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August 9th - Living Life Intentionally

19th Sunday of Ordinary Time (B)

The first time I think that I was really exposed to the Country Music scene was as a college seminary student.
Our Cleveland College Seminary, Borromeo, sends its students to John Carroll University.
As part of my studies at JCU, I spent a lot of time exploring various forms of media: TV, Print, Internet, and Radio.
I’d say that I had the fondest appreciate at the time for Radio
While the seminary wouldn’t allow me to have my own radio show,
I did spend a considerable amount of time as a substitute for other radio shows
And I’d say the most challenging one for me was actually Country Music
It wasn’t that I didn’t like it
It was that I really didn’t know much about it.
So while doing a lot of research and listening to hours upon hours of country music, it finally came time for the show.
Let me preface this by saying it was a request show.
I remember someone calling in and sharing her story about her father who had just passed away
She said he was the type of guy who lived with no regrets, just a very fun-loving intentional man
So she wanted to dedicate the song, “Live like you were dying” by Tim McGraw to her late father.
It was a song that Tim McGraw had associated with his own father who died of cancer and did everything and anything before he had passed away.
The refrain lyrics go a little like this:

 “I asked him when it sank in
That this might really be the real end
How's it hit 'cha when you get that kind of news?
Man, what'd ya do?
And he said

I went skydiving
I went rocky mountain climbing
I went two point seven seconds on a bull named Fu Man Chu
And I loved deeper
And I spoke sweeter
And I gave forgiveness I'd been denyin'

Why am I quoting a country song for today’s liturgy?
Our readings today are all about living, not just surviving
In our first reading, Elijah seems to be absolutely down and out
He’s traveled far in the desert, and he’s feeling defeated
While Elijah just wants to give up
God wont let him
God sends an angel twice to provide nourishment for Elijah
As soon as Elijah remembers that he was sent on mission by God and that God will sustain him,
He walks 40 days and 40 nights to the Mount Horeb
In our Second reading, Saint Paul is addressing a community of Ephesians about issues that pop up in community
They’ve been lamenting amongst themselves
They’ve been hiding scared of their persecutors
In fact, they’ve gotten on each other’s nerves it would seem
Does this sound like family life?
Saint Paul urges them to live compassionately
To forgive as Christ forgives
And to love as Christ loves
How does Christ love?
Through always being about the other
By putting His life on the line for us

My friends, if we are luke-warm with our faith
If we are simply living comfortably
What good is that?
Jesus Christ challenges us to live intentionally
Why is it sometimes that the only time we live intentionally…
… the only time we choose to thrive instead of survive…
Is when life throws up a roadblock?
I think that the people we admire the most in this world are the ones who make an intentional decision to put their all into what they are doing
Athletes, Actors, Singers, Writers, Family members, Friends, etc.
Jesus calls us to be those people for the world
To love as He loved, fuller & sweeter (as Tim McGraw would put it)
And when we come here to praise God for the very gift of our life, that we put our whole being – heart & soul into what we do here
Life becomes much more beautiful that way

Your soul becomes much beautiful that way