Sunday, October 06, 2013

Sunday word, 06 Oct 2013

Giving Jesus Permission
27th Sunday of the Year C (06 Oct 2013)
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
As you know I am a Jesuit. Significant for my Jesuit identity is this: St. Ignatius of Loyola is my spiritual father. He is not only the founder of the Society of Jesus. Put another way you may say Jesuits grow up with and in St. Ignatius. We recognize ourselves in him. We recognize how we absorb his convictions for our lives.

To say I am a Jesuit is a self-interpretation. So is saying I am the son of Elizabeth and Paul Panaretos Sr. Both interpret me to me and to others. To say I am a Jesuit is a self-interpretation the way saying I am a Roman Catholic is. Like my family heritage and my religious heritage being a son of St. Ignatius interprets me both to myself and the world.

All of us do personal identification and interpretation like that. I suggest two ways personal identification makes scripture more familiar. First, God’s word interprets us. Second, we hear and read scripture to discover who we are, who the Trinity creates each moment. Scripture is privileged access to our Creator and Redeemer. At worship a homily seeks to help us feel God engaging us and help us see ourselves as God sees us and invites us.

To say, “God’s word interprets us,” says God’s word creates and shapes us, loves us into being each moment. We’re expressions of God’s word. When we consider scripture as God expressing us we are not problem-solving. Nor are we studying God’s word. Study helps us appreciate the original expression of God’s word. Appreciating God’s original expression helps us discover God creating us and including us in God’s heart.

To interpret scripture is no casual exercise in antique or quaint writings. To interpret scripture is a personal and present activity. It discovers self and self in community, in Jesus’ body. It also has risks: we risk seeing ourselves in new ways; we risk discovering a need to put ourselves in God’s care; and we risk growing aware of living differently: changing some ways; deepening others.

This personal, present activity lets us see ourselves in the dramas of scripture. Prophet Habakkuk’s line, the righteous one will live, is an example. In those seven words people saw themselves in their experiences of suffering, longing, waiting, of unanswered questions. His words had no hollow sound or needed ingenuity to analyze them.

When we let ourselves enter the dramas of scripture more than our power works. God gives us power, holy Spirit who dwells in us. Holy Spirit does not make us puppets or robots or take us out of the world. Holy Spirit gives us new hope to be in the world as people of faith; as people whose love works God’s justice more each day.

To see and interpret ourselves through our suffering, waiting, longing and unanswered questions calls us to patient endurance as we suffer, wait and live inside unanswered questions. To see ourselves that way invites us to a different vision of the world, of self and others. Habakkuk again: this vision has its time, presses on to fulfillment, and it will not disappoint; if it delays, wait for it.

We live its partial fulfillment already. Partially fulfilled makes it more than a vision. It is a person: risen Jesus! Risen Jesus recreates relationships in a remarkable way: risen Jesus waits with us and waits for us. Most remarkable is that our Creator and Redeemer Jesus waits on us. Come here immediately [in your suffering, waiting, longing,  unanswered questions and all your labors] and take your place at table.

Masters in his day would never change roles like that, but Jesus did. How often do we feel Jesus serving us? We believe Jesus changed roles by dying for us, but does each of us feel he died for me? We feel what we believe the more we allow Jesus to say to us, Come...take your place at table so I may wait on you.

Allowing Jesus to wait on us may be one of those risks of being his friend. It frees, heals, makes us wholly new. More free and new allows us to know ourselves more the way our Creator and Redeemer knows us. More free and new allows us to serve others more willingly and generously. Personal praying allows us to hear Jesus that way. Hearing him that way allows us to enjoy felt knowledge that in his sacraments Jesus waits on us. Jesus waits on us to make us more like him, our hearts more like his.

In your daily 15 minutes with Jesus
  • Bask in the creating love of our triune God.
  • Ask Prophet Habakkuk to present you to Jesus.
  • Chat with him: praise him for welcoming you into his risen life.
  • Ask him for the grace to allow Jesus to serve you so you may be his reenergized, devoted disciple.
  • Close saying slowly the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus’ words, thy kingdom come, on our lips help us enter Jesus’ promise and enjoy it now as we long for its fullness when Jesus returns for us.

Link to this homily’s Spiritual Exercise

Wiki-images of Jesus en route to Jerusalem and of Habakkuk public domain in the U.S.

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