Sunday, July 19, 2015

Homily Rambles or "Pity them, but not alone"

Today was a wish-I-had-a-notebook-and-a-pencil-during-the-homily kind of day at our parish, but since I didn't, I want to write it here before I forget it all.

So first, in case a baby was shrieking in your ear or forcing you to take them potty for the zillionth time or you're not Catholic or _______________, here was the gospel reading:

The apostles gathered together with Jesus and reported all they had done and taught. He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” People were coming and going in great numbers, and they had no opportunity even to eat. So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place. People saw them leaving and many came to know about it. They hastened there on foot from all the towns and arrived at the place before them. When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. 
~Mark 6:30-34 


So basically the disciples were like "Jesus.  Zomg, are you a sight for sore eyes.  We're so tired!  Ugh, I mean, a lot of good things happened today but man...we're just spent."  And so Jesus is like "wow, yeah, you need a break. Go sneak off for a rest, okay?"  Then the apostles were all "peace out, huge crowd of people.  We are gonna get in this boat and literally go to a different place across the lake or whatever."  And do you know what the crowd of people, the very people they needed a break from, did?  They hiked around the dadgum lake on foot and were WAITING FOR THE APOSTLES ON THE OTHER SIDE.

Kill me in the face.

Am I allowed to say that?  Because really, you guys, you KNOW how they felt.  I mean you know it was like "really?  are you for serious right now? Jesus just said we could take a break and here are all the peeeeeeeeeeeeeople aaaaaaaaaaaanyway.   Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah."  Okay, fine, I might be projecting a little here, but still.

But do you know how Jesus felt when he saw them?  The people who scurried around in desperation because they couldn't bear to be apart from their new mentors, the lights they didn't know they had been looking for?

"When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd;"

Oh boy.

I could just stop there, probably.  I mean...you know what I mean.

But I won't stop because our pastor also works at the local Catholic high school and he loves to break his homilies down all schoolish like so this is what he said about being good shepherds (the Bible-code word for loving leader), which we are all called to do in some capacity or another.

1) To be good shepherds, we must expect to be, and accept being, uncomfortable.

Oof.  Nuff said.

2) We must allow ourselves to be led in order to lead

Good shepherds know they are not ultimately in charge- if they are leading well, it is only with God's help.  Even Jesus called out to His Father in times of distress, you know?  So we've gotta be open to the idea that sometimes we'll be called on to change, to do things differently.  That the way we thought would be best might not be after all.  We allow Him to lead us and we will then be able to lead them.

And most importantly, most jarringly....

3) We cannot do it all alone.

Jesus didn't come and hang out with every single person on the entire planet.  He got some disciples- some super sheep, if you will, and he taught them to be shepherds too.  Then they go out and they teach more sheep to be shepherds.  Not everyone can lead to the same degree, of  course, but no one person can do it all him or herself.

Here's a scenario I imagined earlier this afternoon...

Jesus:  Wow, we have so much to do.  It's crazy.  This world is crazy, you guys.

Apostles: Okay, we are ready to help.  Just let us know and we will help you.  Whatever it takes.

Jesus: Oh nonononono, you just relax.  I wouldn't want to trouble you.  It is my job, after all, to be the savior.  Nope nope nope.  I got this. You just go and do nothing, m'kay?

WUT.  That would be weird, right?

So pastors seek out helpers who can use their gifts in supporting the community, managers seek out ways employees can their gifts in the workplace, and husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, need to seek out ways for their charges to use their gifts to contribute to the family.  What I'm getting at is that apparently it is not wrong to accept and encourage help.  In fact, it seems that asking for and accepting help is...deep breath...actually Christlike.

(excuse me while I sit down and breathe slowly for a moment)



I'm pretty convicted by this, you guys.  This was a homily meant for my heart.  Seeing the apostles as regular people (because duh, they were, but it's easy to forget) always helps me so much, but realizing that we need to strive to do the first (pity the children people that have followed us into the bathroom around the lake) but that we won't be able to unless we also do the second and the third really hit home.  Like...wow.

Happy Sunday, y'all.  Secret handshake.  Kidding.


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17 comments :

  1. So how do you not do it alone when all of your sheeplings are of the under-2.5-feet variety? I mean, this kid has mad skillz at taking bowls out of the dishwasher and handing them to me, but he's not exactly ready for the hardcore delegation.

