Fast Food Faith or Transformative Faith? Fr. Roberto 2020-1-26 3rd Sunday
Homily for 3rd Sunday Ordinary Time – Year A
Fr. Roberto Corral, OP
St. Dominic Church, Los Angeles, CA
January 26, 2020
Title: Fast Food Faith or Transformative Faith?
Theme: Do we want a “fast-food” faith or a transformative faith?
Readings: Isaiah 8:23-9:3; 1Corinthians 1:10-13, 17; Matthew 4:12-23
Imagine you are at your favorite hamburger joint ready to chow down on a big, fat, juicy hamburger with all the fixings, or a burrito or a pizza with all your favorite toppings (for morning Masses use images of favorite breakfast muffin dripping with butter, or pancakes/bacon and eggs or a big juicy omelet with a big latte). Mmmm, Can you taste it? Why do we love fast food so much? Well, first of all because it tastes so good, right? Even though it’s unhealthy for us, it tastes so darn good! But we also like fast food because it is quick, relatively cheap, and easy, right? When we eat fast food we don’t have to cook or set the table or do the dishes when we’re done. We just order it, pay for it, eat it and throw away the trash when we’re finished.
Quick, cheap and easy. That might work for fast food, but it does not work for anything important in life. For example, we certainly cannot expect our relationships to be quick, cheap and easy – at least not our important relationships anyway. Imagine if you approached your spouse or your partner and said: “Honey, I love you, but I just want our relationship to be quick, cheap and easy.” Well, if that is your attitude, you’re headed for a quick, cheap and easy divorce! And how about you parents – would you say your relationship with your children is quick, cheap and easy? I don’t think so. Relationships – and all the things that are important in life – are not quick, cheap or easy; on the contrary, they take lots of time, energy, and commitment.
Now, as Catholics I hope that all of us understand that the most important relationship in our lives is our relationship with God. So, why is it then that so many of us Catholics want our relationship with God to be quick, cheap and easy for us? For example, how many Catholics say or think: “All I want to do is pray when I have the time, go to church when I feel like it, give my dollar in the collection and leave. So please don’t make Mass too long and please don’t ask me to give any more or do anything else.” Or how many of you have thought, “You mean I have to go to a class just to get my baby baptized?” Or, “I have to go to two years of Confirmation classes just to get confirmed here at St. Dominic’s?” Those kinds of comments reflect a “fast food” mentality toward our faith and our relationship with God: we want it to be quick, cheap and easy for us.
So, what kind of faith do you want – a “fast-food” faith that is quick, cheap and easy, that takes a minimum of effort and commitment? Or do you want a faith that can transform your life, a faith that can make you happier, give you a sense of purpose and bring you closer to God? I guarantee you that a fast-food kind of faith that is quick, cheap and easy will never transform you or bring you closer to God or make you happy. Now, let me ask you another question: What kind of faith do you think God wants you to have? Do you think Jesus chose to give up being God, to be born as a human being, to live, suffer, die on the cross and rise from the dead just so you could just so you could have a faith that was quick, cheap and easy; just so you could come to Mass now and then and pray when you feel like it? Point to the crucifix – My brothers and sisters, please look at the crucifix here in church – that is not quick, cheap or easy!! Amen? Amen! Jesus gave his all for us because he wants our faith to transform us, because he wants us to be happy and fulfilled by having a deep and personal relationship with him. And if we want that for ourselves then it is not going to be quick or cheap or easy; it is going to cost us time, energy and commitment for the rest of our lives.
Today’s Gospel gives us the great example of the first disciples who followed Jesus. The Gospel says that when Jesus called Peter, Andrew, James and John “they left their nets and followed him.” Everyone please repeat that: “they left their nets and followed him.” Do you understand what that means? It means they left everything behind – their jobs, their security, their families and friends – to follow Jesus. That is not fast-food religion; that is not quick, cheap and easy; that is not doing the minimum. That is transformative faith; that is what made them disciples of Jesus, and that is what Jesus wants for all of us and from all of us – to be his disciples and to have a transformative faith. Now, being a disciple does not literally mean you have to leave your jobs, your families, your homes and all your belongings to follow Jesus; but it does mean that you have to put him and your relationship with him first in your life before all those other things and people. It means surrendering your life to Jesus and giving him your best effort, time, energy, money and commitment. Being a disciple of Jesus means that you do more for your faith than just coming to Mass. Now, don’t get me wrong, coming to Mass is great, but it’s not enough. Coming to Mass, by itself, will not transform your life. Let me repeat that: coming to Mass, by itself, will not transform your life.
What will transform your life is being a disciple of Jesus. What that means is that, in addition to coming to Mass – hopefully every week – you make prayer a priority in your life. You talk to God and you listen to God every day or at least on most days. It means you seek to grow in your faith by reading God’s word in the Bible on a regular basis and come to a Bible study or a faith-sharing group where you can share with other Catholic Christians the joys and challenges of following Jesus. It means you serve others in a ministry in this parish or in some other significant way. It means you give generously in the collection here at Mass and to other charitable causes. That is not quick, cheap or easy Catholicism; it’s real Catholicism, it’s transformative faith, it’s discipleship.
Now, let me ask you parents and grandparents a question: Would you not like to see your kids and grandkids happy, having a sense of peace and purpose in their lives and coming to church on a regular basis? I’m sure you would. What is going to give your kids and grandkids the best possibility of having those qualities? Is it money? Is it having a good job or having lots of things? No! It’s having faith, having a meaningful relationship with Jesus that will give them all those things. So, parents and grandparents, don’t just leave your kids a legacy of a car or house or money when you die; leave them what they will need most to help them in their lives: your faith and your values. But don’t just leave them a fast food faith; leave them a transformative faith! And remember that you cannot give what you do not have, so if you do not have a transformative faith yourselves, most likely your kids won’t either.
So, my brothers and sisters, once again, the question for all of us is, do you want a fast-food faith that is quick, cheap and easy, or do you want a transformative faith that will truly impact your life and give you a deep sense of meaning, joy and peace? Do you just want to be a churchgoer or do you want to be a disciple of Jesus? If so, are you willing to put in the time, energy and commitment it takes to “leave your nets,” to follow Jesus and to let him transform you?
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