As always, those who attend daily Mass at St. Matthias are treated to a fabulous homily whenever Fr. Dan Murphy celebrates Mass with us and today was no exception. Please enjoy his comforting and uplifting words:
“You are my beloved son. With you I am well pleased."
Today, most commercial airplanes rely on a radio beam. A directional beam is sent out to guide the airplane to its destination. As long as the pilot keeps on this beam, he knows he’s safe. He's safe even if he has to go thru fog and clouds in the darkest night. As soon as the airplane gets off the beam there’s great danger.
We see that Jesus had a beam that kept him safe and on the right course. After he had received the baptism of John, three things happened to Jesus: The skies opened: The Spirit descended in the form of a dove; And a voice from heaven was heard.
Throughout the gospel, we notice that Jesus has to take time out to pray. There may be people who need to be cured; the apostles may need to be taught, Jesus himself may need to sleep and rest. But all these necessary things, all these good things will have to wait because Jesus needs to get back on the beam, Jesus needs to pray.
If prayer was so necessary for Jesus, how much more necessary is it for me and for you? We can see ourselves going off the beam when we start to notice that we’re afraid; afraid of the future, afraid of the unknown, afraid for our health; afraid of being afraid.
We start going off the beam when we stop praying. Maybe your prayers aren’t being answered the way you think they should. Maybe you just don't have a taste of prayer or you find yourself in a period of dryness when God seems far, far away.
In all these situations, you need to get quickly back on the beam by quietly dedicating some time to God, if only 10 minutes a day. Let God's presence find your soul. Let God's love and intelligence take over; give God a chance to keep the promise he made in Psalm 46: "Be still and know that I am God". You’ll know you’re back on the beam when daily prayer is as much a part of your life as eating, breathing or sleeping.
What happened for Jesus at prayer will happen for you. First the skies opened. As you become more faithful to prayer, you can expect the skies to open and let more sunshine into your life and those around you. You’ll surprise yourself when you notice that you’re more optimistic and hopeful than you used to be. The second thing that happened to Jesus will also happen to you. The Holy Spirit descended on him. You’ll have a power within you to face and conquer the challenges of life. You’ll also encourage your neighbors and friends to trust in God's power. This is the action of the Spirit in your life and it happens when you’re a person of prayer.
Finally, for Jesus, the voice was heard: “You are my beloved son. With you I am well pleased!” Jesus needed to hear that encouraging voice often. And so do you. There are so many forces within and without that try to tear you down, to make you believe that you don’t count. The psychologists are unanimous in stating that most of the crimes committed in America are not because people have too high an opinion of themselves, but exactly the opposite; they’re due to a very low self-esteem.
When you and I were baptized, many years ago, it was announced to us, our families and the world that we are children of God. If we were baptized as little babies, we were told before we could even understand it, that we were very special in the eyes of God. That’s still true. I, for one, need to hear those special words every day. How about you?
“You are my beloved son; my beloved daughter.
With you I am well pleased."