13th Sunday in Ordinary Time - July 2, 2017

Father Jim Valk's picture

Father Jim Valk

June 26, 2017

Today’s Gospel highlights for us the importance of hospitality in the Christian life. To welcome another in Jesus’ name is to extend hospitality to Jesus himself. We have many opportunities in our daily life to reach out to others, to be a welcoming presence and a sign of God’s love.

God has a plan for each of us. There are times in each of our lives when God has something in mind for us to do and we balk and ask “Why me?”  “I am not going to do this!”  We may excuses and put up a wall of resistance. How often have you said that same thing? I don’t want to change my ways! I am fed up with the way this job, organization, person etc is. Why should I go out and vote in this election? It won’t make any difference anyways! Are we focusing more on OUR DESIRES rather than what God DESIRES FOR US?

Jesus offers us a call to commitment – to change direction. Jesus urges us to love, as God desires us to love. To will what God wills for us, we must let go of all that is not of God in our desires and affections. Then we are free to love all persons and things in Christ and for Christ.  It is the presence of Christ’s divine love in us that empowers us to become His disciples.

What gives value to all human actions, big or small, is the heart from which acts flow and the love that expresses itself in them. Opportunities for showing compassion are very frequent. Cold cups of water, random acts of kindness, kind words change the world -- one person, one moment at a time. Our lives, like the lives of those we meet in life, turn on small acts. In these little acts of kindness, we can mirror the loving kindness of our God. Our God in return gives us a reward immensely greater than our efforts deserve. That is the nature of God’s loving kindness.

While most of us are unlikely to find the cure for cancer or be able to bring about world-peace, every one of us encounters countless small occasions for becoming Christ to others every day, living Jesus.  We can all “Do ordinary things extraordinarily well.”

Self-sacrifice is the common denominator of loving actions. It calls us to move our attention off ourselves, to recognize our neighbor, be sensitive to his thirst for our water, for our time, for our talent. Isn’t it true that our most important memories of childhood are often not the great sacrifices of our parents? Often our favorite memories of our parents are the small, ordinary moments: moments like my parents being in pretended awe at my “magic show’” when, in retrospect, I did the absolutely dumbest tricks. Or -- being sick, falling asleep and waking to see my mother sitting quietly in a chair close to my bed. A small thing. A fond memory forever.

Let us resolve once again to live more faithfully the new life we were given in our Baptism. Let us be more conscious of the little opportunities we are given to be God’s loving, kindness to one another each day.

I would like to share this story by Rev. Bill Bausch, in A World of Stories for Preachers & Teachers

Every imaginable denomination was in attendance for a unprecedented spiritual event.  During one very well attended meeting, a secretary suddenly rushed in shouting, “the building is on fire! The building is on fire! At which point:

The Methodists gathered in a corner and prayed.  The Baptists cried, “Where is the water?” The Quakers praised God for the blessings that fire brings. The Lutherans posted a notice on the door declaring that fire was evil.  The Roman Catholics passed a plate to cover the damages.  The Jews posted symbols on the doors hoping that the fire would pass.  The Congregationialists shouted, “Every man for himself!” The Fundamentalists proclaimed, “It’s the vengeance of God!” The Episcopalians formed a procession and marched out.  The Christian Scientists concluded that there was no fire.  The Presbyterians appointed a chairperson to appoint a committee to look into the matter and make a written report.

The secretary grabbed a bucket of water and put the fire out.