While in the seminary I studied the subject of Homiletics, the art of presenting a homily. For four semesters I was taught how to prepare a homily. We were shown how to create its content and what type of structure it should take. Knowing your audience and awareness of recent events should also be considered. The one thing our teachers never taught us is what should be in a homily itself, what we should preach on. Of course the homily should pertain to the scripture readings of the day, but what we are actually presenting was not up to our teachers or ourselves. What we were asked to do was to spend time with the scriptures and allow the Holy Spirit to guide us. The Holy Spirit should be the author. Because of this fact we were instructed not to look for praise or compliments after we have preached. We were told that there may be times when we are preaching that it seems no one is listening or even paying attention to what we were saying. On those days there may be a full Church but the Spirit, through us, may be speaking to only a few or one person on that day. To spread God’s message of love to just one person is just as important as it is to preach to many. On those days we were told not to lose hope, we are still doing God’s work.
This may happen to all of us when we try to do what we are all called to do, spreads God’s Word. It is very difficult in today’s world to do this. The pushback from society against anything that seems religious or spiritual is real. Just because it is hard to do does not relieve our responsibility to do it. In fact, the first reading today tells us that we were formed in the womb to prophesize to the Nations. We were made to prophesize. We were not only made but anointed at our Baptism to this vocation and sealed with it at our Confirmation. So, we should not lose heart at each rejection because the Holy Spirit is working inside us. The Spirit will give us the strength and the words of what we need to say at the time. Take any rejection as motivation because you are in good company with Christ himself. He who received the ultimate rejection beginning with his own friends and relatives. Remember there may be that one person out there who is waiting for you to bring them the Love that God offers us all. So, as we leave Mass today let us leave with joyful hearts and a resounding “Thanks be to God!” knowing we are on our way to do God’s work.
May Jesus live in our hearts forever.