Sunday, September 24, 2006

25th Sunday - Homily

Six years ago, I spent a few weeks in Calcutta, India, working with the Missionaries of Charity (Mother Teresa’s sisters). I worked at the home for the dying called Kaligat; Kaligat was a very tough place to work. The men and women who lived there were in their forties and fifties, and they each weighed about forty or fifty pounds. Their families had left them in train stations…to die. The sisters went every morning to the train stations to pick these people up, and care for them at Kaligat. The sisters don’t have degrees in medicine or nursing; they only have degrees in love. They served these men and women with great love and care in their final days.

I have a friend from Baltimore whose name is Amber. When Amber was nine years old, she was driving through the streets of Baltimore with her Mom and asked her why so many people were on the streets. Her Mom told her that that’s where they lived. Amber felt so badly for them that she started making sandwiches for the homeless at nine years old. Nine years old! She has done it every weekend since then; even while she’s at college, many of her friends serve hundreds of homeless men and women in Baltimore every weekend.

Probably the greatest example of love in marriage that I’ve ever seen was my Uncle Mike. His wife, my Aunt Mary, suffered a stroke in 1994; she was bedridden the last five years of her life. Every morning and evening, there was my Uncle Mike, catering to her every need. He truly lived out what he promised on their wedding day: he loved and honored her, in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health.

Jesus says in today’s Gospel that the greatest people among us are the ones who serve the rest. These are examples are some of the greatest people on Earth! In general, those who serve are parents and good friends. Also, many people spend their lives in service to others as priests, nuns, teachers, policemen, nurses, firemen, coaches, etc. These are all the greatest people among us! They get it that it’s all about service to others. They are first in the Kingdom of God because they are the last and the servants of all.

What Jesus says doesn’t make sense, though: to be first you must be last. It is so counter-cultural; our culture and society say that to be first, you have to be number one. You have to put yourself out there and make a name for yourself. You have to make the most money, have the most power, and achieve the most successes. Even the Apostles fell into this mindset; they were arguing about who was the greatest. Who knows what they were saying – maybe who had made the most converts or something. But, Jesus basically says to them, ‘you guys don’t get it. To be great in the Kingdom of God you must be the servant of all’.

This is big talk from Christ. He not talks the talk, he walks the walk. The whole reason he came into the world was to serve us. His mission finds its fulfillment on the Cross which is the greatest sign of service in the world. He gave his very life for us! Any time we serve others, we imitate Jesus. It doesn’t have to be something big like in Calcutta, it can be right here at home, serving a friend in need. We follow Jesus’ words to put others first and serve them, not ourselves. It means being selfless, not selfish. It means imitating Him who is the greatest of all, and the servant of all.

Christian service starts right here. It starts here with Christ…it starts here with the Eucharist. Someone asked Mother Teresa how she could serve the poorest people in the world every day. She said that it was because of the Eucharist. Without an hour in Adoration of the Eucharist and receiving Christ every morning at Mass, she said she would not have made it more than a week. She knew it was the Grace of this sacrament that made her service possible. For her and for any of us, it is Christ who gives us the strength and courage to go out to others in need. It is really Him serving others through us. With His help, we bring the Father’s love to those we meet…the great love He has for each and every one of us. May you know His love this day.

17 Comments:

At 10:16 AM, Anonymous Searching For Holiness said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 4:49 PM, Anonymous ShadowMayhem said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 9:25 PM, Blogger Tenderfoot said...

FALL LECTURE SERIES – Coming Soon!
In preparation for the DVD release of “The DaVinci Code”, the Christian Formation Ministry of St. Francis will be presenting a three-part Fall Lecture Series with Jim Furilla:

The DaVinci Code: Fact, Fiction and Hoax - Sunday, October 22nd, 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Constantine, the Making of the Bible, and Rise of Gnosticism - Sunday, October 29th, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Mary Magdalene and the Role of Women in Early Christianity - Sunday, November 5th, 7:00 – 9:00


I am sure going to be there for all of those talks!

 
At 11:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How did you communicate to the people in Calcutta as the poor would only speak Bengali. Were there enough translators? What was the most positive experience you had there? There are a lot of Indian people who help the poor there but unfortunately don't get the same recognition.

 
At 12:14 PM, Anonymous Kelly said...

Wow! WHat a great homily. Christ walked the walk. He did not just talk the talk! LOve that! Mother T is a beautiful example of how The Eucharist and the adoration of Christ fills us with the grace to serve others. Thanks for a homily which is motivating and inspiring! God bless you and keep you happy & healthy, Father Greg. You were made to be a priest.

 
At 9:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It would be so nice to be able to have a daily mass at St Andrew's that both our students and our working parishioners could attend.

 
At 9:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can echo that... maybe an earlier daily mass... 7:00 or 7:30. It would be very nice to be able to go to daily mass but it is difficult if you work in the district and have such a horrible commute everyday. What is wierd is I was just thinking about this very topic this morning.

 
At 10:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe not so weird. The Spirit moves in mysterious ways...

 
At 11:20 AM, Blogger Fr Greg said...

I appreciate the last comments about Mass times with the school kids, and it's a nice thought, but not possible. The kids don't arrive at school until 8 am.

We have classes from the school come to Mass regularly, and then occassionally have a school Mass. Parishioners are welcome, of course, but it is during the work day.

Either the students would have to come in earlier to come to Mass or people would have to go later to work to make it possible for them to attend daily Mass together.

 
At 11:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It would still be nice to have an earlier daily mass for thoes who work. Not saying to change time of the one already in place...

 
At 11:32 AM, Anonymous Searching For Holiness said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 11:46 AM, Anonymous Searching For Holiness said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 1:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about having ONE of the 8:30 Masses per week a little earlier, at 7 or 7:30?

It just seems to me that by not providing the opportunity for daily participation in the Mass for the majority of our parishioners, we are setting ourselves up for not continuing this into the next generation (including the current working generation).

I agree with SFH...Father Mike and Father Greg are already carrying a huge load. Two Masses per day would be too much.

 
At 1:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Be careful what you wish for!

A few years ago, they added an earlier daily Mass a couple of times a week during Lent. That was great... until the third time I had to choose between going to Mass and sleeping in another half hour.

Character is what you do when the alarm clock goes off.

There is also a 7 a.m. daily Mass at the Holy Family Seminary on Randolph Road.

 
At 8:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For those who work in the district, several of the churches have 12:10 Masses, some are even close to Metro. If time is a factor, daily Mass is about 25 - 30 minutes because the order of the daily Mass is different from Sundays

 
At 8:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for all who have gone out of their way to provide information on Mass options. It is clear that opportunities for daily mass are available in many places, just as opportunities to participate in Mass in other places are available while traveling, or on vacation or when unusual conflicts interfere with usual Sunday routines.

But I think this also misses the point that a daily Mass is also about community. I bet the "8:30 Club" attendees would agree. It is all about being a Parish community.

 
At 8:51 PM, Anonymous Searching For Holiness said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home