Message: Resolve not to be a couch potato but to have boots laced. Do small things with great love.
This Sunday I begin a new homily series titled Boots Laced based on Pope Francis words to young people: "The times we live in do not call for young 'couch potatoes' but for young people with shoes, or better, boots laced." Instead of "couch potatoes," the Pope said, we must become "protagonists of history." Otherwise we simply surrender to those who have agendas contrary to the Gospel.
This six-week series on "Boots Laced" follows the summer homilies on Youth Challenges which focused on the basics of discipleship: embracing the cross, accepting Jesus as the one way (the "Narrow Gate"), practicing forgiveness, humility and courtesy - and the conviction that to become a disciple is worth giving all. In "Boots Laced" we will consider the practical steps of discipleship. We will begin the series with what St. Teresa of Calcutta taught about doing small things with great love.* As Jesus says this Sunday, "the person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones."
Let's start with something small, something we often overlook, but that can have enormous importance. St. Paul tells us to pray for those in authority. "First of all," he says, "I ask that supplications, prayers, petitions and thanksgiving be offered for everyone, for kings and all in authority, that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all devotion and dignity."
This prayer you can readily incorporate into the TARP method. Remember, TARP stands for Thank, Ask, Repent and Praise. After you have thanked God for his gifts, including the gift of belong to this country, pray for our president. You don't have to agree with him or like everything he is doing. St. Paul was hardly enthusiastic about the Roman Emperor who was persecuting Christians, but he prayed for him and all those in authority.
Like St. Paul we are little people. But also like him we hold the key for transforming society.
And what is that key? In the Gospel we see a man with limited options. He has disgraced himself and he faces banishment. The man does not run away or crawl into a hole. No he considers his options and does what he can to help others. Jesus praises him.
So this is the key, this how a person laces his boots: Whatever you have done, whatever your limitations, trust Jesus and help others. Do small things with great love. Prove yourself trustworthy in small matters.
Next week we honor a man who lived a very humble life. We have no quotes from him. Unlike St. Teresa who left scores of provocative quotes, this man spoke nothing that remains. But his example shines - especially for parents and for those involved in faith formation: A man who always had his boots laced. I will tell you about him next weekend.
For today resolve not to be a couch potato but to have boots laced. For sure we are little people who trust Jesus and pray for those with vast responsibility. And even though we are little people we hold the key to transforming our society. Do small things with great love. "The person who is trustworthy in small matters is also trustworthy in great ones." Amen.
*Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.
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