Sunday, September 9, 2018

Cooperate. Confide (2018-09-09, Sunday-23)

9 September 2018    /    23rd Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B
•• Isaiah 35:4-7a  •• Psalm 146 •• James 2:1-5 •• + Mark 7:31-37

••       Title:   Cooperate. Confide.

[__01__]     I’d like to extend a special welcome to guests, alumni, friends and neighbors of the parish who are here today for the continued celebration at Lourdes of West Orange Old Timer’s Day.
          The Gospel – this Sunday – is about both our call to “COOPERATE” and to “CONFIDE”.  To work together and to build trust, COOPERATE, CONFIDE.
          “West Orange Old Timer’s Day”  is a day to recall the COOPERATION of many coaches and players, officials and volunteers through whom young people have been served and taught to kick, to shoot, to swing but more importantly, as we say, “how to play the game.”
          And, by these efforts, they become citizens themselves, team-players, and those who understand that CONFIDENCE – and CONFIDING in
one’s coaches and teammates – is is not only a strategy for scoring, but a virtue to cultivate when you are defeated or sorrowful.
[__02__]     There is a Gospel lesson this Sunday also about COOPERATING and CONFIDING.
          About working together and building trust.
          Cooperation was evident in the teamwork of the group who brought – perhaps dragged along – the man who is hearing-impaired and speech-impaired to Jesus.
          But, did not all of the disciples  - do not all of us – require what this man received:
          EXAMINATION one-on-one. The healing happens one-on-one away from the crowd. We are called not only to worship publicly collectively but also to examine ourselves one-on-one. Similarly, are not our relationships with each other strengthened – marriage, family – not only by the things we do together but also the prayers, reflections we offer for each other 1-on-1 before God.
          That is, we are called to pray for our spouses, our children and through this it is God who helps us to listen to each other, to hear each other, in cooperation.
          It is God who helps us to hear and speak with each other.
          Cooperation leads to examination.
          Even if cooperation means what we are called to challenge another person to help each other to grow.

[__02.01__]      CHURCH. It also takes cooperation to address injustice, to raise awareness, to make a rescue of any kind.       It will take cooperation to rebuild the trust and trustworthy leadership of Catholic community and Church leaders.
          However, it will not simply require a public cooperation but also the individual personal commitment of every priest, every bishop, every church leader – and every one of us praying for them – to rebuild trust.
          We cannot do so simply by following what is popular, but by what is true, by what God teaches us. The commandments are not simply about keeping boundaries, but about dignity and respect for the inner mystery of person. That’s cooperation.
          I do not have a solution or resolution but recognize that just as collective inertia or indifference – in some cases by some - permitted these evils it is examination and cooperation with God’s plan for justice and with and a common vision that will be the remedy.
          That’s COOPERATING.

[__02.02__]    IN THE MIRACLE-we see not only outward cooperation but also CONFIDING + CONFIDENTIALITY.  Even -- SECRECY.    It is strange to read that Jesus asks for secrecy or taking down any online posts about the miracle.
          Why the secrecy? One commentator observed that this is simply Jesus’ reminder to the disciples that just as he is not “marketing” himself as a healer or magician, they are also not to seek renown or reward for their own teachings or ministry or miracles.
          And, in addressing ourselves to the current Church scandal, or to the everyday task to lay down our lives for each other, to forgive each other, am I looking for reward, are we looking for renown?
          If Jesus himself did not want credit, why should we feel dissatisfied if something we do – or we rightly avoid doing – goes unnoticed.
          It’s an act of faith or confiding in God. One-on-one.

[__04__]     The miracle event or encounter in the Gospel is not a reminder of the other people whom God helps, but that He helps all of us.
          Just to return to this Old-Timers’ Day.  
          This “old-timers’s event “ may remind us of those who are advanced in age.  But, spiritually, we are not separated chronologically.  We also not separated by statistics or successes or sorrows, but united by a shared history. 
          Consider: Paul wrote to Galatians ….. there is neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28)
          Similarly, we are not divided as OLD – versus – YOUNG. To our Lord and Savior, all of us are OLD for already knows every hair on our heads, and all of us are YOUNG and growing and need of his help, to hear and to speak.
          Our Lady of Lourdes, Pray for Us.     [__fin__]

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