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Homily for October 15, 2020

The message of the Bible: God Loves You. Over and over again, Jesus sought to remind us that God loves us. If we are sinners, God loves us by forgiving us. If we are on the peripheries, God loves us by spending time with us. If we feel alone, God loves us by reminding us we are always in the presence of God. Today we celebrate Saint Teresa of Avila, whose life demonstrated the power of opening us to this loving God.

External Action must come from internal conversion

Sometimes we can draw conclusions about people based only upon external actions. And while part of this is normal, if we give it a little reflection, we often realize that making such a judgement on scant evidence means that we do not know much about a person. A focus on only the externals can cause us to miss the fundamental dignity of the internals. We know a person is more than what they do. In our lives of faith, we too must find ourselves concerned not only with what we do, but also with who we are. Our external actions must be motivated by the way we find ourselves driven by internal conversion.

Love in the heart of the church

Life is pretty hard. Most people, probably all, have moments of difficulty. A loved one dies. A spouse becomes ill. A friend goes through a difficult time. A relative struggles to find a job. People in countries far away and down the street struggle with violence. Others are ravaged by poverty. There is no shortage of evil, difficulties and sin. And when these things happen, we can question how it is that God allows such suffering and difficulty. Yet God the Father sent his Son Jesus to die for our sins. To become one of us, to share in the experience of evil. And so when we find ourselves suffering because of sin, disease, evil, violence, poverty or suffering, we can rest assured we are not alone. Saint Therese of Lisieux, the saint we celebrate today, lost her mother at a very young age, and her oldest sister, who cared for her like a mother, died before Therese became an adult. Yet in the midst of this loss, she found the love of God, a love so powerful that even though she had never left Europe, she became the patron saint of the missions. She thanked God for helping her to love. We must know we are never alone, and in all our suffering we are always in the presence of God.

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