Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Homily - Faculty Curriculum Day at AMHS (March 21st)

Genesis 37:3-4,12-13a,17b-28a
Matthew 21:33-43,45-46
Come on, admit it.  You fear rejection?
Rejection is such a painful human emotion. 
When we are rejected, we tend to turn our focus on ourselves instead of keeping our focus on others and on Christ.
When we are rejected, we tend to wallow in self-pity and despair.
Catholic writer Henri Nouwen says, “Over the years, I have come to realize that the greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity, or power, but self-rejection. As soon as someone accuses me or criticizes me, as soon as I am rejected, left alone, or abandoned, I find myself thinking, "Well, that proves once again that I am a nobody." ... [My dark side says,] I am no good... I deserve to be pushed aside, forgotten, rejected, and abandoned. Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the ‘Beloved.’” Nouwen says, “Being the ‘Beloved’ constitutes the core truth of our existence.” 
Watch what Jesus is teaching here today.  Watch what the amazing Joseph is doing here today.
Through rejection, Christ will change the world forever. 
“The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.”  
Through rejection, Joseph will find a special place of honor in this world.
In today’s first reading, we find Joseph rejected by his brothers because he’s so beloved by his father. 
Jealousy usually leads to rejection.
As educators, people are jealous of you, too.
Why are people jealous?  Because I believe all good teachers wear the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat that Joseph wore.

You put on that Dreamcoat every day and get busy molding young minds to understand the wisdom you have to depart.
That is an amazing gift and we are blessed to have good educators in our world. 
Yet, despite all of your hard work, aren’t you rejected from time to time?  By kids?  By parents? 
You set the bar high for educational performance and behavior.  But not everyone appreciates this.  So, you face rejection.
But remember, rejection can lead to glory if you keep Christ in your heart.
In the story of Joseph, we see the young boy thrown into cistern before eventually being sold into slavery by his brothers for twenty pieces of silver.
But that’s not the whole story. 
Eventually, Joseph will become a famous prophet to an Egyptian Pharaoh and will predict a huge famine.  For readying Egypt for such a disaster, Joseph will be treated as royalty for the rest of his life, and will save his family from perishing from starvation.
In Matthew’s Gospel, we are in Jesus’ final days. 
He’s teaching in the temple. 
Jesus is wearing the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and his students are the chief priests and the elders.  Of course, they don’t take too kindly to someone “teaching” them about their faith.  They are jealous of Jesus for turning their own words against them.
They along with the Pharisees reject Jesus and his teachings because in their hearts they are convicted by the story Jesus tells. 
Jesus knows he will be rejected.  Jesus knows of his fate.  Jesus knows he’s the heir to the Kingdom and for this truth, jealousy will lead to rejection.  Rejection will lead to crucifixion.
But we know the rest of this amazing story. 
Because rejection and crucifixion will lead to resurrection and the doors of the Kingdom will be open to those who follow Christ.
He will take the Kingdom of God away from evil and cunning men and hand it to a dozen simple fishermen, sinners and a reviled tax collector who will ”produce its fruit;” fruit that’s nourished our faith for nearly two thousand years.
When we the followers of Christ are rejected, we too step into the resurrection story.  When we the followers of Christ are rejected, we too can persevere and transcend difficult situations.
With Christ in our hearts and acting in love always, we too, have the capacity to come into the glory of God’s Kingdom here on earth.
So, let me ask again.  Do you fear rejection? 
Or does rejection motivate you to love more, forgive more, be Christ more to the people around you?
For all those who wear the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, thank you for your incredible ministry in our community.  May God’s abundant blessings be on your ministries.  Now and forever.  Amen.


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