(From School of Leaders - April 22, 2017)
Please pray with me in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit Amen. Lord your people assembled before you this day ask for courage, the courage to live out in our daily lives the faith we profess with our lips. Amen.
We start today with a question: “What’s so hot about Cursillo???” It’s a question someone might ask who is not familiar with our movement or even after we have lived the blessed three days, we may ask ourselves, as some of our friends may; how is Cursillo different from the many other ministries within the Church?
Why would I want to make Cursillo my main Christian action and devote my, time, my talents and energy to it. This is a fair question and one which I am certain we have all asked ourselves at one time or another.
Well Jesus teaches us in Matthew 7:7 “ask and the answer shall be given to you”. As a matter of fact --HE provided us with a book of answers in the Sacred Scriptures.
I would like to tell you a true story about an experience my friend Linda had one day at bible study. We were reading the very familiar verse John 3:16
The one we see almost every day on TV at all sporting events and probably the most familiar verse to Christians and non-Christians alike let me ask all of you what does John 3:16 say?
That’s what I thought too but that’s not what happened that day at bible study. Let me explain: It was Linda’s turn to read and the verse was John 3:16. She began to read aloud -- when a look of amazement came over her face and her whole countenance changed…..
She slowly rose from her chair and pounded the table in front of her with her hands…she looked each one of us square in the eyes and repeated slowly and as though each word held the weight of a thousand Shakespearian verses……. GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD THAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON …… HIS only son..….her voice trailing off in a hushed whisper. No one said anything for a long period of time-- as each tried to grasp the intensity with which Linda had felt the power of the Holy Spirit at that moment.
I was in my mid-thirties at that time but that scene is still vividly etched in my mind.
Now we have all had those moments of metanoia – some like the gentle wind in which the prophet heard the voice of God. ….some like the bolt of lightning which knocked St. Paul off his high horse on the road to Damascus.
Now using the Word of God as our guide, let’s take up the Scriptures to answer the question of the day: What’s so hot about Cursillo?
In Luke 12:49 we hear the words which Jesus Himself speaks: "I have come to set a fire on the earth and how I wish that it were already burning"
One question leads to another ……How exactly did Jesus plan to set this fire ablaze….
So again to the “Book of Answers” (The Bible) to all our questions - Matthew 5:13-16
"You are the salt of the earth but if salt loses its taste with what can it be seasoned? It’s good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot." A SERIOUS admonishment there from the Lord…and even worse in Revelations 3:15-16 - Jesus again speaks "I know your works; I know that you are neither cold nor hot. How I wish you were either cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, neither cold nor hot I will spit you out of My Mouth!"
Our Lord obviously has no good use for those who are not “HOT” on fire with love for HIM and those whom Jesus loves -- all the world HE died to save.
You, are the light of the world; a city set on a mountaintop cannot be hidden. Nobody lights a lamp and puts it under a bushel basket. It is set on a lampstand where it gives light to all in the house. Just like that.. your light must shine before others that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Heavenly Father Again Jesus uses fire and heat to make HIS point
So if we are indeed the “salt of the earth” of which Jesus is speaking and it is indeed through us that HE intends to carry out HIS Master Plan. Then exactly how is this going to happen? Back to the “Answer Book”
Now follow me here Cursillistas: What is the Cursillo Creed?
Make a friend
Be a Friend
Bring a friend to Christ
F R I E N D S H I P??? Could it be that simple. A few months ago our Lay Director asked us if we were “all in”; Are we all on board with this friendship thing?
Remember your weekend what was the last and most important thing we were taught on our weekend. Grouping with Our Friends and being faithful to Ultreya. These were brought up at the very end on Sunday afternoon.
The Cursillo movement saved the best for last….just like Jesus when right before HE ascended to the Father HE commanded us to go out to all the world and make disciples of all men.
Matthew Kelly is fond of pointing out that there is genius in Catholicism well of course it’s the Holy Spirit Who guides HIS Church. And I truly believe that the Genius of the Holy Spirit was upon Eduardo Bonnin and those first Cursillos when they realized that in order to continue walking “The Way” of Jesus we had to have a plan to keep going and friendship groups and ultreyas are the genius of the Cursillo movement.
Again let’s consult the answer book to see what Jesus has to say about friendship:
In Proverbs 18:24 we read: “a true friend is more loyal than a brother!”
John 15:15 Jesus speaks to us again: “I call you “friends” because that is what you are a slave does not know what his master is about-I have told you all I have heard from my Father.”
Jesus, our FRIEND, confided to us everything we need to know to make our way back home to HIM.
Once again in John we read the passage of the woman at the well--- she ran back to tell her “friends” about Jesus. “Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done. Could HE be the Messiah?” She literally brought her friends to Christ.
And of course the greatest of the “friends” quotes from the Scriptures, John 15:13 “greater LOVE hath no man then to lay down HIS life for HIS ….”friends” There’s that word again…. friends. Jesus did the ultimate for HIS Friends
On Easter Saturday as Our Lord lay in the tomb all seemed lost….that Great Heart which had done so much good, which had cured the sick and instructed the ignorant and had pity on the sorrowing—that Lion Heart had been stilled—how could this be? No answer came to those who had followed him, loved Him, listened to HIS teachings, believed in HIM.
But, with Easter Sunday just as it comes again to us this morning, … that new beginning. That lion Heart was still no more but beating evermore. One of HIS last commands to his followers was to go and make disciples of all men. A simple command – Our Lord asked us to be faithful, to be obedient. He doesn’t even ask us to be successful! He will take care of that part in HIS OWN time. He just sends us out and asks us to have faith in God have faith in HIM. Go and make disciples of all men. Jesus did not expect us to do this on our own. Remember, He sent them out two by two. For you see dear brothers and sisters that blessed first Cursillo led us here this day in friendship. It is the secret key to unlock the door to heaven. “Friendship” in a dog eat dog society where we are ever bombarded by technology constant streaming of what seems like just “N O I S E” most of the time -- Media of every sort vying for our attention.
What we do as cursillistas is becoming ever more peculiar in our society.
Taking time to slow down read scripture to ask questions and get answers from the answer book-- To get together in small “friendship” groups? Attend ultreyas and share our faith? What’s that about??? Jesus would say it’s about HIS Father’s business.
You see, if I never attended that bible study that day over 30 years ago, or if I never heard Fr. Jay speak about Ezekiel 37: and how God can raise our dry bones from the dead or if I never heard Rick challenge us one morning at school with the question “ARE YOU ALL IN?” Or the hundreds of homilies and rollos our priests and dedicated religious have given or the many open hearted discussions we have had at Ultreya over the years,
How on earth would I be able to stand before all of you today and be so excited about what I have learned about God through my friends…. how friendship is the secret to fulfilling that command of Jesus’ over two thousand years ago.
Friendship groups-- friends meeting at Ultreya listening to one another …encouraging one another…sharing the Eucharist as a community…sharing the very LIFE of Christ in one another.
You see this is what Jesus commanded when HE sent them out two by two to make disciples of all the world. Our Cursillo method of piety, study and action shared in community is greater than the sum of its parts. Cursillo, if practiced well, is the very Heartbeat of the Risen Christ!
And that my dear brothers and sisters is what’s so hot about Cursillo!