Jesus Came To Take Away Your Sins Not Your Brain

In my pre-concert information overload stage, I was surprised to read that back when U2 released the by now iconic song, I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For in 1987, there was criticism from certain elements of the Christian community in effect saying; Why would a self-professed believer in Christ proclaim that he is still looking? Haven’t we [Christians] found the truth?

Finally catching up on his paperwork 24 years later, Fr Valle responds, albeit indirectly, through his homily on the parable of the Sower this Sunday:

There are four types of people who hear the Word of God. First, there is the person whose mind is closed…. The second group is more interesting and applicable to us. This is the seed that falls on shallow ground. This symbolizes those people who cannot or will not think things out for themselves. These people get all excited about something and then, just as quickly, get bored and drop it. This is, precisely, what it means to be shallow soil. In order for the seed to take root, the soil must have depth. Christianity is not merely an emotional search for God. It is an intellectual search as well and has a profound intellectual content. Faith makes demands on our minds as well as our hearts. As an old priest friend of mine used to say, “Jesus came to take away your sins not your brain.” Faith is not just a feeling. Faith must be thought through and struggled with, so that all of our being is transformed and informed by the Word of God.

So someone struggling with their faith is perhaps only evidence that they don’t inhabit shallow soil. All seriousness aside, I just had a terrible image of what a dyslexic God might take and leave.

The email address to request to be put on Fr Valle’s email distribution list is Cioran262@aol.com. To see the entire homily click on ‘read more.’ Search for other Fr Vallee homilies in this blog by entering ‘Vallee’ in the search box in the upper right hand corner or look for Fr Vallee in the Labels.

Read Fr Vallee’s entire homily at the very end of this post. Right after the U2 video and the song’s lyrics. Shallow order I know.

——————————————————–
I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For video:


U2 I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For Lyrics
I have climbed highest mountain
I have run through the fields
Only to be with you
Only to be with you

I have run
I have crawled
I have scaled these city walls
These city walls
Only to be with you

But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for
But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for

I have kissed honey lips
Felt the healing in her fingertips
It burned like fire
This burning desire

I have spoke with the tongue of angels
I have held the hand of a devil
It was warm in the night
I was cold as a stone

But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for
But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for

I believe in the kingdom come
Then all the colors will bleed into one
Bleed into one
Well yes I’m still running

You broke the bonds and you
Loosed the chains
Carried the cross
Of my shame
Of my shame
You know I believed it

But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for
But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for
But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for
But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for…

Fr Vallee Homily – July 10 2011

I. Interpreting the parable
The story of the sower and the seed in today’s Gospel is a near perfect parable, directly addressed to those of us who hear the Word of God. The most interesting part of the passage is the second part where Jesus interprets the passage for us. It is rare that Jesus ever tells us exactly what he means.

II. Four Hearers of the Word – There are four types of people who hear the Word of God.

First, there is the person whose mind is closed. This is the seed which falls on the footpath. The footpath has been packed down tight so the seed has no chance of penetrating the ground. Being that most of us are sitting here in Church on a Sunday morning when we could be warm and sleepy in our beds, I don’t think we need to dwell too long on this group. It would seem a safe bet that most of us here are, at least, listening for the word of God, whether we manage to actually hear the Word or not.

Second, shallow ground. The second group is more interesting and applicable to us. This is the seed that falls on shallow ground. This symbolizes those people who cannot or will not think things out for themselves. Many people today are at the mercy of every new craze that comes on to TV or the Internet. These people get all excited about something and then, just as quickly, get bored and drop it. This is, precisely, what it means to be shallow soil. In order for the seed to take root, the soil must have depth. Christianity is not merely an emotional search for God. It is an intellectual search as well and has a profound intellectual content. Faith makes demands on our minds as well as our hearts. As an old priest friend of mine used to say, “Jesus came to take away your sins not your brain.” Faith is not just a feeling. Faith must be thought through and struggled with, so that all of our being is transformed and informed by the Word of God.

Third, choked by weeds. The third group is the seed that is choked out by weeds. This is the group that probably hits closest to home for most of us, I imagine – myself included. This group hears the word of God but is so busy with the problems, worries and concerns of this world that the Word gets choked out. Ask yourself, what do you spend most of your time and energy on in your life? Is it your job, your relationships, your schoolwork, your money? The matter which consumes most of your time is probably the matter that is most precious to you.

Fourth, good ground
Finally, there is the hearer who is good soil. The person has circumnavigated all the pitfalls of the first three groups. This person is open and willing to learn. This person struggles to understand what he or she believes. The person attempts to think through the content of faith. This person does not get choked by the weeds of worry and care.

III. What is good ground? My trouble with Genesis.
So, what is it to be good ground? When I was 13, I had an argument with one of my parish priests. I told him that the Book of Genesis made no sense. My argument was that God made Adam and Eve free and yet they were not all-knowing or all-loving. Hence, so I reasoned at 13, the Fall was like playing with loaded dice. They were doomed to sin sooner or later. If your children come up with really weird religious arguments like this, it is probably a good sign that they have a vocation. Many years later, when I was in seminary, I repeated my argument to Sr. Mary Emil Penet who taught me moral theology and is one of the most brilliant human beings I have ever met. She shook her head, smiled her crooked, nun smile and said, “Robert you are clever but you have the whole thing backwards. I said, “How’s that?” She said, “you don’t twist the Word of God, my boy, until it makes sense to you.” You let the Word of God change you until you make sense.” We receive the Word of God in our minds and hearts and slowly, surely, ineluctably, we are changed. Good soil is open, receptive, fertile; good soil receives the rain and seed so that something wondrous might bloom.

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About Jorge Costales

- Cuban Exile [veni] - Raised in Miami [vidi] - American Citizen [vici]
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