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A few years back we needed to replace the roof shingles. Brother David Guza’s older brother was a roofer, so we asked him to supervise our roof job. On the first day he told me that we needed a dumpster because we are going to begin stripping the roof. I called our dumpster company. They did not have a dumpster available, so I went on the internet and got a list of all the area suppliers of dumpsters. Some needed a twenty-four-hours’ notice. Others were being used for the cleanup after the Fourth of July weekend. I reported the bad news to the supervisor, and he said to me, “I know I can get a dumpster here in one hour. Give me the phone book.” I admired his persistence, and I told him I would keep looking. Lo and behold I did miss one: Doctor Dumpster. I heard of the Lawn Doctor, the Bicycle Doctor, and the Tree Doctor, but never a dumpster doctor. I called the doc, and he asked, “When do you want it?” I answered, “About a half hour ago.” He said, “I can be there in forty minutes.”
Did you ever have one of those days when you don’t seem to get anything done? Your calls go unanswered, or you go to get something, and they don’t have it, or you get home, and there is a missing part. Your day goes by, and you have nothing to show for it. I was not having one of those days. Not only did I get the dumpster just as we started, but we also stripped the entire backside of the roof and filled the dumpster. We even got the rubber membrane for the water and ice on the roof. It was as if my hands were on fire with productivity. All I did was follow someone who knew what he was doing. If we want to be productive, then we have to follow someone who knows what he is doing.
In the Gospel, Jesus calls Peter Satan. Why? A few months before after Jesus was in the desert for forty days, Satan stands in front of Jesus telling Him what to do. What did Satan ever do to contribute to creation? Did Satan ever help God fill one of the oceans with water? I don’t think so. Did he help construct the Himalayas? Nope. Did Satan create a single fruit fly? No. Satan does nothing, and he stands before the Son of God telling him what to do. And so when Peter is standing in front of Jesus telling him what to do, Jesus calls him Satan. Jesus, however, was kind to Peter and gave him some very solid advice: “Get behind Me.” That is, if Peter gets behind Jesus, Peter is now in the perfect position to follow Him. Remember, you can be productive if you follow someone who knows what he is doing. Peter will get behind Jesus and follow him to Jerusalem. It is in Jerusalem that Peter will receive the Holy Spirit. It is in Jerusalem that Peter will preach and convert three thousand. It is in Jerusalem that Peter will cure a paralytic. It is in Jerusalem that Peter was in prison and in the middle of the night the cell doors pop open. Peter will have one of the most influential lives because he followed the Lord.
When I was in high school, I worked for dad on weekends and in the summer. We always went to the shop first. Dad would go to the office to take care of some of his chores such as call the lumberyard, write out checks, and study blueprints. I had plenty to do outside the office. I would load up the truck with tools. I would clean up the woodshop, switch-out blades on the Skilsaw, or sweep the sawdust off the floor. At a certain point, dad would come out of the office and head for the truck. No matter what I was doing. I would drop everything and follow him to the car. No matter how much I wanted to finish what I was doing I followed dad to the truck. I knew that I would do something that day that I never did before. Replace gutters, a new roof job, a house addition, install cabinets, pour concrete for the footings… I always had something to show at the end of the day because I followed someone that knew what he was doing.
Remember, Matthew the tax collector, was sitting at his table collecting taxes. Imagine him having a large bowl full of money and his register. Jesus walks by and tells him to follow. He immediately leaves what he is doing, no matter how important or valuable he thought it was. Why did he leave? Because he knew he would be able to do things he never did before. He would be productive. When Jesus calls us to follow him, it is a moment of opportunity. At the end of your life you will have something to show for it.Back to All Homilies