Homily: Father Mike Kuse
Blessed Sacrament Parish
September 23, 2012 - 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time
10 AM Service
Last weekend, I mentioned that we are going to have a tripod and last weekend was the first leg, “Get Behind Me Satan - Don't Let Anything Stand in Your Way as You Come to Know God.” This week the second leg of the tripod is placed. And Jesus once again says, “Remember, don't ever think that you are better than someone else. You simply have to give away all that you have.”
That's difficult. You know, as we grow up we learn there is a good way to be ambitious. Parents teach their children - as Libby will learn - first we want them to smile, then we want them to crawl, we want them to walk, and we want to get them potty-trained. We want to teach them how to read, and then how do their letters and get all of this together.
Jesus says, “That is fantastic. But my message is - you're not ambitious enough. Because if you give your child everything you think the child should have but you do not tell them who I am, they will never be able to use those gifts in the right way. I have to be the center of everyone. And it's not because I am the greatest, it is because my Father is beyond everything.”
So we have to ask ourselves the question, “How ambitious am I?” It doesn't mean that I don't want to cut the grass, or I am tired of working, or I don't want to make the bed, or I don't feel like cooking a meal tonight - it's that I am not going to hold back when God is calling me to give away something that someone else needs.
It's not about money. It's not about our intellect. It's about our heart. There's no one here this morning, or anywhere in the world who could say, “I don't have anything to give away.” We all have so much to give away. It's what changes another person, that's what makes the difference.
One of the things that we do in the parish, and hopefully beyond the parish and whatever you're involved in - is that you give a little bit of your day in prayer, and in doing good for someone. It's those here, and in the community, who will go down on a certain day and pick up meals and take them to various houses. One time I was visiting someone who was homebound and while I was there the Meals on Wheels person brought lunch. The lady I was visiting called out to the person delivering the meal, “Just put it in the refrigerator. I'm busy right now.”
The person called her by name and left. And she said, “It's not the food that she brings me. She's the only one who stops by to see me.”
Think about that. We might say, “Oh, I go to the Senior Center and I take meals out and deliver them everyday,” and that is absolutely fantastic. Because what you are doing is changing someone's life to know there is a God.
So Jesus says, “That's my message. I choose the twelve of you and I am failing. I can't get it across to you who I am, and what you must do to follow me.”
But he knew when he finally pulls the last trick, when he gives his body and his blood and dies on the cross and rises in three days, he said, “That's what I am talking about. Are you ready to walk with me, and follow with me? If Satan is out of the way, you have a straight path and you will always be available to make a difference in the world however that should be.”
You saw in the paper this morning there was a lady who left her estate so the city could match it and the Kroc Center could be built. That's a beautiful gift. Yes, it is about money but she gave her money so it would benefit the community. That gift will keep on giving in this entire community for generations to come.
So it comes back to us, “What would I like to give away today? Can I give five minutes of my time? Can I pray for someone? Can I go over and say hello to a neighbor who has no neighbors?”
We are all gifted in some way. As we use our gifts we form the body of Christ. And Jesus says, “I want you to understand that.”
So this morning, we are the body of Christ that surrounds Libby Joan. She's going to be baptized. But she's not going to be baptized so that no one will ever know she's baptized. She's going to be baptized so that her gifts will be able to blossom and grow for the rest of her life.
When we sacrifice to keep the doors of our school open, we do it for one reason and only one reason. And that is that every child will grasp who Jesus is and it will change the lives of these children forever.
May all of us in our prayer, and in our love for each other, may we know that the second tripod, the second leg of that tripod, is taking us one step closer. And sometimes you and I are like the disciples and Jesus is saying to us, “What are you talking about? What are you doing?” And everybody sits there very quiet and thinks, “I don't want to be embarrassed. I don't want to sound stupid.”
And Jesus says, “You just have to listen and respond.”
If all of us could think of the people who have made a difference in our life that would be a worthy thing to do. Then let us thank God for the gifts that we have that enables us to make a difference for someone else. Sometime today just sit quietly for a few minutes and think of ten things God has given you that are unique for you. Then ask yourself, “Am I sharing these ten gifts? Or am I holding them within myself hoping someone might guess what they are?” That's not being proud. That's being humble. So we answer, “I know God gave them to me. I have to let them go.”
We're all great. But the greatness of who we are demands that we become ambitious and that we open up our own hearts - and the hearts of each other.
Monsignor Michael Kuse is pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Quincy, Illinois.