With Eyes Fixed On Jesus – Msgr. Charles McGlinn

Msgr. Charles McGlinn’s Homily August 18, 2019

“A number of years ago in Maryknoll Magazine there was an article about a gentleman his name was Kim Chi-ha.  He was a poet in South Korea during the dictatorship of the 1970’s and his mother wrote this article. Kim Chi was arrested by the government and sentenced to life imprisonment because he wrote against the corruption of the government and their exploitation of the poor.  His mother said he did this especially because Jesus was always in defense of the poor. He was always toward uplifting the poor from their suffering and he wanted to follow Jesus. She said that Kim Chi also had the awareness that there is a great struggle going on in the world, a struggle between good and evil and that we all must make a choice: which one will we follow?  Where will we be? The mother said that she was going to follow her son who was following after Jesus. Well Jesus says today, ‘Do you think that I have come for peace? No, I have come for division.’ That may be shocking to us, but it is true. It has been true through the centuries that if we commit ourselves to Jesus in every way we will find opposition in this world and sometimes even from our own families.  It was true for Jeremiah in our first reading who suffered persecution because he was saying that Jarusalem would be destroyed because it had sinned against God and refused to repent and it was also found in the second reading to the Hebrews today where the author likens our life as Christians to running a race and that we need to persevere, especially against the opposition that we will encounter and we persevere by keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus and in our gospel Jesus explicitly says that many will experience division in their own home and household among their own family when they find out that one is truly, truly committed to Christ.  So there are many issues that we experience and this was one of the reasons why Ancient Rome hated Christianity because it tore families apart. For instance, if a son became a Christian then he would no longer be able to go to the pagan worship ceremonies and he would no longer be able to go to the Coliseum to cheer two slaves who were fighting each other to the death. He could no longer cheer his sister on with others to leave her handicapped child to die to the elements rather than grow up in society being handicapped. It meant no longer could he take part in the Roman orgies which were so immoral and other immoral activities that were such a part of the life of Rome, so I think that in many ways ancient Roman culture is like modern Western Culture, our culture.  Ancient Roman culture was very materialistic. Everything had a value and the materials of this world were the supreme values to run after. Ancient Roman culture was Hedonistic seeking to indulge itself in every form and shape. Ancient Roman culture was very violent and our culture is also very violent. Perhaps the greatest similarity though was in how Ancient Rome viewed life and how we view life that life is cheap, human life is cheap was then and is now in many ways and that is evil, that’s evil when we see millions of babies being aborted in our country every year. It’s the meaning of evil. Also what is evil is how we treat our immigrants who seek only to escape from the extreme violence and hunger and misery of their own country to give their children a chance at life.  There are many other issues I think that we could talk about where by being a Christian today means being in opposition to our culture, elements of our culture and maybe even members of our own families, but Jesus is with us in the struggle. Jesus is with us in the race and as Hebrews says, ‘Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus and you will persevere to the end.’ He is our hope. He is our refuge. He is our strength. He is our strength. He is our reason for living. He is our destiny. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus.

I have a prayer I’d like to share with you.  I entitled this prayer, ‘With Eyes Fixed On Jesus.’

Help us keep our eyes on you
Fixed unflinchingly
Jesus Lord you are the Lord
Strength for our fragility
Source of our stability

When life’s conflicts overwhelm
When we feel the pain
Help us to understand
With us you remain
In sunshine and in rain

In time of doubt or weakness Lord
When tempted to pursue
What is evil, sinful, wrong
Show us what is true
Keep our eyes fixed on you!

When I divert my gaze from you
And seek some lesser goal
Risking all for worthless things
Writing for a fall
Give me Wisdom, self control

Give me courage to speak out
When injustice threatens to
Hurt and harm your purpose Lord
Show me what to do
Keep my eyes fixed on you”