I have a two and half year old little boy at home. My son is about as 100% summer boy as you can get. Despite plenty of sunscreen he has a great little farmer’s tan going. He’s got bumps and bruises from a summer of jumping off play sets, climbing on rocks, and chasing frogs and rabbits. At the end of the day he is usually pretty tuckered out from playing so much outside. I’m telling you, it’s the good life. 

The other day we were playing catch (more like fetch as his catching ability has room for improvement), and after a particularly good throw on his part, he got all excited and did a sort of running handstand on the downward slope of the driveway. He isn’t strong enough to hold his handstand for very long and consequently banged his face into the asphalt. A minor bloody lip and a bit of a surprise was all he had, but the look he gave me said, “Am I hurt?”

I learned long ago that the appropriate response to when one of your kids falls down is exuberant positivity.  Sometimes we yell, “Safe!” as if they just swiped second base in a baseball game. Sometimes we shout, “You’re okay!” Which is a terrible response for an adult, but perfect for a two year old. Most of the time we just say, “Whoopsie!” and pick them up and smile.

Learning the appropriate response to any situation or event is a key step in growing in maturity. For the same reason we bristle at the teenager who is disgusted when they encounter a homeless person, we snicker at the audience member who dozes off at a concert. Responding in the best way to a situation matters. 

In the gospel this Sunday, we hear about Jesus walking on water, inviting Peter out of the boat, teaching about faith, and calming the storm. What an incredible miracle. Simply because it is so amazing and radical, this walking on water miracle is the subject of many a comic strip, bad golf joke, and comedy sketch. Walking on water is so incredible that one way to respond to it is to make it a joke. 

However, the disciples don’t respond that way. Instead they “did him homage, saying, “Truly, you are the Son of God.” (Mt 14:33). Following this miracle, they worshiped Jesus as God. The appropriate response to Jesus and to his miraculous work is homage. In our modern use homage means to publicly honor someone. In other worships, to worship him. 

However the historical use of the word is a reference to the public declaration that another person is your lord or superior. Homage originally made reference to the ceremony by which a feud would declare his loyalty and submission to his lord or king. 

So when we encounter Jesus, the right response is worship. When we experience a miracle, the fullest response is paying homage to Jesus Christ the miracle worker. 

Live It: When was the last time you declared your faith in Jesus publicly? If it’s been a while, come to Mass where we declare Jesus as Lord every time we say the Creed. 

Sunday Readings for August 9th, 2020.

The Good Word for July 12th

kickballFor the complete Sunday readings click here. 

At Bellerive Elementary School, I played a lot of kickball. Our field was lava-hot blacktop with yellow painted bases and base paths. If we kicked it far enough the ball would race past the hop scotch kids run all the way down a hill to the dumpsters behind the school – automatic homerun. We used to divide into two teams by naming captains and then have them pick their teams. Classic.

It was always such a relief to get picked. Sometimes I was a captain, but most of the time I was picked in about the middle of the group. Someone would call my name and I would confidently strut over to my team. Getting picked felt like someone was saying, “I choose you. I think you can help us win. I want you to be on my team.”

In our readings this Sunday, we hear about people being chosen by God. In the first reading, Amos explains that he was a shepherd, minding his own business, when God called him and sent him to prophesy to Israel. In the gospel, Jesus chooses the Twelve to go out and proclaim the good news, to call people to repent, and to heal the sick. In the 2nd reading, Paul reminds the Christians of Ephesus that they have been chosen to praise God. The thing with all these readings is that they show us that God has chosen us too.

God chose you.

And God continues to choose you. What has God chosen you to do? First, God has chosen you to be loved by Him. God chose you to be loved before you were ever born. The 2nd reading says, “He chose us in Him (Jesus), before the foundation of the world.” God chose us to be loved through Jesus Christ before creation of the world even took place. From the beginning of time to the end of time God loves and chooses you.

Second, God has chosen us to respond to his love. When someone tells us that they love us, we respond in some way, right? Same with God. God, through the scriptures, Mass, Reconciliation, our daily life, our spouse/family, and more is telling us that He loves us. How we respond matters. God showers His love down upon us, and our response is what we call “worship.” The 2nd reading says, “In him we were also chosen…so that we might exist for the praise of his glory.” If you’ve ever seen an overwhelmingly beautiful sunset and quietly said, “Oh wow God, thank you,” you’ve worshiped. Really praying the words or songs as Mass is another example of worship. Saying the simple prayer, “God you are awesome. Today was tough, but you got me through.” That is worship.

Third, God has chosen us to tell other people about our experience of God. Amos was sent to Israel. The Twelve were sent to the towns around them. You and I have been sent to our friends, our family, and Plymouth/Maple Grove/Wayzata/Medina, MN. When we have a profound experience of God’s love, we respond to God with praise, and we tell others about it. We were made for this. We have been chosen by God for this.

Live it:
Read the readings for this Sunday, July 12 by clicking here. Hear more about being chosen by God.