The associate pastor at my parish of St. Luke the Evangelist, Fr. Edwin Gomez, gives wonderful homilies. From time to time I’d like to share them with you. This is his homily from Sunday, August 19, 2012, the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time on the liturgical calendar.
The readings used for that week were Proverbs 9:1-6, Psalm 34:2-7, Ephesians 5:15-20, John 6:51-58.
Fr. Edwin reminds us of something we often forget. He begins with a story …
An 80-year-old couple was having a problem remembering things; they decided to start writing things down and make notes to help each other remember.
One night while watching TV, the old man got up from his chair and his wife asks, “Where are you going?”
He replies, “To the kitchen.”
She asks, “Will you get me a bowl of ice cream?”
He replies, “Sure.”
She then asks him, “Don’t you think you should write it down so you can remember it?”
He says, “No, I can remember that.”
She then says, “Well, I also would like some strawberries on top. You had better write that down ‘cause I know you’ll forget that.”
He says, “I can remember that, you want a bowl of ice cream with strawberries.”
She replies, “Well, I also would like whip cream on top. I know you will forget that so you better write it down.”
With irritation in his voice, he says, “I don’t need to write that down, I can remember that.”
He then went into the kitchen. After about 20 minutes he returns from the kitchen and hands her a plate of bacon and eggs. She stares at the plate for a moment and says, “You forgot my toast.”
Forgetful and Very Wise at the same time. Ha!
“Brothers and sisters: watch carefully how you live, not as foolish persons but as wise” (Ephesians 5:15) To be wise is the invitation. And today I am going to share with you my greatest discovery…I have found the way to become really wise.
In order to be wise you have to be forgetful as God is forgetful. You have to imitate God’s forgetfulness.
Surprised? Let me explain.
Think about His mercy. He forgives you and unlike humans, He forgets.
He holds no bitterness, no resentments, no anger against you for anything you have done in the past.
The past is history, the future is a mystery, so live in the present with no fear of recrimination or punishment.
You cannot be wise unless you have been in some kind of interpersonal, interactive relationship with God. Only will you know that God is compassionate, that He will let you start over again, every day fresh and new.
Good News: God forgives anyone who is willing to be forgiven. Willingness is the key here … that is the only requirement to becoming wise.
And this is the bread from heaven. (“I am the living bread that came down from heaven…” Gospel of John, 5:51)
This is what we need to learn to eat. To eat the life of God.
And if you do not have a life with God, an hour in church on Sunday is probably not going to make up for you. If you are not living with your merciful and “forgetful” friend all week, an hour during the weekend does not create a friendship.
That friendship has to be pursued and nurtured morning, afternoon and night as with every true friend that you have.
And then, you learn how to imitate God’s love and how to be wise, because you know what God is like. God is El Amigo, is a companion, is someone who loves you more than you love yourself, who forgives you more easily than you even know how to forgive yourself.
Today is a new day, a day in your journey to meet the friend, to meet the “forgetful” God. The only way to become wise is to imitate God, the One who loves you just the way you are, the One who is forgetful and forgiving about your past and loves you.
“A wise man once sat before an audience and cracked a joke … all of them laughed like crazy. After a moment he cracked the same joke again, and fewer people laughed … he cracked the same joke once again and no one laughed. Then he smiled and said ‘If you can’t laugh at the same joke again and again, then why do you keep crying over the same thing over and over again?’”
Forget the past and move on.
“Loving God, help us to imitate you … help us to forgive and forget as You forgive and forget. Amen.”
Fr. Edwin Gomez, former associate pastor of St. Luke the Evangelist Parish, Westborough, MA
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