Hi everyone - for those who listened to the Catholic Guy Show on Friday - as it turned out, in a bit of a fluke, I actually wasn't assigned to celebrate Mass at any of the parishes where I usually help out on the weekends (it's a fluke since there are weekends I have 4 Masses but for some reason, this weekend, I had none) In any event, I know that I had shared some thoughts on Friday's show about possible homily ideas for this weekends readings, but praying with them today and at Mass tonight, I had a different thought... so here it is. The readings for today's readings can be found at: http://usccb.org/bible/readings/061018.cfm
Thanks as always for reading, sharing this blog on your social media and for your feedback and comments. Have a great week - God Bless - Fr Jim
The suicidal deaths this week of two celebrities - Kate Spade who has been called a legend in the fashion industry on Tuesday and then Anthony Bourdain who was a chef, author, travel documentarian and television personality on Friday morning - have unnerved great numbers of people all around the world. For those of us who've lost someone we loved from a suicide, that's not particularly surprising. The inexplicable pain, the disbelief, the confusion, the anger for the families and friends of the deceased -- not that we should ever compare one persons painful situation to another -- but in the instances of suicide, they are often some of the most painful, most difficult to endure.
As someone who still grieves friends who've committed suicide - As a priest who's ministered to families who've had their worlds upended with a suicidal death, I recognize my limitations in speaking into this tragic, mysterious illness of depression that in instances like this are fatal. And that is really what we have to always remember and view and approach this as - a tragic, mysterious illness. Someone pointed out to me that we often put the impetus on the person who's suicidal to "not suffer alone... to reach out for help" - but perhaps even that's unfair on our part. So many who are suffering that they get to this point aren't able to ask for help or even recognize how distorted there logic and reasoning has become. Perhaps it's something more that all of us need to do a better job at. To not simply accept "I'm fine" as an answer to "How you doing?" - but to love deeper, to probe in a loving and sincere way and ask - no really... how are you, really?
Which gets me to the point of today's Gospel. In it we hear about what is often called the "unforgivable" sin. To hear those words from Jesus in that passage
But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit
will never have forgiveness,
but is guilty of an everlasting sin.
They seem so out of place coming from Jesus. We see Him as the personification of Love. We Hope in His Divine Mercy - and have heard over and over and over that He simply loves and wants to forgive anyone who turns to Him. How could there ever be anything unforgiveable? People rightly are disturbed by these words. But in short, we have to look at the context of the passage.
If anything, the good news so often gets overlooked in this passage. The verse right before it gets to the heart of who Jesus is... what is His mercy: Amen, I say to you, all sins and all blasphemies that people utter will be forgiven them.
Jesus has come to free us from the darkness, the desolation, the isolation we feel when we've failed, when we've given into temptation, when we've made bad choices.
He has come to heal us of the pain and the brokenness and the effects of sin.
He has come to teach us how to love, how to forgive, how to be merciful ourselves.
And if I were to dismiss Jesus' love and mercy for myself or for any other human being - that would be unforgiveable.