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September 27th - Self-Reflection

September 27th, 2015

There’s a story about Abraham Lincoln right after he was elected president.
He decided that it was important for him to go visit a hospital with wounded soldiers
He always enjoyed being with the people, to let them know he was there to support them.
No one was so unimportant to him.
Now you have to remember, Lincoln lived in the 1800s where pictures and communications were very slow in coming
So not many people really knew what he looked like at this time
So he makes his way into the hospital
And immediately he hears someone running down the hallway
Before he could react, a young man collides with Lincoln and sends him sprawling to the ground.
The young man, looking down at Lincoln says: “get out of my way you tall lanky stiff”
Lincon, standing up and brushing himself off says: “What’s really troubling you inside, son.”

My friends, our readings this weekend are about being too caught up in ourselves
In the letter of St. James, he speaks about the destruction people can cause if their sole focus is on material wealth.
Wealth does not satisfy, it just leaves the wealth-seeker wanting more
And in wanting more, he or she does so at the expense of others
Others become a means to an end
In the Gospel, Jesus responds to his disciples being too full of themselves
Their thought is that unless someone is physically following Jesus, they’re the only ones who can speak or act in his name
Jesus’s response? “Whoever is not against us is for us”
But he doesn’t leave it at that.
He talks about the things that corrupt the human heart
Here, Jesus is speaking in hyperbole – extreme exaggeration to get across his point
He asks his disciples to remove the things from their lives that causes them to sin
In a sense, they are called by the Lord to empty themselves of sin and fill themselves with the Lord.

What does this look like today?
If you’ve paid attention to the news at all this week, it has been mostly about Pope Francis
He has brought so much excitement to this country that is often bombarded with pessimism and negativity
His very presence has brought tears to the eyes of so many people
Because of the message he carries and who he represents to the world.
If you could imagine, there’s a huge burden to being the Pope
And for Pope Francis, it could be so easy for him to make his papacy about himself
But the world loves him so much because he lives authentically
He stays true to the teachings of Christ and lives by them
To many people, the teachings of Christ seem like so much of a burden
But for the Pope, he embraces them
And shows us the joy he has in following Christ
It is enough to inspire millions of people on his short 6-day visit to the U.S.

When it comes to sin, there is a lie that is told within our hearts
“This is all about me”
And we begin to see the world with tunnel-vision
We distort the way we see the world to see how the world can serve us
But as I said it before, it always leaves us wanting
And we are never satisfied
And even more so, it leaves a path of destruction behind us – often hurting others

Brothers and sisters, I urge you today to make your prayer a prayer of self-reflection
Almost like a giant mirror
As a society, we hate to be alone with our own thoughts, with ourselves because we’re afraid of what we might find
But this is a lie that sin often tells us
If you’ve learned anything from the Pope’s visit, let it be this
And this is a quote from Mother Teresa, but I think it summarizes what the Pope’s visit has been all about:

“You hurt yourself when you fail to be true to the faith you have freely professed. But you will find true peace of soul if you do what you already know you have to do.”