Father Matt's Homily for May 24, 2020 - Seventh Sunday of Easter
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
One of the cool things about the last few months for me
is that I have been in regular contact with my high school
friends. We had a group of guys and girls that did
everything together back then. It has been so nice to
catch up with them. A few even join us for Mass online
each week. Awhile ago I made a joke in the group text
that we have going. I thought it was pretty funny. I was
sitting there waiting for at least a “haha” or smiley face
but probably a “McClain, you’re hilarious!” What I got
was...nothing. Crickets. So after an hour or so I said
something like “Come on that was funny!” One of
my friends appeased me sarcastically. I laughed
and said that I was sorry for my solipsism. She asked
what that meant. I explained that it is kind of like
narcissism, where you think that everything revolves
around you. Except with solipsism, you don’t necessarily
think that you are the greatest, just that everything
that happens or doesn’t happen, is about you. As if
my friends weren’t perhaps busy with their kids or
their work, but were just sitting there deciding not to
respond to my joke. I think that this attitude can come upon any of us, especially in times of isolation and uncertainty.
We see the world, our situations, through a narrow lens of our personal reality. It is a danger that can lead us
to confusion and despair.
This week I got a call from a dear friend who told me that he was diagnosed with colon cancer and was going in for surgery this week. As we were talking, he told me about waiting for the biopsy results. He has some pretty good connections at the hospital and could have used those to maybe get his tests done and read sooner, but he didn’t call in those favors or ask for a hook up. What he said was amazing. He said, “Why is my colon and my test results more important than someone who doesn’t have the same connections? I mean, it’s my colon, not THE colon.” His words were funny and humble and beautiful and the exact opposite of a narcissist or a solipsist.
His words really stuck with me as I looked at the Readings this week. The prevailing theme that came to me is glory.
The word glory is used in some form eight times in our Readings this week. In Greek, the work translated “glory” is doxa. Doxa, strictly speaking, means “the common belief”. When the Old Testament or Hebrew Scriptures were translated into Greek 200 years or so before Jesus was born, scholars translated the Hebrew word for glory, kavod, as doxa. So what does doxa mean? Does it mean the understood truth or glory? The answer is yes to both.
We use the word orthodoxy to mean what is correct and true. The prefix ortho means just that, correct or proper or what is right, and doxa means what we said, the truth and the glory. So orthodoxy means, right glory! Now maybe you’re saying,
hold on Orthodoxy is a religion. And yes, when we say Orthodox with a capital “O” that is what we mean. But the word
itself means “right glory.” Okay so how does all that I have said connect? Or even does it? Well, I think maybe it does.
The Readings speak of God’s glory and that Jesus wants to share that with us. Pretty cool stuff, but maybe what is most important to note is that it is God’s glory. It isn’t ours. It never was. It never will be. God is the maker. God is the center,
not me, not you. How wonderful it is to know that God cares about us and all of our stuff, but sometimes we are so focused on ourselves and our reality that I wonder if we really believe that. Is God the center or are you? One way leads to humility and salvation and a sharing in glory. The other leads to confusion and despair.
So here’s the question for this week. Are you orthodox? Meaning, do you give the right glory? Meaning who do you believe is the center of the world? Last week we were reminded that it is not all up to you. Do you believe that? Are you orthodox?
My friend said it best, “It’s my colon, not THE colon.” Let the Lord give you perspective this week. Let Jesus be the center of your life instead of you. Let Him share with you some of His glory. Let Jesus lead you away from the despair and confusion that comes with self centeredness and self concern. Be humble. Let Him be the center. Be orthodox.
Peace and Love,