Monday, October 13, 2014

Columbus Day 2014

Christopher Columbus symbolizes perseverance.  If the world was round, he surmised, you can reach the east by sailing west around the globe.   But no one would buy in; they told him to “get lost.”  

 Columbus didn’t give up. Eventually some advisors convinced King Ferdinand and Isabella to finance the voyage.  It paid off. Columbus was a derring-do sailor, a skilled navigator, a man of vision.  And he challenges us not to give up.   Not all of our dreams will come true, but some will if we persevere. 

 The author of Isaiah speaks about a future in which God will gather all people together for a banquet.  And Isaiah may be asking you and me:  what is our vision?  And what are we doing now to make that vision a reality?  

 And in the Gospel according to Matthew, Jesus tells a parable about a king who invites his so-called friends to a banquet for his son.  But the king’s friends refuse the invitation for one reason or another. And so the king says: forget these so-called friends and go out and invite whomever you find. 

 The point of the parable is simple enough: God invites to the banquet of eternal life all people who have a right attitude; yes, people who seek an authentic or genuine relationship with God and with their fellow human beings.

 Now the image of people sitting around a table, can conjure up images of our own dinner tables.  For me, the family dinner table is the most important piece of furniture.  Memorable things often take place around the table. Families and relatives renew their common bonds when they “break bread”  and celebrate important transitions in life—birthdays, marriages, graduations, retirements—around a table.   

 And sometimes families even have arguments around tables.  But that’s ok.  An argument can be a positive sign that we care enough to disagree.   

 Family life is “where we work out our salvation” to paraphrase St. Paul. Family life is holy ground.  Why?  Because Jesus himself spent most of his earthly life in a family.  And if family life was good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for us. 

 Holiness is the capacity to love and be loved, to forgive and to be forgiven. A holy family learns to face up to problems and do something about them: whether it’s the death of a loved one, or illness, addictions, unemployment, poor grades, whatever.

 I would like to suggest three ways in which we can continue to make family life even holier:

  --First, make family a priority.  What a family does together is not as important as that a family does things together. 
 --Second, give yourself a pat on the back each day. Always accent the positive in yourself, in others and in every situation in human life.
--And finally, make the most of prayer at family meals.  In your own words, thank God for one another and for the food everyone is about to eat.

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