St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church (Norman, OK)
Proverbs 8, 22-31 + Psalm 8 + Romans 5, 1-5 + John 16, 12-15
God is good! (All the time!) Say that again like you mean it!
Now this has been quite a week to remember. I think today it is important to pick out what it is we want to remember and how we want to remember it because we are a lot like the disciples of Jesus on those days after his death clinging desperately to the shreds of their hope, shaken by the things that have happened and wondering what it all means.
Since this week has been so out of the ordinary, so shall this homily be a bit out of the ordinary because: God is good! (all the time). Pick up your hymnal please and stand up. Open that hymnal to page number XXX. In light of the week we have just passed in central Oklahoma, there is only one response possible from people of faith to the power of this disaster. It is the greater power of faith. (Sing: My life goes on in endless song above earth’s lamentations, I hear the real though far off hymn that hails the new creation. No storm can shake my inmost calm while to that rock I’m clinging. Since love is Lord if heaven and earth, how can I keep from singing.)
Storms, wind, and rain are a part of life just like diseases and accidents. We live in a world full of dangers and risk, and it is fair and perhaps important to ask where is God in this? You can’t blame God for a tornado if you don’t give God credit for a teacher who shields a child with her own body or a man who crawls under a collapsing wall to pull a stranger to safety. We see the most awesome people and hear stories of selflessness and sacrifice. Then we see looters and theives snatching up the last bits of precious memories from people who now have nothing left. We are a people of dignity and depravity. Times like these bring out the best and the worst of our nature, and the storms of last Sunady and Monday blew away more than roofs and entire homes. They blew away the mask from the nature of human kind.
What we can see, learn, and understand this week is not the power of Mother Nature, but the truth of human nature. When the storms of life blow in, our true nature is revealed. The storms of life, all of them remind us of what is important again. No one who survived last Sunday and Monday has been seen yelling about the loss of their 50” flat screen TV or their golf clubs. We mourn for people who were lost and rejoice for people who are found. That is who we are and what we are as children of God and disciples of God’s Son: a people who can morun for the right reasons and rejoice becasue God is Good!
Something about people huddled in a storm cellar fearful and anxious keeps reminding me of a crowd of people huddled in an upper room fearful and anxious, uncertain about what was happening outside and what the next day was going to be like. But they had been told and they believed that they would be robed in glory and experience power from on high. Confused about what that glory would look like, all they could remember was the sight of the Son of Man dirty, bloody, and broken hanging on a cross. What kind of glory was that? Yet, they held to their hope, remained together, encouraged one another, and clung to the rock of their faith, and somehow, slowly for some and in an instant for others, that broken, bloody, friend who loved them all rose up robed in glory.
His victory is the hope we share. His glory is ours rising above the storms of life. His strength is what we find in our unity as a family in faith. His joy is what we know when we see one another again after one more storm of life fully aware that there will be more storms again, and we shall keep on singing.
This feast of the Holy Trinity is a really good day to remember what we just heard Paul proclaim to the Romans: “Affliction produces endurance, and endurance proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint, becasue the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.”
As John’s Gospel assures us: God will take from Christ what is his and declare it us. With that good news, we can keep on singing because we know and we believe that God is Good. ALL THE TIME!