October 3, 2018
Three good quotes from Jesus today:
“Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”
“Let the dead bury their dead. But you, go and proclaim the Kingdom of God.”
“No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God.” Lk_9:57-62
(Homily for 6:30 am Mass)
Jesus gives us three conditions for true discipleship today: perseverance, dedication and focus.
Perseverance is like: this morning, when we really did NOT want-to, or have-to get up at 4:45 am to come to Mass, and yet, despite our physical craving for more rest, it IS something we did anyway, not only for God, but for one another.
But, wait a minute Deacon Joe, what do you mean, “For one another?” I didn’t come for some stranger. I came for my own well being.
Well, you know that guy who always sits in the third row, and in the fourth seat from the center. I may not even know his name, but I DO know that he’s missing today. And I’m praying that he’s OK, because he IS a part of my life, every morning! And so are ALL of us to one another!
You see, Perseverance may not always be easy, but it IS important. Following Jesus faithfully, may cost us a little less shut-eye and a little more prayer, but it’s worth it! And, you know what, even the birds in their nests got up early this morning to welcome us with their songs.
. . . . . .
The second condition for discipleship with Jesus is dedication. Dedication is saying “Yes” to God’s Call, even when we have to put-off something that we may think is equally important, like going to a graduation, or a wedding, or a funeral.
You see, by saying “Let the dead bury their dead,” Jesus wasn’t being disrespectful of the dead person’s living, loved-ones. Instead, He was elevating their lives: with a mission, over grief, with a spiritual life, over physical death and with the true dedication of a disciple who unreservedly follows Jesus.
Dedication is prioritizing our mission of proclaiming God’s Kingdom with every smile, with every door held, and with every little penance we endure – not to grieve, or sulk, or crawl into our own little shell instead.
. . . . . .
And finally there’s Focus. If you ever tried to drive while you were staring at your cell phone, or while you were looking back at the gal, glued to your tail, because she doesn’t like the speed limit, your car might just find itself in an intimate relationship with the tree on the curve, or the deer who was jaywalking in the dark.
Jesus said, we need to keep our focus on our heavenly goal and not on what’s behind us. Admittedly, that’s not always easy.
Our friend Job, had everything going for him: He had a wonderful family. He had lots of wealth and servants. And he had the perseverance, dedication and focus of the perfect disciple.
But when it all came crumbling apart, Job started to wonder in his heart, what it was all worth. He grieved over his past, and he questioned his future. And looking back, Job suddenly realized his miniscule insignificance relative to His glorious God. And even though his plight of material loss and physical suffering may have caused him to trip, and to stumble, and to almost lose his focus in the face of new attacks on every side, Job still maintained his perseverance, his dedication and His focus on God.
And so can WE, beloved, because, despite our afflictions, despite our insecurities, and even despite our often fuzzy Focus, WE are NOT insignificant to God, nor are we to one another!
And HERE (on the Cross), and
Here (in the Eucharist),
and Here (in our community)
is our Testimony . . .
We ARE significant, and God does love us, despite our short-comings. Remember that, beloved! And LIVE for Him!
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