8 Sun OT Yr A - 2017
Ss. Peter & Paul, Danville
I have this problem that I think most of us share. I heard it described once very well by a very wise man. It’s not quite fit for public consumption, so we’ll have to massage it a bit. It goes like this: If you’ve got one foot stuck in tomorrow and one foot stuck in yesterday, you’ll… Well…you’ll do something gross, and messy – all over today. Poopoo. Can we say poopoo in Church? If we’ve got one foot stuck in tomorrow and one foot stuck in yesterday, we’ll poopoo all over today.
Funny as it is…we do it all the time, don’t we?
I’ve been trying to get on the treadmill more regularly. Here’s a typical conversation in my head when I start thinking about exercising: ‘Gosh – I wish I hadn’t gone so long without exercising – if only I’d started doing this months or years ago, I could be so much stronger, so much fitter. If I’d started drinking my NutriBullet shakes and eating better in my 30’s, it wouldn’t be so hard to walk two miles.’ Often, that gets me so bummed out that when it’s time to get on the treadmill, I start having a different conversation in my head: ‘ ‘Golly – looking at my calendar, there won’t be any time to exercise again for another 10 days or so – there’s so much to do! Maybe I’m better off just giving this treadmill thing a go after we get Lent off to a good start…’ And you know what happens, right – between all that worrying about yesterday and worrying about tomorrow – I don’t get on the treadmill today.
I’m not alone in that, am I? We do it with fitness and finances and faith. We do it with relationships. We do it with confession. Go ahead – we’re family – raise your hand if you’ve ever done that with confession… Over and over again, we struggle with this pattern… If we’ve got one foot stuck in yesterday, and one foot stuck in tomorrow, we’ll poopoo all over today…
Jesus invites us to do it differently…actually, he invites us to be different.
‘Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life,” he says. There’s so much more to this life, He says, than the things we’re always worrying about. That thing we call worry is hardly ever about this present moment; worry almost always sends us to regret over yesterday and paralyzing concern over tomorrow, eating up the only moments we can use to do anything about it: right now.
And what’s the key to living this moment – each present moment – in a way that will fill our lives with peace? “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you besides…”
Isn’t it funny – when I shut up all my internal chatter about what I wish I had done and what I’m worried about that’s coming – when I shut all that up and say to myself, ‘Who does God want me to be right now?’ – every single time I’ve done that, I’ve put on my walking shoes and hit the treadmill. Every. Single. Time. Every single time I stop regretting that I haven’t prayed as much as I should have, and stop predicting that I won’t pray tomorrow as well as I need to – every single time, I’ve grabbed my breviary or rosary beads or journal and spent quality time with the Lord. Every. Every. Single. Time. Every single time I stop beating myself up for the sins I’ve committed, stopped shaming myself for not being a perfect Christian, and stopped wondering whether or not I might commit the same sin again even after I go and confess it and stop playing the ridiculous game of ‘I’ll go to confession after I figure out how to stop sinning’ – every single time, I’ve gone to a priest and made my confession, and found peace in the mercy of Jesus who sees growth and healing in me. Every. Single. Time.
If we’ve got one foot stuck in yesterday, and one foot stuck in tomorrow, we’ll poopoo all over today…But if we’ve got both feet in today, in each present moment, and if we look to God who loves us enough to save us one moment at a time, then we’ll get somewhere…and we’ll be as at peace as the birds of the air and the flowers of the field, because, like them, we’ll live each moment in the hands of love.
We have to practice this way of living, friends. This way of knowing and trusting Jesus enough to let go of our anchors in yesterday and tomorrow and live in today. That comes from experiencing His love, experiencing His friendship, and experiencing His divinity – because if we experience that the all-powerful Creator loves us enough to be our friend, we can trust our lives one moment at a time to Him.
Together as a parish family, I want us to try something together this Lent. Something that will help us all experience more deeply the love of Christ. Something that will help us all know Jesus better as a real person and the realest friend around. I want us to spend time with Jesus. Specifically, I want us to spend time with Jesus like we would any friend…by coming to where He is… where He waits patiently for us to visit Him…hidden in simple bread.
If you’ve got a friend or acquaintance you want to get closer to, what do you do? You spend time with them. Face to face. You see them. And you see them seeing you. You talk with them, and you stop talking and listen to them talk to you. You laugh and cry together. You’re honest with each other. And – you do it face to face as often as you can. Right?
This Lent, I want you to ‘come and see’ what happens if you do that with Jesus here in the Church, here on the altar, here in Eucharistic Adoration. As a family of faith, together as a family, let’s visit with Jesus this Lent. Each Friday, between the noon Mass and 5pm Stations of the Cross, there will be adoration right here in the Church. Our parish staff has made the first commitment – for every hour of adoration, one member of our parish staff will be here praying for and with you as we seek to be closer to Jesus ourselves. And I’ve asked our Parish Council and those involved in each of our parish Committees to lead us as well, by being a routine part of this Adoration effort. If you’re on the Council or a Committee and haven’t yet heard from your leaders about this, please get in touch with them.
We’re doing all of this for you – each and every one of you – young and old alike. We’re trying to experience Jesus ourselves as leaders in the parish so that we know him more deeply and can serve you more perfectly. But we’re also making this commitment so that you can have the opportunity to spend time with Jesus this way, too. I want to ask each and every one of you to spend one hour with Jesus, here at the Church, in Eucharistic Adoration, over the course of this Lent. Take a long lunch; leave work early; change your plans just once to make this happen. I’m not asking you to do anything more than what you’d do for a good friend who wants to make plans to see you… One hour over the next six weeks…and just see what happens…come and see…
If we’ve got one foot stuck in yesterday, and one foot stuck in tomorrow, we’ll poopoo all over today…But if we’ve got both feet in today, because we’ve spent time with Jesus face to face and have grown in knowing Jesus as the God who loves us enough to save us one moment at a time, then we’ll be as at peace as the birds of the air and marvelous to the world around us as the flowers of the field, because, like them, we’ll live each moment in the hands of love.