13th Sun [A] 2005

Fr. Charles Irvin

1 Kings 4:8-11, 14-16; Romans 6:3-4, 8-11; Matthew 10:37-42

When I was a little boy and went to my catechism lessons the nuns, our teachers, used the famous Baltimore Catechism for their teaching guide. Many times they required us to memorize parts of the Baltimore Catechism and today I want to begin with its first section in which the question was asked: “Why did God make you?” The answer we memorized was: “God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in heaven.”

Later on we had to memorize the Ten Commandments, and the first one was: “I am the Lord thy God, thou shalt not have strange gods before me.

In the Old Testament’s Book of Exodus we find God speaking to Moses about the covenant between God and His people. God tells the Hebrews: “You shall not worship any other god, for the LORD is the Jealous One; a jealous God is he.” (Exodus 34:14)

In the New Testament’s Book of Acts we learn of St. Paul and his companions traveling to Europe for the first time, to an area now in northern Greece, near the city of Philippi, to be exact. In Acts 16:13-15 we hear that: “On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate along the river where we thought there would be a place of prayer. We sat and spoke with the women who had gathered there. One of them, a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth, from the city of Thyatira, a worshiper of God, listened, and the Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what Paul was saying. After she and her household had been baptized, she offered us an invitation, ‘If you consider me a believer in the Lord, come and stay at my home,’ and she prevailed on us.’

Why am I putting all of these things together in this homily? Because they are all firsts, and many times the first things are the most important things. We have here the first lesson in the Baltimore Catechism, the First Commandment, the beginning of the Covenant between God and His people represented by Moses, and the first European to be baptized, Lydia, the businesswoman living in Philippi.

The readings in today’s Mass are about what’s first in our lives, or what should be first, namely our relationship with God. Our relationship with God is the most important relationship we can have in our lives. Our relationship with God is the most important thing we can lose in our lives. God offers Himself to us, we respond. If we don’t respond, we’re telling God that His offer has no value for us and that His offer doesn’t mean anything to us. Whether or not our immortal souls live in eternal life in heaven depends on our relationship with God here on earth.

Our lives are filled with “busy-ness”; there are so many things we need to do and so many things we consider to be important. But what about God? Where is He in our lives? What sort of attention do we give to God? We need to ask that question from time to time and today’s readings challenge us to do just that not only today, or on Sundays, but each and every day of our lives.

There are two big points to draw from today’s readings; the first being the question of how important God is to us in our lives. The second has to do with God’s messengers.

God uses messengers, intermediaries, to relate to us. How important are they to us?

We live in a sort of “do it yourself” world. We like to take care of things all by ourselves. But we really can’t live that way, can we? We all need to depend on others in one way or another.

That’s true when it comes to the way God reaches us. The woman in the first reading and the businesswoman named Lydia paid a lot of attention to God’s messengers. As a result, God reached her and changed her life. Are we open to God’s messengers in our lives? God cares for you, He loves you, and He wants your attention and love. We all need to make more room for Him in our lives, our hearts, and our thoughts. If we don’t, our souls are in peril.

Summertime is upon us, a time when our busy-ness is not so demanding. It’s a time of recreation and a time during which we can be reflective. What about reading some good books, especially books and things to read that turn our thoughts toward God. What about some quiet time spent in reflection about God’s presence in our lives?

Pick up some spiritual reading now so you can have it over your summertime. Spend some thoughtful, quiet, and reflective time during which you can pay attention to God and what He has to say to you. Spend some time asking yourself what’s important in your life and how important God is to you in your life. After all, He made you to know Him, love Him and serve Him, and to be happy with Him forever in heaven.

What, after all, is your life really all about?

About Charles Irvin

Fr. Charlie was ordained a priest June 3, 1967 and has served as pastor of St. Mary Student Chapel in Ann Arbor, founded Holy Spirit parish in Hamburg, MI, served as pastor of St. Francis of Assisi parish in Ann Arbor and was pastor of St. Mary parish in Manchester, MI when he entered Senior Priest status in 2001. In 1999 he was appointed Founding Editor of FAITH Magazine which has grown into Faith Catholic Publishing located in Lansing, MI. He is now very active in his “retirement.”