Today’s Bible readings deal with the journey of life and preparedness. Faith in God certainly gives hope for a destiny to come. Yes, our outlook on life requires a strong faith in God and though it may not offer all the answers, it gives enough of them to enable us to see meaning in our life. It’s truly like the faith in a parent that makes a child feel safe even when the child does not know where he/she is going. “Are we there yet?” Trust in a loving God takes away any absurdity and gives hope for a destiny to come.

St. Luke’s appeal tells us to be prepared! He orders us to “gird your loins and light your lamps.” The moment you least expect it, you might be called to take “that loathe journey” from which there is no return. An example would be the recent sudden death of Fr. Rick Nieberding, C.PP.S. The most challenging remark from St. Luke is probably this one: “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.” This makes all of us to stop and think: “How much has God really entrusted to me?” So, where do I stand? Where should I stand? Where will I stand?

Our Lord calls faithful and wise the steward who takes proper care of all the servants in his charge. Today, we rarely have this situation, which was common in Christ’s time. So how do we apply this today? God has given parents charge of their children. Indeed the Gospel is a warning to careless parents and real encouragement to conscientious ones. A wise parent will:

  1. Learn to listen
  2. Be available
  3. Do things together
  4. Praise your children when deserving
  5. Be informal
  6. Give them good example (tell and show)

All of the above requires sacrifice on the part of parents. But that is what makes them stand out as good parents—especially when they show their children.

The story is told of a mother who had a fidgety little boy with her in church. During the homily, she whispered something in his ear and suddenly he was good as gold for the rest of the Mass. After Mass, the priest asked her what she said. She replied, “If you don’t behave, Father will lose his place and then he will have to start the sermon all over again.” Hopefully, this event won’t ever happen to you as a homilist. You don’t want it to shake your faith as a preacher.

Today’s readings also tell us to ”fear not, little flock.” Does your faith in the words of Jesus calm your fears about the great issues of life and death? On what do we base our faith about the future? What is the source of our conviction? In his inaugural address in 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt told the American people, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” At that time, I was only two years old and the U.S. was sunk in a deep economic depression. My young family really felt the results of that depression. Our faith was tested. Yet, since we lived on a small farm, we were blessed—we were poor but rich in many ways. We needed very little store-bought foods. We raised our own meats and veggies. As a family of faith and hard work, we survived that awful depression.

Finally, just before Holy Communion the priest prays: “Look not on our sins but on the faith of your Church and grant us the peace and unity of your Kingdom.” The only thing we have to fear is not fear itself, but a lack of faith. Pray, Lord, please strengthen our faith.

 

 

Fr. Harry Brown, C.PP.S., is in ministry at the Sorrowful Mother Shrine in Bellevue, Ohio.