Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

For over 80 years now the Serenity Prayer has been used by many twelve-step programs, it is written by Reinhold Niebuhr:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

We can change some things, but not others. Honesty and courage help us to know which is which and not to shrink from whatever we can change.

I love this Gospel passage from Matthew, note the very first line: Jesus addresses his question to the chief priests and the elders (the people that have power and influence over other people’s lives). Jesus isn’t happy with them at all! He sees that they don’t practice what they preach. Can you imagine what they are thinking when they hear Jesus state that tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the Kingdom of God before them?  Oh yeah, definitely a should’ve had a V8 moment for sure! Tax collectors and prostitutes heard John the Baptist say “Repent, and change your ways, and know of God’s love for you!” And they did! And yet, even when the chief priests and elders witnessed this fact, they refused to change. They didn’t see any need to repent.

Change is not easy; in fact, it is extremely hard to do.  

Joke of the weekend:
Written by Norm Schmitz

The burial service for the elderly woman climaxed with a massive clasp of thunder, followed by a bolt of lightning, accompanied by even more thunder. “Well,” said her husband to the shaken pastor when it ended, “she’s there.”

Many of us could easily fill in the blanks of this sentence: “If only someone else _______________ (fill in one or more names) had done __________, then my life would have turned out much better.” We are, however, not nearly as likely to say, “If only I had done ____________, then my life would have turned out better.”  

People become adult Christians not simply by reaching a certain age but, more importantly, by accepting the responsibilities flowing from their Baptism as disciples of Jesus and by integrating into their faith life’s highs and lows.

In our freedom of choice, we have the ability to change, and if we’re willing and have the courage, then we are able to repent, and make that change.

God is calling each of us to change daily, just a little bit. Did you ever tell someone “Don’t change, I like you just the way you are.”? And, from that moment on they have no choice, but to change.

Hopefully, the homilies that have been given by me and Deacon Steve have had an impact on you, as we journey together, on this ever-changing thing we call life.

Readings for Sunday, September 27, 2020