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    1. His other God-given charisms are Not Sleeping and Demanding Snacks. Still working out how to use those for the Kingdom and all...

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    2. At this age, you can only sow the seeds of him helping you in the future. It's adults who need to help you now!

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    3. Lemme know the trick to finding these mythical adults who love helping with obnoxious toddlers for free.

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    4. Gosh, it is so hard and wrong to live without community. We were not created to thrive alone! We just weren't. At least we have our husbands...unless we don't, in which case: *pray for survival* That's all I got. And I'll pray with you.

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    5. Sojourner, how many sheeplings do you have? I have three, and since spending a lot of time with moms of larger families this year, it's been easier for me to realize that even with three, I am in the boat of "mythical adults who [ought to] love helping with [whatever needs helping]." Before that, and especially when I only had the one, I felt like I was needing people to help me. I had a million explanations for how what I was doing was harder than when my mom/aunt/grandmas had done it, and that people were being harsh for not cooking me a billion meals when the baby was born, or offering to sit for me when I was chronically exhausted. (I now look at Earlier Me and laugh, because I'm starting to see how hard pretty much all responsible adults end up working. I thought I was so alone in working hard and being busy/tired most of the time.) I'm not sure if having a few more toughened me up, or having one is just hard in a way that having more isn't. I did feel like parenting felt more natural as soon as the second baby arrived. More of a family, less of a project.

      (Side note: I do know that when I started exercising regularly/vigorously two years after the first baby was born, I felt like a new person after about three weeks. It was like taking off one of those dental lead aprons, but from my whole body, after wearing it since getting pregnant three years earlier.)

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  2. Thanks Dweej. I've appreciated reading this :)

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  3. Don't kid. Totally secret handshaking you right now.

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  4. Great stuff! Thanks so much for sharing this with us.

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  5. I was nursing an adopted newborn and helping my husband wrangle a 16 month old, also newly adopted, and a 2 year old while the 5 year old helper was not so helpful, the 8 year old served at the altar and the 11 and 13 year olds dumped us and sat somewhere else during mass (kind of wish I'd followed them into the church)--so I really didn't hear our homily but so glad you heard yours and shared it here! It's just the stuff that a mother's heart needs to hear.

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  6. Love this! And yeah, the kids following me into the bathroom is exactly where my mind went when reading about the people showing up on the other supposed-to-be-private part of the lake or whatever. Ha! I mean, I'm clearly not very Christ-like yet because my response to it was to mentally roll my eyes and be like "seriously guys??? You can't even give Jesus and his apostles some peace and quiet so they can eat their lunch??"

    The Sojourner, I so feel you, it's hard when you have all littles! When I did everything felt like so much work, because it was! I once heard a quote "Jesus loves the little children, but he CHOSE to teach grown men".....which might be applicable here, haha! Anyway, just saying it is hard and it's okay if it's hard, doesn't mean you're doing it wrong just means you're doing the best you can in an unusual situation. That is, doing it alone is unusual historically and I think we're built to mother our kids within community but we don't always have that community nowadays because of the culture we live in.

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    1. Thank you, Amanda. You said it better than I did!

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  7. Our homily was about two lines long because "it's hot" and I missed most of the Gospel due to child management. So thank you :) I'm kinda battling priest envy right now.

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  8. Wait other moms miss homilies and gospels because of crowd controlling kids??? No! : )

    On weekends my deacon hubby preaches el homily I'm pretty doomed to miss it because three kids under 5 sola parenting during the quietest longest part of liturgy? Really? Not even worth discussing

    Thanks for sharing!!!! I could use a recap nearly every week : )

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  9. I WAS taking a kid potty during the Gospel, how did you know? (And did you also know she didn't have to pee?) fortunately I read the blessed is she, but thanks for the homily! Good to remember.

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  10. Oh girl. Yes. I've actually cried before because all three of my boys were outside of my bathroom door while I was doing my thing and I felt panicky and exhausted and wanted to scream out (and probably did), "For the love of all things, why is it I can't even pee by myself???"

    But sheep.

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  11. Can our secret handshake be a shot of tequila? Excellent homily. Thanks for sharing.

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