2014-03-02, 8th A, God’s Tracking Numbers

Homily 03-02-14
Eighth Sunday Ordinary Time A
Is 49:14-15; Ps 62:2-3, 6-7, 8-9; 1 Cor 4:1-5; Mt 6:24-34

(Scriptures included after homily)

The theme and the moral of today’s readings are pretty clear: “God loves us so much that He will never forget us.”  And of course, our response – is to never forget Him.  When we can truly recognize that God is our rock and our strength; He is our hope and our refuge, our safety and our Glory, then all the fear and worry in our lives will fade away; because we know that God will always take care of us.

End of Homily.

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So now we have three more minutes to have a little fun with it . . .

Last week I made an on-line order for a unique item from a little company on the other side of the world.  Now, we all know that we have to be very careful with on-line orders, because there are lots of scams and robbers out there.  So we do our homework.  And after we place our order, we are careful not to ‘pass judgment,’ as St. Paul warns us today, until we actually get, or, fail to get that order.

We also remember how Jesus told us that we are not to serve both God and mammon (or money).  So I prayed to God that my mammon would not be wasted.  I prayed that my item would actually make it the 5,800 miles from Turkey to Missouri safely.

Fortunately, the owner of this particular company was very responsive, and even sent me a Tracking Number.  And as I was watching my package go from Istanbul to Cologne, Germany, to Philadelphia, Louisville, and then St. Louis, all within a day, I was thinking:

“Wouldn’t it be cool if we all
had our own Tracking Numbers from God?”

You know if you’ve ever ordered something from Amazon, you can see your order’s Tracking Bar as a timeline, with dots along it that progressively say: “Being Prepared,” and “Shipping,” and “Shipped,” and “In Transit.”  And then after a long continuation,
the line finally leads to the last two dots that say “Out for Delivery” and “Delivered.”

Tracking Timelines from God:

On our Tracking Timelines from God, we would all be somewhere along that “In Transit” section.  We would have started our lives’ journeys with God and our parents in the “Being Prepared,” and then the “Shipping” stages.

And then on our birth day, we would be “Shipped.”  Stamped with the indelible seal of God’s approval in our baptisms, we would finally reach that, sometimes short, and sometimes long, “In Transit” zone.

As we all know, a lot can happen
“In Transit.”

The Route:

Of course, there’s the “Standard Shipping Route” of School, Job, Marriage or Priesthood, Kids – and then we get to relive the whole thing a second, or third, or fourth time with each of those kids, before we finally reach our own “In Transit” retirement.

Or, some of us may end up taking the “Express Shipping Route” with a premature car wreck or a terminal illness, making our “In Transit” line much shorter.

Then there are always the unexpected detours we run into along the way . . .  All of which, we don’t have to worry about, when we know that God is our pilot.

Our Job:

And yet, this “In Transit” stage, here in our earthly lives, is not a cushy, ‘sit-back and relax’ period either.  We do have a job to do.  And that primary job is to keep ourselves together, to keep ourselves from getting broken.  Because there are going to be bumps and falls.  There are going to be ‘rough package handlers‘ and ‘evil forces’ that would like nothing less than to see us fall apart before we ever get to our destination . . . things like stress and addictions, envy, greed, hatred and worry.

And that is why we have Church.

We are a Community that supports one another, just as Jesus taught us, so that, through it all, we WILL reach that “Out for Delivery” point, all in one piece.

And then our secondary job is to do our absolute best to see that our families and our neighbors reach their destinations as well.  Sometimes we’ll buffer their falls with our soft packaging.  Sometimes we’ll lead their way by the example that Jesus modeled to us.  And sometimes we might even take a fatal crushing, so that their “In Transit” journeys may be safer – just as Jesus did for us.

Out for Delivery:

Eventually we will all reach that “Out for Delivery” spot.  It’s our final journey home,

. . . where God is waiting – just for us.

It may be a long and painful part of our Tracking journey, as it was for Jesus.  Or it may be a short and abrupt surprise.  But either way, when that Heavenly doorbell is finally rung, and Jesus answers with open arms, we will all know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that:

– it wasn’t the heat or the cold,
– it wasn’t the bumps or the falls,
– it wasn’t the clothes or the money
that meant a thing, throughout these long, “In Transit” lives of ours . . .

It was the LOVE that was and will always stay with us forever,
and will never, ever be forgotten.

And then, we will be –
“Delivered.”

jmp 03-02-14
___________________________________________________________________

Scripture Readings for the Mass of 03-02-14
Eighth Sunday Ordinary Time, Cycle A

First ReadingIs 49:14-15

Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me; my LORD has forgotten me.”  Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb?  Even should she forget, I will never forget you.

Responsorial Psalm:  Ps 62:2-3, 6-7, 8-9

R. Rest in God alone, my soul.
Only in God is my soul at rest; from him comes my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I shall not be disturbed at all.
R.
Only in God be at rest, my soul, for from him comes my hope. He only is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I shall not be disturbed.
R.
With God is my safety and my glory, he is the rock of my strength; my refuge is in God. Trust in him at all times, O my people! Pour out your hearts before him.
R.

Second Reading:  1 Cor 4:1-5

Brothers and sisters: Thus should one regard us: as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.  Now it is of course required of stewards that they be found trustworthy.  It does not concern me in the least that I be judged by you or any human tribunal;  I do not even pass judgment on myself;  I am not conscious of anything against me, but I do not thereby stand acquitted; the one who judges me is the Lord.

Therefore do not make any judgment before the appointed time, until the Lord comes, for he will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will manifest the motives of our hearts, and then everyone will receive praise from God.

______________________________________________

Gospel:  Mt 6:24-34

Jesus said to his disciples: “No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other.  You cannot serve God and mammon.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear.  Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?

Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are not you more important than they?  Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span? Why are you anxious about clothes?

Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin. But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them.

If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?

So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’  All these things the pagans seek.

Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.  But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides.

Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.  Sufficient for a day is its own evil.”

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