Sunday, December 22, 2019

Less Ahaz, much more Joseph (Sunday homily)

There are two very different men in the readings.
There’s a pretty clear contrast.

Ahaz knows what he needs, what he wants, what he is going to do.
He is not going to ask for help.
No one can tell him anything. 

And then there’s Joseph. He feels all the same emotions, 
but there’s one, key difference: he prays. He listens.
He can admit he is wrong.
He is not too proud to ask for help.
Joseph can change direction, 
even if it is humiliating, which it probably was.

There’s a lot more Ahaz in me than I want to admit. A whole lot more.

Ahaz refused God’s help; but God had a “Plan B.”
The plan went forward, but I wonder what “Plan A” looked like?

What keeps you and I me from the Plan A’s is usually pride.
Fear of looking ridiculous. Anger often goes with that.
And sin and being too stubborn to go to confession.
Making excuses for not praying, or rushing my prayers.

Or we get to a certain point in our lives 
and we’re old dogs who aren’t going to learn any new tricks.
We might think of Zachariah, the father of John the Baptist.
When God came to him, he said, “I’m too old.”

Thankfully, Zachariah had his “Come to Jesus” moment 
and got back on track. No need for Plan B that time!

So, this is really simple: who will you be? 
Ahaz, who refused to listen?
Zachariah, who needed a whack upside his head to wake him up?
Or Joseph, who God could talk to? 
Joseph, who wasn’t too proud to listen and change?

Of course, when I put it that way…

You want to be Joseph? Be Joseph
Imitate his chastity and self-control, 
because that teaches us to put others’ needs ahead of our wants.

Imitate his prayer – oh, and he was busy, too;
he didn’t live a life of leisure. 
Joseph wasn’t too proud to confess his sins.
Joseph asked for God’s help – and he got it.
It was still a rough life, 
but God let him safely through and safely home.

And the reason Joseph had courage to take that path
Was not because that courage came out of nowhere,
But because he’d been faithful and practiced virtue all along;
That made him ready when his moment came.

If God gives you an inspiration or a task, don’t turn away from it. 
Don’t say, “I’m too old,” “I’m too young,” or “Now’s not the time.” 
We turn away from those graces, thinking we can always do it later.
But later doesn’t always come.
Don’t be Ahaz. Be Joseph. 

1 comment:

rcg said...

Reminds me of this old tune that warns that now may be our last chance to do what’s right.