Something Good is Coming!
“The Kingdom of heaven is like…” When you hear these words in Matthew’s and Luke’s Gospels, something good is coming. There is a story I love to tell in funerals of an elderly woman recently diagnosed with a terminal illness. She called her pastor and asked to plan her funeral with him. She said, “In the coffin, I want the Good Book placed in one of my hands and a fork in the other.” When people ask why the fork? Tell them – at all the parish suppers I served over the years, always when a server picked up your dishes and said, “Keep the fork,” it meant something good was coming. Not a pudding cup or Jell-O. A good pie or cake is on its way worthy of a fork. Tell ‘em in my funeral homily that I left my life saying, “The best is yet to come!”
Like the woman in this story, we hold on to that. Jesus says, “The first last the last first.” His teachings on “the reign of God” give us a snapshot into the personality of the Master. He preached the kingdom using beautiful images. They tell us so much about him. “It is like a mustard seed.” “It’s like a wedding banquet.” “It’s like a woman’s search for a lost coin. Or “a father’s search for a lost son.” St. Matthew’s parables are used over the next two Sundays with the image of “a landowner who went out at dawn to hire laborers…” Everyone, last and first, got the same generous wage. The radical justice and generosity of God sometimes leaves us with our mouths hanging open. Sometimes we are envious of the goodness of God to others, thinking there is only a limited amount. Our imaginations need healing. God’s love is so big. There is plenty, an endless amount to spread around.
The great Franciscan, St. Bonaventure said that the “missio dei,” God’s job description – was the thick spreading of goodness. I use that image often. God’s church doesn’t have a mission. The mission has a church…to do the same, thick spread goodness. There is such need out there these COVID days. And there are so many glimpses around St. Mary’s of this goodness. Thanks to those who made a donation to St. Mary’s Food Bank in my brother’s name. Our busy St. Vincent de Paul Society prepares for their patronal feast next weekend. The whole Vincent de Paul organization began here at St. Mary’s. Our members and volunteers are lavish in their care for the needs of the many dis-advantaged in the central Phoenix area.
Many thanks for the catechists who generously began our religious education online last weekend. We continue to welcome new children into First Communion and Confirmation these September and October weekends. Please keep them, their parents, godparents and catechists in prayer.
A gentle week,
Fr. Michael Weldon, OFM