Audio Sermons

15th Sunday in Ordinary Time

    We all have a lot of stuff. We have more of just about everything than
    people used to have in the past. We have more rooms in our houses and more
    furniture, more books, more games, more telephones , more electronic devices,
    more utensils and devices in our kitchens and more clothes and shoes in our
    closet, more recreational and leisure equipment, more pictures on our walls,
    and on and on. Simply put, we have more stuff than people used to have even a
    generation or two ago.
    Not only that, we have so many more ways of distracting ourselves, more
    activities whatever our age might be, and more time to do it than ever before
    too. We have so many places we can go, to amuse and entertain ourselves and
    if we don’t want to go anywhere we can go everywhere online and shop there,
    make friends there, and lead a virtual life there too. There are hundreds of
    television channels we can watch and many of them we can watch wherever we
    are even as we travel which is easier and more commonplace than it ever has
    been in history.
    We have so much and it has made our lives very different. In some ways
    better, for sure, and in other ways, things are not better. But one thing is for
    sure, all this stuff and all this constant activity comes with a danger. It can
    choke a person’s faith life. It really can. Jesus referred to this in the parable
    about the man who sowed seed and why it doesn’t all grow. Some seed, Jesus
    said, fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it. In his later

    explanation to the apostles he said that the seed that fell among thorns is the
    one who hears the word but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke
    the word and it bears no fruit.
    There are a couple of things to learn from this. One is that the action of
    choking the seed and keeping it from growing is not a sudden thing. It happens
    bit by bit. And it’s true. Very often, when people quit the practice of their faith
    it is not a sudden thing but something that happens a little bit at a time. The
    other thing to learn from this is how and why that happens. It happens because
    people begin to believe and say to themselves, “The good things are over here,
    where the stuff and the activity and the action are. There isn’t much over there
    where the faith life is. I’m better off over here.” At that point the thorns have
    won. They are keeping someone from seeing the good stuff, the really good
    stuff, that comes from hearing the word of God and receiving it into your life as
    faith.
    And what is the good stuff? To start with, there is companionship and
    friendship with Jesus Christ? It means that you are never all on your own. The
    good stuff is that he is with you to strengthen you, console you, heal you, listen
    to you, carry you, nourish you, lead you, bless you, and feed you. You get to go
    through life as a friend of the Son of God who loves you enough to die for you.
    How about that for good stuff?
    How about this too? You get to start over again whenever you need to and
    who doesn’t need that. Giving Jesus your sins is not a guilt trip. It’s the
    ultimate reset that is there for each of us. And everyone needs a reset, a fresh

    start, a new beginning or whatever you want to call it. I don’t know where you
    buy that but I do know that with faith in God there can always be one.
    Here’s another good thing. I don’t have to figure everything out myself. God
    has already done that for me. When God says not to do something because bad
    things will follow I can trust that that will always be true, every single time, yes
    it will. So the person with the word of God growing in him or her doesn’t waste
    time being hurt and injured or trying to repair hurts and injuries. When you
    love God above all things and your neighbor as yourself, that is a good way to go
    through life. You enjoy it a whole lot more because your relationship to others;
    spouse, parents, sibling, friends, coworkers and even strangers will be healthier
    and more fruitful.
    How about one more good thing that comes from receiving and keeping the
    word of God? How about this? You know how to define yourself. You know
    who you are at your most fundamental level, who you are at your core. You are
    a disciple of Jesus Christ, someone who belongs to God. At whatever point in
    life you are and whatever may be happening in the world or in your life, you
    know precisely who you are. You could lose your job and everything you have
    and you would still know who you are. You are a Christian, claimed by the Son
    of God by the blood he shed for you.
    And the good thing about this good stuff is, if you want it, it will always be
    yours to keep.