Fr. Fedor's Homily Notes

24th Sunday of the Year – September 13, 2020

Sirach 27: 30 – 28:77 – Romans 14: 7-9 – Matthew 18: 21-35

 

Like many of you, I suspect, I have been troubled over the years with coming to a good understanding of forgiveness. It is easy to identify with Peter in the Gospel passage we heard as he raises the question of how often we must forgive. Imagine having our own dialogue with God about that neighbor who is a real pest, or a spouse who drives us up a wall, or a boss who just will not let up, or that kid, whether our own or a neighbor’s, who tries one’s patience to the limit. How often do I have to forgive? There must be a limit. The response: there is no limit. This is to be the case whether or not the person is contrite and asks for forgiveness. The attitude that we must have is not to be revenge in some form, but forgiveness.

 

In God’s speaking to us through the Scripture, we are give three reasons for such an attitude to be considered.

 

In the Gospel parable that Jesus tells, the reason we are to forgive others comes from our recognition that we all need forgiveness. The failure of the first servant mentioned is that he refused to extend the same forgiveness he had received. Both of the servants had failed to repay what they owed. But the one forgiven was unwilling to show this same attitude toward his fellow servant who owed him a debt. Each of us is to recognize that we are to forgive because we ourselves often are in need of forgives from God and from others.

 

The wise man Sirach offers a second reason for forgiveness. Does one harbor anger against another but expect healing from God? We are to forgive others because the Lord is constantly willing to forgive us. God’s mercy and love for us is unquestioned and unlimited. As followers of Jesus Christ, we profess to make his life our own. If this is genuine on our part, then we must show this forgiveness in our lives. Jesus taught us to pray, and we say so often: Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.

 

From Saint Paul we receive a third reason for the attitude of forgiveness. None of us is master of our own life. The Lord is. Each of us is equal before God, equal in our need for God’s mercy and forgiveness. We are all servants of the Lord. We are all to appear before God to render an account of our lives. None of us is in the position to judge or condemn another. All of us are to forgive as we trust we will be forgiven.

 

Clearly, then, fogginess is to be present and is to be limitless for us as followers of Christ.

 

The insight into forgiveness that I gained during the past year is that the first step to forgiveness is not to allow ourselves to be controlled by whatever may have happened to us. We may not be able to forget a hurt or a slight or whatever another may have done. But we can begin to forgive if we do not allow whatever it might happen to be to affect and to control how we choose to live and to act, even toward that particular individual.

 

In calling us to forgive in this way, Jesus calls on us to reflect genuinely and completely the mercy, the loving-kindness, the forgiveness of our good and gracious God.

Fr. Fedor's Homily Notes

Twenty-Third Sunday of the Year – September 6, 2020

Ezechiel 33: 7-9 – Romans 13: 8-10 – Matthew 18: 15-20

 

Over the past months during which we have been struggling with the coronavirus, we have often heard from various sources that “we are in this together.” We may have thought that this encouragement was politically or governmentally or commercially based in some fashion. The reality is, however, that this way of thinking has its roots in Christian tradition or, better, in Judeo-Christian tradition. God’s communication with us, in the words of Scripture we heard today, brings this out.

 

Ezechiel, the Old Testament prophet, was told to be a watchman over others. He was to speak out and correct others or he would fail in his responsibility. Saint Paul summarizes all of the admonitions he had just give on about how to be a follower of Christ with the counsel to love our neighbor, to respect all and everyone who is a part of our lives.

 

Recognizing that we are in this “together,” in life itself “together”is central to the Gospel message we heard today, and central to being followers of Christ. It is what is essential to denial of self and embracing the cross. Why is this so? It is the fundamental way that we show our understanding that we live in a relationship with God and not as individuals alone, one-on-one. It is a relationship as a people, as a community of believers. We rely on one another. We are, as we profess in the Apostles’ Creed, a “Communion of Saints” – persons striving together for holiness. This is how we are to understanding the revelation of God’s love for us as well as understanding how best we are to live out the effect of that love.

 

When we fail to live out this relationship, this commitment of our Faith, it is in the dynamic of the community of believers, the Church, that healing and reconciliation take place. If such a relationship cannot be achieved with one another, then it cannot be expected that it will truly happen with God.

