HOMILY FOR THURSDAY 29TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR A)
THEME: Difficult Choices
By; Deacon Bill Frere
Gospel – Luke 12:49-53
Altar of Crucifixion, Church of Holy Sepulchre
There was a little girl named Liz who was suffering from a rare and serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness.
The doctor explained the situation to her little brother and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister. I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, “Yes, I’ll do it if it will save her.” As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing the color returning to her cheek. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded.
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He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, “Will I start to die right away?” Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood in order to save her. And he was willing to do that for her.
Ever made a decision that brought you nothing but grief and pain? A decision that put you at odds with your family and friends, even though you knew it was the right one to make? Choosing to enter/leave religious life or getting married or taking that job out of state? It brought you only silence or anger from your family! Tough decisions, ones that you labored over and, in the end, knew they were the correct path to make even though it might bring anger and divisiveness to others.
Today’s Gospel is a tough one to read, much less understand. We think back on all the times Jesus tells His disciples – Peace Be With You! And yet today is the complete opposite! I bring division and fire, pitting one family member against another!
We have all been baptized into the family of God, into a community of love and fellowship. But we live in a world that seems to value something completely different: selfishness, greed, envy, hatred, and the list goes on and on. Is it any wonder then that we will meet resistance, push-back and outright division as we seek to practice and live out our Christian faith.
Nobody said it would be easy; nobody said following Christ would be a walk in the park. But we are reminded, especially in today’s first reading, the reward is eternal life. It all becomes quite clear when you visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. The Cross is not that far from the empty tomb. You can’t have one without the other!
Great Spirit, give me the courage today to see that struggle and conflict are present to teach me lessons that are a gift from You!
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