Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
Reflecting on Philippians 4:6-9, Matthew 21:33-43
One of the greatest things about growing up in my family was that our house was the meeting place for all of our friends. We were ground zero for every pick-up basketball game, every Friday night fish-sticks-and-macaroni- dinner for ten before going off to swim at Celebrity Lanes. My parents (of blessed memory) had waited many years for their kids to arrive, and they loved having their house filled with our friends and all the Beatles records that came with them.
Recently, I’ve had the great joy of re-connecting with many of the friends who came in and out of our house all those years. Many of them have said to me, “Remember how I used to roll my eyes and laugh at your dad’s lectures before I left the house? He had so much to tell me, and I didn’t want to hear any of it. I wish I could go back and follow the advice he gave me then.”
As time passes it all comes into clearer view: it’s only love that lasts, not fads and adolescent arrogance, not the pseudo-wisdom of pop psychiatry or the allure of instant popularity on Facebook. Whatever is true, or honorable, or just, or pure, or lovely, or gracious, or excellent, or worthy of praise−−think on these things. St. Paul’s words jump off the page today as we remember the times in our lives when we have been changed by an encounter with real graciousness, real forgiveness, real purity, real truth.
The Owner of the Vineyard graciously planted those fruits within our walls at our baptism. How are we doing with the harvest?
What gracious or lovely or honorable things do you like to “think on”?
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I have come to light a fire on the earth; how I wish it were already burning (Lk.12:49).
Coming from a family of eleven children, our house was like grand central station when my siblings’ friends come and when my own friends gather. One time when my friends had some other commitments and had not been to the house on a given weekend, my Mom asked me if there had been a falling away between them and me. I was truly touched by her solicitousness for my friends.
As I think about graciousness, I also think about the diversity of my family as we have all grown older. I have four brothers, and they live around the world. My oldest brother and his wife just stopped in to see me this weekend, from England. And as we talked of the rest of the family, I thought of how different we all are, and how that difference has influenced our offspring, now with a THIRD generation being born. And yet, we all come home, to where it all started, the farm in Nebraska. Sort of like our heavenly Father. Though we wander in some ways, we all feel that longing for home, and know when and where to find it, even if it is just a place in our heart!