[This homily was given at the 10:30am & 12:15pm Masses on Sunday, Aug 4]
Click here for the Scripture readings.
I'm what they call a "late vocation". That means I worked out in the corporate world before entering the seminary. I worked for 4 years, three of those with a company in St. Louis. That company got a new CEO and when he arrived, he called the staff down to the conference room so he could introduce himself. He did: telling us he was married with grown children. He'd moved around a bit for his work and then he said something that I will never forget. He said, "I don't really have any hobbies or anything. All I do is work." And I can remember thinking then, as I do now, with a great deal of compassion in my heart, how sad.
Hold onto to that for a minute.
Our Gospel reading today seems to have two parts. On the first we have two brothers approaching Jesus and asking him to arbitrate their division of their father's estate. Jesus declines. And then he goes into a second, but related, part in which he tells a parable about a rich man and his wealth. The lesson here, the moral here, the easy homily here is don't put too much effort or stock into material possessions or wealth. It's ok to have wealth and possessions, we just don't want our possessions to possess us. But as I reflect a little more deeply with our Gospel reading, I'm struck by this line: "Tonight, your life will be demanded of you." And when I pray about this, I think about Charles Dickens, and more specifically, A Christmas Carol.
You know the story: Ebeneezer Scrooge always working and always concerned about himself and his money. Visited by Jacob Marley and told, "Scrooge, tonight your life will be demanded on you!" Visit by the ghosts of past, present and future; eventually transformed by this experience. And while Dickens wasn't a Christian and the story having only vague Christian tones, we can glean a lot from it. I wonder if at some point Scrooge didn't come face to face with regrets. I wonder if the man in Jesus's parable didn't come face to face with regrets when told his life would be demanded on him. I wonder if my old boss wouldn't be filled with some regrets. Regrets: acts of love left undone; words of love left unsaid; mistakes left un-redeemed.
So, this is one invitation from Jesus this week: have we spent so much worrying about and concerning ourselves with other things, that we may have regrets about the life we lived and are currently living? Have we spent too much time building bigger barns and accumulating stuff that we've allowed a fog to come between us and the people in our life? Do we have regrets? Acts of love left undone; words of love left unspoken; past mistakes left un-redeemed?
This week, the Divine Physician offers healing.
This week, lets ask the Lord to ever so gently reveal those regrets to us. May he set them before our mind's eye in only the way he can. May we then ask for the Spirit's gift of courage to take positive steps to heal them and be forgiven and reconcile with God and any persons He brings to our hearts. This week we ask the Lord to heal regrets and so make us ready to hear those words that, no doubt, will one day be spoken to each us, "Tonight, your life will be required of you."
May we go with nothing left undone; nothing left unsaid; all sins forgiven; and peace reigning in our hearts, and in our homes.