Appleton, WI

October 31 Homily Connect

Diving Into Our Vision: Worship – Hearts United Along the Way

Scripture: Dt 6:2-6 Heb 7:23-28 Mk 12:28b-34

A Fr. Henri Nouwen Story

A little boy was watching a sculptor at work. For weeks, this sculptor kept chipping away at a big block of marble. After a few weeks, he created a beautiful marble lion. The little boy was amazed and said, “Mister, how did you know that there was a lion in that rock?”
Father Nouwen goes on to say: Long before the sculptor knows the marble, he has to know the lion. He has to know the lion “by heart” to see him in the rock. The secret of the sculptor is that what he knows “by heart”, he can recognize in the marble. When he knows an angel by heart he’ll see an angel in the marble, when he knows a demon by heart he will see a demon in the marble, and when he knows God by heart he will see God in the marble. The great question for the sculptor therefore is, “Who do you know by heart?”

Worship – The Last of our “Diving Into Our Mission” Series

  • Let’s reflect on the place of worship in our lives – We all worship someone or something
  • First Commandment received by Moses reminded Israelite(and me) not to worship idols
  • To what or whom do we give the first place in our heart?
  • Some chose to worship possessions, power or popularity and will disappoint
  • We cannot take them when we stand before the Lord
  • We stand before him with nothing in our hands-only with what is in our hearts matters

Our Jewish Brothers & Sisters

  • As soon as they can speak and understand, they are taught the Shema
  • The Shema in Hebrew and English means Hear, O Israel.
  • Shema, the first and greatest commandment. The Lord is our God, the Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength.

Worship Is…

  • Placing the Lord God into our hearts and acknowledging God as the creator of everyone
  • Remembering that God is God and you and I are not
  • A constant awareness of the presence of God around us
  • About building a greater capacity for the Lord in our hearts –
  • Waking up each day with a grateful heart
  • Retires each night grateful for the day and with sorrow for the ways we messed up
  • About being all in for the Lord – Acknowledging the Lord with our whole heart, soul and strength

The Israelites

  • Would write the Shema on parchment paper, roll it and place in a phylactery and bind it to their wrist or forehead
  • Would also place Shema parchment in mezuzah and affix to doorpost in their home
  • Would Place their hand on mezuzah when the left home and when they returned

Always Remember

  • To love the Lord with all that is in you and to give praise for His abiding presence
  • To share your life with the Lord not just on the Lord’s Day, but everyday

The Prophet Jeremiah Suggests

  • Writing the commandment to love on parchment is not enough
  • Writing to love on your heart would be better

Jesus and Love

  • Reminded the scribe that love of God flows into love of neighbor
  • You cannot say you love God and turn your back on your neighbor
  • You cannot say you love God and fail to love yourself
  • Is self-love selfishness? No. Jesus says love your neighbor as yourself
  • You and I are beloved of God – God delights in you and me. God doesn’t make junk!

In Conclusion, Worship Is..

  • Placing the Lord in your hearts and always delighting in his presence
  • Never taking for granted the Lord’s blessings
  • Always turned on in our whole selves and kept on high
  • What is the state of your worship thermometer?

Questions for Reflection

  • What impacted you from the readings/homily?
  • What might be an idol in your life?
  • What did you think of the image of standing before God one day with nothing but what is in your heart?
  • Are you able to keep an awareness of God presence in your life 24/7? If so, how?
  • ow do you understand loving yourself and loving others as worshiping God?

Live Connected:  Discover a way to keep God on your mind and in your heart 24/7 until the Lord is written on your heart.