Sunday, June 16, 2024

God doesn't care... (Sunday homily)

God doesn’t care about big and little.

Being the biggest kid at school or the strongest country in the world.

This doesn’t impress him.

And saying, “I’m too old,” or “I’m too young,” or “I don’t know enough,” 

aren’t excuses that cut any ice with God.

This business of saying that human life doesn’t matter 

when it’s too early or too small: 

Well, we humans who determine value by money or power or size, 

find it easy to devalue early human life. But what does God say?

God doesn’t care about big or little.

An awful lot of change has happened in this world — 

both for bad and for good – 

through people who didn’t listen when others said, “who are you?”

Marx - who are you?

Saint Paul – who are you?

Martin Luther King - who are you?

Mother Theresa – who are you?

God doesn’t care about little or big…except when it comes to virtue.

No matter what age you are, or how limited your abilities, 

you can be rich in courage and justice, chastity and generosity.

Consider Father Maximilian Kolbe. He was a Polish priest, 

his country conquered in six weeks in World War II, 

and he was thrown into the notorious death camp Auschwitz.

Every day he saw proof that he and everyone else imprisoned

were nothing to their captors;

and he had to know he would die,

and that he was powerless to prevent it.

Father Maximilian had serious health problems even beforehand.

He was a brilliant scholar, but what did that count for now?

How insignificant, how nothing, he might have felt!

Yet he planted a tiny seed of generosity: 

he stepped forward to take the place of another prisoner 

marked for death.

That man – Franciszek Gajowniczek – 

survived Auschwitz, and was in St. Peter’s Square in Rome 

when Pope John Paul II declared Maximilian Kolbe a saint!

But understand – and right here is the practical takeaway 

for each of us – that the courage and ability to deny oneself 

that Maximilian had in that hour didn’t just show up.

It began when he was a boy learning the habit of virtue: 

of choosing prayer, kindness, chastity and generosity.

And while on this subject: a lot of people don’t get 

why chastity or self-denial matter all that much. 

Here’s the answer: the capacity to say no to what my body says 

is super-duper urgent, right now, is directly proportional 

to being able to say YES to putting others first.

I never witnessed my father making any heroic sacrifices 

like St. Maximilian – at least, I didn’t think so; 

until, as a man, I reflected on how my dad 

almost never seemed to be sick. But of course he was!

What he did, however, was still get out of bed and go to work.

Chastity and temperance form that virtue of self-gift in us.

No matter who you are, how small or young you are, 

or if you think, I’m too old, it’s too late for me:

While you have breath, 

it is not too late to become greater in virtue,

Which is the only thing that really matters 

both in this life and in eternity. 

Today is not too late to say to Jesus:

Please plant that seed of courage, of faith, in me;

As small as I am, I will give all I can to make it grow, 

even if all I have is just today.

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