Keep Out of His Way

(Homily for New Years, Mary the Mother of God)

This year I received a special Christmas gift. It came from a parishioner who is a fireman. He was part of team that went from Seattle to New York City after the 9-11 attack. He gave me a bracelet which says:

Take me where you want me to go,
Let me meet who you want me to meet
Tell me what you want me to say, and keep me out of your way

On the side is engraved:

Father Mychal Judge, FDNY Chaplain
WTC to Heaven
on September 11, 2001

You will remember that Fr. Mychal Judge was the priest who died ministering to wounded and dying during the World Trade Center attacks. Fr. Mychal used to pray that prayer with the firefighters. I like the “keep me out of your way” part. I am aware of how my impatience, sloth, lust, anger, etc. can put a block between me and the person God wants me to approach. One of the biggest blocks is the tendency to judge – especially situations which have little to do with me. Some guys can tell you exactly how George Bush should run the country, but flee from their plain duty toward their family and others near them.* A good resolution for 2005: ask the Lord to help you focus on what he wants you to do this day, this very moment.

Today we hear how the Blessed Virgin Mary "kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart." Mary, because of her contemplation of God, knew the moment to remain still and the moment to act. May she help us this year: To go where God wants us to go. To meet those he wants us to meet. To know what he wants us to say. And, above all, to keep out of his way. And may the example of man like Fr. Mychal Judge help us to have the courage to live God's plan in this New Year.


*An illustration: The editor of a Catholic magazine took great relish in chastising the bishops for their failures regarding clergy abuse of minors. He even proclaimed his own "policy" on this issue and each month would taunt the bishops for their cowardice. However, on his own staff, he had a columnist who was clearly out of control. (For example, the columnist - using a pseudonym - once wrote about his fantasy of taking a baseball bat to a man in his late sixties.) Several people confronted the editor. At first, he tried to defend the columnist, then pleaded with critics to not take the writer so seriously - but he never mustered the courage to correct the deviant mindset. By way of contrast, I had a friend who was quite timid, to the point that some said he was a "wimp." But if a problem arose on the parish staff, my friend would always screw up his courage to deal with the issue. He would do it quietly, but effectively - so that the majority of people never became aware of the problem or its resolution. A good plan for 2005: less bluster, more muster.

Spanish Version

From Archives:

New Years 2009: Three Lessons for the New Year
2006: The Lord Bless You
2005: Keep Out of His Way
2004: Signs of Hope Among Teenagers
2003: A Tradition Worth Fighting For
2002: No Justice Without Forgiveness

Other Homilies

Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C

Bulletin: Wedding in Arandas

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Amy asks, If I gave you $50,000... What would you do? Would getting a clone of your dead cat be on the list?

Glad tidings from a former atheist

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The Adult Answer - Moving Beyond the Embryonic-stem-cell Debate

Steven D. Greydanus' review of Lemony Snicket

Catholic Relief Service report on aid to Tsunami Victims (How you can help)

Information about Camano Island (collected by my brother, Louis)


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