Saturday, March 26, 2016

Homily at Holy Spirit Catholic Community, Resurrection , March 27, 2016 by Beverly Bingle, RCWP

Until I got ordained, people rarely asked me theological questions.
Now it's different.
Almost every day
somebody wants to get into some God-talk with me.
And I love it!
Does God exist?
Did Jesus really rise from the dead?
Is there really life after this life?
I don't KNOW the answers.
But I have faith.
And my faith, like the faith of those disciples heading to Emmaus,
comes from a lifetime of asking myself those very questions
and coming up with answers
that led to more and more questions.
It's been a lifetime of seeing and thinking
and praying and feeling
and loving and doing,
with points of serious awe and wonder at the Holy Mystery
we call God.
I have faith that God is.
Along the way I have learned some things that God is NOT,
and that every idea or description or concept of God
that I am able to form
is way too small.
And I have faith that Jesus rose from the dead.
I have learned some things that does NOT mean,
but, again, any words I use
fall short of the experience
of his continuous and unending presence among us.
And I have faith that there's life after life.
I have learned some things that does NOT mean,
and I have found my idea of what it does mean
grows more and more expansive
with every discovery of science
and every experience of the impact of people I have known,
even after they died.
One useful thing I've learned
is that it's important to explore
the definitions that give rise to these God-talk questions.
We're bombarded by assertions of atheists like Richard Dawkins
who say there's no God…
and of course there isn't, not a God like Dawson has in mind,
that white-bearded ancient male
sitting on a throne somewhere up there in the clouds.
It's easy for Dawson—or for that matter, any eighth grader—
to debunk literal interpretations
of descriptions of spiritual experiences of people
who lived thousands of years ago in another culture.
It's not so easy to jump into the process
of understanding the meaning of those experiences
for us today.
Those disciples on the road to Emmaus,
those followers in the Upper Room,
and each of us make a leap of faith,
just like those other leaps we make
every time we jump into the unknown.
We leap (or stumble) out of bed in the morning
with faith that our feet will land on a floor that will hold us up.
We reach out for that morning cup of coffee
with faith that our eyes are telling us the truth
about it being right there on the table.
We take a leap of faith when we confide in a friend,
choose a vocation,
get married.
And sometimes we find ourselves
hanging out there on a shaky limb,
flapping in the breeze,
finding our secrets laid bare to the world
on our friend's Facebook,
hating the job we thought would be good for us,
finding our spouse in an affair or abandoning us and the kids.
Whether it's a personal catastrophe or a crisis of faith,
we usually reel around for a while
before we are able to grab onto the hope
that leads us to action and change.
We eventually find that we still believe
that true friendship is a good thing
and that it exists.
We still believe that we can find a job
that will really fit our skills and preferences.
We still believe that good relationships exist
and that we will get through this
to enjoy the company of many people
whom we can love and who will love us.
The longer we live,
the more we see that, over and over again,
we need to re-define ourselves and our world,
our experiences and our hopes,
especially when it comes to the most important things,
like love and God.
Sixteen hundred years ago
Augustine of Hippo talked about
how human beings grow in God-consciousness.
He said, “What wonder is it that you do not understand?
If you do understand, then it is not God.”
So even though we don't have the answers, it's okay.
We rest in confidence that the Holy Mystery is always beyond,
always more than anything we could have imagined.
We have all been on that road to Emmaus many times in our lives,
heading in the wrong direction out of fear and disappointment.
Then the Spirit breaks in and we get turned around.
We find Jesus alive,
with us on the way,
making God's word clear to us once more.
And we give thanks
and celebrate that we once again
come to recognize him
in the breaking of the bread.

Holy Spirit Catholic Community
Saturdays at 4:30 p.m./Sundays at 5:30 p.m.
Holy Thursday, March 24, 5:30 p.m.
Holy Saturday, March 26, 5:30 p.m.
at 3925 West Central Avenue (Washington Church)

Rev. Dr. Bev Bingle, Pastor
Mailing address: 3156 Doyle Street, Toledo, OH 43608-2006

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