06 July 2010

Homily for Trinity 5

What's a preacher to do when a major societal holiday, such as the 4th of July, or Independence Day (U.S.), falls on a Sunday, the Lord's Day? It's always a conundrum because our people in the pews are most certainly thinking about and participating in the societal holiday, and fittingly so, and yet the conscientious preacher needs to focus on what God says and let the Church's sense of time remain paramount.

Such was the case this past Sunday. The Gospel reading for the Fifth Sunday after Trinity, Luke 5:1-11, gave us Jesus teaching from the boat and giving Peter and company a great catch of fish. It gave us Peter confessing his sinful state and Jesus absolving him with the words, "Do not be afraid." It also gave us Jesus calling Peter to his new vocation of "catching men alive," that is, proclaiming the Gospel and thus rescuing people from the "sea" of their sin and death by bringing them into the boat of the Church.

And yet Independence Day was also predominantly on the minds of the hearers!

What's a preacher to do? Stay faithful to the text (I hope) and yet give recognition that it is a big day in the life of our people (and, yes, in the life of the preacher as well).

So for Sunday's homily I tried to maintain this balance: preach the text and apply it to the context in which my hearer's found themselves. It was also a great opportunity to touch on the Christian understanding of "vocation," especially as citizens in our nation. Since "freedom" and "independence" were obviously on the minds of my hearers, I used the title "Real Freedom Where God Has Called You" to proclaim the freedom of Jesus' Absolution and how that freedom leads us into our vocation as citizens.

To listen to the audio file of Sunday's homily, click this link, download the audio file, and listen away.

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