Saturday, October 22, 2011

30th Sunday of Ordinary Time Year A - 2011

Today’s Readings   

shema2_englishYou know as friars we live in and work in community.

As itinerant men we move from community to community and every friary we live in is different because we live with different people.

Some friaries are neat and spic and span some friaries let’s just say have that celibate man lived in look.

Ladies like when you leave for a couple of days… and come and look at your home.

One friary I lived in had a million rules…

There everything had it place.
When I arrived I had to learn how to load the dishwasher in the correct way, where the television remote had to be placed, how the cushions on the couch were to be fixed when you got up.

And I learned to never to kick off your shoes in the living room and leave them there.

Once I kicked off my shoes in the living room and went to bed the next day I got up and I couldn’t remember where my shoes were.

I had the early Mass and searched high and low…

Finally I had to wear my slippers to Mass.

After searching all morning I asked the guardian of the house, Have you seen my shoes I can’t find them anywhere?

He said to me “hmmm

I think I saw them in the front closet behind the vacuum cleaner.”

Needless to say I got the message and learned another rule.

He was a man who lived by rules.

Rules Rules Rules….

It wasn’t bad for me to live in that house.

I think it was harder on them than it was on me.

Obviously I needed more structure and that Guardian was more than happy to provide what I needed.

When I was transferred to a different friary…

I started asking about all of the rules of the house.

The guardian looked at me and said…

Say your prayers, do your work, and love our people.”

That was a much more comfortable place to live and I would say a much more productive generous and holy friary.

We still lived comfortably and the house wasn’t a mess and we didn’t need a million little rules everyone just chipped in.

In the law which governed the common life of the Israelites and their relationship with God there were over 613 laws

There was a whole class of people needed to interpret the laws and how to live them.

They were called the Pharisees, we call them lawyers today and we need them just as much as the people of Jesus’ time.

If you go to the town of Berlin’s website there is a whole list of ordinances governing everything in Town from garbage, to proper disposal of tree limbs, to animals, to taxes and walking on the street, to portable classrooms and portable bathrooms, the list goes on and on

Berlin has 193 pages of town ordinances

I started to count the laws in the State of Connecticut but gave up

I didn’t even bother to google federal law….

In today’s Gospel Jesus sums all of those laws into two.

"You shall love the Lord, your God,
with all your heart,
with all your soul,
and with all your mind.

You shall love your neighbor as yourself. “

When you think about it every single law that was ever written is rooted in these two simple phrases…

If we love God we give Him His rightful place in our lives.

If we love our neighbor we will always try and act in his/her best interest.

If we loved our neighbor we won’t put up huge ugly fences between our properties.

If we loved out neighbor we would help them out if they fell on bad times.

If we love our neighbor we would properly dispose of our garbage.

If we loved our neighbor we would not block their driveways when we come to church… hint hint…

If we love our neighbor we would contribute to the common good by sharing our resources in the form of taxes or assistance.

If we loved our neighbors all over the world there would be better relationships between nationalities, and religions and races.

If we love our neighbor we will live within our means and not take more than we really need.

I was recently in Seattle and there were protests called Occupy Seattle..

One afternoon I sat there a long time listening to all of the speeches and reading the signs. Some of them you can’t repeat in Church.

The main point of the protest or the main frustration was simply that the protestors felt that some people and or corporations seemed to be taking so much more than they really needed or deserved.

There was a lot of frustration and anger there and a lot of weirdness too… It was a great place to watch and pray for people.

If we love God I mean really loved God

a lot of what we do,

and what we want,

and what we feel we need,

would change and change radically.

If we loved our God and our neighbor we would go beyond the letter of the law or the bare minimum.

Love always gives more.

If we really loved our neighbor we wouldn’t need the pages and pages of laws and ordinances our society has found it necessary to write and enforce.

If the first thing we asked ourselves was “what is love calling me to do?”


our families
our towns
our state
our country
and our world would be such better places.

And our lives would be so much richer

Pie in the sky you say…

Jesus said…

"You shall love the Lord, your God,
with all your heart,
with all your soul,
and with all your mind.
You shall love your neighbor as yourself. “

According to Him we really only need two rules.

Let’s take him at his word.


1 comment:

cindyk said...

and this is why I miss your Homilies when you are away... words we could all use to live by....