January 19, 2020                                                                                                                                   Jedi Mind Tricks

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In the Gospel today, John the Baptist says something that you hear at every Mass. “Behold, the Lamb of God...”  

What does it mean to behold something? The dictionary says behold means “to see, perceive, or observe something.” That seems self explanatory, doesn’t it? Some translations even use the simple word “look“ instead of behold.

So it seems pretty simple. So why even mention it? Because, I think, that this word “behold” can unlock for us

a key to living a holy life.

St. Paul reminds us in today’s Second Reading from his First Letter to the Corinthians that we are called to be holy. What does it mean to be holy? So many times when we think about holiness, we think about why we aren’t holy. We think about our sins, our failures, the things we do when no one is watching. Or we think about the good things we do, that we pray in a certain way, that we give and forgive. That we have been generous. There is a problem with both of these responses. I’m not saying that it is bad to know your sins or bad to do good things. The problem is, that when we think about holiness, we think about ourselves, our good traits and our bad. 
We think about, we focus on, we behold...us!

                                                                                                            One of my favorite scenes in the Star Wars movies

                                                                                                            comes from the first movie, Episode IV, when

                                                                                                            Luke Skywalker and Obi Wan Kenobi are stopped by

                                                                                                            Stormtroopers who are looking for two Droids.

                                                                                                            The Droids that they are looking for, C-3PO and R2D2,

                                                                                                            are sitting right there  with Luke and Obi Wan,

                                                                                                            but Obi Wan plays a Jedi mind trick on 

                                                                                                            the Stormtroopers. He gets into their heads and

                                                                                                            tells them, “These aren’t the Droids you're looking for.”

                                                                                                            To which the Stormtrooper responds, “These aren’t

                                                                                                            the Droids we’re looking for.” If you have no idea

                                                                                                            what I am talking about, trust me, it is a great scene.

                                                                                                            Sometimes I think, with Satan’s assistance, we play

                                                                                                            Jedi mind tricks on ourselves. Right in front of our faces,

                                                                                                            every Sunday, the source of Holiness is present

                                                                                                            before us. We are even told, “Behold, the Lamb of God.” Yet we don’t. We say, “These aren’t the Droids we’re looking for.” Instead, we look at ourselves, either wrongly justifying ourselves because of the good we have done, or wrongly condemning ourselves for our lack of good. It is as if we think that our salvation depends on us, as if we are our own saviors, as if we are the source of holiness. But we aren’t the source of holiness. Who is? The Lamb of God is! We need to behold Him. 

That means look at Him, and almost as importantly that means, don’t look at yourself! Don’t focus on you. You will never be the path to holiness. Jesus is. So look at Him. Focus on Him and not you. The word “behold” is essential to holiness. It means looking up, looking out. You were made to be holy. Are you? Does that question make you focus on you, your good points and your bad? Don’t be fooled by that mind trick! That is not where you will find holiness. You will find it by looking not at yourself, but putting others before you. You will find it by looking to Jesus. He is 
the source of Holiness and He is here, today, for you.

Behold, no really, behold, you are not your own savior. But your Savior is here. Behold the Lamb of God.

Peace and Love,
Fr. Matt

"These aren't the Droids you're looking for."