25th Ordinary – Year B – (2009) – Do Not Go Thru Life Too Fast!
Bottom line: Just like the young and successful executive, we might be self-focused. We might go through life without paying any attention to the people around us. But God sends into our paths “little bricks,” not to kill us, but to get our attention, to refocus our way of life, to get us back on track. Though, those little bricks might hurt us sometimes, since the truth hurts, but they will not kill us. Pay attention, because those bricks are on their way.
Father Martino Nguyen Ba-Thong (St. Teresa of Avila Grovetown, GA)
25th Ordinary – Year B – (2009)
Do Not Go Thru Life Too Fast!
True story! About ten years ago, a young and very successful executive was traveling down a Chicago neighborhood street. He was going a bit too fast in his brand new sleek, black 12 cylinder Jaguar XKE. He was watching for kids darting out from between parked cars. As his car passed, no kid darted out. But a brick sailed out and WHUMP! – It smashed into the Jag’s shiny black side door.
SCREECH! – The brake slammed. Gears ground into reverse and tires madly spun the Jaguar back to the spot from where the brick had been thrown. He jumped out of the car, grabbed the kid, and pushed him up against a parked car, shouting, “What was that all about and who are you?” Building up a head of steam he went on “That is my new Jag. That brick you threw is gonna cost you a lot of money. Why did you do that?”
“Please, mister, please, … I am sorry! I did not know what else to do!” Pleaded the youngster. “I threw the brick because no one else would stop!” Tears were dripping down the boy’s chin as he pointed around the parked car. “It is my brother, mister,” he said. “He rolled off the curb and fell out of his wheelchair and I can’t lift him up.” Sobbing, the boy asked the young executive, “would you please help me get him back into his wheelchair? He is hurt and he is too heavy for me.”
Moved beyond words, the young executive tried desperately to swallow the rapidly swelling lump in his throat. Straining, he lifted the young man back into his wheelchair and took out his handkerchief and wiped the scrapes and cuts, checking to see that the boy was ok.
“Thank you Sir! God bless you!” The youngster said and rolled his brother toward their home as the young executive silently watched.
It was a long walk back to the sleek, black, shinning, twelve cylinder Jaguar XKE – A long and slow walk.
He never did fix the side door of his Jaguar. He kept the door to remind him not to go through life so fast that someone has to throw a brick at him to get his attention….
Dear sisters and brothers in Christ, we are living in a culture that Pope John Paul the second calls “the Culture of Sin” but there are others who are more aggressive and call it the “culture of death.” They might be right. When we ignore people’s opinion and make them listen to our voice; when we ignore people’s goods and only care for our own; when we choose death over life, in the battle of abortion; and more importantly, when we choose material things over God, while our lips proclaim that we are Catholics, and are God’s followers. Are we paying homage to God with our lips and not with our hearts?
If that is the culture we live in, then, dear brothers and sisters, we will never be at the service of our neighbors and loved ones, and be the least and a servant among our brothers. That is why “Then Jesus took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, ‘Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me'” (Mark 9:36-37).
The critical importance of this declaration lies in this: that unless we welcome the child, all our efforts to accept the Lord Jesus as our personal Lord and saviour may be as unproductive as the efforts of the disciples to follow Jesus. To accept the child, to top and help a child (a hlepless person) can mean more than one thing, but one thing it must include accepting the child part of our personality. With this we become less calculating, less concerned about our personal dignity or shame, less afraid of failure and death, and less grabbing for power and success. With more of the child energy, we shall be more disposed to take a leap in the dark, to let go. Then, only, does believing and following Jesus become possible.
Jesus challenges us today to make room for the childlike energy of trust, of laughter, of cooperation with one another – of willing to lend a hand to whose in need no matter what. Whether we are nine years old or ninety-nine, and whether we are the firstborn, the last-born, or the only child of the family, the message of Jesus challenges us all to become young at heart. This is the only way to join the company of the younger sons and daughters of the Bible to whom the kingdom of God belongs.
Just like the young and successful executive, we might be self-focused. We might go through life without paying any attention to the people around us. But God sends into our paths “little bricks,” not to kill us, but to get our attention, to refocus our way of life, to get us back on track. Though, those little bricks might hurt us sometimes, since the truth hurts, but they will not kill us. Pay attention, because those bricks are on their way.
Some bricks are softer than others. Feel the bricks of life coming to and at you. Take time to stop and help! I ask you, I beg you and I challenge you!
Father Martino Nguyen Ba-Thong