August 8, 2010
NB - I now have a blog. Just go to our parish web site [www.holynameofjesusparish.com]
and click on "Father's blog". My welcome message will explain what it is
ORDINARY 19 (C)
Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, & still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.
–Luke 12: 40
Public disturbances & fatal accidents involving teenagers today seem to have something more in common than just substance abuse. A town in New Jersey had a teen night on the beach which was alcohol free. The problem was that many teens were showing up already intoxicated & causing trouble, & the sponsor was thinking of cancelling the event. The local police chief remarked that the teens who were showing up drunk were unsupervised, while “We have found that kids who are dropped off or picked up by their parents have no issues & are not drinking.” In short, those who had stewards were all right.
The President of the Province of Rome in Italy wrote that kids drink because of “a lack of a reference point, one that they don’t find in the family or in school or in other institutions, & therefore their idea of community is to stay together in the piazzas getting high.” That says it all. They are without stewards.
There is a true story of a young priest who was called to the police station to talk to a teenage boy who was in very serious trouble. He had a mother & father but they were out all the time, going here & there, doing this or that. They were fairly absent from his life & they raised him with no particular set of teachings or guidelines. They just let him do what he wanted. He was very upset & after a bitter outburst, crying, he put his head in his hands & said to the priest, “I wish I had been raised a Nazi. At least I’d have something to believe in!”
Human children without stewards, Adults without stewards: all incapable, it seems, of taking responsibility for them selves. For us, today’s Gospel reminds us that we DO have a reference point. We have Jesus who is the way, the truth & the life; who said, “Come to me all you who labor & are burdened & I will refresh you.” We have a reference point that tells us we are beloved by God, that He has chosen us for a work, that we have a purpose in life, that our lives are meaningful, that we are answerable to the Master, that when we fall, there is a Divine Mercy to lift us up & that, finally, we are never alone.
There is a huge community of saints who surround us, a church that invites us, & a demanding set of corporal & spiritual works of mercy that calls us beyond ourselves. That’s the creed we live by, or should. That’s our reference point. Finally, by our word & example we should get out the good news that, on all levels, faithful stewardship is the way to go. None of us are perfect examples, but that is why we are here – to get the help we need to sustain us in our God-given task. We have been entrusted with the character formation of our children. Much, indeed is entrusted to us. AMEN!