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Jesus said to his disciples, “Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on the, will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse.”
I travel light. I pack light. I have no furniture to move. Thank God! All I have are my uniforms and some casual clothes. The heaviest items I possess are my books. I have approximately two hundred works.
Well, the phone call came before Thanksgiving. The bishop asked me if I was alone. I told him I was. Then he asked me if I was sitting or standing. I told him I was standing. “Well, it doesn’t really matter”, he said, “I am calling you to tell you that you will be going to another parish starting December 1st.”
The conversation was very short and very pleasant. But I knew that the transition would be long and time consuming. That is the main reason why I am writing my morning meditation this evening. I was packing like a madman to get out of the rectory before the end of the day. I almost accomplished my goal. This will be my last evening at St. Joseph.
I have a tremendous amount of respect for our bishop and his auxiliaries. I will be honest with you. I was a little surprised that I would be leaving. As a religious, I was very accustomed to packing and unpacking. In twenty years, I had traveled to over twenty countries. My shortest stay was six months. My longest was six years. My first parish duty was here at St. Joseph and it lasted almost one year and six months. The first time I ever lived in a home that was not my home was at the seminary in Connecticut. I stayed there for only three months. The hardest move for me was not leaving my home; the hardest move was leaving Connecticut and moving to northern Italy. It was hard because I had finally settled in my new home. I was just beginning to feel comfortable – at peace – when my superior called me in, along with another seminarian, and told me that I would need to pack up my luggage and be ready to leave in two days. I cried when I told my father that I was leaving. He cried too.
After two years in northern Italy, I spent the next two years in Rome. Then off to Wisconsin for three years. That was my first internship. I had finally begun to feel like I knew what I was doing, when I was assigned to go back to Rome and begin my theological studies. I was just getting used to being a student and looking forward to getting an advanced degree, when I was told that after my ordination I would be sent to Michigan. I spent two years there. Again, right when I felt like I knew what I was doing, I was moved! Finally, I came to Dallas, Texas as a director of a private school. I thoroughly enjoyed my six years there. I felt like I was at the top of my game and then…well, the rest is current history.
I loved working at St. Joseph. I love the people. I love the staff. I love what I do! I put my heart into it, for better or for worse. I knew this day would come; I just never thought it would be so soon.
Jesus said, “Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.” The rock is a metaphor; it represents Jesus Christ. Wherever he went, whatever he did, he did it over and over again. He loved all. He forgave all. He gave all. This rock moves! And the Lord trained his disciples to be and do the same.
Today, someone who is solid in their thoughts may be interpreted by some as being stubborn! But the Lord was not stubborn, he was coherent. He was who he claimed to be at all times. No wonder why he was able to walk on water! He is Lord regardless of the manger; regardless of the crucifix; regardless of His death! We should be that way too in our vocation. A spouse is a spouse regardless of their employment or unemployment, health or wealth. A priest is a priest, regardless of their popularity or the duration of their stay.
Although Christ was constantly on the move (most likely the most mobile preacher ever!), he said and did what he always said and did. He did not flip-flop on any issues. He was a man of his word.
May the Lord bless us as imitators of his Son. As we begin our Advent season, let us turn to the Lord in all our travels, in all our beginnings, and in all our trials. Although we may travel light and move from place to place, we shall never feel awkward for our hearts and minds are well grounded in the Lord who made the days and nights, the winds and rains, the passing of every season and life on earth.