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It Doesn’t Take Much to Impress God

Why did God Choose Abraham?  Why did He go to Mesopotamia and ask Abraham to travel over one thousand miles, as the crow flies, to the Promised Land when He could have chosen someone already there?  Why Abraham?  It doesn’t say.

Why did Jesus go to the Sea of Galilee to pick His disciples?  Why didn’t He go to the local synagogue and find an upright, honest person there?  Why didn’t He go to the local synagogue to find someone who prayed or to the temple, where there are numerous qualified theologians?  Why did Jesus go to a tax collector who was a part of the corrupt system of the Roman IRS?  It doesn’t say. I finally found my answer when a bishop gave a homily at a diaconate ordination.

Our driveway is built on a hill, so if there is any snow on it, we will not be able to drive out. After it had finally stopped snowing, I went out with my shovel and a bucket of salt and cleaned off the cars and driveway. I finished the job, said Mass, got something to eat, and just before I went to bed, I stuck my head out the window to look at my nice work and check on the weather.  The cars and the driveway were covered with snow.  Apparently, it had slid off the church roof. So I put on my coat and picked up a shovel, and went back to work. As I was getting started, someone stuck his head out the door and asked what I was doing.  I was holding a shovel at the time, so I thought it was obvious what I was doing. Still, I replied, “I am shoveling snow.”  “Why?” he asked.  I replied, “Because there is snow on the ground.” Then he pressed further, “I thought you had already shoveled the snow.” I answered, “I did, but afterward, the snow slid off the roof.”  “Why are you shoveling at this hour?”  “Because it will freeze tonight, and this wet snow will turn to ice.”  He murmured, “Oh,” and went back into the house.  He asked me every question except the one I wanted him to ask: “Do you want a hand?” 

About a year later, it snowed all weekend again. When it stopped, I got my coat, shovel, and a bucket of salt.  I opened the door and saw that someone had already cleaned off the cars and shoveled the snow. I was so impressed that I needed to find out who did this.  I went on an investigation, and after making several inquiries, I discovered that one of our new seminarians had fulfilled the task. I asked him, “Did someone ask you to shovel?” He replied, “No, I just thought I would do it if someone needed to use one of the cars.” I told the formation staff about him anticipating our needs. They were so impressed that they put him in charge of the cars.

Many years later, I went to his diaconate ordination. That is when the Archbishop gave the homily and mentioned that God always seeks after a servant’s heart. At that moment, I recalled the removed snow and the need to find out who did it. God does the same thing. He seeks out the servant’s heart.

Arnold Palmer once said that if you want to know someone, play a round of golf. It will not take long, and you will know if the person cheats, has anger issues, is too serious, is honest, or has a sense of humor. You can also go to someone’s workplace and find out if a person is whiney, bossy, lazy, or has a servant’s heart. I am unsure what Jesus saw when He went to Peter’s workplace. Maybe Peter was extra kind to the crew. Maybe he gave a few fish away to the local widows who could not afford the fish at the marketplace. Whatever Peter did, it was not much.

It doesn’t take much to impress God. A widow did it with two pennies at the Temple treasury. A woman did it when she cried and washed the feet of Jesus and dried them with her hair. The Good Samaritan would tell us. “All I did was use some wine and oil to dress the man’s wounds. I took him to an inn. It is was not anything heroic.”

Here is the faith question: did you ever “wowed” God? Did you ever impress God? It does not take much. 

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