Saturday, August 25, 2012

Where true gladness is found

     At the recent NPM convention in Pittsburgh, some of the clergy present continued to complain about the new translations in the Roman Missal.  As I have said before, while they are very difficult to pray aloud and comprise tremendously long run on sentences, there are often some great thoughts found in those prayers.  The Collect for the Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time is one of those prayers.

     At a liturgy where the readings reflect upon making a decision to follow the Lord rather than fit in with the world around us and the account of disciples of the Lord who found his teaching on the bread of life "altogether too much" and who then went their own way, we have this prayer:

" O God, who cause the minds of the faithful
to unite in a single purpose,
grant your people to love what you command
and to desire what you promise,
that, amid the uncertainties of this world,
our hearts may be fixed on that place
where true gladness is found."
     We are pulled in so many directions and we have so many options placed before us, we are lulled into an "anything goes" attitude and encouraged to get what you want out of life, we are invited to go with the flow and to accommodate ourselves first, so that the message of the Gospel and the witness of being one with each other in Christ, no matter what the cost or sacrifice, is lost.  We do not love the command of the Lord [to love the Lord and each other totally and completely].  We want what God offers [everlasting happiness and joy] but we do not desire it enough to lay it all on the line to achieve that goal.  We seek our happiness in those things that fade or pass quickly and are transitory rather than fixing our hearts on the Lord and his kingdom.
     I shared in the homily tonight the fact that statistics show the second largest religious grouping in the United States after Catholics are those who have left the church or who are inactive Catholics.  Many of them are hostile to the church and things religious.  Why?  With the coming Year of Faith to begin in October the need to answer that question is paramount and the need to evangelize is great, beginning with ourselves.  We need to love the commands of the Lord and know why - not simply "because".  We need to desire happiness that is lasting and be wise enough to know where to find it.  And we need to fix our sight on the One - Jesus Christ - and not allow ourselves to be distracted.

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