Sunday, November 04, 2012

What keeps our life upright? (Sunday homily)

A few years ago, I recall a neighbor who was rebuilding his garage.
He’d knocked down the old one and started a new one.
And I noticed how hard he worked to get the frame just right.
Or else it wouldn’t stay standing.

The first commandment our Lord mentions: put God first.
That’s the frame. It keeps the rest of our life upright.
It helps us stand firm when the winds of pressure or desire blow hard.

We’ve all been in situations where someone said,
we have to compromise.
That is the excuse for our government using torture
or cutting corners on the Constitution.

In our personal life, we make compromises.
As a priest, I am frequently tempted to put the work I do first,
and I’ll pray later. God won’t mind.

If a priest can be tempted to do that, how about you?

The second commandment gives us purpose. What are we for?
We’re here to make a difference in others’ lives.

As each year goes by, I learn a little more
just how self-centered I can be.

Think of a baby. He points to his mouth and says, “feed me!”
She points to her diaper and says, “change me!”
Little ones run to dad: drop everything and “fix it, daddy!”

Somewhere along the line we recognize
God didn’t give us our talents, our time, and treasure, just for us.
We discover the joy of helping others is the only treasure that lasts.

There are a lot of applications, but two are obvious.

First, a lot of our fellow citizens are hurting
because of the recent storm.
Others because of the economy.
We don’t have to think hard to find a way
to love our neighbor in those situations.

Second, we have the privilege and duty of voting this week.
I’m not going to tell you who to vote for.
But in deciding how to vote,
what can matter more than these two commandments?

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