29th Ordinary: May We Never Cut Time With God
29th Ordinary –Year C (2004)
2 Timothy 3:14-4:2
Know – Believe and Live the Scripture!
Today I am going to tell to you the same thing Elizabeth Taylor told all her husbands: “I am not gonna keep you long!” But, I am doing that under one condition, that you will do what St. Paul wrote to Timothy: “remain faithful to what you have learned and believed, because from infancy you have known the Scriptures, which are capable of giving you wisdom for salvation.” However, that salvation comes only if, as Paul states: “you proclaim the word whether it is convenient or inconvenient.”
Proclaiming the Gospel is not just the ordained ministers’ duty, it is every believer’s duty. When you were baptized, you participated in the universal priesthood, a priesthood that carries out the mission of spreading the good news. The Church, especially Pope John Paul II, continually reminds us that each of our small family is the first seed of the Church. From you, the parents, your children learned how to pray, how to read, how to understand the good news, and most importantly, how to live their lives. You, as parents, are the best models for your children. If you don’t have the courage to teach your children about the Gospel, then how can the Gospel be spread?
Proclaim that good news with your children – read the bible with them, learn with them – so they might “know the scriptures from infancy” as St. Paul said in the 2nd reading. I always recommend that young parents buy their children a bible, and read it to them as bedtime stories. Let them go to bed with God’s presence and blessings. Plant this good habit early in their lives, so that when they grow up, they will love and pay attention to the Word of God. You must plant that seed of faith now, without any delay. Because, if you don’t do it now, it might be too late when your children are teenagers or young adults. Let me share with you another story.
A newly ordained priest arrived at his first assignment and found that there were many things waiting for him to take care of, including many funerals lined up. He did not have time to prepare his Sunday Homily, so he used the sermon from the previous Sunday three times. The people went to the bishop complaining that the new priest used the same homily four times in a row. The Bishop asked them, what the sermon was about. They scratched their heads, and thought really hard, but couldn’t remember. The Bishop finally said: “Let him use it one more time.”
If we don’t develop a love for God’s Word, then even when we attend Sunday mass, we hear the Word without understanding it. We don’t pay attention to God’s Word – don’t remember what the readings are about, because we think and care about other matters too much. We don’t make God’s word a top priority in our lives. It is just like a man who tries so hard to get the water into his bucket, but he neglects to turn the bucket up. When we come to hear God’s word, but don’t open our hearts to it, then we are like that man. The Gospel is best spread when your family prays together, and having your children read a few bible verses.
You might be busy with working to put bread on the table, having a bad day, your children might not be as good as you want them to be, your spouse might be upset with you, but that does not give you the right to stop God from entering into your lives, and praying with your family. Paul, a human like us, anticipates that when he writes to his spiritual son: “be persistent, whether it is convenient or inconvenient.”
I overheard this story from a priest friend of mine. One Sunday morning he said to his congregation pointing at the big band aid on his chin, “I am sorry about this band aid. This morning, I cut my chin as I was thinking about the sermon.” A voice from the congregation suggested: “Next time, why don’t you think about the chin and cut the sermon.” May we never cut our time reading God’s word.
Fr. Martino Nguyen
Lm Martino Nguyễn Bá Thông
Saint Teresa of Avila Catholic Church
4921 Columbia Rd.
Grovetown, GA 30813