- My experience of flying home from Chicago was ...
- I was stunned with how plugged in we are, and, therefore, how not present we are.
TRANSITION OPENING IMAGE TO CORE MESSAGE
- What would have happened? ... if Rosa Parks doesn't sit in the front of the bus? ... if Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. doesn't make a decision to lead a bus boycott in 1955? if Dr. King doesn't share the God-inspired "I have a dream" speech in 1963. What would have happened if they weren't present to the present moment?
- What would have happened? ... if Mary doesn't listen to the Angel Gabriel's prompting? If Joseph goes back to sleep when Gabriel speaks to him in the dream? If John the Baptist doesn't listen to the voice of the Father speaking to him about Jesus in front of him? What would have happened if they weren't present to the present moment?
- We can "miss" life if we're not careful. We need to be present to the present moment.
WHAT DO THE SCRIPTURES SAY ABOUT THE CORE MESSAGE
- Today's Psalm is Psalm 40 and the response is 40:8: "Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will." It's easy for us to focus on the last part: "I come to do your will." However, far too many times we miss His will be missed the first part "Here am I, Lord." Are we here ... here now ... in the present moment?
- Today's Gospel is from John, chapter 1. John the Baptist is present to the present moment. He is present to God in the present moment. He hears God in the present moment. He then notices Jesus because of this. Therefore, John recognizes Jesus as the Lamb of God. All this happened because John is present to the present moment.
THREE CHALLENGES WE FACE TO THE CORE MESSAGE
- Our secular culture has lost it's focus. We often confuse pleasure and joy: seeking pleasure hoping that it will bring us joy. We often confuse stimulation and receptivity: seeking to always be doing something rather than receiving the moment and the people therein.
- We live more isolated. We're more "connected" than ever. However, we more alone than ever. Do we really know each other better today than people did 100 years ago?
- Isolation has lead to narcissism. Once we're isolated we then become responsible for own fulfillment. Life becomes about what I want.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF WE'RE NOT ATTENTIVE TO THE CORE MESSAGE?
- We'll loose touch with God. We get too busy. We begin to relate to God, asking for help for our future, while at the same time struggling to experience Him at all in the here and now. God will seem distant. Life will get heavier and heavier.
- We then look to the "world" and the "world" alone for satisfaction. Life becomes a pursuit of what I can glean from the "world". I will want more and more and enjoy and relish less and less.
- I will seek satisfaction in pleasure. Relationships will suffer because: I'm constantly thinking or working to get more provide more; I'm seeking pleasure as a reward because I deserve it; I resent the people closest to me because they "don't make me happy" or "fulfill what I want."
HOW CAN FAMILIES INTEGRATE THE CORE MESSAGE?
- When you're together be together. Unplug. Turn off the TV, the computer, and all the iGadgets. Recommit to the art of conversation.
- Invest in time. Make more time to be present to each other. Do what you enjoy, but do it together.
- There is order in order. Parents must be parents, not friends.
- God is present to you. He's longing for you. Are you present to Him?
Recorded Sunday, January 19, 2014 at Christ the Redeemer Catholic Church in Thibodaux, Louisiana. © Fr. Mark Toups, 2014
Week 2: Getting to know the Holy Family
PRESENT: What kind of family was the Holy Family?
Missing the YouTube plug-in? Click here to listen to the homily via YouTube
FOR YOUR PRAYER
Imagine how many times Joseph and Mary would have prayed together with Jesus. Imagine the way Nazareth would have mirrored the “pace” written of in Psalm 131. Read Psalm 131. Read it a few times. Pay attention to what word or phrases “tugs” at your heart. Pay attention to all of your thoughts, feelings, and desires as you slowly read the text. Now, prayerfully imagine the “hidden scene” of Nazareth. Imagine an ordinary evening in the home of the Holy Family. No TV. No internet. No play station. Mary and Joseph would have been present to Jesus, enjoying the evening together. You are there, with them. Then, they turn to you. They ask you, “What’s on your heart today? How do you feel about your life, your pace, your family?” What do you want to tell them? Listen to what they say in reply
TODAY'S PRAYER: “Jesus, I desire know you in a deeply personal way. Help me to be present to you as you are present to me.”
© Fr. Mark Toups, 2014