Saturday, August 23, 2014

Aug. 24, 2014: 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time A

Click to hear audio homily
Do you ever feel that you’re being watched? Whether you are at a shop, a grocery store, or a mall, you may notice those small black globes attached to the ceiling that are really concealed cameras. Sometimes at the entrance of the store you may see yourself  on a security camera monitor. The cameras make you aware that you should not do anything foolish because someone is watching you. I recently watched a TV show -- the Undercover Boss - that takes surveillance to another level.  The episode followed a CEO of a Tex-Mex franchise who went undercover to observe his employees performance. The CEO began as a trainee and endured sarcastic remarks and criticisms from the 19-yr. old supervisor. The CEO had to bite his tongue as the young supervisor rudely treated and insulted the employees. What do you think was the reaction of that 19-yr. old when at the end of the show he met the CEO without the disguise?

All of us behave properly when we are aware that our boss is nearby. We follow the work place rules and regulations, we work diligently, and we treat our co-workers with respect. One of the rules mentioned in the show was a timeless golden rule, “Treat other people as you want to be treated.” This rule takes its idea from scripture where Jesus says, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” However, Jesus expands upon this golden rule beyond what his listeners are comfortable with by adding, “Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. To the person who strikes you on one cheek, offer the other one as well, and from the person who takes your cloak, do not withhold even your tunic. Give to everyone who asks of you, and from the one who takes what is yours do not demand it back.” Do these rules seem ‘above our pay grade?’

In today’s gospel, Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” Other disciples mentioned that the word on the street was that Jesus was a well known prophet from the scriptures. However, Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus then praised Peter for correctly identifying who Jesus was. But Jesus reminded us that it was not enough for us to know who he was: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.” If Jesus showed up in our daily lives disguised as one of our coworkers, our acquaintances, or even as our friends, what would he observe in the way we live our life and the way we treat others? Jesus is Our Lord and our God--our ultimate boss of our life; we should take seriously his instruction to do more than just living for ourselves.  And we should go above and beyond to seek what Heavenly Father’s will is for us and place His will above ours.

Recently the Commentator featured interesting interviews with three of our priests who entered the seminary late in life after years in business and the  professional world. Fr. Al Davidson, who owned a construction company before entering the seminary, said, “Having been self sufficient for 40 years, and now I was signing my life over--that’s the transition that most concerned me--giving up control, and money was a controlling aspect of my life.” Fr. Al who is now 60 years old recounted how he lived without Jesus for 50 years of life, living a fast-paced life where he had money and women. He said, “You want to forget your sinful past, but God turned my past into wisdom that we can use to minister to his people.”

We learn during the course of our life that we can live our life serving ourselves or serving Our Lord. It’s so easy to forget who the boss is. All of us go through seasons of our life where we are preoccupied with ourselves; then unexpectedly God shines his light in our hearts. We then discover this secret: I must live this life through Jesus, with Jesus, and for Jesus.  There are only two things you have that Jesus really wants: your will and your sins. Give your sins and imperfections to Him. Jesus has come to call sinners, and once you respond, He will work with you and through you. Have you seen a t-shirt that reads, “Jesus is coming. Look busy!” May we need to wear one as a reminder to each other that we are here to serve the Lord.