15 Sunday in Ordinary Time July 15, 2012 10 AM & 5:30 PM

15th Sunday in Ordinary Time
July 15, 2012
10 AM & 5:30 PM
J.A. Loftus, S.J.
Today’s homily question is: so whose god is it anyway? Whose god are
we here to worship, to connect with, to share a sacred meal with? A strange
question? Not really. There are many gods people worship; sometimes they
worship without any conscious awareness of what their doing. Things like
wealth and prestige, and power come to mind easily. But there are more
subtle gods too.
We have heard a lot lately about god even in the secular press. Lead
stories last week on TV and in newspapers all around the world were about
confirmation in Switzerland of the long-sought after Higgs Boson. First
theorized by Peter Higgs in 1964, it was later coined by Leon Lederman “the
God Particle.” And so we all heard about the God particle for days last
There has even been a slew of new jokes about the Higgs Boson making
the rounds. I had a great one I was sure not many of you would have heard
or might not have understood. But my great joke found its way onto the
front page of Thursday’s Boston Globe. I’m going to tell it anyway:
Higgs Boson walks into a Catholic church. The priest says: What are you
doing here? The Higgs Boson says: You can’t have mass without me.”
Get it? The Higgs Boson is theorized to be what gives mass to particles.
There’s Mass and then there’s mass! I never expected it would bring down
the house!
In religious terms, calling the Higgs particle (or perhaps the Higgs
subatomic fog) the god particle is really one more instance of what used to be
called fashioning “The god of the gaps.” Since the time of the
Enlightenment it’s been popular to call-in a god to “fill in” the gaps in human
knowledge. Without the discovery of the Higgs Boson, a god would be the
only other solution to confirm the so-called Standard Model of the universe.
But back to our initial homily question: whose god are we here to
worship? We have in today’s readings a very different sort of God who is
certainly not just filling gaps. We hear of a God who is very active and very
personally invested in this world and especially in we human beings.
Ours is a God, St. Paul tells us, who “in love destined us for adoption to
himself through Jesus Christ.” We have a God who chooses to call us–each
one of us–to share intimately in God’s own life. God calls us to be prophets
and apostles of God’s kingdom, God’s reign over all creation.
Have you ever felt called to be a prophet? I don’t see any hands going
up. I’ve only rarely felt called to be a prophet. But maybe that’s because
most of us still think of prophets somehow “telling the future.” That’s not
what biblical prophets did at all. The great–and even the small–prophets in
the Bible simply lived the reign of God and shared that good news with
others–to tell the truth, they often “warned” others about what they were
missing. They told people what was here and now, not what was coming nest
week or next year. This is the same message Jesus preached: the kingdom
of God is near; it is within you already; it is just waiting to be embraced more
Now don’t despair yet about your own invitation to be prophetic.
Learn from poor Amos today. He never realized he was invited either. He
didn’t want to be called; he wasn’t prepared to be called. He was reluctant
and frightened throughout it all. As he himself says: “I am no prophet; I
come from no tribe of prophets. I am a shepherd and a dresser of
sycamores.” In short, a farmer and a gardener. Whose God is this
This God invites and then sends-out those God calls. Witness the
dumbfounded Apostles in Mark’s gospel. God gives them, God’s adopted
sons and daughters, authority to preach God’s kingdom and to heal the sick
and embrace the lost. It’s all about God’s reign “on earth as it is in heaven.”
And what more exactly is this reign of God that you are supposed to
preach and live? Listen again to Psalm 85 from today’s liturgy. The reign
of God is a space, God’s space (in other words, heaven-on-earth); it is a space
in which “Kindness and truth shall meet; justice and peace shall kiss. Truth
shall spring out of the earth, and justice shall look down from heaven.”
This is not the everyday world we live in. How often do we witness
kindness and the pursuit of truth meeting, let alone kissing? In my
experience, the pursuit of truth is often accompanied by a cudgel. Think
especially of theological truth in the churches: Inquisitions and doctrinal
examinations, excommunications and interdicts. Truth has it’s own rights;
kindness and justice usually lag behind–even in the churches.
But you and I are invited again today to proclaim in word and in deed
that the reign of God is here and can be realized. That’s exactly what we are
about to do at this altar. You and I are invited to be healers in each other’s
lives. Our God is amazingly invested in us.
So whose God are we here to worship and thank? It should be no
contest. Ours is not a “god of the gaps,” but the fulfillment of a dream
cherished since the time of Adam and Eve. May we live in kindness and
truth and create a world of justice and peace for God’s sake–and for our own.