Sunday, October 20, 2013

Good Try (2013-10-20)

This is my homily for Sunday October 20, 2013.  I am a Catholic chaplain at  Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU, Teaneck),   FDU Newman Catholic Association,  New Jersey City University (NJCU) in Jersey City.  At FDU, Sunday Evening Mass is celebrated 5:00 pm during Fall 2013 and Spring 2014. at FDU Chapel, 842 River Road, Teaneck. 

29th Sunday, Year C
•• Exodus 17:8-13 •• Psalm 121
•• 2 Timothy 3:14-4:2 •• Luke 18:1-8

[__01__]  Good try. “Good try.”

These are word we pronounce as a verdict – as a judgment – sometimes at a very high volume regarding someone’s effort.

The good try may remind us of the successful – or the unsuccessful.

The good try may be the penalty kick that went wide of the net or the TD pass nearly caught or the math problem nearly – but not quite exactly – solved.

Good try.

[__02__]  This try is evaluated, measured, in terms of heart-rate, beats per minute, or hours of homework per night.

We associate a good try with someone’s persistence, perseverance.

It is good [news] to be tested, to be tried.

[__03__]  We read in the Gospel this Sunday a parable about a trial.

A widow in a certain town goes to her municipal courthouse. Her legal case/suit is being heard in the courtroom.

The evidence of the case is being tested, tried.   Patience is also being tested.

The patience – the forbearance – of both the woman as plaintiff and the judge is on trial.

The Lord offers this parable, this example of the extra effort, the good try, the extended time – overtime, extra innings, on the part of this widow/woman in court.

[__04__] Much time passes before the case is heard in the courthouse.   A long time could be months, years, decades? We are not told exactly.

Finally, there is a good try, a trial.

[__05__] Jesus offers this good-courtroom trial/ good-try parable as a reminder about prayer in our lives, about the need to discern – through effort, through trial --  God’s will in our lives.

Yes, we will have trials, difficulties. There will be …
è Penalty kicks
è Final exams
è Illness / Health issues
è Relationships

In each case – all of the above – the trial or the test is in 2 parts.

1.      Part 1 is about the VISIBLE – performance

2.      Part 2 is about the INVISIBLE (or, HIDDEN) – spirit / soul / perseverance.

[__06__]   In Part 1, there is a penalty kick or a chemistry exam or an illness.
Of course, these are different types of trials. Yet, in all of them, we are asked to do something. The woman of the parable had a case to be heard, a case against a particular adversary.

We understand that she does her best to bring this case to trial.  The widow believes that, eventually even a dishonest / corrupt / unethical judge will hear the case and decide in 
her favor.

This is faith, confidence in God, and hope.

That is… FAITH = believing that … even a dishonest / corrupt / unethical judge will hear the case and decide in her favor.

A good try.

[__07__]   So, also, at times, are we not called to work – to make the good try or series of good tries under difficult or unfair circumstances.

In Part 1, we perform – VISIBLY (being seen) as best we can.

And, in the marathon or overtime of a serious illness, we are also called to perform, according the doctor’s rules and strategies. It is not easy to keep up.

Part 1 of the good try is visible. Our performance.

[__08__]    However, the parable about the woman on trial is not only about her performance. It is also about her spirit / soul / perseverance.

This is not visible.

For example, one’s daily work / career could be such a test.  Our family knows that we go to work each day. Our employer sees that we show up.  However, neither may be able to quantify – measure – know – the internal struggles we endure.

We may not even know – fully – the internal struggles. It is good to cc:, to place our efforts/tries on file with our Lord and Savior.

For example, we may have to carry out a job without adequate recognition or reward. We may have to work for someone with whom we disagree.

In medicine, in business-strategy, in law – or other careers, we may face ethical guidelines which are LESS strict than our faith, our actual conscience.

We may take unpopular stances.

This requires perseverance.

We read in the Gospel “Jesus told his disciples a  parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary.” (Luke 18:1)

Prayer requires strength and gives strength.

[__09__]    Following God’s will is not only a matter of intelligence or memorization. Our soul – our character and conscience – is also involved.

This takes us from Part 1/Performance to Part 2/Perseverance. From the visible to the invisible.

Jesus invites us to pray. It is good that our case is being heard, good that we are on trial.


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