The title of my homily for this 22 Friday in Ordinary Time
is, “The Old and the New.”
We hear about both in today’s gospel - new wine, new
wineskins, old wine, old wineskins. New cloth, old cloth. [Cf Luke 5:33-39]
The old and the new.
In today’s first reading from Colossians - we have some
mysterious words about Jesus. He is described as the first born of all
creation. [Cf. Colossians 1:15-20]
That makes Christ forever old. Yet he is listed as the first born from the
dead. That’s the theme of resurrection - which is the forever new. As soon as we die,
because of Christ we who believe - we believe he’ll make us brand new all over
Bye, bye wrinkles. Welcome in new skin - the skin of a new
It’s a win-win situation.
The title of my homily is, “The Old and The New!”
LIFE IS BOTH
Obviously, we know life is both.
We go into any house and we see the new and the old - and
the older we get - the older the old.
Yet there’s always that something new - somewhere - a new TV, a new
refrigerator, a new ramp that leads to the car - because of a wheelchair - a
brand new metallic red wheelchair. We spot a novel - the new - but we see the classics on a book shelf.
We walk into a house and we say, “What’s new?” And we get the latest news about each other’s
family. We don’t want old news - but
after the new news, we revert to telling the old. We tell the old stories about
the time we went to Barbados
or Barcelona or Boston. We tell the story about how we almost
won the state Spelling Bee in 1943. We talk about what our salary was in 1950.
Obviously, life is both the old and the new.
The planets in our Solar System are dated from 5 to 15 billion years old. But
what will we know in 4013 that we don’t know in 2013?
How old is old? How
new is new Maybe new galaxies are being
born this very minute, this very million years.
Yet on this old earth, each day mosquitoes and mice are
being born - and there is a new song and a new dance and a new procedure for
arthritis and aneurisms. The newspapers
give the new - the news - otherwise they go out of business. So too
Yet sometimes we love the old - TCM - Turner Classic Movies - present in Black
and White - a great movie. I noticed at weddings when the Golden Oldies are
played, the Golden Oldies get out on the dance floor.
I noticed at Baptisms of brand new babies, the joy in grandparents
faces because the kid is going to be baptized in a baptismal garment that is
over 100 years and it’s a family tradition to use it.
The old on the new…..
The Annapolis Historic Society sticks to it’s Rules and
Regulations to preserve the past whenever someone wants to make new an old
And Williamsburg and Annapolis, St. Petersburg
and Rome, keep
featuring the old to new customers.
ANY NEW MESSAGES
FROM ALL THIS: SOME BEHOOVES
Are there any messages here?
I would think that it behooves us to carefully preserve our
past - gather the pictures. Label them. Make sure they are passed down to
someone who will also preserve them. It
behooves us to put in the will not only who we want to have a special table or
sewing machine - but also it’s history and story. It behooves us to write our
autobiography, our memoirs, our story, for generations to come.
I would think that it behooves us to listen to each other
tell our stories - our old - not just to write them down - but to share them
with each other.
I would think it behooves us to not become a broken record
or an old cold cheeseburger on a soggy paper plate at a picnic, but to read, to
think, to go figure, to take long walks, to use TV and lectures well, to get
fresh takes on life - and discover areas of life and the planets we don’t know
I would think it behooves us to talk to Christ daily - about
out future eternity with him and those who have gone before him - to picture
heaven as the great wedding banquet - in which all will dance before the Lord.
Amen. It behooves us to have faith -
because of Christ - that these wrinkled skins of ours - holding old wine - will
one day rise - body and soul - and become brand new bodies - Risen Bodies -
filled with the Newness of the Eternal Christ. Amen.
Quote for Today - September 6, 2013 "I gave in, and admitted that God was God." C.S. Lewis, on relinquishing atheism at the age of 31 in 1929, quoted by William Griffin, Clive Staples Lewis, Harper and Row, 1986
Quote for Today - September 4, 2013 "Religion to me has always been the wound, not the bandage." Dennis Potter (1935-1994) Questions: Where does that comment by Dennis Potter take you? Talk to one other person - one to one - and compare your takes with that person on this quote. Does putting a picture of a crucifix change the comments?
The title of my homily is, “Seeing the Good Things!”
