[Introduction of self.] “And now, finally, I’m here with you and very
When I learned that I was coming here and going to be a pastor and these good things… I knew that as I told my friends and my old parishioners that I would be asking for their prayers. I began typing an email to my classmates so I could tell them the news as soon as it became public and I hit a little problem.
What was I really asking of them? Pray for me? That’s part of it, sure… but… pray for what for me? That I be a good pastor? But what makes a priest a good pastor? Everyone here in these pews probably has a different answer to that. And speaking of, what about all of you sitting here in these pews? Should I ask for prayers for the people of St. Mark’s? And again, prayers for what?
So I put the email aside and took a few days. This was very important to me, I would be asking people I know to speak to God with sincerity, with their hearts and that is no small thing. So I prayed about my prayer. I went to God to ask what it was that I needed, what my heart should be focused on. What I eventually decided on was that I wanted people to pray that in my time here at St. Mark’s that the parish – that you and me – that St. Mark’s Parish be found pleasing in the eyes of God. That is what I emailed to my classmates and to my friends, that is what I told all the parishioners at St. Ambrose and at Our Lady Help of Christians, and that is what my prayer and desire has been for the past several weeks. Because regardless of what I think it means to be a good pastor and what you think it means for me to be a good pastor, regardless of what we together think it means to be a good and strong parish… in the end the only thing that truly matters is what God’s opinion happens to be.
And so we are reminded in the Scriptures today. As we we start Advent the Gospel reminds us that salvation is at hand and that one day we will all stand before the Son of Man. What will matter on that day – which might be this day – what matters then is if the Son of Man is pleased when he fixes his eyes upon us standing before him. So do not waste this Advent time. The gospel today takes hold of us and urgently says: “Do not become drowsy! Do not become distracted by the anxieties of this life!” This is a stressful world and it will always be that way, the anxieties just changes as you go. In high school my anxiety was that I would suddenly forget my locker combination. It college and graduate school it become the never ending papers to write. As a newer priest it was writing homilies and all those priestly things. Now, suddenly, there’s more things for me to be anxious about than I have even realized yet. And probably half of us during this mass had that thought of, “yeah, I really should do some Christmas shopping soon…” Those things, as important as they may be, are temporary. Life eternal is permanent. Are you pleasing to God? Pray about it this Advent.
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Homilies are meant to be heard, not read… and part of the Eucharistic liturgy, not words that stand alone. Please remember that no homily is written with this blog in mind.