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I was on a roofing job working in my father’s company. My uncle, who was on top of the roof, yelled down to me and my cousin to start bringing up the roof shingles. I reached down and shouldered an 80lb bundle of shingles and started up the ladder. A pretty college girl came by and asked my cousin, “Could you tell me how to get to Campion Center?” My helpful cousin told her, “Do you see that building? Behind it, there is a road and….” “Where?” she asked. My cousin responded, “Oh, I will take you there.” So six or so bundles of shingles on top of the roof later my cousin returns. He reaches down to take up his first bundle. Before he could get the bundle on his shoulder, my uncle at that moment yelled from the roof, “Someone down there get the coffee.” My cousin, “Fine, I will get it.” Fifteen bundles of shingles up on the roof later, he came back with the coffee. Here is the moral of the story. You will not want to have my cousin as a work partner because you will end up doing all the work. He does not share the load. That is why farmers invented the yoke. The yoke assures that the two oxen work side by side as a unified team, sharing the burden. That way, one ox does not go under the shady tree having a coffee break while the other poor oxen plows the field by himself. Jesus once said, “Come to me all you who are burdened and I will give you rest. My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” The Lord is our yokemate, a working partner.
There was a man who had a heart attack in Florida. The son, who lives across the country called the hospital. The Doctor told the son that the father was stable and in good hands. After hearing this report, the son decided to delay his visit for a few days. Dad, however, had a bad turn and died that night. The son regretted his decision ever since. He said, “I should have been there at his side. He died alone because I put work before my own father.” He lived with the burden of guilt. I told the son, “You have a work partner. When your father took the bad turn, your yokemate, Christ, was there.” Sometimes we think we are all alone in life, and we carry the weight and burden by ourselves. Yet, we have a yokemate, a partner who helps share the load.
I bring this up because the prayer that Jesus taught us begins by calling God: Father. What does it mean? In the ancient world, the most important task for the dad was to give the kids an inheritance. It sounds nice, especially to the kids, but why is this the most important job for the father? The inheritance assures that the sons and daughters will carry on the legacy of the father.
My brother, who now lives in Minnesota, came out for vacation, and we went to our favorite pizza joint called Sokos’s Pizza in Norwood. The establishment is in the same place, with the same sign outside, and the pizza tasted the same as when we ate it growing up. The owner no longer works there, but the kids do. No one makes it quite like they do. That is because the father passed on the secret recipe, not to the competition, but to his kids. And so the legacy of the father lives on.
Let me put it this way. If you are raising money for your school with a bake sale, and Bill Gates comes and says to you, “How can I help your cause?” What are you going to ask him? You are not going to invite him to buy a cake. No, you are going to ask him to pay for the entire school. That is the art of asking. Your request should always match the potential of the giver. Why not do this with God? As son’s or daughter’s, what should we request that matches God’s potential? We ask for our inheritance. Why? So we can live God’s wonderful legacy. We ask for the ability to forgive like God, to be merciful, like God, to be slow to anger and rich in generosity. That is how you pray. You ask God for our inheritance so God’s work will continue in us.Back to All Homilies