A homily for the 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time
I can clearly remember a time when the highlight of my summer was a trip to Canobie Lake Park. I only got to go once a year, and I thought about it often, it got me though the last weeks of the school year. In days just before the trip, I could barely think of anything else. And as we rounded the corner and the old wooden roller coaster came into view, I was in Heaven!
There are a few phrases that have stuck with me like gum on a shoe from my early childhood. When I was in the 4th grade, I would often look at the clock because I wanted the class to end. I was a very active child, and school did not fit into my idea of fun. So I would look at the clock, counting the seconds till class ended. I would do this repeatedly and thus not pay any attention to what was being taught.
Our Catholic faith is understood through two major building blocks: Scripture and Tradition. When Christ established the Church, He gave us these beautiful gifts so that we might grow ever closer to God and spread the Gospel to the whole world. He also gave us an additional gift that is a stark reminder of the fact that the Church is both living and trustworthy: apostolic succession.
July is the Month of the Precious Blood. During this month, we remember our special devotion to the Most Precious Blood of Jesus poured out for us on the cross. The Blood of Christ is the price of our salvation; no other sacrifice could win for us atonement for our sins and eternal life. Having a devotion to the Precious Blood reminds us of our total dependence on God’s mercy and calls us to humble personal atonement.
Martyrdom has been a reality for Christians since the very beginnings of the Church. For two millennia, with varying levels of intensity depending on the time period, large numbers of Christians have shed blood in witness of the faith. We honor these individuals as martyrs and saints.
Many years ago, I used to play pickup basketball with a group of people I had met over the years. We would get together every Friday during lunch break and play at a local YMCA. The players were of all different talent levels, different ages, and from various backgrounds. I always looked forward to playing not only for the game, but also because of the relationships I had formed with the other players.