I am God’s Pumpkin!

31st Sunday in Ordinary Time

November 1st, 2018 ~ St. Monica, Palatka ~ Father Ron

“Stewardship is about loving God and One Another.”

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Deuteronomy 6:2-6 ~ Moses spoke to the people, “Fear the Lord, your God, and keep all his commandments.

Psalm 18 ~ I love you Beloved, my strength.

Hebrews 7:23-28 ~ Jesus lives forever to make intercessions for us.

Gospel Mark 12:28-34 ~ “Well said, teacher. You are right in saying, ‘God is One and there is no other than God.’ And ‘to love God with all your heart, with all your understanding, with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself’ is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

 ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

How do I love God with all of my heart, with all of my understanding, and with all my strength, and to love my neighbor as myself?

Let’s take the first. How do I love God with all my heart? To be honest, I most likely don’t love God with all my heart. The heart is about emotions. Like when I was a child being weaned from the bottle, I sometimes wanted the bottle more than the approval of my parents, never mind love. How do we behave/react when we are challenged by our parents to put down the video game to do a chore or come to the dinner table? I don’t think our response is loving to our parents, never mind God. What about being interrupted by a child during a fantastic football game or television show? Is that considered loving with all our hearts? We don’t mean to be unloving, but we need to recognize that it is hypocritical to defend it as love.

Let’s take a look at our understanding of God and neighbor. How much information or tweets or news do we need before we label someone as being to the right or to the left? Do we harbor in our hidden thoughts our disdain or inferiority? How many labels have we placed on people this week when they don’t agree with our opinions? How many times is “Mom” called “Mean Mommy” because she simply disciplined us for our own good? How many times has a “Father” called his child “Mr. Lazy” because he didn’t play a sport as well as he did as a teenager? Whenever we label people we prove to God that we do not understand. You see, Jesus clearly instructs us to never judge unless we would like to be judged, never condemn unless we want to be condemned. Give of our first fruits only. Never give our leftovers. (The law simply said that we only have to give 10% to God and the poor. We get to keep 90%). If we do not understand that God gives us everything including our breath, 10%, citizenship and freedoms… we don’t understand God. Did you realize that when we come to church on Sunday (and Saturday vigil is Sunday) we give our first fruits of the week?

God gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit.

One gift is “understanding”.

One gift is Strength or Courage.

What do you think?

Love is about Wisdom. Love is about Wonder and Awe. Love is about Counseling others about God’s infinite love and mercy for every breathing person. Love is about Reverence and respect. Do we share these gifts with others outside our family? Do we understanding that everyone, even our enemies, is our neighbor?

 

The remedy for our lack of love… is the LOVE of GOD with the spice of MERCY. We are children of God. What we shall become has not yet been revealed. I saw a little child at the Boo on the Avenue parade. I asked her parents, “Is you’re your little pumpkin?” The parents smiled and said, “O yes Father, she is the best little pumpkin in the world!” God might even be calling you his little “Pumpkin”.

Now that is a real 100% slice of pumpkin spice Good News!

dscf6097

Back Side of the Sunset

I took a walk on the beach in the winter cool in Florida. I left around 5:30 pm and headed North on Atlantic Beach into Hanna State Park. The temperature was about 59 degrees Fahrenheit at the beginning of the walk.

I prayed the Rosary in a wonderful way. I prayed all five Mysteries for each decade meditating on the Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful and Glorious mysteries. I didn’t finish until I reached my deserted and sacred place. It took an hour. It was a lonely twilight.

And then I contemplated.

My column this week might not have a picture. As a seafarer and water lover I have seen thousands of sunsets. I have also missed tens of thousands of sunsets. Since I am 50 years old, there have been over 18,250 sunrises and sunsets since I was born. Granted, there have been a number of cloudy days. But it is important to note that most of them were simply missed. How about you? Have you been a steward of your sunrises and sunsets?

Tonight, I only glanced at the sun setting through the trees momentarily, because I wanted to be a steward of the “sun that doesn’t set in the east.” Please bear with me.

In Key West, people gather every night of the year to cheer the glorious sunset. Even when the sun hides and plays coy behind the clouds, it can be a delightful and spiritually nurturing spectacle.

But have you ever tried to look in the opposite direction of the glorious sunset and see the life still going on? Have you ever contemplated the life of the world slowing down and searching for shelter in the darkness? I love shadows and night. I love the stars that first appear. I love how the moon sometimes seems proud as she grows in glorious light while the sun seems to fade away. Yes, yes, it is true. The sun isn’t really setting. We simply are turning toward the east.

Are we turning away from just the sun?

As I saw less and less on the back side of the sunset, I saw more of the back side of my heart and soul. I walked home with the light within me. I realized that the moon is nothing in comparison to the sun, especially if the sun refused to share her light. And we all know that the sun is incapable of holding back her infinite warmth and light. And I realized how insignificant I am…without the light of Love Eternal…God.

The little fishing boat disappeared from my eyes in the darkness…except for his light.
The ocean’s blue traded her aqua color for black and foamy white. Even I gave up my colorful self. If I stayed much longer, I would give up my heat as well, something you cannot see. On my outward journey, the variety of seagulls, terns and sandpipers were astonishing. About 14 terns were wearing orange beaks that highlighted their black and white markings. On my return, I could barely see the dark silhouettes of those beaks.

The back side of the sun will eventually turn into the sunrise. Be patient. “Pause awhile, pause awhile in the humdrum of the city or behind a cloister wall. In the early morning and when shadows start to fall, hear Creation bending to the Maker of it all. And all we have to do is pause awhile.” Enjoy the shadows falling to the Maker of it all. The Morning Star is coming!

Love, joy, peace,
Father Ron

*Pause Awhile in the italics is from my memory of a song I have sung over and over. We sang it on Wednesday evenings at the Merchant Marine Academy at the Folk Mass. I thank whoever wrote this love song to our Creator.