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Joel is an odd prophet. He gives us a story about the attack of the locusts. We city folk are not really threatened. What can a grasshopper do? But to a farmer, grasshoppers can be a disaster. Or let’s say you enjoy a glass of wine with your meal. A locust plague will mean that you are going to be drinking water with your steak and fish dinners for a very long time. Sometimes we think we are big and powerful, but we are not.
I like to fish in the evening because the fish like the low light, and I like to watch the sunset. So there I was enjoying myself and all of a sudden I was attacked by sand fleas. It sounds rather harmless, but not to a fisherman. They are basically fruit flies with very sharp teeth. I had two options–quit fishing, leave the beautiful sunset and leave all the fish that were in front of me or die. Out of nowhere, I felt this gentle breeze on my face. To a five-foot eleven-inch guy a breath of air is nothing, but to a sand flea, it is a hurricane. To think I was absolutely powerless against these fleas. I could do nothing. If I can be powerless against a sand flea, I guess I am not so great and powerful. That is the prophet Joel’s point. It is okay to need God. Farmers need God because there are locusts, fishermen need God because there are sandflies, husbands and wives need God because they have dental bills and college tuition for the kids, nurses, and doctors need God because there is Covid, everyone will face something small that can change your life forever unless you have a power that is beyond you. That is why Joel says to the Israelites to turn back to God. God wants us to need Him; He wants to save us; He wants to help us. It is okay to want and need God. So listen to this good prophet, turn back to God this Lent because we will always need Him.Back to All Homilies