Monday, January 7, 2008

Did you follow a star to a empty stable - are you wise enough to know what to do


This is the notes from Sunday's Homily - I was very moved by what Fr. Ed said. I think we so often follow our own stat and end up at a empty stable and have no idea what to do. In no way could I inprove on Father's words.

What a disappointment the Magi must have experienced when they looked down on
Bethlehem from a nearby Judean hill after having traveled miles by camel. They had
followed a star, expecting a palace or perhaps a stately mansion but discover that the star had come to rest over a stable. Following stars and finding stables is common in our human experience. Haven’t you at some time in your life fixed your gaze on some lofty star only to find it led to a stable?

A young man graduates from high school full of great dreams and expectations about
the future only to wake up one day and discover himself enmeshed in the very
drudgery that he had promised himself he would avoid.

A woman comes to retirement age. She thinks of all the good things she's going to be
able to do. After a few weeks, however, she begins to discover that retirement is not
exactly what she thought it would be.

At some time all of us in our lives follow a star only to discover a stable. The
problem is how to turn that stable into a moment of salvation. What is it that enables wise men to turn the stables of life into victory?

First, they look for God in that stable. We could not have blamed the Magi if they
had just turned back toward home when they saw their journey’s end in a stable.
Joseph, the favored son of the patriarch Isaac from the Old Testament story, with a
coat of many colors was kidnapped from his home and betrayed by his brothers, sold
to slave traders, and put in prison. Can one suppose that during all that humiliation he could see where God was taking him? Joseph turned it all around and eventually rose in the hierarchy of Egypt to become the pharaoh’s advisor. When Joseph’s brothers stood before him in fear, he calmed them with these words: “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.”

Can you look at your own disappointments and see God’s power and purpose? Look
for God in that stable?

Second, the wise men offer their best to God.
Renoir, the French artist, was afflicted with acute rheumatism, and suffered most of
his life with that incurable malady. For many years he was forced to paint while
sitting in a chair. A friend noticed one day that the artist was forcing himself to paint, through almost blinding pain. “You have painted enough,” said the friend. “You are established as one of the top artists of France and Europe. Why must you go on,torturing yourself like this?” Renoir hardly looked up at him from his canvas. He said, “The pain passes, but the beauty remains.”

Third, because of what happens in the stable, the wise men took a different direction home. This is always what happens when you encounter God and attempt to give him your best; he will chart out a new direction for your life. Disappointment can be the best thing that ever happens to you if it helps you to grow. The difference between mediocrity and greatness is that those who are great learn from their experience; when they’ve dusted themselves off, they’re better people for their experience.

Have you followed a star only to arrive at a stable? If then, look for God there. You
may be surprised by what you find. Offer your best to God and He will use it in his
Kingdom. When you leave, go home by another way; don’t do what the Herods in
this world ask you to do. These are the secrets of wise men of every age when they
follow a star and find a stable.

I would like to close with a poem, titled appropriately “Anyway”.
• People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered. Love them anyway!
• If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Do good
anyway!
• If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies. Succeed
anyway!
• The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway!
• Honesty and frankness will make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway!
• The biggest people with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest
people with the smallest minds. Think big anyway!
• People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs. Fight for some underdogs
anyway!
• What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway!
• People really need help but may attack you if you help them. Help people
anyway!
• Give the world the best you have and you will get kicked in the teeth. Give the
world the best you have anyway!

Despite the setbacks, disillusionments and changes thrown in their path, the story of
the Magi is of persistence, dedication and flexibility with a profound measure of
faith; not bad for three individuals who had no vested interested in a Messiah
themselves. How good a Magi would you have been
Fr. Ed

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