Gospel and Raw Homily Transcript
Jesus said to his disciples:
“I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.
But when he comes, the Spirit of truth,
he will guide you to all truth.
He will not speak on his own,
but he will speak what he hears,
and will declare to you the things that are coming.
He will glorify me,
because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.
Everything that the Father has is mine;
for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine
and declare it to you.”
Eye Witnesses – Raw Transcript
As many of you know I just returned from leading a pilgrimage to the holy land myself and three other leaders guided 51 pilgrims on about a two week pilgrimage throughout the holy land is actually the fifth time I have been over there and what was distinct about this particular pilgrimage is that there was a lot of storytelling in dancing and music collective expertise I hope all of you at some point in the course of your life have the opportunity to visit the holy land because it makes the Scriptures, so alive but even if you don’t have the opportunity to physically go we live in a time where there’s an unprecedented number of resources available through books through videos through the Internet to be able to visit these sites at least virtually for many perhaps not those of us here but those not here that Scriptures are have a mythic quality that isn’t quite real that reality was brought home to me when I was talking to my nephew shortly after returning home and I said that we had visited the Sea of Galilee and he said the sea of Galilee the Sea of Galilee and there really is a sea of Galilee said the only time I’ve ever heard of somebody talk about the Sea of Galilee was when they read about it in the Bible for him and for many young adults the stories of the Bible are similar to Once upon a time there lived or in a galaxy far far away there lived or let me tell you about the stories of the avengers in its has this mythic quality that’s somewhere out there but it never really lands in reality and the gift of a pilgrimage whether it’s physically going or virtually going is these stories come alive there not myths in the sense of clever human concoctions their historical realities the Gospels are based on eyewitness accounts of people who were there who witnessed these events now to be sure there there’s a certain amount of artful storytelling in the Gospels to bring them alive and to bring across a theological point but fundamentally there grounded in reality of this is truth this is happened this really happened the Sea of Galilee is a real place it hasn’t moved into thousand years our group was privileged to be able to go out in the boat and to ride across that sea of Galilee and at one point we stopped the engines and I guided them in the ignition style meditation of imagining seeing Jesus walking on the water in the midst of the storms that to this day frequently corrupt on the Sea of Galilee in fact our tour guide spoke over time not so long ago when he was out there with his group of pilgrims and suddenly out of nowhere the storm erupted and they were fearful as to whether they would be able even with a strong ship to be able to make it back to shore but to be able to visit the city of Capernaum where Jesus grounded his public ministry on the shore of the Sea of Galilee and they’ve done archaeological excavations they discovered the whole wealth of Peter they discovered the ruins of a first century synagogue that was built on the ruins of a synagogue from the time of Jesus we told there the story of Jesus is expelling a demon or Jesus proclaiming the John chapter 6 the bread of life discourse how powerful it is to go up on Mount Tabor where Jesus was transfigured and you see all of this beautiful countryside in the powerful view that is available from up there to go up on the mountainside where Jesus proclaimed the Beatitudes or to go in a church that marks the spot where Jesus multiplied the loaves and the fishes to go into the little town of I’m careening where Mary met her cousin Elizabeth or to visit the grotto where the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary they actually have a basilica church that spilled over the cave where that was believe that mother Mary lived in the angel first appeared to go into the city of Jericho the oldest city on the face of the earth 4000 years old visit the city of Jerusalem where Jesus died and rose again it grounds the reality of the Scripture in a way that helps it come alive that this is not some fantasy that are faith is grounded in real life events are first reading today from the acts of the apostles is another one of those real life events last fall I had the opportunity to take another group of pilgrims over in the footsteps of St. Paul and one of the sites that we went through was in Athens and this site of the Areopagus in acts 17 that was described in our first reading today in just a few hundred yards away from this hillside where the Athenians gathered in the open air to debate an important philosophical political theological issues of the day the intellectual elite