Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-19 or 11:1-2, 8-12
Luke 12:32-48 or 12:35-40
These readings present us with a taste of Advent in August. We are taught to live by faith with expectancy and vigilance.
I write this as I am flying back to Houston from Louisville and a diocesan-wide morning of recollection I preached at a parish there. I stayed at our monastery and enjoyed the hospitality of our men. While walking around the grounds I lingered at the cemetery. I discovered that I knew quite a few of the men who are buried there. For example, Fr. Michael Joseph was the provincial when I was ordained and he gave me my first assignment in Citrus Heights. I was surprised to see that it had been some four years since our Fr. Jim DeManuele had passed. Staring at his headstone that gave the significant dates of his life was sobering.
It is hard to get away from Jim’s influence in Louisville. I preached my heart out at the morning of recollection. Many were there who have a history with the Passionists and know us well. I heard comments about many of our men. One woman came up to me and said, "Did you know Fr. DeManuele? He was so animated with those long arms and a very good preacher!" Then after a moment, "Oh, by the way, you were good too." (Thanks!) I was even taken to the airport in Jim’s former car.
Staring at the graves of our men was sobering in that I was reminded of my own mortality yet again. "One day," I thought, "that will be me." We tend to forget. The readings remind us that this reality is not our true home. We are to be vigilant and live by faith in God and longing for what God has in store for believers. As good and as beautiful (and tragic) as life is now, we were made for more: a "better homeland." We are sojourners and this is not our true home, lest we forget. These are sobering summer readings. They give us pause to think and reflect. No one knows the day or the hour.
The first reading from Wisdom about Passover would have been near and dear to Jim’s heart. He loved liturgy and imbued a great appreciation for the paschal mystery in me. Like the Hebrews waiting in secret, we are a people with "inside knowledge." We worship God in the midst of a culture that is lost and confused. We know as we worship and live by faith that God has prepared a city for us.
Fr. Cedric Pisegna, C.P. is a missionary preacher, author of 14 books and creator of the TV program Live with Passion! airing in many cities. You can learn more about his ministry at: http://www.frcedric.org/