Wisdom 9:13-18b; Ps 90:3-6, 12-17; Philemon 8-10, 12-17; Lk 14:25-33
Have a happy and safe Labor Day weekend. Please don’t stop praying daily a Chaplet of Divine Mercy for the conversion of all terrorists. We can also pray another chaplet for our country. We certainly need God’s help. Thank you in the holy Name of Jesus. Thank you for your prayers for my missionary Ghana trip.
Sorry that I have missed you in the last few weeks. I was on a mission trip to the Diocese of WA in northwestern Africa. It has certainly been an eye-opening and life-changing experience for me. I can’t get over the level of extreme poverty for so many of the people of Ghana. Yet I am told it is one of the three best countries of the 57 in Africa. In the US it would be almost destitution and just a level above sleeping in the streets or under bridges. I am still in shock. I thought this was only in the movies from the Middle Ages.
The theme this week is about wisdom that is basically about living life successfully. Worldly wisdom looks at our values and hopes for our life on earth. There are political views in cultures and countries. For instance, what is politically correct. Most of us have our own physical life goals. Where do we want to live? What kind of job to make a good living? Do we want to marry and have children to be happy? And at the end of life here, is there something after this life? What and where?
Spiritual wisdom is very different. What is the revealed purpose our creator had in making us? All of these questions at some point enter our minds as we move through life. We didn’t ask to be alive and come to earth. God and our parents created us. Yet we must figure out or be told why we are here and what we are gifted to do here.
I have been talking to you about creating a little room or space in your house, away from the TV. A place where you can say a little prayer to the Holy Spirit and read little stories about Jesus from the New Testament gospels. You will learn who Jesus is and why he came to earth to show us in person that he loves us and has a wise plan for our lives. His plan will not always be easy. His plan is not where much of our country and the world are. But there will be a joy in knowing and following Jesus’ plan.
In the gospel story this weekend, Luke 14:25-33, great crowds were following Jesus on his way to Jerusalem. Many wanted to be close to Jesus as do many of us. Yet the Jews, like much of the Middle East, were very family oriented. Success flowed from family ties. Jesus talked about following him, giving up those family ties and joining his “new family.” Not being able to predict your future was uncertain and a little scary. It was a new adventure into the unknown. Jesus tells us that, like himself, we all will have a cross to carry behind Jesus. Our cross is just the right size for us. Yet Jesus is always there to help us.
A new life of sharing Jesus
Natural life has us leave the things from our childhood and past life to move into adulthood. We leave our parental home and begin a new life in other places. As we establish new patterns of life, we are also to deepen our daily prayer life with Jesus. We are also to share with others who don’t know Jesus and his way, a new and joyful life to live. This call to share Jesus with others was part of our baptismal anointing. How will others know about Jesus if someone does not tell them and show them how to love him?
In the last many months, Jesus has been preparing me to take some of what I have learned about being a teaching priest out to a broader world. He sent me to Ghana to tell many others about living a deeper life in Jesus Christ. I met new brothers and sisters in God’s family. Everyone in the world is related since there is only one creator.
Last Saturday five of us priests participated in a baptism service at St. Joseph Parish, The staff had spent three years preparing mostly young people for baptism. We baptized 390 young people for Christ. I baptized about 95. There were many other thrilling experiences that I had no idea about before I went to Ghana. I only knew the one priest, Fr. Dwight Merrick from Trinidad, who went with me. We were two disciples sent out. Praise God.
Let us not be afraid to go tell others about the wonders of Christ’s love for us. Have a safe and blessed Labor Day weekend.
+ Fr. Bob Hilz
(© 2016 Fr. Bob Hilz)