Being a Saint

6.26.18 Tues. wk. 12 – Ordinary Time (II)
2nd Book of Kings: 19: 9b – 11, 14 – 21, 31 – 35a, 36
Gospel of Matthew 7: 6, 12 – 14

†Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not give what is holy to dogs,* or throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them underfoot, and turn and tear you to pieces.
“Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets.
“Enter through the narrow gate;* for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few. The Gospel of the Lord.

Homily: Fr. Mike Murphy                                      Being a Saint
Do you want to be a saint? Is holiness the goal of your life – or is that not important? In heaven – do you want to be ‘one of the white-robed assembly’ as is described in the Book of Revelation? “These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the lamb. For this reason they stand before God’s throne and worship Him night and day in His temple”. (Rev.6:14-115)
Do you want to be a saint? I do. (Well, you might say that’s pretty arrogant. What a social climber He is!) But it is possible, not just for me, but for all of us, because – why else would we read these things throughout Sacred Scripture? Words like: “Be Holy as God is holy”. (1 Pet.1:16) – “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect”. (Matt.5:48) – “The will of God is your sanctification”. (1 Thess:4:3) – The will of God is for us to be saints. So if you decide: ‘I don’t want to be a saint’ – like Augustine said: “Lord – make me a saint but not yet”. Maybe that “not yet” will never come around. But if you don’t want to be saint – then you are being disobedient to what God wants for you. That’s what He is asking us – to be holy.
“The Sermon On The Mount” that we have been reflecting on for the last several days – gives us the itinerary for holiness – a plan of life to bring about a conversion of heart to become saints. “To wash our robes white in the blood of the lamb” – does not mean shedding our blood as †Jesus did on the cross – or shedding our blood for Christ as the martyrs did. But it does mean – ‘giving our life out of love for Christ by dying to self to serve others’. This is the ultimate criteria for holiness – to love to the maximum. “We are to enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad, that leads to destruction”. (Matt. 7:13)
According to Pope Francis and his Apostolic Exhortation on The Call to Holiness in the Modern World, the Holy Father writes: “The path (†Jesus) proposes – goes against the flow, even making us challenge society by the way we live and as a result – becoming a nuisance. He reminds us how many people have been and still are persecuted simply because they struggle for justice; because they take seriously the commitment to God and to others.” (Gaudium et Exsultate, 90) There’s nothing wrong with being a nuisance to society. Another term that was popular when I was much younger was: “Be countercultural”. That’s what Christians are called to be.
Sacred Scripture and the teaching of the Church call us to responsibility; to make use of the freedom given us to create a better world – to bring about “a new heaven and a new earth”. (Rev.21:1) The conversion of heart begins with the grace and courage to “enter through the narrow gate. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life, and those who find it are few”. (Matt.6:13f)
We read this in the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “The law of the Gospel requires us to make the decisive choice between the ‘two ways’ and to put into practice the words of the Lord. It is summed up in the Golden rule: ‘Whatever you wish that others would do to you – do so to them. (CCC, 1970). The way of Christ leads to life. The opposite way – leads to destruction.
Today’s Gospel is about the two ways – the narrow gate on the constricted road – and the broad road. Today’s Gospel is an essential catechesis for the 21st century – for all of us who are ‘saints in training’ – and that is what we are supposed to be: “Saints in Training”. The Gospel calls us to the moral way in making our decisions – to strive to live a life of virtue. And we all fail, the Lord understands that, He is a merciful, forgiving God – but despite our failures we must never give up. By throwing away our faith and the grace we receive – is like throwing “pearls to swine” (Matt.7:6), as the Lord said. Just don’t give up! Keep trying despite the failures and the mistakes, because our God is merciful God. The Lord wants us to strive for Holiness – to keep at this task every single day. Not giving up because we think it’s too difficult or because we think we are just too weak. You can be a saint because “nothing is impossible with God”. (Luke 1:37)
A young Jewish girl heard these words and believed them.
She became “blessed among women!” (Luke 1:42)

In the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.