What Is Your Story? (((Homily))) 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time
by Father Brian J. Soliven on Sunday February 9, 2020
The headline blared in the Guardian, "If we have no history, we have no future." How blaringly true that is. Our past roots us, guides, and shows us the path forward. I dare say that if we forget where we came from, we will be like a little boat tossed about in a category 5 hurricane, lost to the winds. However, when we learn our story, we can finally live up to our powerful God-given potential of being "the salt of the earth... and the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:14-16
The Pastor's Prayer Journal
If you want to be rich, you may want to invest in a DNA testing company. Over the last decade, websites such as Ancestry.com and 23andMe.com have exploded in popularity. For a not-so-small fee, all you have to do is take a swab of your saliva in a plastic tube and drop it off at your local post office. A few weeks later, you’ll receive a fascinating report of your family’s genetic history. In 2018 alone, Forbes magazine reported that nearly 5 million people unlocked the secrets of their DNA with 23andMe, generating nearly half a billion dollars in revenue for the company, making CEO Anne Wojcicki the 33rd “Richest Self-Made” woman. Who knew spit could be worth so much? This trend does not show any signs of slowing. We have to ask ourselves, why is DNA testing in vogue? At the heart of this million dollar industry is a deep, hardwired thirst for our past. Each one of us longs to know the history of where we came from and who are ancestors are. In other words, we want to know our story. The DNA craze is simply the latest, most cutting edge, of an ancient urge. We may even think of it as mitochondrial quilt making.
On February 11th in Loyalton and February 13th in Portola I will give a talk on what I hope to be a monthly series on different theological topics in an effort to fortify the faith. I love the richness of our 2,000 year-old Church. Like a spouse, the more I learn about her, the deeper I fall in love. Her faults and failings do not dissuade any of my affection but only adds to the complexity of her beauty. The first presentation will be on the Bible, literally the most influential book in the history of humanity. From the principles witnessed on its sacred pages, would grow the foundation on which Western Civilization would be built. The Founding Fathers of the United States cited the Bible as their primary source, as they crafted what would become the longest enduring, most successful Constitution ever written by human hands. Yet sadly, the book that built the West, is falling more into obscurity with each passing generation. What was once the thread that linked us all has frayed, in real danger of being lost like a happy childhood memory in a dementia patient. During my short talk, I hope to explore on how the Bible developed over the centuries, where it came from, who put it together and how it has shaped the lives of billions. The Bible is our story.
The more we learn about this past, the better off will we be. Our Lord himself said in the Gospel this Sunday:
“You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.”
(Matthew 5: 13-16)