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When my oldest brother turned sixteen, he went to work with my father for the first time. When he got home that afternoon his t-shirt was soaked with his sweat and he had black soot on his face. I asked him, “What happened to you?” He replied, “Fire job; we gutted a gutted house.” That is what he said, but I knew what he was thinking–“I am not doing this for a living.” He went to college, got great grades, and he now works in a nice air-conditioned office. When my other brother turned sixteen, he worked for my father for the first time. When he came home and I asked him, “What happened to you.” He said, “Roof job.” That is what he said. But I knew what he too, was thinking. He earned a doctorate in chemistry, and now has a dream job that does not require heavy lifting. So when I turned sixteen, I figured that I too would be inspired. On the first day, Dad and I got up at six in the morning and put on heavy work boots. At 7:00 a.m., we pulled off a 40-foot ladder from the roof racks of the truck and leaned it against the house. At 7:15 a.m. I threw an 80-pound bundle of shingles on my shoulders and walked up the ladder to the roof. At the end of my first day of work with my father, I discovered that I really knew my father.
One day that summer he asked me to take the truck and go to the town hall to pick up a building permit. When I got there I met a man dressed in a nice suit jacket and tie, and he asked, “Are you a contractor.” I answered, “I work for my father, Al Grover.” He replied, “Oh, I know Al Grover, he is a very good carpenter.” After he said that I thought, “You may know my father’s name, occupation, reputation, but you do not know my father as I know him.” I know why he takes a nap when he gets home from work and why he likes the solitude of the lake when he goes fishing. You cannot wear a suit and tie all day and have that kind of information about someone unless you walk in their shoes. When you walk in someone’s shoes, you know how to appreciate that person.
In the Gospel of Mark, the first person to recognize Jesus as God is a demon. The demon knows many things. He can tell you how stars are in the sky. He can tell you how many gallons of water it took God to fill the ocean. He can tell you how many pounds of rock it took to make Mount Everest. The devil could tell you how you can make a million dollars this year. But a demon has no idea what it is like to patch up a strained relationship. A demon has no idea what it is like to be humble and listen to divine instruction and then save the world. A demon has no idea what it is like to make a sacrifice for someone or enrich someone’s life. He will never know what it feels like to give without limits. That is why Jesus must silence the demon. A demon cannot know God and so he cannot talk about Him. A demon does not live God’s life. But we can. That is why every day we can be fulfilled, inspired, and transformed. Every day we have the opportunity to walk in God’s shoes.Back to All Homilies