Thursday, April 30, 2015

Homily for 1 May 2015

1 May 2015
[Scripture Readings:  Acts 13:26-33; John 14:1-6]

Jesus just doesn’t fit.  He’s out of place.  The Apostles proclaimed the gospel of Christ in the context of prophecy.  Jesus was the fulfillment of the prophecies that a Messiah would come.  And even Jesus proclaims himself in the context of something; the context of faith.  He says, “You have faith in God; have faith also in me.”  In the contexts of prophecy and faith, Jesus makes sense.  That’s where he fits.  But today . . . Jesus just doesn’t fit.  He’s out of place.

For us who grew up hearing the stories of the Old Testament, Jesus fits.  For us who have a living faith in God, Jesus fits.  He makes sense to us.  Even if we don’t understand and grasp fully what it is he’s trying to teach us, at least he fits into our lives somehow. 

The proclamation of the gospel is an answer.  That’s what Jesus is: he’s an answer.  He’s the definitive answer to the questions of prophecy and faith.  But what about all our neighbors, our friends and family members who’ve fallen away, who really couldn’t care less about the big questions of life: the question of prophecy and where humanity is going, and the question of faith and what’s it all about.  What about them?  Well, Jesus isn’t an answer to anything for them.  He doesn’t fit in their lives. 

And that’s something significant to consider when we try to evangelize others.  If people aren’t asking the big life questions to which Jesus is the answer, Jesus is meaningless to them.  The gospel has no weight, no importance.  He doesn’t fit.  He’s out of place.  The gospel is not a free-floating proposition, like a leaf in the wind just happening to fall where it falls.  No, the gospel makes sense only in the context of those big questions of life: the question of prophecy (that is, the question of what it means to be human) and the question of faith.

And so, before we speak the name of Jesus to others, it’s important to hear what questions in life they are asking.  The proclamation of the gospel begins with listening.  And when we listen to the lives and stories of others, then maybe we can introduce Jesus to them in a way that fits those questions in life they’re asking. 

But, until then—until we know what questions people are asking, Jesus won’t be an answer to anything.  He won’t fit.  He won't mean anything to them.    

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