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I was in my sixth-grade gym class. It was floor hockey, boys against the girls. The teacher pulled me aside to ask if I would play on the girls’ side to balance the teams. I reluctantly said, “Yah, I guess.” Sure enough, the guys made lots of comments on how I was a nice girl. I thought, “Oh no. What good can come from this?” Why me? Why didn’t my teacher pick another guy? Does he hate me?” I should mention that there was one other guy who played on the girl’s team: my teacher and former goalie on his college team. It was overtime; still no score. I told one of the girls to stand by the net. I got the puck and weaved my way toward the net. I passed the puck to the girl who was standing in front of the net. She closed her eyes and took a swipe at the puck and missed it. It bounced off of her foot and came back to me. I flipped it in the net, and we won the game. Naturally, the teacher was really happy, all the girls loved me, and they gave me a hug. Best of all, I crushed my foes, and I silenced the mockers. As I was basking in the glory—which does not happen too often— I realized that my teacher set me up to be the hero. He knew the sixth-grade boys were not going to get the puck past a semi-pro. He knew that I would be the only one capable of scoring a goal.
In the book of Deuteronomy, God tells the Israelites to heed His voice. Sometimes God asks us to do difficult things, and we think, “Oh no, why is He asking me to do something so hard? What good can come from this? Does God hate me?”
I was on my way back from Home Depot with my friend Barry on Route 93, and he said, “Take the next exit.” I thought, “Get off the highway? I will hit red lights, and it is rush hour. I won’t get home for hours.” I pretended I didn’t hear him. As we got close to the exit, my friend called out, “You’re going to miss it. Take this exit.” At the last second, I turned off. Now, why did I take the exit and go against my better judgment? I listened to him because he is an ambulance driver. No one knows the roads around Boston better than an ambulance driver. Sure enough, he was right. We hit one light on the way back, and it was green. We were home in no time. I am glad I to listened to him.
Remember when Jesus was talking to the crowd in John’s Gospel? The crowd whined, “This talk is too hard for us. Why does God hate us?” They walked away. Jesus turned to his disciples and asked them if they would leave as well. Peter said, “Where can we go? You have the words of everlasting life.” That is the short answer. Here is the longer version.
Peter said, “Lord, remember when You told us to feed the crowd? We only had five loaves of bread and a few fish. I did the math and concluded that there was not enough food for everyone. Yet, You were right.”
“Then there was the time when we went to Jairus’ home. We went to his daughter’s room, and You told the dead girl to get up. Everyone laughed at You. You were right again.”
You came on the boat and told me to head for the deep for a catch. It was my opinion as a professional fisherman that we were going to come up empty. I had been at it all night, and if you can’t catch fish at night when it is more opportune, then you are not going to do much in daytime. I lowered the nets, and we nearly sank two boats with the fish. You were right. You are always right. You have the words of everlasting life.”
Then there was the time when we were on the Sea of Galilee. You were asleep and there was a storm. The waves were coming inside the boat. I felt we were going to drown. I woke You up and You said, “Why do you have so little faith?” Again, You were right. You are always right.
We may have a thousand reasons not to listen to our Lord. But we should always remember that there is one reason why we should. He is always right. You will never go wrong if you listen to Him. No matter how hard or difficult the request, He is setting you up for the win.Back to All Homilies