Saturday, August 10, 2013
"Domani" no more! The day is today! The hour is now!
HOMILY FOR THE 19th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, August 11, 2013:
The wonderful, classic children’s book, The Little Prince tells the story of a prince who lived on a tiny planet far from Earth that was going to be destroyed unless the prince could save it. So he traveled across the universe to see if he could learn anything to help, eventually coming to Earth. Here, he learned many things about life, love and friendship; and also taught earthlings many things from his own simplicity and goodness. During his time here, the he befriended a fox. They both learned a lot from each other, but eventually the prince knew that he must leave in order to continue his journey. They had both grown very close and so were naturally sad when the prince finally had to leave. The two sat together in sadness and in silence until the fox finally spoke up, “Little prince, tell me something: will you ever come back to me?” The prince answered, “Of course I will; I have to. I love you - you know that.” Then, the fox asked, “Tell me, when you do come back, what time of the day will it be?” “What do you mean ‘What time of the day will it be?’ That doesn’t really matter, does it?” the prince asked. “It matters a whole lot!” the fox responded passionately, “Because if you tell me that you are going to come back at four o’clock in the afternoon, then at three o’clock I can start being happy.”
We heard in our Gospel today, “You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come." We who are lucky enough to live here in the North End live deep in the heart of Boston’s Italian culture. One of the wonderful aspects of this culture is that Italians are known for their relaxed approach to life and are fond of responding “Domani” to many requests. Can you help me today? Domani, come have some wine; domani, have some prosciutto; have a little pasta. It is a domani culture. For those who don’t know, the word “domani” means “tomorrow.” In most ways this is an admirable approach to living. It’s an approach that places family and friends and engaging the other first over the more mundane and tiresome aspects of life. But, as we are reminded today, there is one area of our life that we cannot take a domani approach and that is in our life of faith.
Today’s Gospel challenges us to not be people of tomorrow, not to be faith seekers of tomorrow, but rather, people who are filled with the love of God, who live lives dedicated to Christ, who are ready for his return - today. There’s a bumper sticker that says, “Jesus is coming – look busy.” But, think about that for a minute - if Jesus were to come today, right now, during this very Mass what would He find? Would He find a Church full of people who had prepared themselves for His return? Ready for His judgment? Or would He find a Church full of people who have said, Domani, tomorrow Lord; tomorrow I will get my relationship with You in order. Tomorrow I will work on my sins. Tomorrow I will say I’m sorry. Tomorrow I will right that wrong. I love you Lord and dedicate myself to You, but not today – tomorrow, domani.
“You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come." Jesus is right, we do not know the day or the hour that He will return, but we do know the day and the hour that we can get ready – the day and the hour are right now. So, what are we waiting for? The only thing that holds us back from fully embracing the faith that Jesus calls us to is ourselves. Jesus wants us to live completely and fully in His love; to be freed completely and fully from our sins through the great gift and grace of Confession; to be filled with the power and holiness that comes through His Body and Blood. He wants us, quite simply and quite profoundly, to be the son or the daughter that He created us to be. He wants us to be that today, not tomorrow. And all we have to do is choose it. Choose Christ. Choose holiness. Choose goodness and kindness and compassion. So what are we waiting for? Is it fear? Or a lack of trust? Or a weak faith? Whatever it is, Jesus is the answer.
Pope Francis said recently at World Youth Day in Brazil, “I am sure that you don’t want to be duped by a false freedom, always at the beck and call of momentary fashions and fads. I know that you are aiming at decisions which will make your lives meaningful. Jesus is capable of letting you do this: He is ‘the way, and the truth, and the life.’ Let’s trust in him. Let’s make Him our guide! ‘Put on Christ’ in your life, and you will find a friend in whom you can always trust; ‘put on Christ’ and you will see the wings of hope spreading and letting you journey with joy towards the future; ‘put on Christ’ and your life will be full of his love; it will be a fruitful life.”
So my friends, the time has come to cast off our fear, to cast off our lack of trust, to cast off whatever it is that has kept us up until this point from living fully and completely for God.
In fact, we do know the day and the hour of our faith. The day is today and the hour is now. Let us be the ones who are ready for the Savior’s return. Let us surrender our hearts and our lives to Him. Let us ‘put on Christ’ and live for God alone and our lives will be full and happy and holy and fruitful. Let us make our cry – Jesus is coming, I am ready! Let us be excited in faith for our Lord.
May the Lord give you peace.