Archive for September, 2007

Homily — 19th Sunday Ordinary Time C August 12, 2007

Sunday, September 2nd, 2007

Homily — 19th Sunday Ordinary Time C          August 12, 2007
(Note:  I preached this homily the week of my installation as Pastor of St. Joseph Church;  however, the Bishop preached (a different homily) at my installation Mass itself.)
Blessed are those servants whom the Master finds vigilant on His arrival.

Jesus, my friends, is the Master, and we are all his servants.

The Master has gone off to a wedding, the Wedding Feast of Heaven.

But the Master will return to invite us to that Wedding Feast, at the end of our lives.

He’ll return at an hour you do not expect, He tells us.  It could be in the first watch of this night which is our short life, when we are young,

He might return in the second or third watch — when we are middle aged or in our senior years.

And to all his servants, to all of us Baptized disciples of his, Jesus the Master says “Be sure your lamps are shining brightly when I get there.”

The “Lamp” Jesus refers to is the Light given us at our Baptism:  the light of faith, hope and charity.

Now, in the Gospel, Peter and the Twelve Apostles ask Jesus Is this parable meant (only) for us (Pastors), or for everyone?

And Christ basically answers “The parable I just gave you is for every one of my disciples.  But here’s one for you guys who are Pastors . . . . .”

And then Jesus gives a parable about a Servant whom the Master . . . .put(s) in charge of his (other) servants to distribute the food allowance at the proper time.

That’s a great description of what a pastor is:  He is a servant of Jesus, called to serve, not to be served.

But more responsibility is given this Servant;  and therefore more will be required of him when the Master returns.

What responsibility does the Pastor-servant have?  To distribute the food allowance at the proper time.

And so I as your pastor must feed you and myself with the Spiritual Food which is our Holy Catholic Faith.

You know, people in the Navy say that when you’re out at sea, the most vital person on board the ship isn’t so much the Captain, it’s the cook!

Because if the cook is lazy, or is a bad cook, or burns the food, morale on the ship will go way down.

And if the cook serves rancid or contaminated food to his crewmates, many crew members will get sick or even die.

But, if he is a good and hard working cook, who serves up healthy and tasty food, morale will be high, and the sailors will all be strong and healthy, and they’ll go off to win the war.

And so a Pastor is like a Navy cook.  By his words and actions, he needs to work hard to serve up the whole Catholic Faith in a way that will be appetizing, in a way that will get people to eat what’s good for them.

But the Pastor needs to know his ingredients: any food I give you needs to come only from God’s Kitchen, lest I end up poisoning everyone with heresy or my bad Christian example.

Lastly, the Pastor in distributing the food to the other servants, needs to serve the right food to the right people in order for everyone to grow in the faith.

St. Paul speaks of this in his first letter to the Corinthians.  He tells them I fed you milk (baby food), because you were unable to take the solid food of grown ups in the faith.

God’s kitchen has both baby food and solid grown up food.

And this may be humbling, but only the saints eat a steady diet of God’s grown-up food.  Most of us, myself included, need to be fed God’s baby food each day:  we want the milk of consolations in prayer time, warm feelings of God’s loving presence, signs and wonders that help us believe.

When God tries to feed us the real food of the Cross, of the dark night of walking by faith alone — we lose our appetite.

But as Pastor, I need to first try and eat the grown up food myself and then try to serve up a little of it to you each time I celebrate the Eucharist.

And so, my brothers and sisters, may Christ help us all to be faithful and wise servants, our lamps of faith hope and love burning brightly, our own house in order as we work diligently waiting for the Master’s return.

For Blessed are those servants whom He finds vigilant when He comes.