Friday, November 1, 2013

Conduct / All Saints Day (2013-11-01)

This is my homily for ALL SAINTS DAY, November 1, 2013.  I am a Catholic chaplain at  Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU, Teaneck),   FDU Newman Catholic Association,  New Jersey City University (NJCU) in Jersey City.  At FDU, Sunday Evening Mass is celebrated 5:00 pm during Fall 2013 and Spring 2014. at FDU Chapel, 842 River Road, Teaneck. 

READINGS  ••  Revelation 7:2-4, 9-14 •• Psalm 24 •• 1 John 3:1-3 •• Matthew 5:1-12a••

[__01__]     The music of an excellent orchestra is not only the combination of excellent violinists (with Stradivarii) and horn players and percussionists.

The conductor brings the various pieces together.

The individuals, the individual players bring power. The person with the baton, however, conducts and directs and organizes this power into a coherent and cohesive whole.

“Power” and “conduct” are related.

[__02__]   I think we also know this from our own experience – whether in a laboratory, kitchen, home.

Power must be conducted, led to its destination.

[By the way.. today’s power outage showed that this does not always happen…][2]

Images and sounds and text reach us because the air/atmosphere is a conductor.

So, whether you/I turned off our cell phones or not before Mass or class, there is always connectivity – and conductivity – around us in the air, in the air waves.

Power is conducted, electricity is conducted.

If the power fails to reach us, this would be due to the lack of conductivity.

[__03__]     In a similar way, when we perform well in the classroom, on the field, on the court or anywhere, we are doing so by conducting, by letting the power flow through us.

__04__]    Today is All Saints Day, November 1st, a day on which we recall the many holy men and women who have also been channels – conductors – of God’s grace and power in their lives.

Many are named, canonized, enshrined. However, many holy men and women have not been. The vast majority are not named. Thus, we have this day to honor all of them.

We also aspire to virtue, to sanctity, to saintliness, to holiness.

We do so by allowing God’s power and grace to be manifest – to be conducted – in our words and actions.

In this regard, I am not suggesting that we are passive or that we lack free will.

In fact, are there not times when we are more prepared, more inclined toward honesty, fairness, unselfishness, sacrifice than others.

At such times, we are channels, conductors of God’s grace. The prayer of St. Francis expresses this – make me an instrument of your peace.

[__05__]     At such times, we are channels, conductors of God’s grace.

Consider what happens early on in any relationship, maybe it is the early days of –
·         Spouses, husband and wife.
·         Teammates
·         coworkers

In the beginning, they conduct themselves well. They are conductors of love, mercy, enthusiasm. Each one desires the good other before himself or herself.

 [__06__]   And, if they were to continue to grow in virtue and love, then even advanced age would not necessarily produce friction … rust. A loving relationship can get better with age.

[__07__]  On the other hand, over time, sometimes, we decline in our willingness to be conductors of God’s power.

And, the opposite of conducting is insulating,we insulate – or isolate – ourselves.

 [__08__]    The Gospel reading of the Beatitudes reminds us to be conductors, to be open to God’s grace, even when we are mourning, persecuted, impoverished.

 [__09__]   Any of the above could cause us to insulate – isolate – or go – spiritually – into Federal-Government Shutdown mode.

All Saints Day reminds us the many holy men and women whose paths we follow, through whom we learn that God’s love and life is shared, demonstrated by our conduct in word and action… by conducting God’s grace for our good and that of others.

[2] A nor’easter or mini-tropical storm hurricaneish squall blew through the region / Teaneck around 11:00 am and knocked out power to the Teaneck side of the campus.

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