11B – 16 June 2024

Small Stuff Matters

Message by: Fr Richard M Healey

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MP3 media (5pm)

In today’s homily, I reflect on the importance of laying solid foundations before delving into deeper subjects, drawing parallels to our spiritual journey. Inspired by the book of Ezekiel, I discuss the themes of growth, grace, and allowing God’s work to unfold within us. Ezekiel’s story of exile and hope serves as a powerful reminder that even in times of despair, God is at work, preparing us for renewal. I encourage you to open your hearts, embrace God’s subtle work, and invite others into the kingdom, fostering joy and goodness in our community.

(00:00:00) – When you are learning something new, it can be a very frustrating kind of experience because so much of what we need to know requires solid foundations to be first established. And you can think, hang on, what does this even got to do with the thing that I’m studying? I’ve actually begun reading and studying the Book of Ezekiel at the moment, and even though I’m several lectures in, we still haven’t even touched the book itself, because the lecturer is saying, well, first we need to paint the picture. First we need to lay the foundations. And my work this week at the Marriage Tribunal: there’s been lots of times where it was simply establishing the state of play, what the social situation is with marriage and divorce and relationships and and all those things before we can actually get to the heart of how do we look at a marriage, how do we work out what is is going on here. And we know that that’s the case in our lives, that there are these times when we need to just let that work happen.

(00:01:14) – Deep in the depths of who we are, there’s no frantic kind of activity. There’s no sort of being able to measure things, no being able to to determine. Yes. You know, I think I’m on target here. I think I’m achieving all of my key performance indicators. Sometimes there is this deep work that isn’t about a whole lot of frantic activity. It’s this work of grace that’s much more subtle, much more silent, much more hidden. And yet that’s also crucial in our work. You know, when Ezekiel goes off into exile, he’s in the first batch of those that when Babylon conquered the southern kingdom of Judah in the year 597, a lot of the leadership was taken off. And Ezekiel was still a relatively young man at that stage. He’s mid-twenties and he goes and sits there, by the banks of this irrigation canal outside of the city, where the refugee camp had been established. And he’s just pondering, wondering what on earth is this going to be? He wanted to be a priest.

(00:02:32) – He was studying to be a priest. And as he begins to write his work, he’s just turned 30, which is the age of ordination, the age when he would have been established as a priest back in the temple. But he’s now nowhere near the city, nowhere near the temple that’s still existing at this point. But it will be destroyed in just a few short years time in 587. And so at this point, he’s so kind of overwhelmed by what hasn’t come to fruition in his life. All of the things that might have been and all that hasn’t yet happened. And he sees just that there is this, this one little chance that Israel still has to be able to turn away from this in one small possibility, that they will be able to so sufficiently repent and turn away from their sin, that the impending doom that he knows is almost inevitable might be averted. They don’t, and it doesn’t. And so the city is utterly and completely destroyed. And the temple that Solomon had built, this wonderful one of the great signs of the ancient world, the wonders of the ancient world, was utterly ruined.

(00:03:53) – But this hope that it is there, that there might be this growth. There might be this spring, there might be this plant that grows up to provide shelter for the trees of the world, because that’s what Israel was meant to be, this place where other people could come and to worship, come and see the wonders of God. The growth isn’t just about what we can achieve for ourselves. It’s always in service of the others. That this work that the Lord is wanting to do in us is always for others, for the sake of others, for others to be able to find their life in the kingdom. And so for us, we need to sometimes just let that work happen to make sure that everything that is there, everything that is necessary, has been put in place, that we’ve done that work of preparing ourselves or forming our hearts, of getting rid of the sin of of allowing the Lord to to water us, to fertilise us, to provide us with the necessity, the things that are there in order that growth might happen.

(00:04:58) – But sometimes then it. It’s just letting go and allowing God to do that wonderful work of bringing forth that growth within us. So much is happening in these parables of reminding us that God is the one who’s ultimately inviting us into this kingdom, inviting us into this freedom, inviting us into this place where we can let the work of God come to fruition. And so let’s indeed be those people that let that love, let that goodness, let that grace slowly do its work. Let’s allow God just to bring that new life to birth within us so that we can be surprised. We can be delighted, we can find joy and wonder in that. But then we can allow others to also find space within the shoulder of the branches of God’s kingdom, to find that life and that goodness themselves.

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