Homily given by Fr. Jim Lowe CC at St. Scholastica 10:00 a.m. Mass on Sunday, March 4, 2018 Third Sunday of Lent
“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom.” (2 Corinthians 3:17)
I am so proud to be from Detroit! What other city has 2 Corinthians 3:17 (or any Bible verse) written in huge letters on the side of city hall? Other cities are taking down the Ten Commandments and any other reference to God. But we here in Detroit, we are different. Our official motto is “Spirit of Detroit”. This motto does not refer to the human spirit, but the Spirit of the Lord…The Holy Spirit! This City has been through so much suffering and trial, but the people never walked away from God. The people remain a Spirit-filled people.
“Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom”. True freedom comes from God. True freedom comes from living a life of virtue…from faithfully living according to the Ten Commandments, not removing them from our city halls. In our secular culture, the Christian belief that freedom comes from following the law of God is said to be absurd! Society tells Christians that we are foolish…that we limit our personal freedom by following all these Commandments.
The TRUTH…when we break any one of the Ten Commandments we commit serious sin! Serious sin separates us from God and one another. Committing sin actually destroys our freedom. We become slaves to our passions…to sin itself. We are actually living in the shackles of bondage to sin.
What, then, brings us true freedom? Christ crucified….God’s power and wisdom. We encounter freedom through the cross. We encounter God’s unconditional love and mercy offered through the sacrifice of Jesus. Through His death and resurrection, Jesus gives us the power to overcome sin itself. He forgives us and reconciles us to the Father and to one another. He gives us the power to resist temptation…to choose virtue, not vice. Most importantly, Jesus sends us the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit empowers us to freely choose to live a life of virtue and to want to live according to the Ten Commandments. “I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah…I will place my law within them, and write it upon their hearts; I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” (Jeremiah 31: 31, 33)
“Jesus Christ makes all things new” (Unleash the Gospel). He does this by always inviting us to encounter Him anew…to be transformed by Him through the Sacraments, Sacred Scripture, and prayer! He also does this by fulfilling His promise to send us the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit empowers us to live in freedom.
Friends, over the next 9 weeks, as a parish, we will be going through Archbishop Vigneron’s pastoral letter Unleash the Gospel. This letter is written to inspire us to begin to live more freely in the Spirit of the Lord. It gives us clear guideposts to direct us along a path of becoming a band of joyful missionary disciples. It is my prayer that we will all be open to the guidance of the Holy Spirit as he leads us on this exciting missionary journey.
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, enkindle in us the fire of Your love!
Your brother in Christ,
Fr. Jim Lowe, CC