Squandered.

Sunday Reading for September 22nd.

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Growing up my room was always a complete wreck. Depending on the year I had piles of clothes, dirty dishes, soccer cleats, baseball gear, empty CD cases, books, school papers, and an unnecessarily high number of legos strewn everywhere. It was embarrassingly messy. Even my friends would tell me my room looked trashed. 

Now, no matter what we say and do, no matter what consequences we cook up, my two girls can’t keep their rooms from looking like Old Navy dumped 3 clearance racks in the middle of their floor. They will clean them one day and two days later their entire closets and dressers are emptied onto the floor yet again. 

This summer both girls were home during the day so we tried to get them to clean their rooms during the 40+ hours of absolutely free time. We’d say something like, “Hey kiddos, you two aren’t going swimming at the lake on Saturday with us if you don’t get your room cleans by Friday afternoon.” With grim determination they will tell us that they will be done by Wed. Have no fear. Come Friday at about 1 pm. they will still be tucked away still trying to get things right. 

It wasn’t that they didn’t go try to do it. They would go up each day and turn on some music and start the process. Then each one of them would get distracted by a found toy or a group text the older one needed to respond to. It wasn’t that they ignored our wishes or actively disobeyed our command. They just squandered their time. 

In the gospel Jesus tells us about a steward who is summoned by his master for squandering his masters money. It wasn’t that the steward did anything particularly bad. He wasn’t a bad guy. He didn’t kill or commit adultery or curse or lie. What he did do was not take advantage of the great gift of responsibility that his master had given him. He squandered his opportunity. For that, his master was about to fire him.

I think in the spiritual life more than actively rebelling against God, it is much more likely for us to squander the opportunity to grow in holiness. Choosing reading the paper over reading the Bible isn’t bad necessarily, but it is a squandered opportunity. Watching Netflix until we can’t hold our eyes open any longer and then skipping prayer before bed isn’t some horrible sin, but it is a squandered opportunity. Ignoring the poor and lonely in our midst because we have other responsibilities isn’t always bad, but it is a squandered opportunity. 

The reality is this, the master calls the squandering steward and asks him to make a full account for his actions. What if God called you tonight to make a full account for how you have spent your time, money, and energy this past week? What would you have to say?

LIVE IT:
Identify 1 minute (60 seconds) of squandered time this past week. Give that time back to God this week in prayer or service of other. Make note of it in your calendar. Try for 2 minutes next week. Keep going till you convert 10 minutes a day from squandered to profitable. 

Perfect-ish

Sunday Readings for July 21st, 2019.

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Mary owes Martha. I don’t mean because Martha served while Mary sat. And not because Mary’s “better part” looked good compared to Martha’s complaining. No, Mary owes Martha for what Martha does at the beginning of this Sunday’s Gospel reading.

We are so familiar with this story we might miss Martha’s first action in the reading. The gospel starts with Jesus entering a village. In that village, a woman named Martha welcomes Jesus into her home. Martha invites Jesus in. 

Scripture doesn’t say, but I would venture a guess that Martha eventually introduces Jesus to her household and to Mary. Wherever the story goes from here, the fact remains that Jesus enters into the home of these sisters because Martha invited him. 

The first two lines of this gospel story points to a truth about meeting Jesus. The people in my life who have introduced me to Jesus aren’t perfect. The people who first taught me about following Jesus don’t always follow him all that well themselves. 

In stead of that being a disappointment, I think it is a calling to us not to wait to introduce others around us to Jesus. We don’t and shouldn’t wait until we are perfect disciples to introduce others to Jesus. We don’t have to wait until we have our stuff together before we welcome Jesus into our home. Invite Jesus into your life whether you are Martha or Mary. 

LIVE IT: Next time someone asks you about your weekend plans, include the fact that will be going to Mass. Then follow that up by actually doing it. 

Home is

Sunday readings for June 30th, 2019.

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Five years ago my wife and I did a ten year anniversary trip to Europe, without our children (bless their hearts). We spent eleven glorious days in Florence, Italy and Paris, France. We ate incredible food, drank delicious wine, saw beautiful art, prayed in breathtakingly inspiring churches, and held hands more than we had in the previous ten years combined. About day four my wife started to miss our kids, but it wasn’t until day nine or so that I uttered, “I’m kinda looking forward to going home.”  

As wonderful as travel is, we humans seem to find such comfort in going home. In the midst of busy schedules there is something wholesome and heart warming when my family gets a night just to stay home and be together. I’m a pretty outgoing guy, but as I get older, I seem to appreciate more when my plans get cancelled I just have to stay home. 

In the gospel Jesus is denied entry into a Samaritan town. The disciples ask if he wants them to call down fire and destroy the town (can they do that?!?). Jesus rebukes them and eventually  responds to a follower stating his dedication, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.” One way to read this is that Jesus is saying he doesn’t have a home. In so many ways this makes sense, Jesus is exercising his earthly ministry as an itinerant preacher. Jesus doesn’t stay in any one place for very long, but continues to heal, preach, and drive out demons on his way to Jerusalem and the cross.

Yet, I think it is wrong to say Jesus doesn’t have any place he calls home. Jesus finds his home in his mission. If Jesus’ mission is bringing God into the hearts of humans and bringing humans into the very heart of God, then whenever and wherever Jesus is seeking to fulfill this mission is home. 

Moreover, home for Jesus is the perfect unity of the Trinity. Jesus doesn’t have a home where he can rest his head because Jesus himself isn’t a building where he eats and sleeps. Jesus himself is home. 

If we want to follow Jesus like the eager disciple who exclaims, “I will follow you wherever you go,” then we must consider having the same home as Jesus. If disciples seek to imitate the master, then as disciples, we must seek to find our home in the mission of Jesus and the Church, not in a particular building. If we want to be like Christ, we must look for our home in the heart of God. 

Live It: Go to church 1 extra time this week. If you have an adoration chapel, pop in there. If not, just head into your main worship space.  Sit in a chair or pew, close your eyes, take 5 deep breaths, and then pray, “Lord make me at home in your heart and in your mission.” Repeat as necessary.