Homily by Fr. Paul Plante
23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
September 5, 2010
Labor Day week-end is certainly a transitional sign-post. How often we find ourselves saying in reference to Church events and programs, “we will get to that after Labor Day”.
It is a reminder of the importance of the school year, the special place of work in our lives, the need to do all things for the glory of God. It may be a time to appreciate the tasks and chores that are ordinary – daily, and to reflect on how much loving attention we give to the things in life that might otherwise be considered meaningless, even tedious.
I often reflect on the meaning of seemingly ordinary or insignificant events in life because I sincerely believe that they contain a whole lot of meaning and lessons we might so easily miss. Small gestures of loving attention might do more for us than big gifts; a casual kind word or gesture might teach us where true wisdom lies, where the energy that makes life worthwhile really is.
May I give you a few examples of small events that have meant a lot to me, simply to encourage you to be aware of the seemingly insignificant events in your life that might be worth looking at more closely and appreciating them more fully as precious gifts, special blessings?
I am often saddened by the lack of interest so many people have in the practice of our Catholic faith. It is a mystery to me to see people who have faithfully attended Church for years to suddenly decide that it is not worth it. I am saddened by so many young couples who make it to a point to get married in the Church, have children baptized, eventually see to their being confirmed and making their First Communion and then disappearing.
Well, all of this to tell you what joy it was to see a little boy visiting among us with his father, so piously kind and imitating his dad in prayer. It tells me there may be a slump but there will be a revival. No wonder Jesus told us to be child-like.
A call from friends I have not seen in 35 years or so – people who are not Catholic – “Paul”, she says, “we are calling you for prayers for dear friends who lost their daughter in California. It will be comforting for them to know you are praying for them.” What a gift to have people appreciate what we have to offer in faith.
I was recently stuck out of town with car problems – the silver lining – diagonally across the street from the home of a parishioner, the help of a competent mechanic, and to make it the perfect breakdown, a very reasonable bill. People I knew and people I did not know to the rescue.
In my past, when I was a little boy, having Mom say that I should have to hurry home in the afternoon because it was time for Dad to come home from work. That we would be there to welcome him home, that the warmth of the people he loved and worked hard to provide for would make his arriving from the mill worthwhile. I am sure it was a small gesture of love on behalf of my mother but after she died, Dad told me on of the things that bothered him the most was to need a key to get into the house when he came home from work.
If only all of us were able to recognize the small blessings that come our way through the goodness of others. If all of us could think of more small gestures that express our true love and care for others. May we find meaning, joy, hope in the little things in life.