This morning I would like to preach on today’s Psalm
Response - and just part of it. It’s a bit long: “I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of
the living.” It’s from Psalm 27.
For a homily and for a thought for the day - why not try to
see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living today?
I don’t know about you, but some days, I spot the dust and the scratches and miss seeing the strength
and beauty of the chair and the rest of the furniture.
I’m more an optimist than a pessimist - but some days I
forget that - and see the chalice being
half empty - and it’s good to be reminded to see the fullness of the Lord in
So today, let’s spot the good things that will appear on
your paths or on your plate.
LET ME TRY TO POPULATE A LIST OF GOOD THINGS TO SEE
Today - let’s see the person who holds the door for us - not
those who shoot by us and don’t even know we’re on the planet.
Today - let’s see the people here in church with us - instead
of worrying about the drop outs - especially amongst our kids.
Today - let’s see the smiles and not the scowls.
Today - let’s see the person who gives us the right of way in traffic - and not
the person who’s trying win the Indianapolis
500 the Annapolis 5 M.P.H.
Today’s let’s spot the 50 shades of green on the trees and
the grass that carpets and decorates our city and neighborhoods.
Today - let’s see the glass half full - rather than water we
spilled when we missed our mouth in trying to get an ice cube in our mouth.
Today - let’s see what we got done - rather than what we
don’t get done - because we stopped to smell the flowers or we took the time to
call someone to see how their mom did in her operation.
Today - instead of feeling the weight of the cross on our
back, why not spot the cross on the top of this church - and think of its
history down through the years - giving sailors a signal - I’m not that far
from port, harbor and home.
Today - let’s see the good things that surround us in this
land of pleasant living.
Today - let’s think of all those people - who never make the
news- because they are honest. As St. Gregory the Great - an early Christian
saint and pope - whose feast day is today - said, “The universe is not rich
enough to buy the vote of an honest man.”
Today - let’s walk in the light - and not the darkness we
heard about in today’s first reading. [1 Thessalonians 5:1-6, 9-11]
Today - let’s notice the cries to the Lord of others -
instead of hearing their demons - as we heard about that guy in today’s gospel. [Luke 4:31-37]
The title of my homily was: Seeing the Good things. I’m
preaching good news - to be grateful for all the good things that are
going to happen to us today - in the land of pleasant living.
Quotes for Today - Labor Day - September 2, 2013 "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy - and Jill a wealthy widow." Evan Esar Or: "A society that gives to one class all the opportunities for leisure, and to another all the burdens of work, dooms both classes to spiritual sterility." Lewis Mumford
The title of my homily for this 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year
C, is, “Proverbs and Parables.”
“Proverbs and Parables” ….
Today’s first reading from the Book of Sirach - which is one of the Wisdom Books in the Bible -
and is a great collection of proverbs - has this comment: “The mind of a sage - a wise
person - appreciates proverbs and an attentive ear is the joy of the wise.” [Cf.
Today’s gospel from Luke
- our gospel for this Church Year - has the comment, “He told a parable to
those who had been invited….” [Cf. Luke 14:7]
There they are: Proverbs and Parables - the title and the
topic of this homily.
So I have 2 questions: What are the proverbs
you use in your life? What are the
parables you use in your life?
I am assuming everyone has proverbs and parables in mind....
Wouldn’t it be wise to know our proverbs and parables - the
ones that we inwardly say - when we’re doing our day - especially when we come
to a crossroad or a check point or an itchy situation? Wouldn’t it be wise to
know the proverbs and parables that others use - that they think work for them.
If the answer to those questions are yes - then I assume it
would be the wise to be more conscious of our inner workings with proverbs and
parables. That’s the message of this sermon.
FOR EXAMPLE # 1
For example, I once worked at a retreat house - 1969 - 1976 - along the New Jersey shore - right on the ocean. We
had this big storm and the boardwalk we had along the property right above the
ocean, got ripped up and tossed onto the
lawn - going towards our house - away from the ocean.
No boardwalk. So I got a hammer and nails. I was younger then.
And every afternoon for about an hour I would take the loose boards - or I
would pull boards loose from the wreckage - and bring them down to frame foundation of the old
boardwalk - and redo the boardwalk. Well, one
day while banging nails into a board, I found myself saying, “Board by board the
boardwalk is built.”
