2 Kings 2:1, 6-14
Matthew 6:16, 16-18
It was a glorious summer day. The sun shone brightly. The church sparkled.
I was anxious. I had prepared well. I wanted the people to be impressed. It was my first Sunday as the new pastor of the parish where I had belonged as a teenager.
I put on the beautiful emerald colored chasuble, which reached almost to my ankles, and thought, “This should impress them!”
The Mass went well. The people were attentive during the homily. The music was perfect. I was delighted by the smiles of the people as I processed out at the end of Mass.
Immediately parishioners were greeting me with warm wishes and congratulations. Everything had gone perfectly when, suddenly, a little girl exited the church and saw me in the sunlight. Her eyes widened, her jaw dropped, and as she ran to throw her arms around my knees she shouted for all the world to hear, “Kermit!”
That little girl was one of the most important theologians to enter my life! She taught me that it isn’t all about ME! God did not call me to be a priest to parade around in fancy clothes to impress people. He did not ordain me to ostentatiously reach out to the poor. God did not give me a nimble tongue so I could impress others. God is not pleased if I develop austere practices to show others how disciplined I am.
By our Baptism ALL of us are called and sent to perform righteous deeds because Jesus said: whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me (Matt 24:40). ALL of us are called and sent to pray, alone and with others, reverently, without drawing attention to ourselves, because Jesus taught: This is how you are to pray: Our Father in heaven… All of us are called to practice self discipline without fanfare and your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.
It’s not about ME! It’s not about US! It’s about GOD! It’s about how good, gracious, loving, and forgiving God is and how GOD wants to share all of that good, gracious, loving forgiveness with, and through, US! Thank God!
- Fr. John M. Lee, C.P., Retreat Director, “The Passionist Spiritual Center in New York City”, Bishop Molloy Retreat House, Jamaica, NY www.bishopmolloy.org