Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Rededicate yourself to living the Gospel

The following is an excerpt from a homily given during daily Mass at the Diocesan Pastoral Center with local Serra International group representatives.

By Bishop Gerald Barnes
Diocese of San Bernardino

Do you know the last time you sat down to dinner with some very good friends and people who you respect and admire? It can be a family gathering or a gathering with friends and it’s just nice to be there. Now image all of a sudden you don’t know where it came from, but something comes out of left field that upsets the dinner, the friendship. Can you understand that feeling? Then you understand how those with the Lord at dinner felt.

They didn’t invite him to insult them. They didn’t invite him so that they could be rebuked by him. It was very insulting. I don’t know the last time you were really insulted or rebuked, but it is difficult. But He rebukes and he insults these people.

Today we celebrate the feast of St. Teresa of Avila, who had some pretty harsh things to say in her day to the Church and her Carmelite order. It got her into trouble, but she carried on. She felt that what was critical, basic, and central to the order and in the Church was being lost.

It’s kind of what Pope Francis is saying to us today. We have, in some way, lost some of the central message of the Gospel, which is to actually live it. Live the Gospel. He is reminding us that if we live the Gospel, it will be disturbing to others. We are not to just talk about it, take sides, be involved in polemics, and casting judgments, but actually living the Gospel.

This is something that some of us have lost. We have become too comfortable. We make all kinds of excuses. It is always somebody else’s problem, or my age, or my physical condition, or a loss of this or that. We have excuses and have lost the centrality of who we are.

We are reminded today in the fruits of the spirit in the first reading today. We are asked today to really look at what our life is all about. Are we truly on fire with the Gospel? Are we truly living that message in our lives today?

Serra International representatives
We have been blessed with the presence of the Serrans today. The Serrans are an outstanding organization of lay people that work internationally to promote vocations to the priesthood. It is a very good and necessary work for the Church. But sometimes even the Serrans lose their zeal. Sometimes Serrans become complacent and put other things first. They are as human as everyone else. Today they make a statement by their presence here. Their statement or action is to come to identify themselves with the purpose of their association. ‘This is why we joined. We recommit ourselves today by being present in this liturgy.’

In the scriptures today, there is a message for everybody. So we come back to the Lord, thanking him for waking us up again. He is asking us, in his way and through his hard words, to rededicate ourselves to the mission of the Church: the proclamation of the Gospel of Joy.