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“Why Are You Here?” Homily for the 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Kerygma is from the Greek words keryssein, to proclaim, and keryx, herald. It refers to the initial and essential proclamation of the gospel message – the core message of the Christian faith that all believers are called to proclaim. In his presentation “Are You a Catechist or an Evangelist?” (See video below) Detroit priest Father John Riccardo says that the Kerygma can be summarized with four questions:

  1. Why were we created?
  2. What went wrong?
  3. What was God’s solution?
  4. What is our response to that solution?

The first question, “Why were we created?“ deals with the Book of Genesis, the creation of the universe culminating in the creation of Adam and Eve.

The second, ”What went wrong?” deals with the fall of Lucifer or Satan and his angels, the fall of Adam and Eve, the banishment from The Garden and the entry of death in the world.

”What was God’s solution?” deals with the birth, life, death and resurrection of the Word Made Flesh, the God-Man Jesus Christ and the opening up of paradise to man and woman.

”What is our response to that solution?” deals with the question, “What is your response to that solution?”

 

Let’s go back to that first question, “Why were you created?” Why was anything created? Why is there something .. rather than nothing? Let’s look at the Book of Genesis, 1:16 – “God made two great lights–the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars as well.”

How many stars are in the universe that God “just happened to make?”

  • You can fit 960,000 earths in our very small sun,
  • Our sun is one of 100 billion stars in our galaxy
  • There are 100 billion galaxies in the universe each with 100 billion stars.

 

In the largest star you can fit 7 quadrillion earths. How big a a quadrillion?

  • A million seconds was 11.5 days ago
  • A billion seconds is 31 years ago
  • A trillion seconds is 29,000 BC
  • A quadrillion second, 31 million years ago

Let’s look at the first line from the First Reading today from the Book of Wisdom: “Before the LORD the whole universe is as a grain from a balance.” To get an idea on how big the universe is – and how small you are – consider this.. if every star in the universe is a grain of sand, the universe would be 5 miles wide – 5 miles long – and 5 miles high

And in the midst of all of that, God chose to make you.

Fr. Riccardo says, “God loves pandas – he loves you more. God loves sea lions – he loves you more. Only you were created in God’s image and likeness. You were created out of love – for relationship and friendship. You were created to feel what love feels like and to let others feel what love feels like.

God said, ‘It is GOOD that you exist. Therefore I want you to be.’

I want you to know my friendship, to know my love, to enjoy my creation, to be God-like and share in creating other beings and eventually to share fully in my abundant life for all time.

You don’t “happen to be.” “I want you to be.”

All of this stuff was created for you to enjoy. All this stuff was created so that you could experience what God’s love feels like. That’s why there’s “something” rather than “nothing.” That’s WHY stuff exists. That’s WHY you exist.

What is our response to that? Oblate Father Ronald Rolheiser writes:

It’s interesting to note that the word “Gospel” means “good news,” not “good advice.” The gospels are not so much a spiritual and moral theology book that tell us what we should be doing, but are more an account of what God has already done for us, is still doing for us, and the wonderful dignity that this bestows on us.

 Of course the idea is that since we are gifted in this way, our actions should reflect that dignity rather than what’s less lofty and more petty inside us.

Morality is not a command, it’s an invitation. It’s not a threat, but a reminder of who we truly are. We become taller and less petty when we remember what kind of family we ultimately come from, and the God of that family.

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