Ash Wed 2013 Homily
Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to break open the Scriptures today with you and to reflect for a few moments on the meaning, depth and grace full ness of this amazing season.
I must admit I absolutely love the imagery of the opening prayer of our liturgy today:
Gracious and loving God, we ask that in this season of Lent, you would lift us up to discover the holinesss that lies deep within each and every person. With a gentle breath, blow from our lives the dust of sin and remind us once again that we are your people!
You see my friends, the older I get, and I admit the years seem to be flying by…the more and more I am convinced that deep with in each and every person, is the reality of our fundamental goodness, of our holiness, of the fact that we are Children of God.
I used to have a Spiritual Director that would say: I am God’s favorite child!
Let me share one story that I think illustrates this reality and their are many stories:
I minister in an institution which most of us know, but few ever will have the opportunity to visit or even imagine.
In the Chapel, with 55 guys, who have raped, pillaged, murdered, killed, maimed, and every other unthinkable act known to the human race, is one Officer, who was standing guard over a service. He collapsed in a medical emergency, these guys, ran to him, at their own risk, took his radio and called for assistance.
These are not the kind of folks one would expect to come to the aid of another, but human tragedy often triggers our most holy responses.
Sandy Hook, the shootings at the Mall, the Theater, in Oakdale….nearly every place that tragedy is encountered, we find the very best of our holiness coming to the surface.
What that tells me, is that truly deep down, deep within we are holy, we are good. So where does our sin come from?
From our past I believe! From almost the beginning of our earthly life, we begin the process of wounding and healing….and when we live out of our woundedness we fall short of our holiness.
Our past carries us into our future, but only if we let it!
This season of Grace, is a season to re discover the fundamental goodness that lies within us all. To stop, before we react, before we say or do anything and simply ask ourselves the question….is this the loving thing to do or say?
You see my friends….our holiness comes from being who we are,
our sin comes from being how we are!
Fear, resentment, scars, wounds, lack of trust, selfishness, envy, every sin that I can imagine, comes not from who we are, but from how our past leads us to believe and behave.
This season my hope and my prayer is simply this:
Let us Fast…..from negativity…from judgementalism, from living out of our woundedness.
Let us Fast….from our hurt, pain, and resentments……
And live into our holiness….live into being who we are….not how we are…..
In this season of Grace let us focus on fostering our holiness and fast from our sinfulness.
It will be an amazing Easter….when we end up a more loving, more patient, more kind, generous and holy people….because then our Alleluia will carry meaning even beyond our words.