The 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time – The Homily
Gene Hammett is a writer, speaker, strategic coach and founder of LeadersintheTrenches.com. With over 250,000 people who have listened to his podcasts, read his articles or used his materials to create winning strategies, Gene is recognized as a top podcast for entrepreneurial leaders.
Mitchell Axelrod is founder of Axelrod & Associates, a business consulting firm, Axelrod Learning, a publisher of business and life skills training, workshops and materials. Mitch has presented more than 3,500 live seminars, workshops, lectures, keynotes, webinars and clinics on business, sales, marketing and life skills.
Mitch starts out by referencing Axiology (from Greek axiā meaning “value, worth” and logos meaning “study of”) which is the philosophical study of value.
- Are you where you think you ought to be in your life right now?
- Are you doing something that you actually value? In other words, is what you do really important to you (and not someone else)?
- Do you actually feel like you are being yourself in what you are currently doing? Are you doing what you were created to do? Are you doing what the things you were put on this earth to do?
Mitch has actually given names to these three questions.
Question #1 is about “Goals.” It is about what you do.
Question #2 is about “Roles.” It is about who you are.
Question #3 is about “Soul.” It is about why you are.
Some of the surprising data that Mitch has found is that, when asked Questions #1, 90% of the people answer, “no.” Mitch calls this “Goal Frustration.” When asked Questions #2, 70% of the people answer, “no.” this is called “Role Frustration.” When asked Questions #3, 60% of the people answer, “no.”
The shocker is that Mitch’s research has found out that 50% of the people say “no” to all three questions at the same time! Gene Hammett chimes in and says that this is insanity. “Why are you doing this year after year after year?
From a spiritual perspective, I would add another dimension to “Goal, Role and Soul.” I would add “woe.”
Gene and Mitch have said that people are on two pathways: either “transportation” or “transformation.” You are either simply going along in life (“transportation”) or you are on an intentional path to change your life for the better and keep it that way (“transformation”). This is where someone is who finds themselves stuck in “transportation” mode and cannot seem to break out into a “transformational” pathway. Gene and Mitch have dedicated their lives to helping people live their true life in congruence with who they really are and who they were born to be and reduce the amount of “woe” in people’s lives.
This is called “redemption.” Like we heard in today’s First Reading from Ezekiel, it’s about hearing a voice that says, I am the Lord! “O my people, I will open your graves and have you rise from them!”
It’s about hearing the voice of Jesus saying, “”Did I not tell you that if you believe you will see the glory of God?” Roll away the stone. And Jesus said, “Father, I have said this, that they may believe that you sent me.”
And when he had said this, He cried out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out… There are two messages to take away from this. First, from Ezekiel 37:12-14)
I will put my spirit in you that you may live, and I will settle you upon your land; thus you shall know that I am the LORD. I have promised, and I will do it, says the LORD
Second, from John 11:1-45 –
And when he had said this, He cried out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out… tied hand and foot with burial bands, and his face was wrapped in a cloth. So Jesus said to them, “Untie him and let him go.”.
Notice that Lazarus was touched by the words of the Lord. This is “redemption.” But Lazarus couldn’t walk or work or function fully – not yet. He had to be untied, by other people who wanted to help him get back to a better place. This is “transformation.” This takes time. It takes years to get to a place where you are tied up and in a dark place and feel that a stone has been rolled over your heart, your hopes, your dreams, your heart. Redemption and transformation might be immediate. Most of the time, that is not the case. It might also take years for the healing power of Christ to work through other people to help you in your “transformation.”
Let’s go back to Gene Hammett. On his website he writes:
I spent 10 years leading my own multi-million dollar company. I succeeded, failed, and then succeeded some more. I know that running a business is hard because I’ve been there! The problem with many of us is that we are too afraid to take that leap. We see obstacles in front of us as real, not realizing that they are just in our minds. We let our “inner critic” interfere and dictate our actions. Guess what? Your inner critic is an asshole.
Gene also admits something that is important – “I can’t give you bravery. It’s not what I sell. What I sell is the expertise and strategy needed so that your bravery is rewarded. But you don’t have to do it alone.”
This is where Christ comes in. Christ comes to you and says,
You are worth it!
I created your inmost being; you were knit by me in your mother’s womb. You are wonderfully made for you are one of God’s magnificent works and God’s workmanship is marvelous (Psalm 139:13-14)
You are worth it!
You are worth redemption!
You are worth dying on a cross –you!
Tonight, say that prayer to Christ. Come to him and ask for His help. Ask Christ to “roll away the stone” in your life – and set you free.
Audio version of the homily is here: