Joy and the Holy Spirit [Audio Sermon]

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  1. Dear Friend and brother in Christ, I am filled with JOY that your heart is always in awe of our lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

    5 years ago, while sitting in the pews at St. Philips Church and feeling numb to my Lords voice, a young priest gave a Homily(they are still long and yet not) that I cannot remember all he said except for this as his words were our Saviors.

    He asked if anyone present could stand up for their faith, could we defend our faith. He then asked if anyone present could die for their faith, truly die for their faith. It was then that God revealed to me the many martyrs of those that have followed his son Jesus and he himself asked if I could die for my faith. Those words stuck with me for many day’s, and still do to this day, as I accepted the fact that my faith had been shallow.

    Sure I went to Mass on Sunday and Holy day’s of obligation, repented of my sins to a priest and did all of the right things, yet I was not living my faith as God and his son Jesus had asked me to, on the day I confessed my love for Jesus, upon my release from jail.

    I had forgotten to love all of the children of God and not judge them for not being worthy of his MERCY. I had forgotten his call to all of us to bring the good word to those we do not want to see in Heaven, those on the margins, those we deem not worthy of his saving grace. I had forgotten that Jesus died on the cross, not only for me, but for those I find least worthy of eternal life in Heaven. I had forgotten that to Love Jesus was to be able to defend his Love and be able to Die for his Love, that this world is of man and Heaven is of God , I was not made for this world I was made by God for Heaven.

    So, I took a deep breath and waded into the muddied waters, the same waters our Lord saved me from drowning in, for I once was one others looked at as less than worthy of his mercy, one who they knew they would never see in Heaven and if they did they would ask our Savior “why him”? As I began to listen to his voice, giving his words sound through me, I was able to reach out to his children and let them know they are loved and worthy of his Mercy and grace.

    It is among these people, those I shunned and deemed unworthy of saving, that I have found JOY in knowing we all are children of God, we are all worthy of his Mercy, we all can have a seat at his table and I have been filled with Joy knowing one day I will enter Heaven, God willing.

    I have learned that words of hate are only words, spit from a child of God can be washed off, a slap on my right cheek is an invitation to give of my left, the sliver in the eye of others is nothing too the log in mine. I have learned to embrace all those I meet with a warm embrace, a word of love, help up when down and my table is never to small for anyone to sit and break bread.

    One day, as I talked to God, I asked God if what I was doing was at all helping him, was I speaking his words or mine, and he answered me through a young woman I had been talking to for a year.

    She said “I was raised in a Christian home as both my Father and Mother were pastors of our Church, yet you are the most Christian, Christian, I have ever met. Daily I was told that Jesus wanted us not to judge others, love our neighbors as ourselves, help those less fortunate and yet when I was sixteen, unwed and pregnant my parents threw me out of their house telling me I was going to hell. Now you come along and you are unafraid to speak to me as you see me, you have never looked at me with disgust, you have not judged me for the things I have done and do. You seem to accept me as if you have known me for a life time, as if you are my brother.” One might say he used a baseball bat to get his message across

    I will not be amazed that he or she got into heaven, but I will be saddened if I do not see that young woman among his flock in Heaven and I will ask my Lord “what did I not do that she is not sitting with us at your table”? I pray that I will see her at his table because I know in my heart she is more worthy of his Mercy than I am.

    Today I still do the right things, not out of a numb response, I do them because 5 years ago I heard our Lord speak to me through a young priest, whose Homilies were to long yet not, and I was willing to look at myself as others saw me. I was able to see others as God saw them and willing to wade into the muddied waters to give them his love by embracing them and letting them know God loves them.

    I have been called by God to leave the Crookston Diocese and he has called me to the Duluth diocese where I will be able too pester and annoy the newly ordained Shepherds of his flock. I enjoy hearing my God speak through you and the other bearded disciple – Fr. B.

    Your friend and brother in Christ M.F.

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