Fr. Rick’s Homily: 10 Sunday in Ordinary Time 6/9/24

Gn 3:9-15; Ps 130:1-8; 2 Cor 4:13—5:1; Mk 3:20-35

After the man, Adam, had eaten of the tree the LORD God called to the man and asked him, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden; but I was afraid, because I was naked, so I hid myself.”
Then he asked, “Who told you that you were naked?
You have eaten, then, from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat!”

God called to the Man.  God is always seeking us.

This passage comes right after Adam and Eve have eaten from the forbidden tree of KNOWLEDGE.  Immediately ‘their eyes were opened’.

The undistorted vision they had when they were at peace and right relationship with God and all of creation, including each other, was now reduced to a mere human way of seeing the world.  Their eyes were opened means their ‘human vision’ kicked in.  They were now afraid of God and threatened by each other.

Instead of understanding that God is asking us, ‘Where are you?’, we spend much of life consciously or subconsciously asking God, ‘Where are you?’  We also tend to forget that God knows perfectly well our predicament.  God knows right away that they ate from the forbidden tree as soon as they said they were naked.  He created us.  He knows us better than we know ourselves.

This little episode pretty much explains the whole human problem.  We don’t see the world in the fully integrated, orderly way that God made things.  At our best we are still trying to understand that order, part of which is now called ‘sustainability.’  You can get a college degree in ‘sustainability.’

The whole story of the Bible is one of God always seeking us out, never giving up on us.  Even when we suffer great hardships it is because God knows that is often only in our times of suffering and desperation, do we really attempt to give control back to God.

Our very bodies are one of the most effective indicators of hardships often leading to enlightenment and a deeper spirituality.  In today’s second reading from St. Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians, he declares the obvious with a near sense of joy, “we are not discouraged; although our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.
For this momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to what is seen but to what is unseen; for what is seen is transitory, but what is unseen is eternal. For we know that if our earthly dwelling, a tent, should be destroyed, we have a building from God, a dwelling not made with (human) hands, (but) eternal in heaven.”

This is all Good News, right?  But the gospel today shows how difficult this process of ‘seeing’ can really be:  When Jesus is told that his mother and brothers (meaning in this case ‘cousins’) are looking for him, he replies, “Who are my mother and my brothers?”  And looking around at those seated in the circle he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”

This requires us to make some real, often very difficult distinctions.  Who are the people in my life that are leading me to the fullness of my personhood?  We sometimes say the ‘best version of myself’.  Maybe it’s not our genetic family, but these are the people we are likely most tangled up with.  The ones where there are some predictable patterns and where we can find some support and acceptance … as long as we know and follow the dance steps.  As long as we follow the family rules.

Families are not always genetic families.  They can be any group whose ideology we adopt because it seems to fit our temperaments or our immediate survival needs.  It could be a ‘click’ in high school or maybe a gang.  Maybe you’re a ‘Swifty’ or a die-hard Eagles fan.  Ever been to a BYU – U of Utah game?  Arizona vs. Arizona State game?  These are some strong affiliations that don’t seem to have much to do with God.  In the latter case, one even calls themselves the ‘Devils’.

We have to take a side.  The side that gives us an ongoing clearest and truest view of reality.  There is not as much room for compromise as we tend to accept living in the United States where we have known peace and prosperity for several decades in a row.  Just let everyone do and think what they want.  Just be tolerant.  Ultimately, being loosey goosey or infinitely flexible results in a major distortion of reality.

We certainly see the divisions in our country and in our Church.  It’s the result of not seeing straight.  Most Americans still profess to be Christian when polled, but we’re really not giving our total allegiance to the Lord.  Again, today from the Gospel of Mark, “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.”

It’s imperative that we develop some deeper awareness of our interior lives.  We need to develop a keener sense of vision, as Paul says in different places, ‘seeing with the eyes of our hearts’.  People are complicated.  We have all kinds of voices in our heads and hearts coming from a variety of sources.  Which ones are from God?  Who is God, by the way?  Who or What gets most of our attention?

Who are the closest circles of people in our lives that really keep us focused and accountable? 

How much is our sense of accountability related to our Sacred Scriptures?  Whose interpretation of Scripture are we trusting?

Who are our mothers and our brothers and sisters?

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Thers are many ways of deepening our awareness and correcting our vision.