Sunday Morning Ireland
We welcome you to Sunday Morning Ireland on this November 14th. Jesus was not a social climber. He hung out with all kinds of people. When he has a celebration all our names are on the guest list.
With this in mind:
We welcome you, regardless of your situation in life,
whether you're married or single, divorced or re-married or sharing a home without marriage,
in a ecumenical or inter-faith household,
gay or lesbian or pedophile,
and immigrant or a refugee,
whether you are healthy, sick or handicapped, young or old,
whether you are a regular or a new comer,
whether you are widowed or retired,
whether you are struggling in your faith or firm in your commitment.
We welcome you with an open heart.
The banquet is open to all who are willing to sit down with all.
Today is the Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time.
The gospel is reminding us in vivid, dramatic language that every life has a beginning, middle and an end. There’s a final chapter. There’s a final curtain. It will all end one day and there’s nothing we can do about it. Some die in the womb, some in infancy, some in middle age and some live long lives. Why God allows some to live long lives and others short lives, is something we will never know. That is God’s secret and he hasn’t revealed it to anyone.
He Aimed High
Fr. Tom taught me philosophy in the seminary. Years later, he went to Nagpur, Central India as a pioneer missionary, to start a Dominican foundation. Forty years later, he was a passenger on the night express from New Delhi to Nagpur, after giving the annual retreat to a community of nuns. He was run down, but didn’t realize it. As he slept in the heat of the night, his body succumbed to dehydration. He went into a coma and was found dead by the ticket collector when the train arrived in Nagpur. I know he gave India his all. He was one of my heroes. I don’t pretend to understand why Fr. Tom died in such sad and lonely circumstances.
There are many things we will never understand. “God’s ways are not our ways, his thoughts are not our thoughts.” Actually, I prefer it that way. But Fr. Tom’s untimely death is a grim reminder that life is not always fair. Eventually, it gets even the luckiest of us. If you doubt me, look at your body. Our scarred bodies are living records of the direct hits we have taken. Our wounded spirits have stories to tell; stories of disappointments, failure, tragedy, and maybe, years of quiet desperation. Sometimes we get hit so hard and for so long, it feels as if we can’t take anymore. We have what is called the ‘wish to die’. We say ‘I wish I were dead’, and we mean it.
Bad Things Happening To Good People
Jesus knew that kind of empty feeling, and he knew there would be times when we would feel that way about life. In today’s gospel, he catalogues some of the awful things that can happen: hurricanes, accidents, floods, betrayal and sudden illness to oneself or a loved one, death itself. While acknowledging that bad things can happen to good people, he is at the same time saying that despite these terrible things, “not a hair” of your head will be lost” without his knowledge. That is his personal way of saying, no matter what happens, trust me. I am God. I am in charge. Don’t quit. Don’t run away in the face of life’s injustices. Aim high! Stay with me. I am with you. Together we are a majority. Just wait and see.” Robert Browning has this beautiful line in his poem, “Perfection”: “God’s in his heaven, All’s right with the world.” That is what Jesus is saying. That’s his promise and a promise is a promise!
Count On Me, Darling!
I’ve been reading the inspiring story of a mother who has cared for her beloved comatose daughter for twenty-eight years. Caring for her daughter has meant feeding her every two hours, giving her insulin every four hours, changing bed linen several times a day, raising money to pay the medical expenses, sitting in a chair every night, next to her daughter. Why? Because twenty-eight years ago her daughter Edwarda, then sixteen years old, pleaded with her mother before slipping into a diabetic coma, “Mom, you won’t leave me.” Her mother, Kaye, responded, “I will never leave you darling. I promise. And a promise is always a promise.” Twenty-eight years on, that remarkable mother is sill aiming high and still keeping her promise.
Yes, we live in a complicated world and God is complex. Yet God is the eternal optimist inviting us to embrace life with a passion, to dream great dreams, and despite life’s knocks and set backs, to aim high, endure, and have confidence because with such a God on our side, life will surely be ours.
Pause For Reflection.
Lord, you never promised to preserve us from trials. You promised to be with us amid the disasters; may we let never get go of that promise.
Lord, hear us.
Lord, you were not preserved from suffering and death. Neither are we immune from these realities. You give us one guarantee only, that you will support those who try to be faithful, that in the end the power of good will prove stronger than the power of evil. Lord, may we believe all of this, amidst the storms of life.
Lord, hear us.
Lord, your way is the less travelled road not the more travelled. May we have the stamina to endure right to the end of that road, till our journey is complete.
Lord, hear us.
Lord, be merciful and kind to the peoples of Latvia, Monaco and Lebanon. May they know your loving presence in their lives always, especially this week, when they celebrate their national holiday.
Lord, hear us.
Let us pray for the coming of God’s kingdom and for the grace and strength to bring about that kingdom in the world we live in:
Our Father who art in heaven…
Let us pray:
May the gifts, with which you bless us,
Increase our love for you
And bring us to eternal life.
May Almighty God bless us, and all our loved ones, wherever they may be, in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.