14th Sunday Ordinary Time – Homily (Fr. Gribowich)

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Transcript: (apologies for audio issues)

Good morning, everyone! It’s so such a great blessing to be back here physically in the church. I know it’s still kind of awkward – I have to just be looking in one direction it seems like at this mass, as this side has been quarantined off, except for Monsignor – so thank you for holding the fort down on that side of the church.

And as well a very warm welcome to all the brothers and sisters at St. Augustine, St. Francis Xavier, anyone else you may be zooming in to this Mass. So as you know, we’re going to be doing this hybrid type of model for some time where we are able to gather in person, but we’ll be continuing to be able to Zoom the Mass as well. So once you are feeling comfortable to return, you can return, but until that time, you can also just be able to continue to zoom into the Mass.

You know, this is the Fourth of July weekend and I hope that everyone is able to in some way rest, and our Lord today in the gospel is out finding rest. My question really is, what does it mean to rest in the Lord? It’s an expression that sometimes often said by spiritually minded people saying you need to rest clearly that’s what Jesus asked us to do come to me and rest in my presence. Now it’s interesting because, right now during this time we have been able to somehow slow down – we asked people to stay home than that we would even like. The question really remains, have we been able to find rest during this time? We’ve been able to enter into a place of respite in the Lord.

It was right after World War 2 that a German philosopher, Josef Piepe, wrote a really small book – you can see how thin it is  – called “Leisure, the Basis of Culture”, and he makes a very strong argument saying that we don’t understand the value of leisure, we only understand how valuable we are as a people. And I realize now this is a strange thing coming from a philosopher right after World War 2, where there were lots of things happening to try to rebuild the broken world. We all know that after wartime there was a great economic boom – the United States especially, there is a great pride and value placed on work and hard work. And yet Piepe completely takes a totally different angle, saying it’s not really work where you find your meaning –  it’s in leisure. And what’s he trying to get at? Well, the thrust of his argument was that only when were able to be in a time of receptivity, where we able to know what we asked, where to direct our attention, to know what we’re called to do.

Now this is very hard for us sometimes to think about, because especially during this time when we’re into our computers and filing email after email,  website after website, and phone call and phone call, zoom call after zoom call,  I presume keep on going and going, and that you’re never even able to process or to determine what really need to bring my attention to. Everything seems to almost be automatically mapped out for us, because we just keep on going, and going, and going. And we’ve heard a lot of us have been at home working more than ever before.

But yet, the Lord in the Gospel today – and this is what people are also affirming today – at the end of the day, our work does not really amount to much. At the end of the day, all will leave this world. Some of our work may be remembered by people. Much of it will be forgotten. Our legacy is something that has a big question mark.

And when we think about things in that way, we automatically just stopped in our tracks thinking what it really am I doing? What am I really living for? Because, see, living in the Lord is a way for us to be thankful for the gift of life in the first place. Resting in the Lord is to be able to contemplate the vocation that the Lord has for us, that he calls us to be in this world and calls us to prepare ourselves and also to prepare those around us for how we are going to spend eternity.

We all know that this world will pass away. We all know that our roles will pass away. The only question we have to ask is ourselves is how can we allow ourselves to rest, so that know how to receive God’s blessings, so that we know to be more mindful of what we lack around us and draw our attention to those things.

This is a very bittersweet 4th of July. I mean, it’s not just celebrating the great birth of our country and certain freedoms that we’re grateful to receive.  I know there’s great societal unrest, and you just can’t pretend everything’s great because this is the Fourth of July and there’s fireworks. We all know that tomorrow, there’s going to be more unrest, probably. There will be people still upset – lots of things from our past, from our history, and we see things that are being corrupted. We see all these individual people, who in some way shape or form are glorified with statutes. Perhaps we should ask ourselves the question, how do we trust in the Lord? … For these different figures, the only thing that matters is what they were called to do and how do they respond.

Life is about participation, not orchestration… in the Body and how we respond and present to them because they were resting in the Lord’s presence around. It’s the people and it’s those moments that they live – they can be examples for us.  On the other side, those people who have used their time and need a circus to happen, has led to great, great unrest, because it’s through that orchestration that people feel as if only certain people move ahead – whether it’s economic decisions were made, political decisions were made.  All these things are ways that people are trying to get ahead to push some agenda. Orchestration is what leads us into untrustworthy behavior. Let’s rejoice in the fact that we can walk together in this journey of life, as we are able to physically see each other. Be grateful for the gift of life.

As we  come back together on this Fourth of July weekend, let us be mindful of how much our great people are able to allow us to rest in the Lord. We also come here as sinners, knowing that none of us are perfect. All of us share some type of wound or brokenness. And we come here to this table, recognizing the fact that we need to rest more. We need to enjoy the Sabbath more – not as a time to just switch off from work, but for us to be able to reflect upon we  we are and what we’re doing, so that when Monday shows up, we will be able to better understand how do I direct my attention to what the Lord is calling me to do. And that’s how we’re able to rest in the Lord, not just on this day, but throughout the week because we understand our role as participants in this great body of Christ that we all make. Let us rejoice especially in the fact that we are able to affirm our identity in the Body by receiving Christ at Mass.

May God bless you all.