IF YA WANNA MAKE WITHDRAWALS, YA GOTTA MAKE DEPOSITS. This comes, believe it or not, out of my homily on Jesus’ words in last Sunday’s Gospel: “Abide in my love.” Through this Vine and Branches section of John’s Gospel, he says that he wants his joy and love to be fully ours. But we have do decide to abide in it, to extend the self-sacrificing love he lived out with us, all the way to the cross.
To “abide” is not a passive word to just “live on”, but to keep investing love with faith and courage to those around us, and ultimately to the whole world. Some will become intimates of ours, others members of a larger community; many people, we will never know how we’ve affected them by adding loving, giving actions into the world.
In my homily, I told how my friend Fr. Mike Lydon and I were dining out last Friday, and began talking to our pleasant waitress. She identified herself as a strong Christian, so I asked her thoughts on this theme of active abiding resulting in love. That’s when she said, “If ya wanna make withdrawals, ya gotta make deposits.” Several people said that this was their favorite part of the homily.
And today is the great Feast of the Ascension. (It was moved in many dioceses in the ‘80s from Thursday to Sunday because of its importance.) This week we began to have some superlative readings in our daily Breviary, or Liturgy of the Hours, leading up to this feast. St. Cyril of Alexandria said that “in Christ Ascended, we lay hold of what lies in our future as though it were already present. Our lives are controlled by the Spirit now, and are not confined to the spiritual world. He has passed be- yond the life of the flesh; so we must not think of ourselves as living in the flesh, but as having passed beyond it.” Let’s see what it would be like to live like this!
A number of people have inquired about my week’s break, a “staycation” at family property. It surprised me how quickly I began to sleep, deeply, at night and sometimes in the day. It felt like it came from my mind relaxing. I didn’t realize how much my mind’s activities were tiring my body. I did get very good rest. I worked a lot on lawn and landscaping projects, and I gathered more resources, especially large stretched canvasses, to paint on. It’s been good to be back, because I care about the things I work on with you here. And I feel my mind is staying more relaxed as I do so.
You may have seen the reports that a bear was on the property of one of our churches last Sunday, Mary Queen of Peace in Webster. This should give us all paws to consider what we could do in that situation. I’ve already planned that if a bear is seen on our property, I’m going to run to the office and get him a set of Offertory Envelopes. This would risk missing him, but I believe if I hurry, it’s bearly possible I could get back before he leaves. (There is actually a claws in my contract that says I should do this.) It would be an act of hospitality; anyone is welcome to visit, but if he’s going to return I would expect him to bear his share of the cost of heating, air-conditioning, tree trimming etc. I know many others of you would snap a video of the event on your phones, so that you could show your kids and grandkids and tell the tail over and over. I myself couldn’t bear to just stand there and see our property threatened.
OK I’m done now.