St. Michael's Parish - Cobourg

 

Divorce Between Religion and Life                             -Homily August 11, 2013

 

It may happen that we are not very successful in inviting other people to church. It is a complicate issue, and it may involve defects both on our part and on the other’s part. I will focus on one defect that can be on our part, because the correction of one’s self is easier and more important than the correction of the other. “First take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother's eye” (Lk 6:42).

 

The defect is this: my religious life is only one more aspect of my life, and not the key of all my activities and of all my behaviors. I do the same things all people do, and I also come to church. I think the same way people think, and I also come to church on Sunday. We may feel that the church is a part, even the most important part of our life, but only this, a part, and not the center of my life.

 

First, a clarification, and then, the ways to see if I have that defect or not.

 

I am not saying that we have to give more time or more money to the church than to any other activity. I say that religion, God, Jesus, is meant to be the reason for which I do or not all the other things. Religion is connected with the meaning of life: it answers the existential questions where we come from, what we are, where we go. Religion involves a personal relationship that overtakes every other relationship: “Love God above all things." “If anyone loves his mother or father more than me, he is not worthy of me." Religion involves a way of conduct that leads us to happiness and salvation. It involves a knowledge that connects our whole life with God, the knowledge of faith. It involves a hope that is absolute, the hope of final and eternal salvation. It involves a love that permeates every aspect of my life, in such a way that what I don’t do for the love of God or for the love of my neighbour has no sense.

 

Of course, love is a path on which we can progress. We can grow in love. The saints, who are the adults in love, arrive to say: “God alone is enough." “For me, life is Christ." “The life that I live, I live it in the love of Jesus, who loved me and gave himself up for me." This should be our aim.

 

How do I know if religion is only one more aspect of my life, or is it the key of all my activities? It is easy. I can consider the different activities I do, or the different aspects of my life, and see how important is God, my faith and the teachings of the Church in these activities or aspects.

 

Family. Does God have a role in my family? Do I try to make my family as God wants, respecting the law of God? Do I realize that family is a school of love and sacrifice, and not the meeting point of many egos? Am I faithful in my actions and in my thoughts? Does God abide in my desires? What does marriage mean for me? Does God have anything to do with that?

 

My job. Am I just? Am I corrupt? Am I unfair? Am I kind? Do I gossip or hurt people? Do I respect my boss in actions and thought? Do I promote the good of others? Do I try to give my heart to my job?

 

Fun. Am I egoistic in looking for fun? Do I have a right way to have fun? Do I spend too much money? Do I actually have fun, or I risk my health because of excessive work?

 

Studies. Do I study for the sake of science, do I become passionate with my studies, or do I just try to pass the exams and get a degree? We Christians should do everything with passion and for the right reasons. Fine arts, our job, our studies, sports, we should put our heart in everything we do.

 

The way I speak, the way I dress, the way I think, the way I judge the events of the world, the way I spend my time, do they have anything to do with the Gospel? What is the most important in my life: welfare, money, power, what people say, or God?

 

So I invite everyone of us to consider in which part of my life God still does not have a place. You may find that there is more than one place. Where do we start? Start at the beginning: Love God above all. If you find that something in your life is not according to the commandments, repent, and change. We are not saints because we come to church, but because we repent of our sins and try to change. That’s life about: the dead cannot repent; we can. That’s why we come to church: Fr. Jerry Tavares says that the church is not a museum of saints but a hospital of sinners.

 

Let us invite God to that part of our life in which he doesn’t have a place. Let us experience the beauty of reconciliation. When we repent, we feel a joy very difficult to express. It is the joy of knowing that God abides in us and we in him: “If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him” (John 14:23). May the Lord come to our hearts, may the Lord fill our hearts with joy.   –Fr. Andrew