Read the Homily

When I was in charge of supplies here in the house, I had one company that provided all my cleaning equipment. I could call and say, “The what-do-you-call-it on my red vacuum cleaner broke.” Then they will say, “Okay, you need new belts, I’ll send them out to you.” You can’t do that with Home Depot.

So I have my one cleaning company and—I will be honest—they are terrible. Awful I should say. I hate to tell you my problems, but the nozzle on the floor washer did not work right. Instead of a nice even spray, the water just drooled out. I called and told my one company that something was wrong. They came and took the floor washer away to fix it. Three weeks later they finally bring it back. I lugged it upstairs, got it filled with water, pulled out the long extension cord, started the machine, only to discover that after all that, they replaced the wrong valve. Augggggh!

Another time I needed new squiggle blades. I called my one company to replace them. They sent me the wrong size. They said, “Cut them.”  I told them, “Even after I cut them to size, they still don’t fit because they belong to a different machine.”

Now you may say to me, “Why don’t you just get another cleaning company for your supplies?” Why not dump them for some better service? The answer: I like the people. The woman who owns the company gave me a courtesy call. Home Depot does not do this. She asked how I was doing and if I needed anything. I told her, as a matter of fact, I could use vacuum cleaner bags. Then she told me it was her eightieth birthday. I said, “You’re still working at eighty?” She said, “It keeps me young. By the way, I took a hundred dollars off the last bill. Just don’t tell my boys.” As I said, I have my reasons. I support them because they are a family of good people. For me, their likeability overshadows the imperfections.

I mention this because there are two losers leaving Jerusalem on the day of the resurrection. Before they leave they are given a report that someone went to the tomb, found it empty. Then, two angels appeared and said that Jesus has risen from the dead. Now let me ask, wouldn’t you think that before the two disciples threw in the towel and before they abandoned the cause, that perhaps they would have stopped by the tomb to see if it was empty? Do you think they had a little curiosity about the empty tomb?  Even if you had your doubts, wouldn’t you walk a few blocks to check it out?  Perhaps the angels would still be there and explained what happened. But they leave. Really? So let them go. Why go after them? There are plenty of other people who would love a visit from the risen Lord. So this is my question. Why does God favor flawed people?

I bought a one-hundred-year-old tracker pipe organ from a church that was closing. It was really cheap but needed a lot of repairs. So there was the pipe organ in pieces on the floor of my church’s basement. I had to hire a pipe organ builder. The Archdiocese gave me three referrals. I picked a name on the shortlist and made a call. The first guy pulled up in new Mercedes-Benz. I took him downstairs, and he looked at the parts and said, “This pipe organ is in very bad shape. It is going to take a lot of time to restore it, and the cost will be high.” He wanted seventy-five dollars an hour, including travel time driving back and forth. At the time, I thought that was a lot of money, and if I ever need a career change, I am going to be a pipe organ builder. “Thank you very much,” I said. The second guy pulled up in a brand new Dodge Ram four-door pick up with raised tires. I brought him downstairs, and he said exactly what the first guy told me. “This pipe organ is in very bad shape. It is going to take a lot of time, and it will cost a lot of money.” I said, “Thank you very much.”

The third guy pulled up in a rusty Station Wagon. When was the last time you saw a Station Wagon? Twenty, thirty years ago?  He went to the back of the car to get something. I followed him and looked in the back of his car and asked him saw a box of tools. I asked, “Do you collect antiques?” He said, “No, these are my tools.” I said, “Oh.” We went downstairs, and as I was showing him the parts of the pipe organ lying on the floor, I told him that I was a handyman and that I could do some of the low-end work. For instance, I could sand out the gouge marks on the wooden pipes. He went over to take a closer look at the graffiti on the wooden pipes and said, “These are not scratch marks.” He said, “These are the names of the men who built your pipe organ. They signed their work.” In fact, he even recognized some of the names.

Take a wild guess who you think I hired? Why did I hire the guy in the Station Wagon? The first two guys looked at the pipe organ as if it was a piece of junk in need of repair. The guy I hired saw a treasure. Jesus went after the two disciples because he liked them. He did not see the flaws; He saw treasure. Why does God choose flawed people? Do we not see this pattern in the Scriptures? That is why God picked Abraham, a homeless wanderer, and Moses, a runaway slave, and the little shepherd boy David to be king. He went to the last place on the planet to find the least likely girl to be the mother of God. Jesus picked Peter, a sinner, Matthew a tax collector, and Mary Magdalene who had had seven demons. Maybe God does not pick us because of our competence but because of our limitations.

Sometimes we have a bad day, make a wrong decision, walk down the wrong path, or find ourselves in the wrong place. But no matter, never give up on God because God will never give up on us. 

Back to All Homilies