FIXING MY GOLF SWING!
I’m not a very good golfer!! When I drive the ball, it always hooks left. I am sure that it is due to a poor swing and not enough faith!! In order to drive the ball straight down the fairway, I would need a very patient instructor who would rebuild my swing focusing on the basic fundamentals and slowly go from there.
When we have a hard time understanding something at school or at work, we need to take a step back and look at the basic principals of the lesson or the task at hand and begin again. Even during this very challenging pandemic, we have shifted from cheering on our health care heroes to protesting at hospitals. We have gone from looking after each other to only thinking about ourselves. No matter what the circumstances, when things seem overwhelming or out of control, we need to go back to the basics. This will give us clarity, perspective and a renewed approach to the challenges of today.
END OF THE CHURCH YEAR
The last Sunday of the Church’s liturgical year takes place on November 21, 2021. We begin a new year with the First Sunday of Advent on November 28, 2021. The readings the last few weeks of the Church year reminds us of the last things—the things that will not fade away and our pilgrimage to heaven.
The readings these last days invite us to take a step back, to look and see what it really means to be a Christian and the mission of the Church in our world today.
On the weekend of November 6-7, 2021, I preached the first homily of a new message series I am calling “BACK TO THE BASICS”. If you missed it please go to the parish website and click on the link to the series. The first reading from the First Book of Kings and the Gospel that Sunday talk about two widows who teach us two fundamental basics of Christian life and the mission of the Church.
(1) PLACE GOD FIRST BY FOLLOWING HIS COMMANDS
In the first reading from Sunday November 7, 2021 a poor widow encounters the prophet Elijah who asks for some food. The widow only had some food for one more meal for her and her son before dying. Despite this tragic circumstance, the widow prepares some food for Elijah first—seeking to serve God by feeding the prophet. Trusting in God a miracle occurs as the widow doesn’t run out of food! What does this teach us?
Pray and listen to what God wants you to do—like the widow, despite having nothing left, trusted Elijah and offered up the last of what she had by placing God first. We so often take care of ourselves first and only seek God’s help when we have nothing left. Through our prayer and open heart we need to understand what God wants in our lives and follow His commands.
Seek out chances to encounter the Lord’s love—to deepen our trust in God we need to experience grace moments in everyday life. If we are looking for God we will find Him!!
Let go of what takes us away from God’s plan—not only do we need to hear God’s word but we need to follow His plan—which means we have to let go of our own expectations. Surrendering our will to God’s plan (even though difficult), will always fulfill our lives!!
Dive in, risk and give God a chance—At a certain point we need to simply dive in and risk. Faith is really all about trusting that God will always take care of us. The widow risked by giving what she had to Elijah and was rewarded. We too need to trust and risk with God who never disappoints us!
(2) INVEST YOURSELF COMPLETELY TO THE LORD
In the gospel from Sunday November 7, 2021, Jesus talks about a poor widow who donated two small coins worth only about a penny—everything she had—in contrast to the rich people who put large sums in the treasury but out of what was left over after taking care of themselves. The poor widow gave her entire heart and life to the Lord trusting in His grace. We need to do the same!!
Make time to get to know God and to fulfill his plans—the most valuable commodity we have is our time. Do we take enough time to know God so we can trust Him, follow Him and give our lives to Him?
Share your gifts & resources for God’s saving work—who we are and what we have is not for our own benefit. As disciples of the Lord we are to give everything for God’s saving work. This is where we will find true happiness and peace.
Do not hold anything back, don’t go through the motions—sometimes when it comes to our faith, we are willing to give up an hour on Saturday night or Sunday morning and maybe with some daily prayers (which is great but not enough). We need be intentional in giving God everything we have to help make this world not only a better place but an encounter with Christ through us.
Dividends will take time as this is a long term investment—change does not happen overnight. Our sacrifices are not just a one time event but an act of faith each day slowly shining a light of hope and love in our world. Our ultimate goal is heaven and we want everyone to journey with us.