The Mission of Harvesters Wanted:

To spread the Good News of JESUS CHRIST in word and in action! As well as promoting the baptismal call of all the faithful to follow whatever vocation our God has called them to!

Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age. ~ Matthew 28:19-20

The place to find homilies and reflections given along the path of faith by Fr. Adam Carrico, a Roman Catholic priest of the Archdiocese of Louisville.

When this life is complete, I pray they say I lived For The Greater Glory of God +AMDG+

Monday, August 6, 2018

STARVING FOR SLAVERY, WELCOMED INTO PARADISE

Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary

Saint Boniface Parish

August 5, 2018



By a show of hands, who are the cat people here? Raise your hands high and proud. Disgusting. OK, you can put your hands down. There's another homily for you, we'll get to you later. Now, where are the dog people? Just to clarify, are we talking real dogs, or dogs that are more like cats? It's not really a real dog if you have bend over to pet it. It really isn't a dog, it's more like a cat. The reason I bring this up is I just got a dog a couple of months ago, I don't know if I've really told you about her. She's basically a real dog… you have to kind of bend - a little bit - to pet her, but her name is Lady, she's four and a half years old, she's kind of nuts. So, the rumor is true, there is a lady who lives in the rectory, and most of the time she sleeps in my bed. Last night, however, she slept in Father Jeff's bed because I was way, apparently, she’ll sleep with anybody! That's my dog!


Dogs seem to always do things for food. Whatever it is you want them to do, have a treat ready. In so many ways dogs are guided by their stomachs. They live for food in so many ways. Another dog, actually a pair of Collies, that I often notice walking around the neighborhood, out taking their human for a walk. One of these Collies is always way out in front, and the other Collie is always way in the back, with their human right there in the middle. I imagined the Collie in the back is thinking “why are you taking us further and further away from food?” While the one in the front is thinking “if we walk faster we'll get back to the food sooner!” In this imaginary dialogue exists the tension between moving forward, and wanting to go back, and, in the end, this tension has to do with food.


We can follow our stomachs just as much as a dog can. God desires to speak to us through our intellect, and through the emotions of our hearts, but oftentimes it is our stomachs that guide us. We see this with the Hebrew people wandering in the desert. They are grumbling to Moses and their leaders. They say, “why have you brought us out here to starve to death!?!” Not a bad question, but they are acting out of their hunger - their hunger is guiding them. Their need for food is what is informing their being, and so they complained and said “back in Egypt we had fleshpots (which is actually a synonym for sin - that's a whole other thing) and we had bread, we had fleshpots and bread back in Egypt, sure we were slaves, but at least we had food! Why have you brought us here, out into this wilderness, out into the desert?” They had some desire to go back, to return to the place where they knew they had food. They had, as a people, crossed the Red Sea - the great symbol for baptism. They had gone through the waters of death and rebirth and come out the other side - they cannot go back - they are the chosen people of God. They are not supposed to go back, especially not if their stomachs are leading them.

Manna in the Desert

The lower desires of the human person pull individuals, and communities, back into slavery, it pulls them back to where they know they at least has food. Saint Paul picks up this theme in his letter to the Ephesians. Paul says, “do not return to acting as the gentiles do,” do not go back to acting as they do, he doesn't just say don't act like them, he says don't go back to acting like them - don't return to that way of life. We may at times fall, we may at times stumble, but do not just throw away what you have received. Do not forget the new identity in Christ that you have been called to, do not return to your Gentile ways. You can't go back! The entirety of humanity is lost in this desert, this desert between where we were, and where we are called to be, in between that land of slavery and looking forward to the land of promise. Just like the Hebrew people, lost in the desert wandering around this barren place, looking for glimmers of hope, longing for the promised homeland that God himself has sworn we will enter if we follow him. We make our way, with the help of God, through this desert. And yet sometimes we desire lowly things, earthly things, desires that tempt us back, back into our life before Christ, our life before baptism, our life ultimately without God. 


The Jewish people, in our Gospel for today, are also looking back and thinking about how they have received food and bread from Christ. Christ has multiplied the fish and the loaves, he has fed them, he has filled their stomachs, and they travel to the other shore because he can provide for them in that way. They are simply looking for him to give them the food that they need. They speak of how Moses provided them with food in the desert. What they fail to realize is that God’s covenant relationship with his people builds one on top of the other. As they get closer, and closer, and closer to that great covenant, the Incarnation, when God becomes man, when God enters our reality as one of us, walks amongst us. God moves forward, God does not move backward. God has already provided physical food for the hungry - in the desert by providing manna for those who need sustenance, and in the previous scene, God has feed the hungry crowd by multiplying the fish and loaves. Does it not seem logical that God, having come in the flesh, God so much greater than Moses could even have imagined, would that God simply repeat what has been done before? Or would God choose to do something greater than Moses did? God, who has provided food to the hungry before the Incarnation, would the Incarnate God do something greater after the incarnation? God moves us forward, God does not call us backward. God provides for us still! They ask Jesus, “Lord give us this food always” and he answered that desire. 


Christ answered that desire then, and he answers it still today. The food we receive from this altar may look, taste, and feel like ordinary food. It may have the outside appearance of ordinary fruit, but God is filling us with something so much greater than manna from heaven! The food of angels, we are told, was received by Moses and the Hebrews lost in the desert. We receive something so much greater. God moves us forward ,closer and closer to the kingdom of God. It is this food that will sustain us for that journey. We returned here time and again, return to this sacred space, and sacred spaces like this across the world. Holy places where we catch a glimpse of paradise yet to come. Sunday after Sunday we return to receive this food to help us on this journey, to help us not fall back into slavery and sin, back to Egypt, but to move forward to the Promised Land where all of us, God willing, by our hope, prayer, and God's good grace, be together for eternity in that promised land, that we were promised so very long ago. Pray for one another, as we receive from this altar, that our hearts, our minds, as well as our stomachs, be filled with this bread, this Eucharist, Christ himself offering himself to feed and sustain us.