This is my homily for the NINTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME - June 1, 2008 (the readings for the day can be found at http://www.usccb.org/nab/readings/060108.shtml) -posting this a little early since tomorrow is going to be a jam packed day! Hope all of you are doing well. Thanks for stopping by to read and for all your feedback - they’re much appreciated! Fr Jim
There doesn’t seem to be a day that goes by where a new diet plan isn’t touted as the next great thing for those trying to shed a few pounds. If you go online, go to Google and type in “Diet” you will get 219,000,000 results in .17 seconds (seriously). Like so many things in our world - diets which are good and important things for us to think about for our health and well being - well it’s become an industry and a pretty lucrative one at that.
At some point, celebrities decided to get into the act. There’s a website dedicated just to that alone - they list at least 20 celebrities from Madonna, Jessica Simpson, Anjelina Jolie to Usher, Tom Cruise, and Brad Pitt.
Back in 2005, Dr. Phil McGraw who became famous by being a regular guest on The Oprah Winfrey show peddled his own weight loss plan billed “The Ultimate Weight Loss Solution - 7 Keys to Weight Loss Freedom.”
Now I don’t pay much attention to Dr Phil (or Oprah for that matter) and not to be terribly judgmental - but it seems that Dr. Phil seems to be a pretty big guy, he does not seem to be the “picture of weight loss.” Dr Phil might have a lot of good advice, he might have consulted some excellent individuals who engineered “the ultimate” plan, he might know a great deal about diets – but for me, there seems to be in my mind almost instantly that’s skeptical, that has doubt that I should be getting weight loss/diet advice from a guy who seems bigger than me.
This isn’t to bash Dr. Phil or anyone who peddles diet advice. It’s more about that we expect someone who says they’re knowledgeable about a topic to have some connection to that topic in their own lives. If we were to find people - a teacher who isn’t able to read - a mechanic who’s car never seems to work - a fashion designer who looks like a slob, despite all their other qualifications or credentials, it’s doubtful we would want our kids to be in that teacher’s class, have our cars fixed by that mechanic or take style advice from the slob of the runway.
In a sense, today’s readings ask us a similar question - how authentic are we at living this life? Jesus is pretty to the point - Not everyone who says Lord Lord will enter the kingdom. Just because we know who Jesus is - Just because we’ve heard the stories, we’ve gone to the classes - Just because we can identify who Jesus is - it’s not enough. Do we act like we know who Jesus is - do we live as people who follow Jesus (or at least try to follow).
That’s what Moses was trying to get his people to understand - they had to make a choice - and it was an important choice - he was pleading with them- take these words into your heart and soul - Choosing to live according to God’s commandments, commands that are meant for our happiness - brings a blessing; Choosing not to, rejecting that, deciding we could go it alone on our own way, we’ve cursed ourselves.
That’s not to say we do it perfectly - but we try. We get up, we make the effort, we realize that we are different because of Jesus Christ - St. Paul is telling us that it’s God who Saves us - salvation is God’s lavishly generous gift to us - but do we live it? Do we live as people who are saved or don’t we?
Dr. Phil would probably be a very successful dietician - weight loss expert if his plan was better illustrated in his own life. (Fortunately, he has many other lucrative enterprises).
For you and I, our faith lives are even more important than our body types - and the readings today make clear that the Faith we live, not the faith we talk about will be our means to salvation. May you and I find that in giving and receiving forgiveness - in sharing God’s love and experiencing it through one another the depth and integrity we need to truly call out “Lord, Lord”