Luke 9:51-62 Thanks For The Memories

Thirteenth Sunday In Ordinary Time
(Click here for readings)
When the days for Jesus’ being taken up were fulfilled, he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem…On the way they entered a Samaritan village to prepare for his reception there, but they would not welcome him…When the disciples James and John saw this they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?”  Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they journeyed to another village.
We’ve come a long way since then, right?  WRONG!
The Church really doesn’t face new challenges.  Rather, she faces old challenges with new faces!
We think of our modern society as being so much more tolerant, compassionate, understanding and forgiving then that of the Romans and Pharisees.  Well, the Paula Deen incident brings us back to reality, to earth, to the olden days, when people were stoned to death for committing grave sins!
Of course Ms. Deen isn’t physically getting stoned to death, like in the olden days.  No, we’ve come a long way since then.  We don’t guillotine people today.  We electrocute them, instead.  And in keeping with the times, we electronically stone people to death with our anonymous tweets and comments. 
Yes, we can be very brutal to those whom we disagree with.  And it sticks forever! 
The horrors of the Internet are really the horrors of humanity, and more than ever before, more people can become much more acquainted with the horrors of our very own humanity than ever before.
Yesterday, I wrote on my twitter:  “The dumping of Paula Deen by so many companies highlights the fact that they are as unforgiving as the Pharisees and Scribes of yesteryear.  God forbid that any of us show how human we are!”  BEWARE OF THY HUMANITY!
Now here is a twist for you:  The very institution that is often blamed for being the most intolerant and unforgiving of all, is actually the only institution on the face of the planet that is truly tolerant and forgiving of all!  And that institution is the Roman Catholic Church.
Case in point:  Paula Deen, like so many Catholics, has made some serious mistakes in her past.  Nearly every institution that associated with her is cutting their ties with her.  Did anyone from St. Monica ever tell you to stop coming to Church?  No. 
Just recently she apologized for her mistakes.  Guess what?  Her apology was not accepted.  So not only is our “culture” and “society” hostile and condemning to those who err, but it is also extremely confident in rejecting (judging) someone’s apology. 
I don’t know about you, but I have never questioned in the Confessional someone’s apology.  Why?  Because I’m not qualified to do so.  I’m only human!  Of course we have to make judgment calls all the time, but to judge someone’s apology?  Well, that is truly judging someone the WRONG WAY!  Who am I to judge someone’s apology?  Who am I to be able to enter into someone’s heart and mind?  I am just a “somebody;” or better yet, a “nobody.”
I love you, but…  Lord, I will follow you, but let me say farewell to my family at home.  The reason why we have such a hard time forgiving is because we do a very bad job at reflecting; that is, re-living our past.  Thanks for the memories!
Then and Now.  At a certain moment during the Oscar awards ceremony, “Hollywood” paid tribute to the song writer Marvin Hamlisch, who passed away last year.  Soon after that, Barbara Streisand came out on stage.  I couldn’t believe it!  I can’t stand watching her or listening to her.  As she began to sing the song “Memories”, it was as if I had been transported to another time and another place:  my home.
I remember playing this song on the piano with all my cousins around me singing along.  It was a very welcomed memory youthfulness and funniness.   
Memories are a gift from God to man.  They keep us going.  They keep our marriage going.  They keep romance moving.  They remind us of what we should remember.  They give us a reason (actually, no apparent reason) to laugh, to cry and to smile.  What are you smiling at?  Oh, nothing…
I find it interesting how certain illnesses do not allow us to remember the “now” in our lives but only the past.  I don’t know, maybe this means something.  Maybe it means that we can live without the now, but we could never live without a past. 
The Jews were constantly reflecting on their past, and learning a great deal from it.  Many times, their toughest questions were answered based on past experiences. 
Our past is a great resource.  It is subject to constant re-interpretation.  To reflect on the past is not an escape from reality; to live in it is!  Hey teenagers:  The worst name you could ever give your band is “New Kids On The Block!” 
Animals do not have memories.  They simply recall certain things and sounds.  We have memories.  We can actually relive certain moments, even tough moments, in our lives. 
What’s the latest quirky saying today?  Ah yes, “no regrets, only happiness!”
Remembering the past allows us to respond to the present.  To say “no regrets” is to close your life to cross-examination and self-examination.  It’s not a defense mechanism, but rather a “fear” mechanism. 
The least memories I have of all the years of my life are the years that I worked at Kodak.  They are like lost years.  I don’t even remember the names of the people I worked with.  I only remember a young Jewish lady that worked there and that refused to date me because I wasn’t Jewish!
Many times I find myself going back to my seminary days in order to strengthen my resolve for today.  We should do that in all areas of our life, especially with our marriage and with our children.  There’s nothing wrong with embracing your teen as if she/he were five.  Or going on a date as if you were still engaged!
Our strongest memories come from our most meaningful relationships. 
 Thank you St. Monica for the memories.


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Fr. Alfonse (1044 Posts)

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