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Typically, we know who will win the election before we even go to vote. This is because of the polling. Sometimes the polls get it wrong, and there is a shock. If you go to the campaign headquarters of the shocked and unexpectedly victorious candidate, there is usually lots of happiness. That is precisely what is going on in the letter to the Ephesians. There was an election, and the unlikely candidate has just won. In this election, there is only one person who can vote. That person is God. And the unlikely candidate that won is you. So there is a celebration, nine verses of verbal joy. In fact, all nine verses make up one complete sentence. It is the longest sentence in the New Testament. It may be the longest sentence ever written. The excitement overflows without a break or a breath as one continuous thought that runs on and on like a river during a storm. So now that you are elected, you have to give an acceptance speech. The first thing you want to say is that you are humbled to be honored. Next, you want to express your gratitude for the support. Finally, you want to assure your commitment to the task at hand.
During the scene of the visitation, there are two very unlikely candidates (Elizabeth and Mary) who were just elected to usher in a new era. There is a lot of joy in the room. In fact, there is a baby who leaps for joy in the womb. The reason for the celebration is that God chose these women. And because he chose them, they are now able to do what they were made to do.
Let me ask you: what is the difference between the shoes that you are wearing on your feet and the shoes that are still in your closet? The shoes on your feet are chosen. You picked these shoes over the others. Perhaps you chose your shoes because it was raining and you wanted dry feet. You may have selected the shoes because you are going out for the evening and you want to look good. Or maybe you chose them because you have to do a lot of heavy lifting and high heels are not going to cut it. In any case, the shoes you chose are happy shoes because they are doing what they were made to do. Mary and Elizabeth are happy because they were elected by God, and they are now able to do what they were made to do.
One day I was planting in the garden when my new neighbor came over and introduced himself. He said, he likes the city, but he misses having a garden. I told him “There is a garden right here. This is your new garden.” I gave him a key to the shed and told him I would get whatever he needed. Later that week started to head over to say Mass at St. Cecilia, and I notice to my horror that I had leaves on the lawn up to my waist. You may ask how I got so many leaves in my yard. I only have one magnolia tree. Apparently, the park rangers forgot to rake in the park down the street, and the wind blew them into my lawn.
So later that afternoon I got my Home Depot leave-bags and my rake and walked out to the lawn, and there wasn’t a single leaf on the ground when I arrived on the scene. My neighbor came and raked them all up. So when the cardinal’s office asked me if I wanted to honor anyone in the church—a humble worker—I knew precisely who I would send over. My neighbor was so happy to receive the honor from the Cardinal himself, and he isn’t even Catholic.
We begin the Christmas season, and this is a season of joy. A lot of times we do not feel joy in our lives. So we have to remember where the source of Christian joy begins. That is in our election by God. Because God chose us, we can do want we were made to do. That is what gives us joy.Back to All Homilies