To watch Fr. Joe’s homily for the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time: CLICK HERE!
A parishioner of a Parish in Minneapolis tells the story of one Sunday, a few years ago, when she walked toward the front entrance of the church, and spotted a shabbily dressed man asking people for money as they entered church. The parishioner wasn’t sure what to do if the man approached, so they decided to avoid eye contact and walked quickly into church.
Right before mass began, the parishioner turned around, looked back and saw the panhandler looking for a place to sit. Like a passenger on a plane with an empty seat next to them, the parishioner hoped the man would not take the seat next to her. To their relief, the man sat somewhere else. And of course other church goers looked at this man with leery eyes.
Mass began and then during the singing of the “Alleluia” before the Gospel, the panhandler walked down the aisle toward the altar. When the singing stopped, the shabbily dressed man walked up to the pulpit and read the Gospel. He then returned to his pew and sat down.
Then the Pastor approached the pulpit for his homily and the parishioners soon learned they had been set up. The shabbily dressed man was in cahoots with the Pastor. He was a plant. The Pastor began his homily by saying:
“The message of today’s readings is ‘it is the poor who announce the Good News.’” And using the words of St. Paul today said, “Brothers and Sisters, show no partiality… Do not make distinctions among yourselves… Do not judge with evil designs.”
Maybe the story from the church in Minneapolis, maybe the words of St. Paul, are a reminder that what the world needs every day is not only love but respect.
+ Respect that is reflected in our kindness and civility toward all.
+ Respect that is reflected in those sacrifices we make for others.
+ Respect that is reflected in our willingness to lend a helping hand.
+ Respect that is reflected in our forgiveness.
+ Respect that is reflected in our consideration of others.
+ Respect that is reflected in our kind words.
May the scripture readings we hear every weekend, continue to be seen in the lives we live… Lives filled with increasing faith, with hope, with love… Lives filled with increasing respect for all – (with no partiality).