And in time we had a boardwalk. It was the only thing I ever
built. I got transferred a year after I finished my masterpiece - and I came
back a year later - and my boardwalk was gone - replaced by a much longer and
Today’s gospel says: “Everyone who exalts himself will be
humbled and everyone who humbles himself will be exalted.”
The boardwalk no longer existed on the ground - but it had become built into my brain. I had constructed a proverb - which was also a parable.
For the rest of my life since then, I have often found
myself chopping away at a task - step by step - saying inwardly, “Board by board
the boardwalk is built.”
Page by page the book is read. Word by word, sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph, the sermon is written.
Dish by dish the dishwasher is filled. Dish by dish the dishwasher is emptied.
It’s the same message in any 12 Step Program. A day at a
time. A journey of a 1,000 miles begins with that first step. Piecemeal brings
FOR EXAMPLE # 2
That first example came from a personal experience. My second example comes from an old priest I
was once working with. There was this lady at the place - it was not here - who could be difficult. This
old priest would often say - after an incident,
“As my father used to say, ‘I’d give that lady a wide berth.'” That was
around 1980 or so and I’ve said that inwardly many a time since - about various
men and women.
IT’S THE SAME WITH PARABLES
It’s the same with parables and stories.
Not only do we find ourselves saying proverbs inwardly, proverbs like, “A stitch in
time saves nine!” or “Practice what you preach!” - but we also refer inwardly
to a bunch of inner stories that we use for how to deal with life.
And sometimes proverbs and parables - are interconnected. FOR EXAMPLE # 3
Once upon a time, I was working with a priest named Tom. This
was from 1994-2002. We worked on the road out of St. Gerard's Parish, Lima, Ohio. Once in a homily he was giving, he told the story about
visiting one of our rectories - priest houses. He said he had walked in and this other
priest really beat on him verbally. Off to the side, and later on, another priest who saw the whole thing, said
to him, “How could you let that guy beat on you like that?”
Tom answered, “Oh that was Charlie just being Charlie.”
That to me is the Charlie being Charlie parable.
I always hope something I say in a homily would help someone
all these years like that comment in that homily has helped me. When a similar thing happened to me, I have found peace inwardly saying, "Oh that's X just being X."
I’m sure you’ve heard us priests get nonsense off or stuff
you disagree with. I’m sure some of you when our babble gets too much - when our words are on sand paper - you have thought, “Oh that’s Father X, just being Father X.”
Tom's message had the same message as the parable of the
scorpion - which I’ve read in a dozen versions. Evidently, it has helped many
people down through the years.
An old man was walking down a road along side a stream. He
stops and sees a scorpion out on a dead tree limb. Slowly he works his way down
the bank of the river sort of crawling towards the scorpion.
Just then two men are walking down that same road and they call
out to the old man - struggling to get out onto the branch towards the
scorpion, “What are you doing?”
The old man turned and said, “Oh I’m trying to save this
scorpion out here. He’s going to fall and drown.”
One of the two men says, “Are you crazy? He’s going to sting
and possibly kill you.”
And the old man says, “Well, his nature might be to sting
and kill. It’s my nature to help and save.”
And he continued to work his way towards the scorpion. In
some versions he’s stung by the scorpion. But the main message is that we do in
life what our nature is - while others go through life as stingers.
When I’ve dealt with folks who can give a nasty sting - with
some nasty comments - I try to remember that saying and that story - about the
scorpion and about Tom - that proverb
and that parable - whenever I’m dealing with stingers.
That’s my homily - short and sweet - as the proverb goes - to do some homework on what our personal proverbs and parables are.
Ooops - I better mention that today’s gospel has both a
parable and a proverb. The parable is a reminder to not get filled up with self
and want to sit in the seat to be seen. Nope Jesus’ parable has the message to take the
back seat - and have others tell us to step up. Today’s parable then has the great proverb,
“Everyone who humbles themselves will be exalted and everyone who exalts
themselves will slip on a banana peel.”
Ooops! And the banquet in today’s gospel is this Mass - and
guess who the poor, the crippled, the lamb and the blind who have been invited are?