Homily: October 2, 2016
October 2, 2016, YEAR C; Rev. Phil Boelter We have an interesting phrase plopped down
into the middle of our gospel reading this morning.
“All things have been given to me by my Father.”
What’s going on here?
Does Jesus have a megalomaniac’s brain
where everything revolves around him?
Is Jesus delusional?
This is one of the favorite accusations of Jesus enemies
In the gospels-
“Aw-all that stuff he’s spouting off
About God being his Father,
that’s just crazy talk!”
Or is there something else going on here?
Jesus appears to be just a humble carpenter,
From a backwoods small town
On the edge of nowhere.
Is there more to see?
Jesus himself says that the truth about himself
And the truth about us
And the truth about life itself,
Is hidden away
From the wise and the intelligent
And the big shots.
Divinity shines through,
the small, the infants,
the poor and helpless.
This scripture was one of St Francis of Assisi’s favorite passages….
And given his life experience,
We can readily understand why.
He started out his life
As the rich noble son of an Italian cloth merchant.
Young Francis wore the finest clothes,
Ate the finest foods,
And had the brightest future
As a son of the privileged class.
But one day God called him,
Spoke to him.
We don’t know much about what God said to Francis.
He never spoke of his own conversion much.
But that experience was like a big bang at the center of Francis’s universe.
From out of nowhere,
Everyone around could see that SOMETHING
had happened to young Francis,
perhaps no one
least of all Francis himself
understood fully what God was up to.
The effects of Francis’s conversion were pretty immediate and startling.
Francis stripped off his fine clothes-
The linens and silks and finery
for which his father was famous.
He bundled them up-
And walked naked down the street-
Naked as the day he was born,
Carrying the bundle of rich brocade and silks before him.
From that point on-
Francis became a wandering beggar,
an itinerant preacher-
Always speaking about God’s love and concern
To all God’s creatures
From the greatest rulers,
Princes and kings and the Pope himself
To the tiniest sparrow in the hand.
This is the source
Of our blessing of the animals ceremony.
When Francis wrote the words to our first hymn:
All creatures of our God and King-
He meant ALL creatures…
From the tiniest ant to the biggest elephant,
From the lowliest beggar to the highest in the land,
all are called into the same circle of God’s love.
It sounds a little crazy-
and it looks even crazier-
But it’s the same message Jesus prayed over in our gospel this morning-
are all in the divine Hand.
What a freeing thought-
Jesus had everything he needed in this life-
Because he was God’s.
The same was true for Francis-
He learned by knowing God
The high value God placed on every living thing that God created-
And knowing this value
Francis could let go of all the details-
The post it notes,
The credit cards,
The fine clothes and cars and homes,
And live life as it came to him.
Can we do the same?
When we bring our animals for a blessing
we are openly acknowledging that
all things belong to God-
Yes these creatures great and small-
Not just them but everything-
Really comes from God and returns to God.
And acting upon that knowledge
Allows us to live more freely, fully, joyfully.
With gratitude for the all things which have been given to us by God
We can feel free to share them with others.
Let the blessing continue!