all-holy Christ, that no cruel passing worldly storm can shake, lets profess our faith..

Prayers of the faithful

For the church throughout the world and its leaders that guarding the riches and fullness of faith in Christ they may bring not only the faithful but the whole world to peace and grace..

For civic leaders, may they welcome and support authentic faith, our heritage of light, and not be lured into imposing empty passing worldly values like the awful dictators of our age..

For our young people that holding to the faith that raises them up to glory in both this life and the next, they may achieve their full potential here and flower into eternity at last…

For ourselves; in our homes, work places and communities may we stand for the faith that is happiness, peace, greatness and glory for ourselves, and especially for our children..

For the sick, the aged, the lonely and the oppressed that they may never lose hope but trust in Christ and through our love and care know his love, comfort and healing..

And we ask all these prayers through our infinitely caring Lord whose wounds intercede for us constantly before the father, amen.

Reflection:

There’s a fine scene in Clint Eastwood’s film, “Pale Rider”. Miners are being forced off their claims by a rich man. Then a Christian minister comes to help them. The rich man had been away and when he learns the news he says to his henchmen: “you let a preacher into the canyon. Before I left their spirits were nearly broken, but with an ounce of faith they’ll be dug in deeper than ticks on a hound dog”. He, the ultimate man of the world, knew the power of faith to lift people to greatness. Lets be wise and Keep and live the precious faith we received..Hail Mary

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