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HOMILY FOR SUNDAY JULY 30, 2006

Are you a pessimist or an optimist? Well, I have a message for both the pessimists and the optimists amongst us. To the pessimists, I say, “Cheer up!” To the optimists I say, “Cheer even more, things are going to get better and better!”

Did you know God is an optimist? God believes in you and me, brothers and sisters, imagine that, God trusts in you and me, He knows all about us, knows all our sorry history, and litany of constant failures and screw-ups and yet He still believes the best for us. “I know my plans for you, plans for your best and not for your worst, to bring you to a future full of hope...” Jeremiah 29:11. That is THE good news, God wants the very best for us, and is expending all His power and strength, to make sure that happens.

God has always been exerting Himself, spending Himself on our behalf. He delivered the people of Israel from Egypt and brought them to the Promised Land. He did it again and again throughout their history, He did it supremely when He sent His own son, Jesus Christ, to literally spend Himself on our behalf, even to the last drop of His blood. And He did it again when He poured Himself out in His holy Spirit on His church at Pentecost. And the Spirit of God has been continually pouring Himself out on the church ever since, in continual wave upon wave of power anointing and transforming grace, waves we call REVIVAL. And unless you have been asleep every time I preach here you will know that my heart’s belief is that God is about to do it again, revival is coming, and this time the biggest manifestation of the Spirit of all time, even perhaps eclipsing the first Pentecost. I am encouraged in this belief by so many recognized prophets in our time who are predicting the same thing, from all parts of the Christian spectrum: Kin Clement, Scott Schulz, Vassula Ryden...

It is not about our feelings, but about our willingness to bring who we are and what we have to the Lord and let him transform the offering by HIS power.

So now you know why I am optimist. And why I believe we should all be. Look at the people in our readings today. They were all optimists. Elisha, the writer of our responsorial psalm, Paul, and Jesus In the face of the voices of doubt and derision, they kept believing that God was able to do so much more than we could ever ask or imagine, through His power at work in us (Ephesians 3:20).The pessimists like Elisha’s servant in the first reading, and Philip and Andrew in the gospel looked only at the problem, or at God through the problem, the optimists like Elisha and Jesus looked at God, or at the problem from what they knew of God.

God is always wanting, in the words of the title of a classic work by Oswald Chambers to do “His utmost for our highest.” And in turn He asks of us, not the impossible, but only that we also would do our utmost for His highest. We bring our small gifts of loaves and fish, our puny numbers, and few gifts and offer them to Him as the first fruits. Let God, in other words, get our very best, even if only small or few and let us pledge to give our utmost for HIS highest bringing God the very best of ourselves, our talents, our energies, in our marriages and families, at our places of work, in our prayer lives, in our ministries at LJH, striving to do it in the very best way we can, no matter how tired, or discouraged. It is not about our feelings, but about our willingness to bring who we are and what we have to the Lord and let Him transform the offering by HIS power.

So which are you, pessimist or optimist? Are you believing God can and will do infinitely more for us than we could ever ask or imagine, His utmost for our highest, if we will do our utmost for His highest, in everything, every sphere of our lives. Is He going to get the best of us, or just what we in our mediocrity and complacency and lethargy are willing to give Him?

Fr. Bob Poole

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