Read the Homily

When I first came to St. Clement years ago, my task was to fix up the place. It was in need of repairs.  Before I could do anything—change a light bulb, redo a bathroom, take out a wall to enlarge a room—I had to ask the guy who was in charge of the house, then he would ask the members of the community if they objected to my plans. Every time I would ask to do something, somewhere along the chain of command my plan was rejected. Someone didn’t like the idea, didn’t want to hear the noise, was worried about the dust, and how much is that going to cost us? Needless to say, the job stalled.

One day I was before the guy at the top of the chain to talk about a heating system that I wanted to install because at that time there was no heating system at all. Just as I got to the second sentence in my presentation, he threw his hands up in the air and said, “I don’t know anything about construction, but you do. So you don’t have to ask me or anyone else, just do what you have because I trust you.” When he said those words, “I trust you,” it was like the shackles fell from my hands and feet. I felt that he just empowered me with new energy and hope.  I immediately sprang into action with my newfound freedom. I hired my father who has been doing this sort of thing his whole life as the supervisor; I called old friends in the construction trade; I rallied talented people around me, and got volunteers and material donated.

When we were wrapping things up a few years later, my father said to me, “If you ask a group of professional architects, they would tell you that this job should have cost millions, yet you did it for a few thousand.” My father said this job was a miracle. All that because someone said to me “I trust you.”

Imagine if you said to God: “I trust you.” The shackles would fall from his hands and feet. He could do great things in your life. Take the miracle of the loaves in the gospel. Imagine if I had been in this story, it would have been a disaster. There I am holding the five loaves of bread. I say to the Lord, “It just isn’t going to happen. We are not going to feed five thousand with five loaves. I know Lord, because I have a little experience with the mathematics. I happen to be intelligent in these practical matters, so this is what we are going to do. We’ll put aside theses five loaves, and it will be just enough for us. Then we will send the crowds away. That just makes perfect sense.” And the Evangelist writing the story will conclude… “and Jesus could not perform any great deeds that day because Peter Grover could not trust the Lord with five loaves of bread.”

The real story was, in fact, the disciples gave the Lord the five loaves, they trusted him. Every great thing Jesus ever did, began with someone who trusted him.

I had to do a wedding at a chapel in the middle of nowhere. I heard great things about MapQuest so I printed out some directions and off I went. I was encouraged and hopeful from the beginning. I took the Mass Pike, got off the right exit. Traveled for ten minutes… and then I noticed that the roads in the MapQuest directions did not match the names on the road signs. I stopped and asked a gas-station attendant for directions. He told me, “I know the chapel, but it is not around here.” I bought a map. Yes, a paper, can-never-fold-them-back-to-the-original-fold map. But I got there. Not long after that, one of my confreres introduced me the GPS. He told me I was going to love it for its simplicity and convenience. Again, I had to be somewhere in the middle of nowhere, so I took the GPS. At first, it was great. Got me out of the city on to the highway. Then half-way there, a message popped up alerting me that I was low on power. No problem, I will just plug it into the cigarette lighter. I should be fine, as long as the cigarette lighter works. The cigarette lighter didn’t work. Take a guess what I did when the screen went black and I had no idea where I was or how to get where I was going. I bought another paper map. Finally, I was with my confrere and we were stuck in heavy traffic. He said, “I think I know a short-cut.” Notice he said, “I think.” We got lost. Take a guess what we did.

Here is my point. There are a lot of voices out there. Some say “I think.” Other voices are rhetorically fancy. But this is one voice that will always get you where you want to go. Listen and trust the Lord, He will do wonderful things in your life.

Back to All Homilies