Sunday, December 23, 2012

Law of Attraction (2012-12-23, Advent)

This is my homily for 23 December  2012 (Advent, 2nd Sunday). I am a Catholic chaplain in Teaneck at Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) campus and for the FDU Newman Catholic Association and at New Jersey City University (NJCU) in Jersey City. We celebrate Catholic Mass - during Fall and Spring semester - every Sunday Evening (5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.) at the FDU University Interfaith Chapel, 842 River Road, Teaneck, NJ.

Sunday Mass will resume at FDU on Sunday January 27 at 5:00 p.m. and at 7:00 p.m.
[ Micah 5:1-4 a | Psalm 80 | Hebrews 10:5-10  | + Luke 1:39-45

[__01]      The relationship of the Mary to her relative Elizabeth is highlighted, spotlighted in this Advent Gospel.

This is the relationship of 2 mothers, 2 expectant mothers. 

Mary is mother of our savior,Jesus.   Elizabeth is the mother of his herald, of the prophet, John the Baptist.

Both Mary and Elizabeth have been called by God in unusual circumstances, both are asked to make sacrifices.

In Mary’s case, the sacrifice includes – in the short term – her own well-being, given that she and Joseph are not yet married.

Mary does not have legal protection for herself and her child.

And, while Mary helps Elizabeth, to visit Elizabeth, Mary herself is helped – affirmed – by this visit, by the words of Elizabeth.

“Blessed are thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of the thy womb, Jesus.”

[__02]        In his book, Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis asks about the discernment/decision process when we have competing – even contradictory -- desires within ourselves.

For example, our Blessed Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary is faced with a decision a question when she is asked to be the mother of our Savior.

It is the same question any of us would face in a significant decision or commitment –

  1. Do I keep what I have?
  2. Do I give away what I have?

Often, these choices are polar opposites, in one case, my bank account or assets go NORTH. I receive or gain something.

In other case, my bank account or assets go SOUTH. I give away or lose something of value.

[__03]          In the parable of the Good Samaritan, perhaps, the Good Samaritan paused to wonder  -

Should I help? Or, should I keep walking past the man who is beaten and lying by the side of the road,in the shoulder of the Palisades Parkway or Garden State Parkway? Or, someone pushed to the margin in our own school, or home?

The point of C.S. Lewis is that we are always taking multiple choice exams, always making choices.

And, sometimes, we are not simply choosing between what is purely good and what is purely evil.  Sometimes, we are choosing between 2 good things.

C.S. Lewis makes the point that – in all of these things -  we are choosing to follow what is good and what is naturally good for us.

Lewis makes the point that you and I do not decide what is good. We are simply using our free will to follow the good.

[__04]         Lewis uses the example, a scientific example. A rock will fall through space to the earth at a specific velocity. 

This is viewed as a “law”, the law of gravity, the law of constant acceleration, the law of physics.

The rock cannot choose to break the law. Falling through space at a constant acceleration, the rock is simply doing what all rocks do, in free fall.

The rock follows the good, follows the way to the earth.

[__05]        And, when we choose, when we make a decision to love we are also not deciding what is good.  We are not making a decision that, say, an education at this college is better than an education at that college.   We are not judging the college.

We are, rather, simply listening to God’s call about what is good for us.

Or, we might also say that we choose a school, job, career based on what we give away. By this, I don’t mean that we automatically choose the one with the highest tuition.

But, rather, we might choose the one that would present the greatest challenge, the one that will make us who we really are.

The choice comes from within us, but the good we choose is something toward which we are always moving closer.

Parents – mothers and fathers – and teachers – do this each day for their children. They choose to direct their children – even lay down their lives for their children – to protect them from harm, to choose the good at all times.

And, as we saw recently, there are teachers who do this quite naturally, choosing the good – even it means giving away absolutely everything that they have.

[__06]      The result of our decision or the effect of our decision connects to what is good and to who is good, God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Choosing the good connects us to God’s natural law, as natural as gravity leading toward earth.  Or, in the case of Mary and Elizabeth – and in many of those in our lives --  
as natural as the gravity of one person laying down her life for another.      


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