Quote for Today - July 10, 2013 "It is much more difficult to judge oneself than to judge others." Antoine de Saint-Exupere [1900-1944] in The Little Prince  Chapter 10 Question: Was Jesus getting at this with his many comments about judging others? For example, Matthew 7:1; Luke 6:37; Luke 12: 14?
The title of my homily for this 14th Sunday in
Ordinary Time, Year C, is, “What’s the Plan?”
My homily is the question - more than the answer.
In today’s gospel from Luke
10: 1-12, 17-20, we have this interesting incident of the 72 others whom Jesus
appointed. It’s the only place in the Gospels where we hear about this particular
plan of Jesus to send 72 people - 2 by 2, ahead of him - to places where he
planned to visit.
Questions hit me as I read that.
How did he pick the 72? Did Jesus have a meeting? Did he
line up the 72? Did he do the pairing? Did they get sort of a packet that listed the points they were to
cover - when they visited different towns - and different homes in a town? I
don’t think so. I picture them telling folks about Jesus - that he was coming
soon to their town - and this is what he told us and this is what he’ll do for
What’s the plan?
In today’s gospel we hear Jesus give an entrance strategy. Enter
a town. Find peaceful people there. Say to them, “Peace to this household…. If
they greet you and invite you into their homes - stay there. Eat and drink what
they offer. Don’t switch homes. Cure the sick. Tell the people that the Kingdom of God is at hand for you.”
Except for that last part - curing and proclaiming the Kingdom
of God - it sounds like the NavyAcademy’s
Sponsor Family program for the Middies.
In today’s gospel we also hear Jesus give an exit strategy.
If that town rejects you, “Shake the dust of that town off your feet and move
on.” Then there is the scary message: if
they reject you it will be more tolerable for Sodom on that day than on that town.
I also found that an intriguing comment - because just
Sunday in this same gospel from Luke, he
chides James and John for wanting to call down fire from heaven to burn down a
Samaritan town for not welcoming them.
Well, the 72 went 2 by 2 and did that. Then they came back
rejoicing. They told Jesus how well it went.
Jesus said he saw Satan, serpents and scorpions destroyed as a result of their
mission. Then he added, “Do not rejoice
because the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are
written in heaven.”
WHAT’S YOUR PLAN
So when I read all this, I heard the “What’s The Plan?”
How many times do we hear that question in our lifetime?
Fourth of July just happened. How many times were we asked, “What’s
your plan for the Fourth of July?”
It’s summer time. How many times were we asked, “Are you
going anywhere this summer?”
It’s the weekend. “What’s your plan?”
Today: any plans?
A kid comes finishes college - comes home - is just sitting
around. A parent asks, “What’s your
One’s life: what’s the plan?
MY LIFE -
WHAT’S MY PLAN?
My life plan was to become a priest and go to Brazil. A
priest from our parish in BrooklynN.Y. came into our grammar school classroom when we were
kids - told us about his work in Brazil. It sounded great and
exciting. Then he asked if anyone here wants to be a priest when they grow up -
and go to Brazil. I raised my hand. What did I know?
Great plan - it worked so many times in the past.
Years later I read an autobiography of Father Andrew Greeley
- who died at the end of May. He wrote about that same thing happening to him
in the 3rd grade or so. Then he added: “I never took down my hand.”
Most of those whom I went to the seminary with, left, but
they tried it - but some of us - this has been our life.
I’m sure all of us here sat in classrooms, churches,
stadiums, saw the Blue Angels, remember them, and said, “When I grow up I’m
going to be a ________.” Fill in the blank.
And you know the saying, “Life is what happens when we are
making other plans.”
I remember giving a nuns’ retreat one summer to some nuns in
evening we were sitting around in the dining room. This nun with a beer in hand
told us her story. She was originally from Ireland. She said that her order
sent two nuns every year to Ireland.
They would go to different towns and ask the heads of schools: “What gals here would
make great nuns?” Then they would talk
to the school kids - with those girls in mind - and in sight.
Then she paused: “Well, that’s how I got here. That’s me.” She told the story
of going with her dad by train to Cork.
They checked in her suitcase at the boat. There was still 3 hours till boarding. So the - two of them went to a pub across the street
and had a great lunch together - plus her first beer. They clinked their
glasses. Then she said she was off to Texas
and a new life.
She added, “It has been good” but then
with tears in her eyes she said, “That was the last time I saw my dad.” Pause: “Then she said that has been the story
of so many of us.” Pause: “Then with a great smile: “and it has been a
That moment triggered for me stories about my dad. He too
was from Ireland.
My mom told he wrote love letters to her for ten years when she was in Boston and he was in New York. The last letter said, “If you
don’t marry me I’m going to become an Irish Christian Brother.” It worked.
Thank God she finally said, “Yes!”
otherwise - fill in the blank. He had 3 sisters who joined the Sisters
of Mercy in Portland, Maine - and that was their life. Two died
very early. I never met them - but I went with my dad as a teenager to their
graves - along with his sister, Sister Mary Patrick who lived up in Maine and served as a
sister of Mercy for over 50 years. I also
remember going there with my mom and my sister Peggy who is a nun - years later
- after my dad had died - to visit the graves of all 3 sisters.
What’s the plan?
What has been the plan of your life?
School? Work? Marriage? Family? See your kids get schooling,
work, marriage, family? Seeing your kids
having kids and on and on and on.
What’s the plan?
Isn’t it the message
we heard in today’s first reading from Isaiah 66: 10-14 - to find our Jerusalem - our dream
city, our dream place, our dream situation, and suck fully the milk of that
abundant breast? Isn’t it that place where our heart will rejoice and our
bodies flourish like the grass as Isaiah describes all this in the first
Isn’t it also the reality we hear in today’s second reading
from Paul’s Letter to the Galatians 6: 14-18? Isn’t life Christ? Isn’t our plan
to experience in our being his peace and
his mercy - to bring about new creations in our life - even though it means at
times that we bear the marks of Jesus on our body in a long life of service to
I once heard a talk by John Shea, who like Father Andrew
Greeley, was a priest from Chicago.
Both did a lot of writing. He said that he had heard a talk by Greg Pierce who
said that the two key issues in life were work and relationships. Pierce said:
that’s where people spend their lives. Then he added something like, “And you
preachers rarely focus on those two areas in your homilies.”
Having heard that I had a plan. Those are the two big areas
I have focused on in the past 15 years. I never got to Brazil, but I
got to get into a lot of lives in my lifetime.
Like everyone, I wonder if I have made a difference with my
life. I don’t say that to get cookies. I say that and all this that you look
into your life today - and ask yourself: “What’s my plan?”
What’s my life work?
And whom am I doing it with. Most people get married - and go two by two - and
we enter the lives and homes of lots of people.
What’s our plan? What’s our life work?
We didn’t get a packet from Jesus what to say - except to
bring peace and care and curing for each other - and help folks with their snakes
and scorpions - and then move on - not with dust on our feet - in some grave -
but with the marks of Christ on our lives and resurrection in the air.