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“Stay awake, for you do not want the Son of Man to come and find you asleep.” Why would Jesus say this a week before He and his disciples went to the garden of Gethsemane to pray? Because it was exactly what the disciples didn’t do when they were asked to stay awake in the garden. Three times the Son of Man found them asleep in the garden. It seems at the first sign of trouble, the first indication of difficulty, the disciple turn into cowards and run for cover. Christ, on the other hand, stayed awake and He struggled. He struggled in prayer. He struggled with the will of God. When trouble struck, He dealt with it and saved the world. Struggle gives us strength.
I am now fifty-eight years old. At this age, I know that it is very easy to put on weight. You would think that is a good thing so I can fill in my scrawny arms and legs. But no, all the weight goes right to my midsection. My concern is a frame that resembles two sticks holding up a beach ball. I can’t let that happen, so I work out. When I work out, I struggle. When I struggle I’d rather be sitting on a La-Z-Boy with my feet up than doing burpees. When I struggle it is never pretty. I never say, “I am perfect” or “I am really good at this.” When I struggle, it helps to make me stronger.
I woke up on the day of a “blizzardcane” (weather beyond belief) and looked out the window. I noticed that across the street people were walking on the sidewalk. How was that possible after it snowed all night? Given the fact that it blew gusts up to seventy miles an hour, the snow must have drifted. “Where did it drift?” I thought. You guessed it, on my side of the road. No problem, I have a snow blower. I took out the machine and started it up. My blower took one look at the four-foot drift and said, “Are you serious? I’m not removing that.” “What do you mean you are not removing that? We are a team and you are going to help me move this snow.” Naturally, the snow blower choked, coughed and was useless. I said, “Fine, I’ll team up with the shovel.” After several minutes of hard labor, I leaned on my shovel to catch my breath, and I looked across the street and noticed that they had a Bobcat. What is a Bobcat? It is a snow removal machine. The way it works is you open the door and sit on a spring-loaded cushioned seat. You take your hand and reach for the knob that says “heat” and turn it all the way up because it can get a little drafty in the Bobcat. Next, you put your hands on the wheel, drive around, and snow goes away. What is the difference between my snow blower and the Bobcat? Power: The same difference between my shovel and a Bobcat. I never see the Bobcat, during the summer months. They put it in storage, and we never see it until the worst of storms. But when a “blizzardcane” hits, they are ready. When the storms of life hit us, when difficulty comes, what will we find in our shed: a shovel or a Bobcat?
No one likes to struggle. We prefer to rest instead. Yet, according to the Gospel, struggle is good. It makes us strong, so we can be good at life. It helps to prepare us get through the difficult times.Back to All Homilies