Homily: The 14th Sunday of Ordinary Time
July 5, 2020
There once was a young prince who was very handsome except for one thing: he had a crooked back. The birth defect caused him great sorrow and kept him from being the prince that he wanted to be for his people. One day the King asked the best sculptor in the land to make a statue of his son. It should portray him, however without the crooked back. He wanted his son to see himself as he COULD be. When the sculptor finished the statue, it was truly magnificent. It was very lifelike and captured the essence of the prince. The statue was placed in the prince's private garden. Each day when the prince when to the garden to study, he would look longingly at the statue. He soon noticed that when he did that his heart beat faster and his body felt different. Months passed and the people began to notice a difference in the prince. He walked straighter and with more confidence. His stride was more determined and strong. The more he heard the people's comments, the more his heart beat faster and he felt different.
Soon the prince was going to the garden more often. He spent hours studying the statue and meditating on it. One day a remarkable thing happened. The prince realized that he was now standing as straight and tall as the statue in his garden.
This story has quite a bit to teach all of us about our human defects and the effect they can have on our perceptions of ourselves. If we focus too long on our weaknesses we can be kept from being the kind of person we were meant to be. But thanks to the love of our Creator, he gave our world his Son, Jesus Christ, the perfect image of what we were born to be. Jesus stands spiritually straight and beautiful. The more that we study Jesus, the more we realize what we are all called to be. But right now, that is as far as our story goes. It is still incomplete; whether we become like Jesus or not is something still to be decided.
What can do to guarantee a happy ending like the prince? We can study Jesus as much as the prince studied his own statue. We can read about Jesus in the sacred scriptures; we can put the bible out at home and read it every day about Jesus' compassion, forgiveness, and love. We can come to the Eucharist and meet Christ in the breaking of bread at this altar. We can take time every day to talk with Jesus through prayer. We can use prayer as a way to quiet ourselves down so we can hear Jesus speak the words "Come to me all you who labor and are burdened and I will give you rest, take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am meek and humble of heart. And you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
If our life is to have a happy ending, then we must begin to study and ponder Jesus with our eyes, our souls, and our hearts. If we give Jesus the time now, then someday we will become meek and humble of heart like him and our story, like the prince will have a happy ending.
Homily: The 13th Sunday of Ordinary Time
June 28, 2020
In 1982, an article appeared in Reader's Digest about a Catholic advertising executive. In spite of her successful career she felt an emptiness in her life. One morning during a breakfast meeting with her marketing consultant, she mentioned her emptiness.
Her colleague looked at her and asked, "Do you want to fill it?" "Of course I do," she said. "Then you need to start each day with an hour of prayer." She gave him the strangest look and said, "You're kidding, right? If I try to do that I will go off my rocker." Her colleague smiled and said, "That is exactly what I said 20 years ago." Then he said something which really got her thinking. "You're trying to fit God into your life. Instead you should be trying to fit your life around God."
The woman left the restaurant more perplexed then ever. Begin each day with prayer? An hour of prayer? Absolutely no way! Yet the next morning the woman found herself doing exactly that and she has been doing it ever since. The woman admits that it hasn't always been easy. Some mornings she is filled with great peace and joy. But there have been mornings when she feels nothing but weariness. Those are the times when she recalls the words of her colleague, "There will be times when your mind just will not go into God's sanctuary. That is when you spend time in God's waiting room. Still, you are there and God appreciates your struggle to stay there. What is important is the commitment.
If we have trouble focusing on God. If we are having trouble keeping our hand to plow and not looking back. If we are experiencing an emptiness in our life, then we need to push ourselves hard to make a daily commitment to God. What should that commitment be? No one can answer that question for us. But we will know it when God reveals it. In the end what is important is the commitment. I close with this familiar prayer:
Lord, teach me to be generous.
Teach me to serve you as you deserve.
To give and not count the cost.
To fight and not to heed the wounds.
To toil and not to seek rest.
To labor and not to ask for reward,
accept to know what I am doing your will.