Losing a Colleague and Friend

In 05 Homilies by Fr. Reid on 2015/06/19 at 12:00 AM


As I begin today I want to first thank all of you for your words of encouragement and your condolences expressed both to Sr. Judy and me.
It’s been a tough week, and we are both so grateful for the many kindnesses we’ve received from you as we’ve dealt with the sudden death of Sr. Helene.
Neither Sr. Judy nor I have family around, and so you are our family. And we have both felt very supported and well loved this week. On her behalf and my own I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your goodness to us.
In listening to so many of you, it seems that we were all shocked by the suddenness of Sr. Helene’s death.
Not only were we deprived of a chance to say good‐bye to her, but the way she died was a very pointed reminder of the fragility of human life and the fact that our good Lord can call us home anytime He so chooses.
Sr. Helene’s sudden death reminds us that our blessed Lord is indeed omnipotent, and that, at times, He can seem very unpredictable. Our readings today speak to these qualities of our Lord.
In our first reading from the prophet Ezekiel, our Lord proclaims His omnipotence boldly to us as He speaks of how He brings “low the high tree, lift(s) high the lowly tree, wither(s) up the green tree, and make(s) the withered tree bloom.”
Our Lord’s point here is that He can and will do with us as He chooses. All things are possible to Him; all creation is subject to Him.
In our Gospel today Jesus tells the parable of the man scattering seed on the land. He tells us that the kingdom of God is like this man, whose seed sprouts and grows, he knows not how.
In other words, our Lord is telling us that there’s a very mysterious element to the kingdom of God. There are things that happen that we do not always understand.
To be sure, life is a holy mystery! We can plan all we want, but God can change our plans in the wink of an eye.
I know that last weekend Sr. Helene had plenty of plans…and frankly, having a heart attack wasn’t one of them. But our Lord chose to take her as He did. And whether we like it or not, we must accept this hard reality.
But in accepting this hard reality, we need to make a decision: either to trust in our Lord’s providence, believing with St. Paul that all things do work for the good of those who love God; or we can harden our hearts toward God – disbelieving His promise of mercy and fearing His omnipotence.
As a man of faith, I can tell you that surety on this side of the veil separating heaven and earth can only be found by giving ourselves to the Lord whole‐heartedly, by trusting in His will.
But nevertheless, it can seem a bit counter‐intuitive to give oneself fully to a God Who at times can seem so unpredictable. And so we must look to words of St. Paul to the Corinthians today for courage.
St. Paul tells us to walk by faith, not by sight. In other words, St. Paul is encouraging us to walk according to Whom we know, and not what we know.
We must walk according to our faithful belief that our God is a loving God, that He is a God Who always desires what is best for us – even as it requires suffering, rather than walk according to the ways of the faithless, who do not believe in the Lord’s goodness, and who harden their hearts in the face of suffering.
Indeed, my brothers and sisters, God’s seeming unpredictability should not be cause for alarm within us, but rather an invitation to greater abandonment and faith in Him.
The Psalmist today tells us that God is just, and that in Him there is no wrong. We who have the courage to aspire to please Him “shall flourish like the palm tree.” Indeed, “They that are planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God.”
And so it is that we must always seek to belong to the Lord rather than to the world.
We live in a world today that prides itself on its technological advances and scientific
knowledge. Certainly the sciences have greatly aided our understanding of nature and

of the universe, and technology has given man great mastery over creation.

The downside of technology and science is that man’s successes in these areas can tempt us to believe that we are greater than we really are. Sadly, many place their
hopes and trust in science and technology to the peril of their faith in God.

But no matter how far technology advances, man will never be omnipotent. Only God is
omnipotent. And no matter how far science advances, man will never be omniscient.

There will always be things that are knowable only to God.

Despite how good technological advances and scientific knowledge can be, they will
always leave us wanting in some way.

In humility we must accept that that there are limits to what man can and should
achieve, and that we will always be subject to our Lord’s omniscience and omnipotence.

As we reflect on God’s goodness and mercy, do we really want it any other way?

Therefore, with our Lady and with all the saints who have already passed through this
vale of tears faithfully and courageously, let us abandon ourselves completely and

entirely to our Lord’s providence.

Let us thank Him today for all the many blessings He has so lovingly bestowed upon us.
But let us thank Him for our sufferings, too, trusting that He allows crosses to come into

our lives in order to strengthen and sanctify us.

And lastly, let us each pray for an increase of faith in our world, that all mankind may
come to know and trust our sovereign Lord.

17 June 2012

© Reverend Timothy Reid

Fr. Reid is the pastor of St. Ann Catholic Church, Charlotte, NC

© Reverend Timothy Reid

Fr. Reid is the pastor of St. Ann Catholic Church, Charlotte, NC

Homilies from June 17, 2012 onward have audio .
To enable the audio, please go directly to Fr. Reid’s homily homilies and select the matching date.

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