Today's guest blogger is Deacon Jeremy Merzweiler. He is a member of St. Sebastian and was ordained to the transitional deaconate two weekends ago with an eye toward being ordained a priest. This is his first homily as a deacon and he has given permission for it to be printed on Adam's Ale. Please keep him in your prayers!
Homily 10/26/14 – Priesthood Sunday
Are you made for the marble?
By itself, this question does not make sense.
Yet, for years I have asked myself this question. Am I made for the marble?
See, during my time at the seminary, as I served Mass and different liturgies throughout the years, I would always glance at the sanctuary floor and see the marble floor and ask myself, am I made for the marble?
Why the connection to the marble? What does the marble signify?
If you have ever been to St. John the Evangelist Cathedral in Cleveland and have seen the sanctuary floor, it is made out of marble.
It is in this place where ordinations occur; it is in this place where seminarians lay down their lives on the marble and give of themselves fully to the Church, for the people of God, for all of you.
Therefore, to be made for the marble is to be made for others!
In fact, just this morning, 3 seminarians and I during the diaconate ordination Mass, literally laid down our lives and laid prostrate on the marble floor as the Church prayed for us by singing the litany of the saints.
In laying down our lives on the sanctuary floor, we are laying down everything, our whole lives.
This ‘laying down of our lives’ is at the heart of a priestly vocation and any vocation for that matter. Yet, we don’t lay our lives down for some thing, or some job, or some amount of money, but rather, we lay down our lives for some one. And who you want to lay down your life for will form who you want to be.
This is really what today’s Gospel is all about. When a Pharisee asks Jesus which commandment in the law is the greatest, he responds:
"You shall love the Lord, your God,
with all your heart,
with all your soul,
And….You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments."
In this, Christ makes love the greatest commandment.
Yet, this type of love requires everything, your whole heart, soul and mind, everything needs to be laid down for God and for others!
For it is Christ, who in John 15, before he enters into his own passion, says to his disciples that there is no greater love than to lay down your life for a friend.
From all of this, we can say that all of us are made for the marble. All of us are called by Christ to give our whole heart, mind and soul to others in love.
Throughout the diocese this weekend we celebrate priesthood Sunday, in which we are called to challenge those pondering the call to priesthood to consider it and to check it out.
Basically, the message is that it is important to do something about the stirrings within your heart. If you are thinking about priesthood, come talk to me, Fr. Rosing, Fr. Elbert or give the vocation director a call.
It is extremely important to not ignore what is going on inside, to not ignore what you are being called to do.
One person who understands this is Lebron James. Since this last July, much hype and intensity has been centered around Lebron’s coming home. In fact, the Cav’s regular season begins in just a few days.
In his Sports Illustrated Letter in July, Lebron writes:
“I feel my calling here goes above basketball. I have a responsibility to lead in more ways than one, and I take that very seriously. My presence can make a difference in Miami, but I think it can mean more where I’m from."
When it comes to vocations, to living out the vocation we are called to live, like Lebron who could make a difference in Miami, we too could make a difference doing what we want to in life.
Yet, I believe it can mean more when we lay our wants and desires down and be open to what God wants and desires for us in our lives.
The lie that often comes with this is that God’s wants and desires are somehow against what we want and desire. In fact, the opposite is true. What God wants and desires for us is in fact the way that will mean more for us in life, it will be the way that will lead us to true happiness and joy.
Therefore, be open to what God wants and desires for your life. Do not be afraid of the stirrings of your heart. Even though Jesus wants you to love with everything you have, do not live in fear, but instead give him your whole heart, your whole mind, and your whole soul.
And when you do this, not only can you say that you are made for the marble…
you can say that you are made for the Lord…
made for others….
made for love!