Fr Noel's Homilies

Buzzword - Sheet Anchor
With many of the highlights of the Liturgical Year €“ Christmas, Lent, Easter, Ascension, Pentecost and Trinity Sunday and Body of Christ €“ observed, we now settle down to the long haul of giving a Christian response to life€™s every day happenings during what the Liturgy calls Ordinary Time..

Deuteronomy 11: 18, 26-28 €“ The sacred author reminds the Chosen people that they have a choice in life  - to be faithful to God by keeping the Commandments,  and so be blessed; or, to turn away and risk all.

Romans 3:21-25,28: St. Paul goes a step further in making known the full plan of salvation. For Moses, the sheet anchor was to be found in observance of the Commandments; for Paul, the complete plan for all, Jews and pagans, was to have faith in Christ, the corner stone on which we build our acceptance.

Matthew 7: 21-27: Here, again, we see Christ insisting that words alone will not earn salvation. Neither will actions alone identify the true believer.

Point 1: One of the difficulties the Christian Church faces is the criticism levelled against it that its practising members are Sunday Christians and, for the rest of the week, many fail to reflect their beliefs in their behaviour. No one is perfect, so there is always going to be a gap between practice and profession.  In an increasingly secular society, it is becoming more difficult for the religious person to maintain his or her balance.  Why do we persist?

Point 2: Living in turbulent times, I suppose, is like going boating in rough waters €“ one needs a good keel for the boat to stay afloat and stabile; and, at times, a sheet anchor so as not to drift into more dangerous situations. Belonging to a community is a great help in times of stress. Going to Mass on Sunday is not the be-all and end all of religious practice.  But it does establish a sense of community that stands us in good stead in times of crisis.  It gives us an opportunity, at least to hear the words of Jesus and, with a bit of luck, to hear them applied intelligently and intelligibly, to everyday situations.

Conclusion: Today€™s application is very straight forward €“ it is not fine words, or the casting out of devils, or the working of miracles, or the mere observance of the Law, that will, on their own, assure us of life in its fullness in union with our Creator. Rather, it will be because our religious expression is motivated by love of God, who, as St. John explains, €œ has first loved us€. This is our €œsheet-anchor€ €“ to do what we are doing for God€™s sake, because we want to and not because we have to! Love of God rather than fear of God not only on Sunday, but every day and everywhere.

Scriptural reference: "Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock.