Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church
Hot Springs Village, Arkansas
Almost exactly 5 months ago to the day I preached on this Gospel.  That was the Second Sunday of Lent.  Now I considered just using that homily again, after all what are the chances that this parish will remember what was said 5 months ago!  But then I remembered that Lynne puts all of my homilies on the parish website and just on the outside possibility that one of you will go and look it up I thought no, I better write a new one.

Five months ago I talked about one word in the Gospel, Listen.  Today I would like focus on a different word, Afraid.  Right after God says, “Listen to Him,” we hear, “When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate and were very much afraid.”  Fear can paralyze us, make us powerless, drop us down to the ground.  Dictators and totalitarian governments have always understood this.  Why are they so ruthless?  Because it instills fear in the population.  Make them afraid and you can control them. 

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Do you remember when you had to help your children with their homework?  Or maybe even more recently your grandchildren?  When it is 9 o’clock at night and there is still another page of questions to answer we are tempted to simply start supplying the answers.  Don’t worry about explaining the beauty of the Pythagorean Theory, just calculate the side of the triangle and be done with it!  But the next time, if we start earlier on the homework, maybe 4 in the afternoon, we change our style and try to help our children learn the steps to solving the problem and let them find the answers for themselves.  It is the classic “teach them how to fish rather than just handing them a fish.”

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Remember how excited you were at your First Communion?  It really was a "big deal.”  I don’t know if it was the little white suit or white dress, the celebration afterward with all the relatives or just the fact that it was sort of a “rite of passage,” now we could do what the grownups did every Sunday.  It was a big day.  The nuns explained to us what the Eucharist was, Christ’s body and blood.  Oh it might look through our eyes like bread and wine but through the eyes of faith it was Christ, as real as if he was standing there.  And we never doubted what the nuns said!

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Have you ever noticed how different things can look, depending on where you are sitting?  Let me give you an example.  I like to drive, which is fortunate living here in the Village, and I consider myself a good driver.  But I remember when I was teaching my oldest daughter to drive.  I had to sit in the passenger’s seat.  Everything looks different when you are sitting there.  The curbs are much closer, mailboxes are right next to your head, cars in the lane next to you look like they are in your lap.  As scary as the driving lessons were, do you remember the first time you gave your son or daughter the car keys and they went out on their own.  In your car, the one that you were still making payments on.  That’s when you really learned about faith, the first time they take the wheel all alone, without you.

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