Listen to the Homily
Read the Homily
Dad and I were at Barnstable Harbor and a dory pulled up on the beach. It had a wide-open pit, a milk crate for a seat, and a motor. Its sheer simplicity allowed the boat to hold a number of large bins. We went over to check out the bins to see what the owner of the fishing vessel caught. The bins were filled with horseshoe crabs. I had heard that they use them for medical purposes. My father, who knows how to catch a lot of fish, asked the man, “How do you catch horseshoe crabs?” The man answered, “If I told you, I would have to kill you.” He explained that he had obtained the knowledge and skill from his father who kept it as a family secret.
Back in the ancient world, that is what dads did. They passed on their trade and their skill to their kids so that they would have a successful living. Everyone would know whose son it was by what the son could do. I bet if I went into the coffee shop and said, “Hey everybody. I just saw a guy with a boatload of horseshoe crabs,” the dad would put down his coffee, take off his reading glasses and say, “That must be my son.” He would know exactly who he was by just saying what he did. Who else knows how to catch horseshoe crabs? That is what it means in the prayer of Jesus when He said to his Father, “Keep them in your name.”
I was transferred to Boston to make repairs to the building and the church. It would be a three-year project. When I arrived in my room, I dropped the luggage on the floor to turn on the light; it was one of those old-fashioned toggle switches. Sparks flew, and then the light blew out. Not knowing where to get a light switch to replace it, I sat on the corner of the bed in the dark. I thought to myself, “This project is not going to be fun.” The next day I asked Dad he had any plans for the next three years. He was actually pretty happy to supervise the project, and responded: “Peter we are going to have fun.” I questioned his enthusiasm. He retorted, “Peter we are builders. This is what we do. We fix old buildings and make them new again. We are carpenters, you belong to a family of carpenters, all your uncles are carpenters, your cousins are carpenters, your brother is a carpenter. Don’t forget who you are, you are a Grover.”
I am an Oblate of the Virgin Mary. I am honored to have that title. At the end of my last assignment, the parish in New Jersey threw me a going-away reception. Many people showed up to say goodbye. There were lots of good wishes, bear hugs, and tears. They liked me. About a year later, I had the occasion to return to the parish. I said, “Hello everyone. It’s me. Does anybody miss me?” And they said, “Oh, Fr. Peter, we love your replacement. He’s wonderful. And we love to spoil him.” I turned to Fr. Jim, the one had who replaced me and I asked him, “What do they mean by spoil.” He replied, “It means that you are not getting your old job back.” The reason the people were happy is because they got another Oblate of the Virgin Mary. It was not me that they liked. It was the Oblate way of priesthood that they liked. So when I was replaced by another Oblate, they lost nothing. It is the power of the name. When I go to my bank, I do not have to have a favorite teller. Everyone there is nice and helpful. That is because they represent the name of Citizens Bank.
When I wake up in the morning, I know that I am representing God because Christ gave asked to keep me in God’s name. I will represent God in the world, and they will know my Father in heaven by what I do.Back to All Homilies