of Athens with this he’ll call the Areopagus and a couple hundred yards from that is the Acropolis the ruins of which are very much in evidence today it’s it’s beauty is still quite evident and in the in this temple of the Areopagus which is dedicated to the goddess Athena after whom the city of Athens is named their all of these smaller shrines to these other gods St. Paul we could do can easily envision St. Paul walking around the Acropolis looking at these different authors looking at these different shrines that would be in full bloom in his day now in ruins and then he wants from there just a couple hundred yards over to visit and to preach to the pagan philosophers and we have this sermon extant in this acts chapter 17 in seminaries today they still study this sermon because it’s a master of rhetoric it’s it’s a masterful example of rhetoric of Paul trying to go into the doors of the pagan philosophers and take them out hit store in fact in this section that we heard today from acts chapter 17 “one of the ancient Greek poets who lived in the third century BD BC poet by the name of Herodotus in him we live and move and have our being in fact that quote is picked up in one of the prefaces to the Eucharistic prayer that will pray later at mass today so it’s a brilliant example of rhetoric the problem was it didn’t touch the hearts of the Athenian community of St. Luke records that some scoffed at St. Paul when he began to speak about the resurrection and others kind of yawned and said well that’s very interesting what will let’s consider that will get back to you someday he only made a few converts two of them are mentioned by name Dionysius who is a member of that court of the Areopagus the area he was in Areopagite member of the court of the Areopagus and an unknown woman by the name of Jim Harris and a few others who weren’t named St. Luke goes on to record that St. Paul left after giving that speech and then moved on to the sin city of Corinth we don’t have any letter to the Athenians because they were more interested in intellectual speculation they were more interested in ideas and thinking about these matters but not in changing their lives in St. Paul changed his preaching he would later later right in his first letter to the Corinthians chapter 2 when I came to you Corinthians proclaiming the mystery of God I did not come with sublimity of words or of wisdom ergo as I came to the Athenians with philosophical and rhetorical flourish know when I came to you I did not come with the subtlety of words or wisdom for I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified for I came to you in weakness and fear in much trembling why because he had just gotten his nose rubbed in the dirt he gave his best preaching and it went nowhere he was laughed at he was mocked so when I came to you in weakness and fear and much trembling why because the city of Corinth was known for ritual prostitution that was known to be a city of sin but my message and my proclamation were not with persuasive words of wisdom with a demonstrate but with a demonstration of spirit and power so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom but on the power of God I preached Christ crucified and raised this was a turning point in St. Paul’s ministry of relying less on himself and Laura on the naked power of the gospel of St. I come to you and I present to you Jesus crucified and raised that’s what I’m proclaiming it’s not about me it’s not about my wisdom I present to you Jesus brothers and sisters there’s a crisis in Christianity today where so many people would look at Jesus and see him as an intelligent philosopher as a moral teacher is a good man but not as God not as the Christ not as someone that we would dedicate our lives to these scriptures that we read at mass are about changing our lives about not living for ourselves but for the one who died and rose that we might come to a deeper understanding of what our lives are all about the were not here for ourselves were here for transformation were here to have our minds configured and changed by Christ our hearts changed by Christ to use the gifts and the talents that God has given us just as God gave certain gifts and talents to St. Paul God gave gifts and talents to every one of us and we are to use those to make of this world a better place to bring others to a saving knowledge of Christ and how do we do that except by living lives of laws by living lives of forgiveness so that when people see us they say how does he do that how does she do that they come to that date deeper place when they’ve experienced so much hardship and difficulty in their life they don’t despair when they been hurt in that when they been vilified they turn the other cheek when they been deeply wounded and betrayed they learn to forgive how they do that the witness of Christ has to be enacted by the power of our lives transformed that’s what’s going to bring people to say I want to know more about this I want to know who this Jesus is in your life is not going to be simply by our words this can be by how we live our lives this pray for that grace. Amen? Amen.