 

In many ways this may seem to go against that so-called “individualism” we often cherish. But if we truly understand how our God, our loving Creator and Source of life, is revealed and is to be known and loved, or how a true relationship with God, with all of the benefits it has for us, is to be experienced, we will realize that it is in the context of others, of the community of believers that we are. We come to know and appreciate God, not alone, but with others. It takes others, gathered together, living and expressing Faith, to make the full depth and full richness of God known to us. No one of us reveals the totality of the love of our God. Thus, in this body of believers that we are, this Church that we are, that we have the opportunity to experience our God.

 

In and through the community of believers, the Church, the presence and the love of our God is revealed to us. In and through the community of believers, the Church, we encounter, we are touched, we are nourished by our God. In and through the community of believers, the Church, with its strengths and with its weaknesses, in our common human condition as well as our Faith, that God is known.

 

As Church we are to be the ideal of how the world as a whole is to live. As a community of believers we are to be an example to one another and to the world. It is as the community of Faith-filled persons, joined together, and united as one, as we so often pray, that we reveal to the world a truly good and gracious God.

Fr. Fedor's Homily Notes

Twenty-Second Sunday of the Year -August 30, 2020

Jeremiah 20: 7-9 – Romans 12: 1-2 – Matthew 6: 21-27

 

We have to give credit to the writers of the Gospels that they do not hesitate to remind us that we share with the Apostles Jesus chose the fact of being genuine human beings, with all the faults and failings that may be involved.. Today St. Matthew presents us with the example of St. Peter. Simon Peter had just declared Jesus to be the Christ, the Son of the Living God. Immediately afterward, he is rebuked for the reaction he made to Jesus when it is described what would be involved. Peter is reminded that he is responding in a typically human fashion rather than in accord with God’s will and saving plan. Jesus then tells the Apostles, and us, that in order to follow him, we must deny ourselves and take up the cross. These are familiar phrases. We have heard them often. Perhaps, however, they are too familiar and too easily simplified. How can we grow in our understanding of them?

 

To “deny ourselves” is not simply the idea of giving something up of whatever sort. To deny ourselves is to experience a complete sense of conversion. It means doing away, as best we can, with typically human ways of acting. To deny ourselves entails, as Jesus states, changing ourselves rather than thinking we can change God to fit our own purposes. In essence, it includes recognizing our own nothingness before God and abandoning our selfish and self-serving desires.

 

To “take up the cross” is often simplified when we think of it in terms of certain realities of life such as illness, injuries, our lot in life, as “crosse” we need to bear. Taking up the cross, rather, ought to be understood as “embracing the cross” and joining in the saving action of Christ. On the cross is seen the totality of God’s love for all of humanity and all of creation. It is that same love that is to be evident in our lives. The experience of God will be through us when we are united with the total self-giving on the cross.

 

What, then, does it mean fully to “follow” Christ? It involves, more than anything else, bringing the presence of Christ into every aspect of our lives. To follow Christ is to identify completely with Christ’s thinking and actions that reveal the Father, God. All of this demands a risk on our part. Thus we have also presented to us today the example of Jeremiah the prophet. He was being called upon to act in a way that was almost completely opposite of what he wanted. The cost of discipleship is so great that it even demands the giving up of life. This is not necessarily meant in a literal sense of physically dying for Christ although, as we know and have heard, in parts of the world even today this is true. Giving up our lives,, giving up the way we might want to live, does mean letting go of self-satisfying demands and judgements. If I am sincere in reflecting Christ in the midst of people, the decisions I make, the actions I perform, the words I speak, the attitude I show are all directed at making our loving God to be known, as was the whole direction of the ministry of Jesus Christ. It is in doing this that we incorporate in ourselves St. Pail’s admonitions: do not conform to the world, but conform to Christ; do not be afraid to bee transformed, to be changed, to be different; recognized what has genuine value and importance rather than what is superficial and transitory.

 

To deny ourselves, to take up the cross, to follow in ministry of Jesus, is what will reveal to ourselves and to our world the reality and the effect in us of our relationship with our good and gracious God.

Fr. Fedor's Homily Notes

Twenty-First Sunday of the Year – August 23 , 2020

Isaiah 22: 19-23 – Romans 11: 33-36 – Matthew 16: 13-20

Like a burst of sudden inspiration, in the midst of lamenting the rejection of Jesus by his own Jewish people, Paul realized this gave him the opportunity to proclaim the Gospel to the Gentiles. Paul thus exclaims:

 

How deep are the riches, the wisdom, the knowledge of God!
How beyond our comprehension is God’s love!
How beyond our limited human vision is God’s care for us!
How beyond understanding are the majesty and mystery of God’s creation!

