12 Sunday C #96
Zec 12, 10-11. 13, 1
Gal 3, 26-29
Lk 9, 18-24
St. Mary’s Church, Marlboro, N.Y.
June 20, 2010
Deacon Tom Cornell
It’s Fathers’ Day and by now the conspiracy to honor Father Ed Bader is out! I’m glad he’s not here. It might embarrass him. What more is there to say than what you all have already said in your cards and notes and letters? The international Year of the Priest just ended. Not for us. Every year is the Year of the Priest as long as Father Ed is with us. We won’t have him forever. They rotate pastors now. It’s not like the old days of Father Hanley. I see from his gravestone in the cemetery that Fr. Hanley came to Saint Mary’s before World War I and was still here when the Korean War ended! In Connecticut where I grew up we had only one pastor from the time I can remember until I was graduated from college. It’s just as well that they rotate pastors now. We have to share! There’s only one way I’d like to see Father Ed transferred, to see him made a bishop! That’s a great idea! I’ll have to tell the Pope. But don’t worry! They never listen to me!
Our Psalm verse today goes: “My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God!”
The world thirsts, each one of us thirsts with a thirst that can not be quenched. There is a longing in the human heart and soul that can not be satisfied. It is infinite. Only the Infinite can satisfy it. To deny it is to sink into useless torpor or just as useless frenzy, running around, busy, busy, busy about – nothing! No work, nothing we can do no matter how good and worthy and well-intentioned it may seem will come to any good without the grace of God we receive in prayer. Our priest shows us the way, the primacy of the spiritual, the way to the source of life and its fulfillment. That’s why we call him father. Every father is a kind of priest in a Christian family. Every Christian home is an “ecclesiola,” a little church, or it’s supposed to be.
The reading from the Prophet Zechariah speaks of a gift, “a grace to be poured out on the people of Jerusalem.” “They shall look upon him whom they have pierced and they shall mourn for him as for an only son.” Christians have always understood this to prophesy Jesus, and that one day all people will inherit the Promise made to Abraham and Sarah through him, the Promise not only of children -- he so old his body as good as dead and she well passed the age -- but the Promise of salvation from evil and emptiness, if they will have it.
We celebrate fathers today, and why? Only because of their children. A society that does not count children as its greatest blessing is a society on the skids. Abraham and Sarah knew the future belongs to the fertile.
In our second reading, Saint Paul tells the Gentiles that they are in fact sons and daughters of Abraham along with the Jews, since they have put on Christ and they are one with him. “There is no more distinction between Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female, but all of you are one in Christ Jesus. By belonging to Christ you are the posterity of Abraham, the heirs he was promised.”
“Who do you say that I am?” Peter’s answer is burned in our memory: “You are the Messiah, the Christ of God!” Jesus then tells Peter and the others not to reveal this to anyone until he has undergone his Passion and is risen from the dead. Then he says:
“Whoever wishes to be my follower must deny his very self, take up his cross each day and follow in my steps. Whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.” Lose your life to save it; save your life and lose it? The Christian life is a struggle to find out what this means! It is strange, topsy-turvy, like the Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount. To take up our cross and to go where he went, and that is to Golgotha! Of all the hard sayings of Jesus, this is the hardest, the one that sums them all up. Does that mean we should seek our cross, look for it? I don’t think so. When I was young, a wise old Jesuit told me, “You don’t have to go looking for your cross. It will find you!”
How did he know? Fathers know!