Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

In his book Unfinished Business Halford Luccock, an American Methodist minister, professor at Yale Divinity School New Haven Connecticut, describes a novel about: The man who lost himself. In one scene the hero of the novel trails a man to Paris. He thinks he knows at what hotel the man is staying, but he’s not sure; so, he devises a plan to find out without arousing suspicions. At the hotel he would give the receptionist his own name and ask if a man by that name is in the hotel. As the receptionist checks the registrar, he would look over her shoulder to see if he could see the name of the man he was looking for and the room number. To his surprise when he gives the receptionist his own name, she says: yes, he’s staying in room 40 and he’s expecting you. When he knocks at the door and it opens, he can hardly believe his eyes. There standing before him, is a man who is his exact double. Except that he is greyer, heavier, and about 20 years older. This story is pure science fiction, but it contains the same truth that the gospel today contains. There’s a person out there in the future waiting for each of us. It’s the person we ourselves will be 5, 10 or 20 years from now. The question today’s gospel asks us is this: What kind of person will I be then? Will I be someone my family can be proud of? Will I be someone I can be proud of? What legacy, what trail of light will I have left behind? The answers to these questions are easy if we just think in which direction is my life heading right now. Am I less upright and honest today as I was a one year/5 years ago? Am I more dedicated to my family than I was one year/5 years ago? Do I pray less today, do I go less to mass as I did one year/5 years ago? Am I more committed to my community and Parish than I was one year/5 years ago? The answers to these questions hold the clue to the person we will be 5 years, 10 years from now. There is an old saying that says ‘As the twig is bent so the tree grows’. The direction our life is taking now is probably the direction it will continue to take. If I find myself becoming less honest, less committed to my family, less prayerful, less dedicated to my community and parish, etc. how can I reverse the situation: The first step is to admit frankly that I am going downhill! It is not easy to admit that I am wrong. The second step is to ask God’s forgivenss and the third step is to devise a concret plan that will change the direction of my life, and this will not be easy. In today’s gospel Jesus tells us to be on the lookout, to be ready.  For a Christian to wait it is not just a matter of sitting down, waiting for something to happen;  it is full of action, of service and of love.  Even though Jesus has left, he remains with us in a very special way, deep in our hearts,  he is present in the scriptures, he is present in the Eucharist,  and in the people around us.  As we wait for Jesus’s return let us enjoy his presence,  as that of a great friend and as a fellow traveller. Let’s close with a prayer: Lord, help me to see my life as you see it, and I will see it at the Last Judgement. Help us to see those areas in my life that need improving or changing. Help me take those steps necessary to bring my life into accord with the life you had in mind for me when you created me.