To watch Fr. Richard Vosko’s homily from the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time: CLICK HERE!
To watch Fr. Tom Hayes’ homily from the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time: CLICK HERE!
To watch Fr. Joe’s Homily for the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time: CLICK HERE!
I would guess many people’s thoughts and actions are focused on Thanksgiving, only a few days away and Christmas only 5 weeks away.
But for a moment let’s go back to the 1960’s… nuclear war was on the minds of many people. Fallout shelters were designated in our cities; people spent a great deal of time and energy, (and money) building their own fallout shelters for security and school children were taught about “duck and cover” in case of a nuclear attack.
Such concerns then and even now about the ends times and the fact that, “No one knows the day or hour” might make us fearful, but what we are called to do is to live in and with hope.
Several months ago, I read a Time Magazine piece about a man named Stanislav Petrov who died about a year ago. Many people called him a hero to which he would say, “Nonsense! I was just doing my job.”
His job was on the Soviet early warning system, code named “EYE,” whose function was to detect the launch of a America Nuclear Attack.
Petrov, having helped design and install the command center, was at the controls the night of Sept. 26, 1983, when sirens inside the massive bunker just south of Moscow began to wail. The Systems Satellites were alerting the Russians to the launch of a US Ballistic Missile, followed by 4 others.
Petrov shared in a 2015 interview, “we built the system to rule out the possibility of false alarms.” And on that day, the satellites told us with the highest degree of certainly that these rockets were on the way. It was the job of Petrov to confirm the incoming attack to this superiors, who would then launch a retaliatory strike while the US Missiles were still in the air.
Petrov shared that the chances it was real were 50-50, “but I did not want to be the one responsible for starting World War III.” So he told his commanders that the alarm was false.
Well much later, it emerged that the Soviet Satellites had mistaken the sun’s reflection in clouds for the start of a missile salvo. The “end times” were closer than maybe any of us ever thought.
And Stansilav Petrov could have given in to the moment of destiny with resignation and maybe despair or a moment of promise, a moment of hope.
Hope: the conviction that God is at work in our lives and in our world!
Might we say that God was at work, that September day in 1983? I think so.
We can look around our personal world and the world at large and take a pretty negative approach to rhetoric, to daily events, to people…
But where is the hope that God is at work in our lives, in our world?
Everyday, people of good will, people of faith take the high road… much good is happening around us…
Where’s the good in our life, in the people and events of day to day life? Where is God working in our lives and in the lives of others to work on behalf of His people; all of God’s people?
Hopefully we can continue to open our eyes and hearts to see God at work in others and all around us. And hopefully others will continue to open their eyes and hearts to see God at work in others and in each of us – a Person, Family and Parish….
Maybe, like Stansilav Petrov, we can see living the virtues of faith, hope and love not as something heroic but as just doing our job, as a Disciples of Jesus.
The Scripture readings this time of the church year speak of the end times. St. Paul today reminds the Thessalonians and us that no one knows when the end will come; or to use the Gospel message, when the Master of the House will return.
St. Paul also reminds us not to get too worried, but not to get too comfortable. You know, God does not give us a time table, rather God gives us possibilities.
The Gospel today is not about getting more money. Rather the Master wanted his servants of yesterday and his servants of today, to get Involved; to experience what the business of this life is all about! What are the possibilities that need our attention?
I presume that no one here was able to enjoy the moment of spending $450 Million Dollars to purchase the 600 year old Painting by Leonardo Da Vinci entitled: Salvatore Mundi (translated: Savior of the World), this past week.
But we do have the ability to enjoy all those moments that make up the time of our lives…
On Friday, there was a story of a train station in the state of Washington that welcomes and assists travelers coming and going. The unusual thing is not one person is paid, they are all volunteers.
We sing a song here in Church from time to time, “Go Make a Difference” (Gather Music Books – # 775)… And we do make a difference, but if we are really honest, we often leave a lot on the table at times, we miss many opportunities to make a difference.
We all have God given gifts and abilities. How are we, how can we, use then to make a difference, every day?
There was a story I heard about a child who on her 9th birthday, asked that people not give her gifts, rather, aware of people in various parts of the world who do not have drinkable and safe water, she asked that they contribute $9.00 to a charity that works to get drinkable water to people. She ended up raising thousands of dollars (from family and strangers). Talk about making a difference.
Yes we are all busy, but it is amazing when we do come together. When we see how valuable a financial gift is to making the lives of people better.
When we see how valuable a gift of time for an hour or two or three is once a week or once a month to making the lives of people better.
We come to understand there are countless opportunities every day to make a difference and it’s less expensive than spending $450 Million Dollars on a picture by Da Vinci.
We have all been blessed and we have all been called to be a blessing to others. This Thanksgiving week, may we give thanks not only for all we have been blessed with and given, but for all the moments and opportunities we have been and can be and will be a blessing for others, which makes a difference in their lives and the world.
We may not know when our Master, our God, will return… But until that day comes, may we as person, family and Parish, use wisely the gifts of time and talent and treasure, given to us. Hopeful to hear one day upon the Master’s return the words, “Well done good and faithful servant; come share your Master’s joy!”
In reflecting on today’s Scriptures the quote from the 1994 Movie The Shawshank Redemption came to mind, “Get busy living or get busy dying.”
St. Paul admonishes the people who are “busy” criticizing or judging others, when they should be “busy” performing good works, whatever they might be, with as much joy and goodwill as possible. Because one’s joy will contribute to the overall enjoyment of others.
I heard a story this week about Mike the Mailman. Mike the Mailman’s philosophy was that everyone should leave his Post Office line better than when they came in. Imagine that!
Mike the Mailman had as his motto, “If you cannot say something nice about someone, you are just not looking hard enough.” Whoa!
In life we can get all caught up with what is wrong and negative.
- My health is bad, it is getting worse.
- The end of the world must be coming now – look at the election.
Rather, than wait for one’s education to end, or the kids to grow up, or the career to be fulfilled, or to find the perfect mate for us, or for our child to grow up to be President… Maybe we need seize upon the small practices like Mike the Mailman that make a big difference. As a matter of fact one person shared that she would got to the Post Office to buy stamps, even when she did not need them, just to share in the energy of Mike the Mailman’s feel good personality.
You and I are in Church this morning for any number of reasons, but hopefully one of them is that God will break into our world and make things right. But maybe for this to really happen, WE have to ALLOW God to break into us.
To break into our studies, labors, conversations, relationships, attitudes, biases, prejudices, and most especially our ability to be of service.
Allowing God’s Spirit to break into us, over us, and through us might just allow God to enter our world moment by moment, rather then in one big moment sometime in the future.
One theologian has written:
“Do all the good you can; by all the means you can; in all the ways you can; in all the places you can; at all the times you can; to all the people you can; as long as ever you can.”
This might well be a very good use of our time as we wait for whatever it is that we wait for.
Oh by the way, today is World Kindness Day. Be kind today, for sure, but be kinder and kinder tomorrow and every day thereafter.
And we may be surprised to discover that it was all the small acts of kindness and goodness, of caring and sharing we did along the way of life, that has made all the difference.