 

Despite whatever we might be experiencing now, all of creation calls us to grow in our love and appreciation of God.

 

How might these powerful thoughts of Saint Paul, however, fit in with the other passages from Scripture that we have heard today? How do the act of faith and the conferral of authority to Peter, as well as the parallel account from the Old Testament about the passing of authority from one individual to another, relate to Paul’s exclamation?

 

I would suggest that they call on us to consider that the riches, wisdom of God can be found in what we are as Church, as a body of believers. In many respects the very experience of these last few months has made this clear to me. The was true in the absence of the public celebration of Mass as well as in when were able to resume this public celebration of the Eucharist. It is evident to me in the attendance of those of you who have been present as well as in missing those who are still reluctant to join us for any number of reason. It has led me to a greater appreciation of the intimacy of a relationship God seeks with us as a people who share God’s presence in Word, in Sacrament and in one another.

 

In the dialog between Jesus and his apostles, Jesus seeks to know if they recognize who he is. Peter, as we heard, speaks up and declares clearly the faith that is theirs. Jesus responds with his own declaration that we understand as establishing the body, the physical reality, of the Church. He empowers this body of believers to act on his behalf in forgiveness and reconciliation, and so carry on his ministry to the world.

 

In the account we also heard from Isaiah, the prophet, we are reminded of the importance of keys, the symbol used by Christ in replying to Peter. Keys empower Peter and enable those joined with Peter and the Apostles as Church to provide access to our loving God and access to all that the relationship with God involves. In the Word that we share God speaks to us. In the Sacraments we celebrate, God’s presence is experienced in a very real and substantial way in the various aspects of our lives. In assembling with one another, we are one with Christ who promised to be present where tow or three are gathered in his name.

 

This is what we are as this people, as this Body that is the Church. Having been, and still being reminded of this gift to us and its value for us, we, too, can exclaim: how deep are the riches, the wisdom and the knowledge of our good and gracious God!

Fr. Fedor's Homily Notes

Twentieth Sunday of the Year – August 16, 2020

Isaiah 56: 1,6-7 – Romans 11: 13-15 – Matthew 15: 21-28

 

For the most part, I suspect, many of us do not like things that are different or strange or foreign. We prefer to stay with what is safe and comfortable, to stay in our own cocoons. Thus, the incident that was recorded in the gospel of Saint Matthew, that was read today may have been strange to those who heard it. The tradition is that St. Matthew addressed his gospel account to those who were of Jewish background. What Matthew wrote has an element of an understanding that could be identified with the words of Isaiah which we also heard. Isaiah recognized that there would be others, not of the Covenant tradition, who would acknowledge the God of the Covenant and were to be accepted.

 

In this account, however, we can easily understand the reaction of the Apostles, and of Jesus. The Apostles wanted to send this annoying and foreign woman away. Jesus, initially points out that his ministry was directed to the Chosen People of that Covenant with God. It is just because of those reaction, I believe, that Matthew included this incident. It not only called upon his listeners to open up their hearts and minds, it also calls upon us, who hear it today, to open up, as well, our minds, our hearts, our own way of thinking.

 

In a rather humorous manner, this foreign woman persists in her request. What this points out is that more must be considered than the superficial elements of her difference, her being foreign. The initial reaction of Jesus is overcome by the faith and the trust that she placed in Jesus and what he would be able to do for her. It was not what the woman was on the surface that was important, but who she was in her belief and her confidence in Jesus.

 

How we can experience the revelation of God’s presence and action in our lives can often be found in unusual and unexpected circumstances. It can be found even in what might be considered different, uncomfortable, or even foreign. It is not just a matter of what we might hear or what we might say. It is how we respond that is significant. It is not just taking the love and presence of God for granted in situations or circumstances that are familiar and comfortable. It is how we react to what is challenging or difficult that is important.

 

As I mentioned earlier, Isaiah proclaimed that foreigners, those who did not benefit like the chosen People, can be a source who teach, a source by which we can learn how to know the goodness of God. Paul, too, recognized what he had gained in his life. Although he was saddened by the rejection of Jesus by his own people of the Jewish tradition, he realized that it opened the door for him to preach the Good News, the Gospel, to the non-Jews, the Gentiles he was addressing.

