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Pastor's Letter 20200510 - 10 May 2020 - "Kairos"-Time of Favor and Going Home

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May 10th, 2020

Fifth Sunday of Easter

A Message from Father Michael

Today’s Theme:  “Kairos—A Time of Favor” and “Going Home”


“In Father’s house, there are many dwelling places.”

Scripture Note

 In order to be open to learning, a person must be “disposed,” or receptive to being taught. A “closed mind” is an impenetrable barrier for educators to “open.”  When we listen to the words of Scripture we hear lessons taught for our “good” as human beings.  Some evangelical teachers have made the word, “Bible,” into an acronym: “Basic-Instructions-Before-Leaving-Earth,” and as such, it has real import for our discussion, today.  Those of us who have been given life directions of a Biblical nature can find many tried and true aphorisms, anecdotes and parables that are applicable to our everyday lives.  And, if we are correspondingly receptive to their message, we will find our lives are enriched thereby.  

 This is what is meant by the Greek word, “Kairos."  We are a “favored nation” who believe in the teachings of the Bible, and use their precepts to guide us through life.  Through “disclosure moments,” (or, as is common in today’s parlance, “teachable moments,”) we can partake of the wisdom, handed down to us, virtually intact, through many generations.  Jesus attests to the value of belief in the Bible: “Repent and believe in the Gospel” (Mark 1: 14-15.)  We know we have “favor” from the words: “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation,” (from our Second Reading—1 Peter 2:4-9.) With such encouragement, Christians are imbued with faith that their lives are made better through their beliefs.  

The Importance of Home

Today’s Readings also include messages about “home.”  For human beings, and many other creatures on earth, it’s impossible to exaggerate the importance of home.  It’s been said that even prisoners, given a choice between a “luxury suite” in prison, with all the amenities they could imagine, and going home, invariably would choose “home”—no matter how meager or dysfunctional it may have been.  When we find ourselves the victim of failure, returning “home” is many times the first impulse we feel.  

 Home is where we remember feeling safe; it’s a place of warmth and communion, most often with people who loved us.  When people go on a trip, no matter how lovely the experience, they find the “trip home” is the highlight of their time away.  All of us know how fervently we wanted to leave home as youths—to find our way in the world.  But in comparison to our home, we often found our available options less accommodating, in spite of efforts to “make a new home” for ourselves.  It’s then we might yearn for the opportunity to return—if only tacitly.  

 In my own experience, I found this true after the death of my mother in 1975, when, I returned to my Dad’s house in Kingman, AZ.  I hadn’t lived there as a child, but that was my “permanent home of record” for the Air Force, and coming back, I felt every bit as much “home,” as I had so many years prior, in the family home in Crete, NE.  Kingman was a place from which I “started over,” again, and helped Dad do the same, without Mom.  

 Everyone knows that a home is not just “a house.”  Rather, it is a place where we have close ties to people who accept us for what we are. (Some people find as adults when they return many years later to the old neighborhoods of their youth, old friends and relatives still remember them unchanged from the last time they saw them. This can bring up points of difficulty. We see this played out in real life at occasions such as High School Reunions.  Returning to mine after 50 years, in 2014, I was confronted with a group of “senior citizens,” whom I had in mind as youthful 18-year-olds at our last meeting!)

 But consider the plight of those with no home to which they can return....  We find them everywhere, these days, it seems, and the reasons are varied and heartbreaking.  “Lost people” inhabit almost every community in our modern world. Many are deeply depressed at having formerly been of value in a particular field of endeavor, now finding they are unnecessary, their occupations subsumed into modern automation. Perhaps some are victims of depression, isolated from a world they don’t recognize.  Veterans returning from service to their country appear to make up a significant part of the population of the homeless today.  They don’t recognize a world that is not directly impacted from their wartime experiences abroad.  Their military specialties are not a “fit” for peacetime life.  Mental health professionals report that other “lost souls” without a home have simply been “dumped” into society without preparation. The burgeoning foster care systems of many states produce young adults who, having reached the age of majority, were formerly children without permanent homes.  They have “aged-out” of the system at 18 years of age, having never been adopted, and lack life skills to succeed.  

 One could recount many stories along these lines with very little investigation.  But, like the little girl who was throwing starfish back into the sea said, “I know I can’t save them all, but maybe I can save a few.” It is incumbent on all of us to look into these situations and see where we might be of assistance, from a Christian-charity perspective.  We need to offer these people a “time of favor,” as Christ did to the needy people of His time.  We need to be the “hands of Christ” in the modern world, as He instructed the apostles to become.

 In the final analysis, in spite of buildings we erect and roots we plant on earth, we know ours is not a “lasting” home.  All we have, as Paul says, “…is a kind of tent—one, which we “fold up” at death. Therefore, it’s not only on earth that we need a home—we also need one to which we can go when death brings down the curtain, on the day we die.  Without such a home, our lives would be journeys to nowhere. 

 At the Last Supper, Jesus began to talk to the apostles about the fact He was leaving. Hearing this, they were plunged into sorrow, but He consoled them with the words we heard in today’s Gospel: “There are many rooms in My Father’s House.  I am going to prepare a place for you.  I shall return to take you with Me; so that where I am, you may be too”(John 14:1-12.)How lovely these words are for us—portraying an everlasting dwelling place...from which we obtain our concept of “Heaven.” (Heaven = Home)

 For a child, home is not so much a place, as a “relationship” of love and trust. Children may move around a lot and still notfeel “homeless,” as long as they have their parents and family. It is the same for those who have a close relationship with God.  We spend our lives searching for God, groping our way towards Him.  To die is to find Him; to meet Him; to “see” Him. To go to God is to go “Home.” 

Returning to God

The homing instinct we have just discussed is observed in many species of birds.  It seems to be a “built in” thing.  But some birds, like pigeons, must be trained—kept in good health, so they are capable of sustained flight through obstacles such as fog, show, rain and adverse winds.  Humans have a homing instinct as well—given to us by God, but it is a very subtle and fragile thing for people. God would never take away our freedom to choose our own paths.  For you and me it takes the form of an inner restlessness and discontent.  This longing, far from being a curse, is really a blessing.  

 Consider when we are given directions to someone’s house, where we have never been. Often they are so difficult to follow, and full of familiar (to them)landmarks, we become quite confused. Sometimes though, a gracious host will come to meet us, guiding us to their house, allowing us to follow them. Similarly, the way to God has baffled and confused many people—some becoming hopelessly lost along the way.  

 This becomes obvious today in Philip’s seeking concrete information from Jesus, when he asks, “Show us the Father.”  Our Lord’s response, far from complicated, was, simply, “I am the way.”  Put another way, He was saying, “Follow Me, and I’ll show you the way!”  In the Church we find our spiritual home built on the “foundation stone”—the rock—of Jesus Christ.  It is in the Church where our brothers and sisters guide and accompany us on our journey to our heavenly home.  

 By the way, if we are concerned if God will recognize us when return home to Him at the end of life’s journey, we only have to think of how we would easily recognize any of our own children who have followed their homing instinct and returned to their families.  

May God Richly Bless You!

Heaven is not a figment of imagination. It is not a feeling or an emotion. 

It is not the "Beautiful Isle of Somewhere."  It is a prepared place for a prepared people.  David Jeremiah

To view a video of the Mass for the Fifth Sunday of Easter, 2020, click here: https://youtu.be/0xzJpkhMK7Y

New Song, A.docx

New Song, A.mp3

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