St. Michael Parish
Cry Baby, Cry
22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time: August 28, 2016
The title of my homily today is "Cry Baby, Cry."
A story is told of a newly married couple who were travelling to a remote mountain cabin for their honeymoon.
One of the terrible sudden storms and cloudbursts fell upon the couple on a remote country road. Unable to go any further, and with no bars on their cell, they got out of their car and wallowed through mud to an old farmhouse. They saw a light in the window. By the time they reached the farmhouse, there was an elderly couple there waiting for them with a kerosene lamp. They had seen them from the window.
Meeting them at the door the young man explained their predicament and pleaded, "Could you please put us up for the night? Any place on the floor, a mat or something, would do just fine". As he was speaking, a few grains of rice fell from the hairpiece the bride had on. The elderly couple exchanged knowing glances and said, "By all means, certainly, you can have the guest room." So the newlyweds used the guest room that night. They got up early, not wishing to disturb the old couple. They got dressed and the man left a fifty dollar bill on the dresser. They came out of the bedroom and there sleeping on the couch was the husband and crumpled up on a chair was the wife. And the newly married couple realized that this poor couple had no guest room; they had given freely their own room to strangers. The young couple knew this now, and so did Jesus.
Today I would like to reflect on Hospitality here at St. Michael.
Hospitality is the foundation of Christianity. When Jesus sent his disciples out to preach, he told them that if a town does not welcome them, they are to leave and shake its dust from their feet. If they are not welcome, they cannot preach, they cannot heal, and they cannot work miracles. So hospitality is a pre-requisite to Christianity. Hospitality is the art of making people feel welcome.
Hospitality in our Church is not just the job of the greeters or the ushers, but instead it is the job of each and every one of us. I am sure you have all had the experience of being on vacation and attending a church where you knew no one. Were you made to feel welcome?
Church should be a place where everyone feels welcome by everyone else. We often sing the hymn: "All are welcome, all are welcome, all are welcome in this place." Today we need to pledge that we too will make all people feel welcome at St. Michael.
Sometime things happen in this church or any church that might at first seem annoying. But it is always good to look at it from a different perspective:
Sometimes babies cry in Church. We are very fortunate to have crying babies in this church. It is a sign of growth.
I can't tell you how many priest friends I have that would give anything to hear a baby cry in their church. Crying babies are a sign of new life and growth. So I say: "Cry baby, cry". St. Michael is a church that has far more baptisms than we do funerals. That is not true in many churches. So cry baby, cry. You are welcome here.
Sometimes we see little children, accompanied by a parent, walking down the aisle to a bathroom. A few minutes later they come back into the church, then ten minutes later they're going back out of the church. You know what they are doing. Probably parents are trying to potty train them. Most of you have done that at some point, you know what it is like. Many of my priest friends would give anything to see child walk down the aisle. So I say: "Walk child, walk", even if it means two or three times during the same Mass. You are welcome here.
Then we have the elderly, walking slowly to communion, feeling like they are holding up the line. So I say, "Just take your time", walk at your pace, we don't want anyone falling down. There is no hurry. You are welcome here. As the song goes: "All are welcome, all are welcome, all are welcome in this place." The very young, the very old, and everyone in-between.
In conclusion, I would like to propose a new rule for our Church. The rule is called: "The ten foot five foot rule". Here is the way it goes: when approaching a person, at 10 feet away you make eye contact with the person,
at 5 feet away you greet that person." Very simple yet very hospitable. Just think what church would be like if everyone did that? Just think what the world would be like if everyone did that? WE at St. Michael should set
the tone for the rest of humanity, showing how life can be lived. Amen.
Fr. Terry Hazel
Sirach 3:17–18, 20, 28–29
“Conduct your affairs with humility, and you will be loved more than a giver of gifts.”
Hebrews 12:18–19, 22–24a
“You have approached Mount Zion and the city of the living God, ...the assembly of the firstborn enrolled in heaven,
and God the judge of all.”
Luke 14:1, 7–14
“When you are invited...,take the lowest place.”