 

Every day and each day, every one of us, no matters our age or experience today, is offered the opportunity, some of which may not be comfortable or familiar, to experience the active and loving presence of our God. Rather than lament what was and is no longer, or what could have been, rather than viewing in a negative way what might be difficult or foreign, we need to realize the challenge, the opportunity that each day, each experience, each person, offers to us. In what might seem to be a simple incident in the day of the life of Jesus, that Saint Matthew deemed important enough to include in what he wrote, we are called to explore every opportunity to experience, to know and to appreciate the richness and wonder of our good and gracious God.

Fr. Fedor's Homily Notes

Nineteenth Sunday of the Year – August 9, 2020

1 Kings 19: 9a, , 111-13 – Romans 9: 1-5 – Matthew 14: 22-33

 

There are times when what we hear from the Scriptures, God’s communication with us as a part of our celebration of the Mass, require us to dig a little deeper to appreciate the message. Then there are times when the message is quite evident. Today is one of those latter instances.

 

In the story that we heard today from the Book of Kings of the Old Testament, Elijah encounters the Lord, but not in ways that might be expected. The Lord is not in a strong and fearful wind. The Lord is not in an earthquake. The Lord is not in fire. It is in a gentle wind that the Lord is experienced. The Lord’s presence is portrayed as a cooling breeze on a hot day, a refreshing and reviving presence.

 

In the gospel account, Saint Matthew portrays a similar image, but it starts with a stormy wind. As we heard, the Apostles are out in a boat when the wind starts to toss them about causing them to be gripped with fear. In the midst of all of this, the Lord appear. He is a calming vision in the midst of the storm.

 

Both images are rather obvious and are also especially pertinent right now. Certainly in all of our lives little would be more disturbing or disrupting than the experience of these last few months and the world-wide pandemic. While we might focus on our own particular situation and how we are each affected, the experience has clearly touched every part of the world in some way. At the same time we can also look at other aspects of our lives that make it seem as if a tempest or a storm is striking us. Our lives can feel like they are filled with the earthquakes of upsetting and tragic events. There can be the fires of strong and disheartening conflicts, or the stormy winds of illness, suffering and injustice. We can feel ourselves tossed about aimlessly in the ship of life.

 

In the midst of all of this, the Lord comes to us as a calming presence. Frequently, like the Apostles, we do not recognize the Lord, thinking the Lord to be a phantom or a ghost, an unknown, even adding to our fear. But our Faith tells us that the Lord is with us, even in the midst of a storm. The Lord comes as one who reaches out to us, as one to whom we can reach out in return.

 

In addition to asking the Lord to be with us, there is another question that can arise. As believers, as practitioners of our Faith in the God and in Jesus Christ, the encounter with God which has been described today is to be an experience that others find in us. The softness of the breeze, the calming of the storm, are to be guides to us in how we choose to live our lives. But, indeed, this can be even more of a challenge to us. It is a challenge to show forth the peace, the loving-kindness, the mercy, the forgiveness that the Scriptures portrays to us. It is a challenge to recognize that this is not only what we can experience in our own relationship with God, but also what we are to reflect to others in our lives if we sincerely seek to live out the Gospel message of Jesus Christ.

 

So it is that we can ask ourselves: Do others – family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, store clerks and so may others – all of whom we encounter from day to day, encounter in us, the good and gracious God?

Fr. Fedor's Homily Notes

Seventeenth Sunday of the Year – July 26, 2020

1 Kings 3: 5, 7-12 – Romans 8: 28-30 – Matthew 13: 44-46

 

I do not know how, in the time to come, in the years to come, we will look back on this year, these last few months, that we have been going through. I do not know what story will be told to those who did not experience them. But, I do know this. I do know that the parables and examples Jesus uses, such as we have heard today, took on a deeper and richer meaning during the two months that public Masses were suspended, and with no obligation to attend since we have started ups again

 

The treasure that we have found and the pearl of great price that is ours have greater meaning not only in the gift of the Eucharist we share, but also in the gift that is the presence of one another here. This has become so much more evident to me and has been an inspiration, a strengthening and reinforcement of my Faith.

 

So, as we have come together today, what have we heard from God through the message of the Scriptures we have heard? Simply stated, it is a response to the invitation God makes to us that is sought. We are invited to choose to make known the great value of the active presence in our lives of the relationship we enjoy with our loving God.

