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A special congratulations to our 2020 graduates! We pray for your health and success as you continue your journey. 

 

33A Proverbs 31:10-13,19-20, 30-31 / 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6 / Matthew 25:14-30

 

I want to start out with one of my

favorite stories of all time.

 

This story takes place at a wedding,

and a young man named Johnny was there.

 

At the reception,

As Johnny was surveying the crowd—

he recognized Mr. Clark, one of his

teachers in earlier days.

 

Johnny went over and asked,

“Mr. Clark, do you remember me?”

 

 “Not really.”

 Mr. Clark answered,

“What’s you’re name?”

 

Johnny introduced himself and

then Mr. Clark remembered:

 

“Ah, you were my student. . . .

third grade I think. . . .

 

Wow!

 

I haven’t seen you for years. 

How’s your life?

What are you involved in?”

 

Johnny responded back,

“Believe it or not,

I’m a teacher.”

 

Mr. Clark said,

“That’s wonderful!

What inspired you to become a teacher?”

 

“What inspired me to become a teacher,

Mr. Clark,

was you”

 

Johnny continued.

 

“I saw what an impact you had on me and

I realized what an impact I could have

on children and teenagers. . .

So, I decided to go into education.”

 

Mr. Clark was very curious now. . .

“So what type of impact did I have on you?”

 

And then Johnny told the story:

 

“One day,

in between classes,”

Johnny said,

“I stole a beautiful,

expensive pocket watch from Fred,

one of my classmates. 

 

His mother had given it to him

 as a birthday present.

 

Fred showed up after lunch break,

telling you and the whole class that

somebody had stolen his watch.

 

And I remember vividly,”

Johnny said,

“I remember vividly

how you addressed the class that afternoon

asking that the watch be returned.

 

I was too embarrassed to fess up

and return the stolen watch.

 

And here’s what you did Mr. Clark:

 

You locked the classroom door and

asked the class to line up and

close our eyes.

 

And you went from pocket to pocket.

 

And you came to my pocket

and you found the watch and

gently pulled it out

without saying a word.

 

But, You didn’t stop there.

 

You continued,

moving from pocket to pocket all the

way to the end of the line.

 

And then you told us that it was OK

for us to open our eyes.

 

And you returned the pocket watch to Fred! 

 

On that day, Mr. Clark,

you saved my soul.

 

You saved my dignity.

 

You never said anything about the incident to anyone,

not to Fred who was so happy to get

back the pocket watch,

 

not to anyone,

 

and most surprisingly, not even to me.”

 

John,

with a hint of tears in his eyes,

went on to say,

 

“To me, this is what a teacher is. 

This is what a real educator is. 

And I decided that being a teacher was what I

wanted to do with my life.”

 

Mr. Clark, listening attentively, and said,

 

“That’s an amazing story, John,

but truth be told,

I don’t remember much of it.”

 

 

John was shocked at Mr. Clark’s answer.

 

“But Mr. Clark, 

I can’t believe you don’t remember the story?

 

When you see me and hear my name

Don’t you remember that I stole the pocket watch!

 

Don’t you remember lining us up—

and asking everybody to close their eyes,

and pulling the pocket watch out of my packet

and then returning it to Fred?”

 

Mr. Clark said,

 

“Actually John

I don’t remember!”

 

“How could you not remember such a dramatic story?”

John almost pleading now.

 

And then Mr. Clark concluded:

 

“John,

as I moved from pocket to pocket. . .  

my eyes were closed too.”

 

Isn’t that a great story!!!

 

It warms the heart, doesn’t it!!!

 

A story of love and mercy that changed a person’s life—

Who then went on to change

other people’s lives.

 

You know,

we’re getting close to the end of the liturgical year. . .

 

next week is the solemnity of Christ the King. . .

 

and then a new liturgical year begins with Advent.

 

And at the end of this liturgical year,

the last couple of Sundays—

the readings from Matthew’s Gospel

have focused on Jesus triumphant return

at the end of time.

 

These reading are part of Jesus’ discourse

as He travels on his way to Jerusalem with his disciples.

 

And Jesus knows what’s going to happen to him in Jerusalem. . . .

 

so he uses this trip from the Galilee to Jerusalem

to get in every bit of teaching he can. . . .

 

And as they get closer to Jerusalem. . .

Jesus focuses his teaching on

His return at the end of time.

 

You know I love to meditate and

pray about that glorious day

when Jesus comes again—

 

When death will be defeated—

when all is finally made right.

 

I can’t wait to meet Jesus

in an even more personal way.

 

So I love to meditate and pray on

what I’m going to say to Him

when that moment comes.

 

I love to meditate and pray on what

I hope Jesus says back to me.

 

And I love to meditate and pray on

what I hope I’m doing when He returns. . . .

 

And I love to meditate and pray on

what I hope I’m not doing when Jesus comes back.

 

And when you look at the context of

where Matthew places

Jesus’ parable of the talents—

 

the context of Him teaching about His return. . .

 

I think that’s what Jesus is implicitly asking us to do.

 

Thinking about what we’re supposed to do until He comes. . . .

 

Thinking about what we hope we’re doing. . . .

Or not doing. . . .

when that day comes.

 

God—

In His abundant goodness

has given all of us

time—

and talents—

and treasures.

 

And God gave them to us for a purpose. . . .

 

God has given them to invest in God’s

plan of salvation for humanity. . . .

 

to show the world what it looks like in the Kingdom of God. . . .

 

to be people who sacrifice for others. . .

 

to be people who show and stand for the dignity of all human beings. . .

 

to be people of love and mercy.

 

to be people who feed the poor and clothe the naked. . .

 

Today, by the way,

in the Churches calendar—

is the World Day of the poor.

 

That’s why God gives us time and talents and treasures.

 

And there’s great joy in that. . .

 

great joy in living the Gospel

with the gifts that God has given us.

 

That’s why I started out with the story

about Johnny and Mr. Clark.

 

I just hope that I’m doing something like

Mr. Clark did in that story about the

stolen pocket watch. . . .

 

Changing somebody’s life. . . .

 

showing love and mercy.

 

You know,

it’s interesting that St. Paul says that

when Jesus comes again. . .

it will be like a thief coming

in the night. . . .

 

for some. . . just for some.

 

Paul says that

when people are saying,

“Peace and security,”

then sudden disaster comes upon them,

like labor pains upon a pregnant woman,

and they will not escape.

 

But you. . .

You. . . .

brothers and sisters in Christ,

that is not the case. . .

 

You are not in darkness,

for that day to overtake

you like a thief.

 

You see,

when we live in the light—

with our eyes always on Jesus—

 

then when He does come . . .

it’s no surprise at all. . .

because we’ve been with Him the whole time.

 

What a glorious day that will be

when the Lord comes again. . . .

 

when death is defeated. . .

 

and all is finally set right.

 

Holy Spirit 11/14/20