Mt 5:38-48 How To Not Be Boring
“You have heard that it was said…But now I say to you.”
So much for the Ten Command-ments! In today’s Gospel passage, we have in writing what the Lord wishes to say to us: What you have heard and read in the past is not good enough. It's not good enough to not hurt anyone. It's not good enough to love your neighbor as yourself. No, we must know "love one another as I have loved you." These words from the Lord give to all Christians - followers of Christ, the mandate to live life in an unprecedented way: His Way. That is, to rock the boat, to cause mass confusion, to surprise unknown guests (and even unwelcomed guests), to boldly live by extending a hand to help and not to hurt. To leave the other in AWE! The Law, the Torah, has been replaced with The Cross.
On February 10th, 2011, I received a beautiful e-mail from a couple that was from Pittsburg and staying in Dallas for the Super Bowl. They write, “We were in town to watch and cheer for our team…while the final score did not quite turn out the way we would have liked, you and your parish made our trip a complete success. Let me explain. First, we attended your Mass, not only do you have a beautiful church but the feeling of friendliness bestowed upon us as we arrived was unbelievable. We enjoyed the Mass. While we were waiting for the Hotel shuttle to pick us up a very kind family not only offered to ride us back to our hotel but also wanted to take us to dinner. My wife and I were actually awestruck. We declined because the shuttle was on its way. We patiently waited for him, but he never showed up! We were stuck. Then, a young lady and her mom pulled up and asked if we were ok. We explained our situation and still anticipated the hotel was on the way, they said they would stay with us until they arrived. After several more calls to the Hotel we realized that they were not coming anytime soon, if at all. So we took our new found angels offer for a ride back to our Hotel. My wife and I still cannot believe the kindness that was shown to us from five people that did not know us at all. We continually thank our Lord for all the blessings that we have received in our life. We will always not only be thankful for the kindness shown to us but we will keep these five wonderful people and your whole parish in our prayers.
Father Nazzaro what I am about to say next may seem a bit odd to you but I truly believe it was a sign for me and my wife. This weekend is going to be our beloved Priest’s last weekend at our parish, St. Gregory in Zelienople, Pa. Because of a lack of priests in the Pittsburgh Diocese our priest will be transferring to a larger parish. In our selfishness we have been quite sad for ourselves wondering what we are going to do without our beloved Shepherd. After enjoying your Mass last week and while we were patiently waiting for our ride, my wife and I were talking about what a beautiful Mass we just came from, and if we could be 1200 miles from home and garner such a spiritual uplifting then we are going to be just fine as we move forward in our home parish with our yet unnamed new priest. I believe it is God’s way of letting us know that all is going to be okay.
I know this a bit of a long letter, but I hope the point hits home, and that is, HIS WAY will always be the best way, regardless of the unknown, the circumstances, the fears and the threats. Being inside the boat with the Lord on a stormy night will always be much better, much safer and much more exhilarating than safe and sound in a quiet hotel room. At times, the Lord will demand that we travel great distances and overcome huge obstacles to get his point across: Our cross, his point.
May we be blessed in never forgetting the point of his cross.