 

The thoughts of Saint Paul that we heard are a starting point. All things, even the most difficult, work for the good of those who love God. We are called upon to recognize God’s purpose, God’s intent, in creation. This is what is offered to us who share the gift of Faith that has been handed down to us in different ways, and in different circumstances.What is God’s intent? To be known, to be acknowledged by us and through us.

 

Coupled with these more theological reflections of Saint Paul is the stunning example given by Solomon. He is assured of God’s love for him. He is given the opportunity to choose what he seeks for himself. Of all the possibilities open to him, benefits for himself that he could have wanted, such as a long life, the defeat of his enemies or untold riches, he desires understanding, a wisdom to judge right and wrong, so that he could carry out what was his role in life: being a fitting ruler of his people. So, too, we all have the chance to choose how best we are to live our own roles in life.

 

We can understand that Jesus is reminding us of much the same idea. The kingdom of God available to us is really an extension of God’s love for us shown in Jesus Christ. But we must respond to this offer. It is our choice. Do we value being part of that abiding presence of God in our lives like a treasure which we might conceal, or a valuable pearl for which we sell everything we might have in order to possess?

 

In some ways these images from ancient Scriptures have taken on a new meaning for me. It is my hope that you can join me in recognizing that this particular time we are experiencing is a true opportunity to express a renewed, a deepened, a strengthened faith in a truly good and gracious God.

Fr. Fedor's Homily Notes

Sixteenth Sunday of the Year – July 19, 2020

Wisdom 12: 13, 16-19 – Romans 8: 26-27 – Matthew 13: 24-30

 

Along with the parish maintenance personnel, I join in appreciation for the encouraging comments made about the appearance of the parish grounds. For myself, I see working on the property as a type of parable in itself. God has given us the beauty of creation. We work with that creation in a way to enhance this little part of it that we have been given. This is a reminder of the idea that we work in union with God to do the best that we can with the possibilities given to beautify he gift of life we have all received.

 

As to the particular parable we heard from Jesus today, I have to admit that my immediate reaction would be to side with the workers who wanted tear out the weeds that had appeared. They wanted to do it immediately. But we ca gain deeper insight into the lesson Jesus is proposing when the thoughts found in the reading from the Book of Wisdom are considered. That message to us is about God’s actions on our behalf.

 

We all realize that in the course of our living weeds appear along the way. We fail, we distance ourselves from God in various ways. Rather than immediately being condemned for such failures, our loving God patiently waits for us to grow and mature. Like wheat that grows to be ready for a bountiful harvest. The weeds will be eliminated, and discarded at that point.

 

So, we know that weeds know that weeds are present in our lives, what can we learn from them? First, that our lives are journeys. We still have work to do to realize the potential that is there if we truly wish to reflect godliness in our lives. Second, the Spirit of God, as St. Paul tells us, is with us. We are not alone in the journey of our lives. We van live in a partnership with our loving God. We can work with the Spirit of God to overcome barriers, to remove obstacle that we so often set up in our relationship with God, with others, and even with ourselves.

 

Weeds represent the continual struggles we have with ourselves. But they also point to the loving mercy of God that is available to us. In a prayer on the most solemn night of the Church’s year, the Easter Vigil, the following words are heard: “O felix culpa,” “O happy fault.” A humble acknowledgment of our failures gained for us a closer enduring relationship with God in the redeeming life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

 

In a particular way this is brought home to us in our Catholic faith in the beauty of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, Confession. The celebration of the Sacrament is a specific opportunity to confront ourselves with our failures and to be reassured by another of the love and mercy of our God. In our lives and in the life of the Church that we are, weeds are present. But, more importantly, we are sacramentally assured in our Faith of the trust we have in the mercy and forgiveness of our good and gracious God.

Fr. Fedor's Homily Notes

Fourteenth Sunday of the Year – July 5, 2020

Zechariah 9: 9-10 – Romans 8: 9, 11-13 – Matthew 11: 25-30

 

One saying of Jesus that is recorded by the Gospel writers that is more powerful than all the others, and that is so needed now as a meditation on our relationship with God, is the one we heard today: “Come to me, all you who labor an are burdened, and I will give you rest.” This is especially so in the midst of what we continue to experience during this year.

