Isaiah 53:10-11 / Hebrews 4:14-16 / Mark 10:35-45
I’m going to start out this homily by
breaking one of the 10 commandments.
I think the Lord will understand.
I’m going to start out by
breaking the 7th commandment:
Thou shalt not steal.
At our student Mass,
this past Thursday evening. . .
I asked Deacon Ben Horn—
will be ordained a priest in May. . .
to give the homily.
He went to school here at UK. . .
he’s a huge Kentucky fan. . .
and he really connects with the students. . .
So I’m stealing this from him.
Still with the excitement of UK
football fans storming the field against LSU—
something even yesterday’s outcome can’t spoil. . .
Ben tells the story when he
was in school here. . .
and stormed the field for the first time.
It was 2010. . .
He had come to the Saturday night Vigil Mass. . .
and there was baptism after.
Then Ben stepped out of the church. . .
and listened if he could hear any excitement
over at Commonwealth Stadium.
“The night was silent!!!”,
It was Kentucky football after all. . .
It was a top ten opponent South Carolina. . .
It was Coach Steve Spurrier. . .
the perennial coaching menace of Kentucky football.
He turned his cell phone on to check the score.
He figured it would be bad. . .
and it was.
Kentucky down 18 at halftime.
He went to the stadium anyway.
And to everyone’s surprise
the second half. . .
was all Kentucky!!!
The Kentucky defense held
South Carolina scoreless in the second half. . .
and for most of the fourth quarter. . .
we were within a touchdown.
And then there was that play. . .
This is how Ben described it:
“I can go back and play it over and over. . .
Mike Hartline to Randal Cobb. . .
That ball hung in the still Kentucky air. . .
No one dared to breathe. . .
Right to the corner of the end zone.
Kentucky was in the lead.
But it wasn’t over. . .
There was still 75 seconds left. . .
And if you have followed Kentucky football. . .
you knew that there’d be a way
we would blow it!!!
Kentucky football. . .
top ten opponent. . .
Ben said that those 75 seconds
were the most stressful
5 minutes of his life.
But when the clock struck ZERO. . .
Kentucky had won. . .
“There was no stopping us,” he said
“We rushed the field!!!”
Ben said the party on the field was incredible . . .
And then he made
the all-important turn. . .
he made this story about Jesus.
as wonderful as the party was on the field. . .
can you imagine how incredible
the party was in the locker room. . .
with the coaches and the team.
And that’s where Jesus wants us. . .
in the locker room. . .
as part of the team. . .
not sitting high in section 236. . .
not storming the field because of what the team has done. . .
but on the team.
To me it this football story
also provided the key to this week’s Gospel.
James and John think following Jesus
is about sitting at his
right and his left in glory.
But Jesus tells them. . .
they’ve got it all wrong. . .
Whoever wishes to be great in the eyes of God. . .
Will be a servant. . .
whoever wishes to be first among you. . .
will be the slave of all.
a slave to all.
That means on the team. . .
Not observing. . .
but participating in battle. . .
Christianity is not just a believing religion. . .
It’s a doing religion.
Can I give a little practical advice about all of this. . .
about the doing of Christianity.
The first step is prayer.
Persistent and prolonged prayer. . .
intimate prayer with Jesus.
Without persistent and prolonged prayer. . .
Without allowing God to lead. . .
We’ll probably end up somehow
making it about us.
Without intimate prayer. . .
We can become discouraged!!!
To be a servant. .
to be a slave of all. . .
we need lots of grace.
And it’s with deep, deep prayer
that our hearts are transformed into
the compassionate hearts of Jesus.
Prayer. . .Prayer.
A second piece of practical advice. . .
start local. . .
start with those whom God
has put into our orbits!!!
People would ask Mother Teresa
what they could do to help. . .
and she would say. . .
start with your family. . .
start with your co-workers. . .
start with your community.
You know it’s easier to write a check
to “Save the Children”
than to be kind to the person
who drives you crazy at work
Start local. . .
Forgive someone. . .
let go of a resentment. . .
reach out. . .
Yesterday we had a group of parishioners
involved in our Newman Serves program. . .
prepare food for the Catholic Action Center.
You know we had a parishioner. . .
Lynn English who just donated her kidney to someone. . .
The opportunities are endless.
Pray. . . Pray. . .
and start local.
You know sometimes. . .
when we look around at the world. . .
we may feel we’re going up against
a top ten team with a menacing coach. . .
it looks like we’re losing. . .
This past Tuesday night. . .
I invited a classmate of mine
to give a talk at one of our student events. . .
he’s the exorcist for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.
The priest who mentored him in Rome
would remind the Devil that he was a loser.
“You are a loser,” he would pronounce to Satan.
“Even you know the outcome”. . .
“Jesus defeated you in the desert”. . .
“He cast you out when He was on earth”. . .
“You tried to do battle with Him on the Cross. . .
and you lost”. . .
“And in His name I cast you out now. . .
You are a loser.”
So we are in a battle. . .
But we already know the outcome. . .
Toward the end of Deacon Ben’s homily, he said this
“We have been given an incredible gift. . .
The gift of Jesus and being on His team.”
He’s right, isn’t he.
We’re on his team. . .
To carry participate in His work. . .
of being a servant. . .
of being a slave to all.
And then he ended
with a quote from Cardinal Newman:
God knows me. . .
and calls me by name. . .
God has created me to do some definite service. . .
He has committed some work to me
which He has not committed to another. . .
I have my mission. . .
I have my mission.
You know when the game is over. . .
when the world’s clock strikes ZERO. . .
there will be something much more joyful
than storming the field as a fan. . .
It will be the party in the locker room. . .
As part of the team.
Holy Spirit 10/16-17/2021