Twenty-Second Sunday of the Year Homily

Posted on Sep 5, 2017



3 September 2017


One of my favorite actors is Martin Sheen.

The latest series I’m watching him in is Grace and Frankie.


It’s on NetFlicks and it’s a hoot.

I suppose the first movie I really remember Martin Sheen in was Apocalypse Now.

It brought home the real horror of a war that nobody wanted to win.

He became a big star with that movie but his life was in crisis.

He was drinking heavily.

He suffered a near fatal heart attack.

He was near despair.

A friend of his gave him a book by Dostoevsky: The Brothers Karamazov.

After reading it he realized that what he needed was to believe in something.

He needed faith.

He was in Paris at the time and went to the only English-speaking Catholic Church.

He said it felt like home and he’s stayed.

Sheen has stayed and he’s been active, working in many social justice issues.

Sheen says that these last 30 years haven’t always been easy but they have been his happiest.

“I learned,” he says, “I had to stand for something so I could stand to be me…

I learned that, to keep your life from becoming self-contained and useless,

you had to feel other people’s pain and act to help them.”

Sheen learned, that in order to save your life, you have to lose it.

Peter doesn’t learnthis lesson easily.

Peter is a bit full of himself after what happened—in last weekend’s gospel.

He believes he’s got it all figured out.

But he doesn’t.

Peter wants a good life.  He even wants the life Jesus talks about—life to the full.

Peter just doesn’t want it to be costly.

Do we?

We resist the notion that to gain our life, we have to lose it,

we have to stand for something larger than our own self-contained desires.

Perhaps the question of the week for all of us, even as we are resting from our labors is this:

What do we stand for?  If we asked our friends, what would they say about that?

What are we willing to stand for even if it is costly—even if we were to lose our life for it?