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We just heard one of the most inspired poems from the second reading. Let me make a few observations so that you can appreciate the passage. The first three verses of this poem describe unprecedented doom. Sin puts us on a path that leads to death. An analogy comes to mind that best expresses these verses. Imagine you are in a propeller plane and it has been struck by hurricane-force winds. Its course has been altered and it is now in a tailspin. There is nothing you can do to change your fateful end. The verses are dark, however, the treasure is in the details. There is no verb. They are just clauses strung together, no complete thought, no period. The verb does not come until verse 4. Here is the verb that controls these fearsome clauses. “God loved us.” That changes everything. Allow me to go back to my plane analogy. There you are seconds away from impact and death. Then, out of nowhere, the plane lands safely, you exit, and there you find yourself in an all-expense paid vacation in Aruba. You did not see that coming. What happened? God loved us. That is what happened. The whole poem means this. There are times in our lives that the situation is completely out of our hands, and we need God. It is okay to need God. You should never be ashamed to turn to God in these moments.
When we go to confession we have a list of sins. The bigger the list the better. Why? Because the penitent can hold the list up and say. “God, do You see this list. I am a mess. My life is out of control. I need You.” God loves when we need Him.
During my first assignment, my provincial asked me if I would go to Boston. The heating system, plumbing, and electrical all needed replacing. It was hard to live at the facility. He told me that he was asking a lot of me and that I should think about the transfer before giving him my answer. I thought about it. Yet, the more I thought about it, the more I did not think it would be a good idea. I did not have the recourses to achieve success. It was like asking me to write a letter and, at the same time, telling me to build the pen to write it. I thought I was doomed to fail. Still, I needed to make sure my decision was right. So this is what I did. I found the holiest person I could find. I went to a Cistercian monastery and there I found a monk. His name was Brother David I asked him if I could talk for five minutes. I told him that my Provincial wanted me to go to Boston on a new assignment. I explained to him that I did not think I would be able to find the resources to successfully finish the job, and I was being set up to fail. In addition to that, I told him that I did not want to leave the parish where I was working. I started up one of the most successful youth ministry programs in the diocese. I had a Bible study program at the prison that was very helpful to the inmates. The parishioners liked me and I did not want to disappoint them by choosing Boston. After I explained all of this I asked him what he thought. He said to me “Peter, go to Boston.” I could not believe what he said. Did he not listen? He continued, “Do you remember the first wedding you did? Were you nervous? I said truthfully, “Very much.” And when you were assigned to work at the prison, did you receive any special training? “No,” I responded. When they asked you to start up a youth program in the parish, did you have a clue? I said, “No.” He told me, “Go to Boston, then you will need God again.
I went to Boston and I can honestly say it was the best decision I ever made in my life. Whenever we need God we can say at the end of the day, “Look at what I did with God.” It is okay to need God. Never be ashamed to depend on God. God promised to love us. So use the promise. It will be the best decision you will ever make.Back to All Homilies