Well, it is good to be back. While it is always healthy for anyone to get away from their normal routine for a few days, I do miss being here when I am gone. I miss you, and I miss doing this: presiding and preaching at liturgy. So – it’s good to be back.
I don’t think I have told you that I have a special bond with Fr. Tom Wiederholt who was here last weekend. About 20 or so years ago when I was doing some discernment about leaving priesthood and moving on to something else, Tom was the first person who said, “Why don’t you stay in our diocese for a while before making up your mind, we could always use a few good priests here.” And so the rest, as they say, is history.
So, I was spoiled by my mom a little bit last week with breakfast every morning. I saw a few old friends back home in Indiana and made a few new ones . . . all of which reminds me of this story.
It’s Mothers Day, and a man goes to the florist to buy his mother a bouquet. He knows he should visit his mother, but he has more exciting plans, so he decides to send her flowers instead. At the florist, the man encounters a little boy who wants to buy some roses for his mother, but doesn’t have enough money. So the man gives the boy some money, then pays for his own mother’s bouquet, then leaves the store.
As the man drives off to the exciting plans he has for the day, he passes by a cemetery. And in the cemetery he sees the little boy from the flower shop, roses in hand. The man pulls into the cemetery and asks the boy what he is doing. The boy explains that his mother has been dead a year, and that he comes to her grave all the time to talk to her and, on this special day – Mothers Day – he wanted to give her some flowers.
The man leaves rather quickly and returns to the florist where he asks if his mother’s flowers have already been delivered. When the florist tells him no, the man tells him to cancel the delivery. He wants to deliver them himself.
Jesus – knowing human nature well – knows that we easily get distracted from what is important, by what might seem to us to be a bit more exciting. His purpose for telling the disciples what he tells them today – about the end times – is not done to frighten them, but to hopefully shake them up a bit, so perhaps they may come to know they can’t always put off to tomorrow what they need to be doing today.
Jesus is saying: All of us have limited time in this world, before we have the opportunity to live for all eternity in the world to come.
The Gospel today should remind us that the kingdom of God is not just something we wait around for, that it’s not just something that happens to us, or that we are eventually taken to, but the kingdom of God is also something we are called to actively bring about through our life-giving words and actions. Sure, there may be what we think are more exciting things to do, but there is nothing more urgent, nothing more worthy of the investment of our time, talent and treasure, than to expend ourselves in some way today, in building the kingdom of God – one loving word – and one loving action at a time.
We are challenged by this Gospel to keep the eyes of our hearts open, looking into the signs of the times by the light of faith, so as to constantly devote ourselves to the service of the Gospel. Not waiting until tomorrow or the day after, but doing something – today.
Our second collection allows us to do something today for the poor and needy through the Campaign for Human Development. And after Communion, we will hear of five different ways we can get involved in making the kingdom of God a reality for others through the Giving Tree program.