August 18, 2013
"How come you have such a nice SUV and such a big house and I am so poor?” said a Priest to a Rabbi "Well, whenever people make a donation, I draw a line on the floor and throw the money. Whatever falls to the right side is for God, and whatever falls to the left I keep for myself," answered the Rabbi.
"Wow, what a good idea! I think I will do the same. Thank you very much for the tip" said the priest.
A few months later, the rabbi noticed that the priest had become filthy rich. He was driving a Ferrari and had a huge house. "How did you become so rich?" said the rabbi to the priest.
"Remember that tip you gave me a few months ago?" replied the priest. "Well, I came up with a better idea! Whenever people made a donation, I threw the money up in the air. Whatever stays up is for God, and whatever falls down, I keep for myself!"
As you can see that I am still driving the same vehicle. Your donation is safe. The church attendance during the summer months is very low. I guess the people are on vacations (I hope nobody just gives God a summer break). Financially we are doing just fine. Thank you for your financialcommitment. By attending church, your supports, your concerns for the victims of flood, and your care for the life of the parish you have shown your faith in God and yourcommitmentto the community life. During the summer, we were able to refill the cracks on the church parking. Then we repainted the lines and the handicapped signs. We also washed carpets in the Faith Room and in the hallway. The floor in the hall has been waxed. Some trees have been planted. Hopefully we will install 2 projectors in the hall and in the Faith Room this month. We have welcomed a new staff who will work with our young people. We thank you again and we thank God that we live in a free country that respects all opinions, all faith and all cultures.
In our world today there are countless thousands of people who are afraid to speak out their belief because of social injustices on the part of certain leadership in the world. They know that if they are heard they may be questioned, may be tortured and even put to death.
In 1980, one of my friends, a seminarian, was forced to join the army. In the army of that country, religion was absolutely restricted. He knew from that time on, he could not go to church freely on Sunday nor practice his belief publicly. In order to nourish his faith, he brought with him a pocket Bible and secretly read it every day. A few weeks later, an officer of the military base found the Bible in his belongings. My friend was questioned, tortured, and put into a concentration camp. Since I've been in Canada, I haven't heard about him, I don't know whether he was released or not.
This sad story reflects one of the points of today's Gospel.Commitmentto Jesus Christ means taking a stand on certain things. And, sometimes, that stand sets us in opposition to other people. Sometimes ourcommitmentto Jesus will cause us to be hated as Jeremiah in the first reading. Sometimes it will cause us to struggle in our moral decisions or moral stand as St. Paul mentions in the second reading. Sometimes it may even cause us to oppose our own family, as Jesus warns in today's Gospel.
When Jesus invited people to follow him, he knew what he was asking of them. For some, it meant doing what my friend did in the military base. In other words,commitmentto Jesus has to take priority over everything else. The Christian'scommitmentto light and to truth cannot be compromised in any way.
As followers of Jesus we should not be afraid. The true Christian is a threat, a source of division, a light that shines in the darkness, and is resented by those who want to remain in the darkness. Because of the sense of justice, a Christian will oppose those who exploit the weak and the poor. In this manner, a Christian will come into conflict with those who trade in lies and dishonesty. By the dedication to others, a Christian will expose the selfishness of those who look after Number One. By the openness and tolerance, a Christian will come into conflict with the narrow-minded and prejudiced. That Christian should not be surprised she or he has to suffer. Jesus Christ foresaw this: "A servant is not greater than his master. If they hated me, they will hate you too."
COMMITMENT is a big word. Your Christian life must be a total commitmentto Christ. Your married life must be a total commitment to your spouse. Your family life must be a total commitmentto the welfare of your family. Your parish life must be a total commitmentto your parish. Your social life must be a total commitmentto the benefits of your neighbours. Nowadays lots of people are afraid of that word or do not want to make any commitmentin their life. One day we had a meeting in the seminary, the rector called us to make a commitmentto the life of the seminary. One of my friend said, “Father, I do not know how to spell that word. Do I have to make anycommitment? I guess not.” God bless you.