Sunday, February 19, 2017
Sunday word, 19 Feb 17
Seventh Sunday of the Year A (19 Feb 2017)
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J., Ignatian Spirituality Project, Guelph, ON
God Is the Measure
Presence names the way a person is in the world. Some examples: we notice the ways people carry themselves; we become aware of how our fears distance us from others—even ourselves. In a place of peace we enjoy clarity about our self-worth. In our inmost selves we know how we can be in the world and journey through it. In a phrase our presence is us.
The way things are and the way things can be immediately remind me I’m limited: I have physical challenges; I’m not the smartest person; and if I don’t take care I can become self-absorbed, my soul-sickness. God does not desire us to be alone; God desires we grow more aware of God’s presence. We heard scripture name God’s presence as holy and within us. We humans so focus on the difference holiness is that God ends up distant, unrelated to us.
Yet, God chose to become one of us. Jesus embodied God’s Presence; Jesus put into action God’s holiness. Genuine respect for another desires another’s good. I do what I can for another: Love [my] neighbor as [myself]. Doing that is being holy as God is holy. Doing that makes holiness more accessible to me and others than I usually imagine.
Jesus showed by his presence, his way of being in the world that God’s original desire need not be far from us. God’s Presence is near us and among us as we are with and among each other. To be holy as God is holy is the measure of Christian living, of Christian presence. Think of it as our yardstick. For builders and artisans the inches on a yardstick don’t change. Those unchanging inches allow builders and artisans to arrange parts, pieces, lines and colors in pleasing ways. God’s holiness is for Christians their yardstick for Christian living. God’s holiness as Jesus revealed and modeled it allows us to reshape ourselves as closer friends and companions of Jesus.
Link to this homily’s Spiritual Exercise
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