Homily – Sep 11, 2020
1 Corinthians 9:16-27
I heard on the news a couple days ago that Amazon is opening up two new facilities in Canada they call ‘fulfillment centres’. A fulfillment centre is basically a large warehouse where orders are received, filled and shipped to the customer. The order is completed, or fulfilled.
Isn’t that an interesting term? I admit it’s creative, and I admire such creativity, but it’s also reducing the meaning of a word to a material transaction. I think it’s luring the human brain into the language of commodification, materialism and down a path of the human reality being fulfilled through the material.
It causes me to reflect on the appointed Psalm for today. Psalm 84 was popular for pilgrims making their way to Jerusalem for the great feasts of their tradition. “My soul longs, indeed it faints for the courts of the Lord”. There is a strong desire for the human soul to be fulfilled, to be consoled, to be encouraged, to be satisfied by being in the temple of the Lord.
It then paints an image, almost of envy, of the pilgrim looking up at the great temple and seeing birds in the stone cervices; the nurturing intimacy of a nesting bird feeding its young.
The psalmist creates this evocative imagery because he knows the soul can only be truly fulfilled by God. “Happy are those who live in your house, ever singing your praise.”
It’s a beautiful psalm of longing for God and being fulfilled by praising God.
We know the human soul cannot be satisfied by material things.
Yet, we are an incarnational people, God became flesh and dwelt among us – the eternal became temporal; the incorruptible joined us in our corruption; the spiritual became material and gave us the gift, the Holy Spirit, to help us dwell in God’s intimacy even as we navigate the brokenness of the world, the brokenness of our own lives and the beauty of this divine intimacy into which we are invited.
Do we not see our own need for this fulfillment? For if we truly know how patient, kind and generous God has been to us, surely, we will be a patient, kind and generous presence to others. This is the blindness Jesus warns us about, not to become complacent where we only see the need, the sins of others. This speck in the other’s eye, yet we have lost sight of the log in our own.
In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul warns us of perishable things as we strive for the imperishable things. We will never be fulfilled by the perishable; let us set our hearts on the imperishable.
There is so much in here that is important for us to understand today.
Amazon’s stock in going through the roof because in the midst of Covid people are ordering more stuff online.
Churches are financially falling apart in the midst of Covid. It is a call to reprioritize the material with the eternal. The perishable with the imperishable. The buildings with the mission. It is a question of what truly fulfills our soul. Can we become fulfillment centres? Centres of joy which point to the eternal fulfillment that quenches the thirst of the deep that cries out to deep in each of us.
Please pray for one another and for our parish.