27th Sunday of Ordinary Time
Doing the bare minimum in life and in faith, is never enough. Be superhuman with supernatural love.
For many of us, our Christian life could be summarized by saying we have done what we were obliged to do. We will even proudly say before God. Did that, now let me in to heaven. But God wants more than just what we’re obliged to do, just as our husbands, wives and kids want more from us than the bare minimum. God also wants us to know that he understands that it's hard and that we get discouraged. And he needs us to hear him when he says that he has given us all we need to do more than we're obliged to do.
Before you were a parent, with that first child, I'll bet you didn't think that you were capable of all of the things that you ended up needing to do as a parent, especially that first year. Yet, it almost never fails when you become a parent it's like you become superhuman. Love for another human being can empower you to do the most incredible of things that you never imagined yourself being capable of doing, being, saying.
Like in the time of Amos, we are witness to the great suffering of so many in the world and the rejection of the ways and truths of God by the faithful, even leaders in the Church. Things that make us wonder where is God in all of this. Make us ask what's going on and how we can face it all. How can we face the challenges that we are confronted with? How can I face the challenges going on in the church today? We could just loudly complain to God and others about the situation in the world, right? Which might involve yelling at a television that can't hear you. We could just loudly complain to God and others about the Church. And we could become discouraged about the power and presence of God, about the strength of the church, the mystical body of Christ and about our own power in Christ?
But we like the apostles know in our hearts that we were made for greatness. We must believe God who tells us that we can do so much more than we imagine possible, so much more than that which we're obliged to do. Because of his love for us that inspires in us a supernatural love for others, for ourselves, and for God. That this supernatural love will raise us up to be capable of amazing things that we never thought we could be and much of the ordinary strength to be superhuman parents, spouses, priests. Just like before you had kids. You doubted. You wondered about your own abilities. You wondered if you were up to the demands of it all. And then you came to know that love really does have a power to raise us up. To make us more.
And what is the love of God that empowers? Is the Holy Spirit that we received in fullness in those first sacraments of baptism and confirmation. That we have strengthened within us as we receive the sacraments of reconciliation and Eucharist. That we received for living our vocations, the specific state of Life to which we're called when we received the Sacrament of Marriage and Holy Orders. These sacraments contain within them that which we need to vivify, to bring the life, to set aflame the Spirit of God within us. The love of God that animates us, to let God do truly wonderful things in US and through us.
We have what we need to do more than the obligatory. We don't have to cry out to God to increase our faith so as to live it fully and powerfully in the Spirit. Do we want to grow? Absolutely. Do we want to become Saints, holier every day? Absolutely we should. And we should believe that God can make it so. If we cooperate. If we listen to him. If we do what he says. God's own strength will be released in our lives. A supernatural source of empowering love made possible by Christ himself. A supernatural strength that will yield, if we let it a supernatural joy in us. A joy that will help us and enable us to do all of this in the midst of what might be crushing times in the world or in the Church. The times we live in are objectively either good, bad, better or static. None of that, if we remain in the power of God and living life in the Spirit ought to affect our disposition. It should not discourage us. It should not give rise to doubts within us if we are plugged into that source of life. Then we can have that super abundant joy in the midst of those difficulties, and remain certain and confident, trusting in God that we have the power to overcome it all in him, just as Christ overcame death on the cross. This is who we are and don't let anybody ever, especially the enemy, tell you any different. You are God's own. And you are powerful in him.
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Fr. Blair Gaynes has been in the Diocese since 2008.