This is my homily for Sunday 29 August 2010, 22nd Sunday. On-campus Mass at Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) Teaneck, NJ resumes 7:30 p.m. Sunday August 29 for the 2010-2011 school year. I am the Catholic campus minister for this campus and for the FDU Newman Catholic Association.
Readings: Sirach 3:17-18 | Psalm 68 | Hebrews 12: 18-19, 22-24 | Luke 14:1, 7-14
[_01__] In the Gospel, we observe guests who want to be seated, in a hurry.
They care only that they are in first class, in the honored seats.
“Every man, woman, and child for himself.”
Has the party formally started? Has anyone been seated? Did they RSVP? Who knows?
It is possible that some of those who are sitting in the honored seats also belong in the honored seats. Maybe the President and Vice President and Governor and a few Senators are there. However, to everyone who is not (or not yet) such an elected official and VIP, Jesus is speaking, to all of them and to all of us.
The Lord speaks about the waiting that is involved in our lives, and the patience involve, and the delays we experience.
[_02__] In many areas of our lives, we encounter delays in getting there.
• In sports, to be strong, to be intelligent to compete well. It takes practice.
• In academics – to learn, to study. It takes time.
• In music, the arts – to use our ears and hands and eyes for true beauty. It takes technique and rehearsal.
Then, we also see
• Awards that others receive
• Houses or rooms – or residence halls - they live in.
• Friends whom they have.
And, we wonder, “Why can’t I have that?”
[_03_] It is important to ask the Lord for what we really want. To ask him how our waiting, how our goal, how our objective may be beneficial.
For example, to ask him in prayer, how we can grow to be best we can, how we can excel in the classroom, on the field, or improve in our relationships with others.
And, also it is important to consider how are our relationships, our efforts helping others, showing love.
• What we are we doing to help others who may experience a delay?
• What am I doing to help the new student in my class, or on my school bus, in my dorm? To help the person in a new place or the new one who is far from home?
• What we are doing to exalt the humble? To give up our seats, to help the last and the least become first?
[__04_(Σ)_] There is waiting involved in the spiritual life and in many aspects of our lives. One example from the Gospel is Thomas the Apostle.
In the Easter Gospel, we recall that Thomas is the one who is not present when Jesus appears to the other apostles in the Upper Room.
John Henry Newman, in his sermon Faith and Sight, reflects on the life of Thomas who has to wait one more week than the other apostle to discover Jesus has risen from the dead.
However, Thomas is blessed in this period of time, this period of waiting.
And, blest are we, blest are we also who blessed are all who wait up on God’s will, blessed are those who have not seen and have believed. (John 20:29)
[__05__] There is waiting involved in the spiritual life and in many aspects of our lives.
• Studying, reading, writing – waiting as we try to understand the material. It does not all happen at once or in one semester.
• Making new friends, and maybe, also, letting go of old friends who may have gone a different way, to other schools, to new jobs.. This does not mean that these friendships will end. But, they may enter a different phase.
• There is waiting involved in showing our affection, our love for others. Sometimes, others do not return our love in the way we had been expecting.
The Good News of the Gospel reminds us that the Lord is with us when we wait, whether we are already seated or whether we are delayed, even with cancelled flight, and at the back of the line where the last shall be first. [__end__]