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2018-09-02 Homily. Fr. François Beyrouti. "What's Up"

Sunday, September 2, 2018. "What's Up." Homily by Father François Beyrouti.

15th Sunday After Pentecost
Epistle 2 Cor 4:6-15 (15th Sun. after Pentecost)
A Reading from the Second Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians
Brethren, God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, has shone in our hearts, to give enlightenment concerning the knowledge of God's glory, shining in Christ Jesus' face. But we carry this treasure in vessels of clay, to show that its superabundant power is God's, and not ours. In all things we suffer tribulation but we are not distressed, we are sorely pressed but we are not destitute, we endure persecution but we are not forsaken, we are cast down but we do not perish: always carrying around in our body the dying of Jesus, so that the life also of Jesus may be made manifest in our bodily frame. For we, the living, are constantly being handed over to death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus may be made manifest in our mortal flesh. Thus death is at work in us, but life in you. But since we have the same spirit of faith, as shown in that which is written, I believed, and so I spoke, (Ps. 115:1) we also believed, wherefore we also speak. For we know that the One Who raised up the Lord Jesus will raise us up also together with Jesus, and will place us with you. For all things are for your sakes, so that the grace that abounds through the many may cause thanksgiving to abound for God's glory.

Gospel: 15th Sunday of Pentecost, Matthew 22: 35-46 (The Greatest Commandment)
The Holy Gospel According to St. Matthew The Evangelist
At that time one of the doctors of the Law, putting Jesus to the test, asked him, “Master, which is the great commandment in the Law?” Jesus said to him, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. And the second is like it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus questioned them, saying, “What do you think of the Christ? Whose son is he?” They said to him, “David’s.” He said to them, “How then does David in the Spirit call him Lord, saying, ‘The Lord said to my Lord: Sit thou at my right hand till I make thy enemies thy footstool?’ If David, therefore, calls him Lord, how is he his son?” And no one could answer him a word; neither did anyone dare from that day forth to ask him any more questions.

Good morning everyone or as some people say “What’s up?”
There are different ways of saying “What’s up?” and the meaning changes depending on how you say it. For example, “It’s good to see you. How are you doing?” is “What’s up?” But “What do you want?” is “What’s up?”

When I go into a store, unfortunately I most often get the rolled eyed “What’s up?” Which means “It’s not really that good to see you, unfortunately you probably have a question or want something, I am even more unfortunate to have to work at this place, and since you’re here, I have to deal with you, so “What’s up?”

Unlike the shaky head “What’s up?” attitude that most people may give us, God on the other hand is always asking us “What’s up?” and always means “It’s so good to see you. How are you doing?” God’s “what’s up?” is not a formality. God really wants to know “what’s up in our lives.”

Some people think God is too busy for us and is not really interested in what happens to us during the week. Sunday is so important because it is the first day of creation that begins our week with God and it is also the last day of the week where we gather to give thanks for our past week. This reminds us that God is with us every day. God is always asking us “What’s up?” because He wants to know what we’re doing, but more important, how we are doing.

Prayer is an honest conversation with God. It is important to have this daily conversation because we often think God is far away, whereas, He’s always right there. Regardless of how young or old we are, we easily develop a negative view of ourselves, of others, and God, that we can correct by sitting in silence and listening to what God wants to tell us.

One of my favorite recent songs is called “You Say” by Lauren Daigle. A section of the song goes like this:
“You say I am loved when I can't feel a thing
You say I am strong when I think I am weak
And You say I am held when I am falling short
And when I don't belong, oh You say that I am Yours
And I believe, oh I believe
What You say of me

The only thing that matters now is everything You think of me
In You I find my worth, in You I find my identity.”

We always want to live with the pure image that God has of us rather than carrying the burden of what others or we believe of ourselves. It is specifically when we have hardships in life that we need to turn to God.

Today’s letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians reminds us that when we recognize God is with us and for us the trials are manageable. Saint Paul says: “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; [9] persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; [10] always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies” (2 Corinthians 4:8-10).

How is this possible? When God says “what’s up?” we can be fully honest with Him in prayer:
“You say I am loved when I can't feel a thing
You say I am strong when I think I am weak.”

“The only thing that matters now is everything You think of me
In You I find my worth, in You I find my identity.”

This “What’s up?” that God asks is not just meant for us to feel good about ourselves, but is actually the starting point of how we need to see others. If we have a bad self-worth, then our view of others is cloudy and if we hate ourselves, how can we love God who created us?

That is why in today’s Gospel Jesus summarizes the Bible’s when he says: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. [38] This is the great and first commandment. [39] And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. [40] On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40).

When God says “What’s up?” He wants to know how we’re doing and what we’re doing, He also wants to know whether we care about how others are doing. Therefore, prayer also encourages us to ask those around us “What’s up?” in a genuine way. God corrects us when we develop an unhealthy view of ourselves and He calls us to mirror this in our relationship with others.

What negative view of themselves or of life do people you know have? Is there a way for you to show them how much you care and how much God loves them?

We discover the full joy and meaning of life when we hear God’s loving “What’s up?” every day and when we are able to extend a loving “What’s up?” to those who need to know we care.

Father François Beyrouti
Holy Cross Melkite Catholic Church
451 West Madison Avenue
Placentia, CA 92870-4537
Office: (714) 985-1710
My cell: (714) 914-1710
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