Moments that warm a Pastor's heart
YES! I have one!
This past Friday something simple happened that turned out to be most helpful for this weekend's homily. As I was walking to my office Friday morning a fairly good sized weed caught my attention, growing right near the back entrance to the Parish Office. You couldn't have missed this weed. It was about 1 1/2 feet tall, it had several blossoms on top, it had several branches and a thick stalk. I pulled the weed up, and being a lazy man, I threw it in the yard, rather than walk a few extra steps to the trash can! Guess what folks? That weed that looked so strong before, that was flourishing, whose presence you couldn't have missed while it was still planted in the ground -- you could walk past it now and never know it was there. You would have to search in the grass to see it. And it is still there. Why is it so hard to see? Because it has shriveled up to about four inches long and looks more like a dead twig now than a strong stalk.
The Gospel of St. John today gave us Jesus' words: "I am the vine, you are the branches." I used the weed story in my homily, telling people that the weed was still there. I told them they could check it out for themselves. And I went on to tell them of the need to stay firmly attached, intimately close to Jesus, lest we become like that weed I pulled up: dried up, shriveled, not even noticeable. Just moments ago, I finished leading the Rosary this afternoon in the church. As I was putting things away in the sacristy, I noticed through the window a family who had been present at the Rosary. They were in the backyard of the Parish Office building, seeming to be looking for something. Then I realized what they were doing. They and their children were looking to see that weed. And they eventually found it as I watched from my sacristy view. And a little prayer went up for them from their Pastor. I guess that sight was just a tidbit of a confirmation that my efforts at preaching, by God's grace, are worth it. May it bear much fruit!