 

Although it is the Gospel that we hear these comforting words, similar thought are found in the other passage from Scripture that were read today. In the vision of the prophet, Zechariah, the Lord is describe as one who saves rather than conquer. Our God is with us to bring peace, and doing so meekly and humbly. Saint Paul reminded us that the burden of being human, of living according to the “flesh” has been overcome. It is no longer a burden for us because of our being united with Jesus Christ who was raised from the dead. Further, we have then been empowered by Christ’s handing over the Spirit to us. The Spirit is the abiding presence of God with us. Our faith in Jesus Christ has a direct effect on un and on our living our daily live.

 

Even if we can say in our minds that this is the God in whom we believe, in the midst of the struggles of living with unexpected challenges we often become discourage, disappoint. This is especially the case when we suffer the various results of being human such as illness, weakness, despondency. All the more do we need to listen to these words and find comfort whatever our circumstances. We may have family and friends who are close and on whom we can rely. Or we may feel lonely and abandoned because of loss or death. Nevertheless, what our Lord and God wants us to know is that God, our Creator, above all, loves us. God loves us not only in our goodness because, if this were so, Jesus would not come to redeem mankind. God loves us in our weakness, in our frailty and in our feelings of despair. In Jesus Christ God acted for us out of the love our God has for us. That is our faith.

 

This is also the source of our greatest comfort. More than anything else in this life, whether we admit it or not, we want to know that we are loved. It is this knowledge that allows life to become far less of a burden. The love of God for us is the basic message of Christ and the source of his teaching.

 

If we hear Christ’s call to live in ways that are gentle, meek and humble, nothing will be so imposing, noting will be so over-bearing, that it will hopelessly weigh us down and cause despair.

 

We need to listen to these words over and over again. They are to guide us and to motivate us all in our daily living. These words announce to us the truth of the love of our good and gracious God.

Fr. Fedor's Homily Notes

Thirteenth Sunday of the Year – June 28, 2020

2 Kings 4: 8-11, 14-16a – Acts6: 3-4, 8-11 – Matthew 10: 37-42

 

Last week, the message of God in Scripture was clear: “Fear nothing.” This week, however, seeking that message had me scratching my head in an effort to understand the what was being said.. Jesus, as we heard, makes a rather strong statement, one that is even “strange” as he is speaking to his apostles. He tell them that he is to be more important to them than their own families. Often, in search of that message, it is beneficial to consider the other Scripture passage that accompany the Gospel reading, to discover what insight the may provide.

 

For example, we heard the story about Elisha, the prophet, an his encounters with the a woman of “influence.” Her interest was to have the prophet’s presence in her home to be permanent. He was, in her view, more than another guest of her hospitality. She recognized the holiness that was experienced with this prophet. He was truly representative of the holiness of God. This was the holiness she wanted in her home and in her life.

 

We then heard from the writing of Saint Paul. We are reminded of the close bond that is to exist between Christ and ourselves through baptism. Paul understands that we have been joined with Christ in his death. But we also share in his Resurrection, the restoration of life. What is part of the past is dead. Now we are to live a new, restored life. Baptism, to Paul, is not simply a ritual. It is to be a genuine transformation.

 

As Elisha represents the holiness of God, and as Paul teaches of the basic change that is to take place in us through Baptism, we get a clue, a better insight, into the point that Jesus seeks to make. In receiving Jesus, in accepting him, we accept and receive who has sent him, our God and Father. It is not just a matter of who he is, but who Christ makes present to us. Jesus’ call to us is what the Creator of Life, the One who gave us life intends for us to be and how we are to live. It is not not simply the idea that we are to be nice or kind, but it is essentially how how we have been made to be. We are to live in unity and peace, honoring God and respecting and loving our neighbor.

 

Jesus then takes it a step further. He tells his followers that when others receive them, the receive him as well. The message of Christ in this is that they not only bring themselves, they bring Christ as well. Those who genuinely bring Christ thus reveal the presence of God.

 

A clear understanding of the message of God to us today is that the call made to us is that we are to be aware that a relationship with Christ, with God, is to impact us and be more effectively present in us than even the relationship in a family. Being committed to Christ in our lives gives us a new life, a new dignity, a new respect, a new loving concern that is beyond that which may exist in a family.

 

In the possibly puzzling words that we have heard today, Christ challenges us to live the hope and the potential that the freedom of this new life in him will bring about in each of us: a dramatic reveal our good and gracious God.