"Tell How It's Gonna Be"

Fourteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time, July 5, 2020

There is a novel that has been out for many years by the title of “Of Mice and Men”, written by John Steinbeck.  It is the story of two ranch workers, George and Lenny, who travel throughout the California farm country during the depression. Their lives are marked by the never ending struggle to exist, to make it from one job to another.  But George and Lenny are sustained by a dream, a dream that someday they will own a small farm of their own.  Lenny is a gigantic man physically, but mentally he is challenged.  Lenny cannot get the dream off his mind and all through the story Lenny is constantly asking George: “Tell how it’s gonna be.”


The world around sees George and Lenny as failures. Lenny’s mental disability makes him a failure to society that prides itself on perfection.  But to John Steinbeck, the author, Lenny is not a failure, but rather he is a symbol of hope.  For you see Lenny has a dream, he has a vision, and this vision is enough to keep both himself and George going throughout their constant struggle.


It is a well established psychological fact that all people need a vision.  They need a dream; they need something to look forward to, a reason to get out of bed in the morning.  Especially when things are not going too good, they need something to hope for.  In short, they need someone to “tell how it’s gonna be”.


Our scriptures today present us with just such a dream. They tell us how it’s gonna be.  In the first reading the vision of the prophet Zechariah shows the gentle king, coming in meekness and peace, creating a world of justice and harmony.  The vision of Matthew in the Gospel reading shows Jesus inviting us to genuine acceptance within the community of love shared by the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.


What a contrast to the vision the world offers. The vision of the world is reflected in all the advertisements such as: “Take care of number one”; “Grab all the gusto you can”; “Have it your way”.  But the vision of Jesus is advertised by the slogan: “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened….and I will refresh you”.


All people need a vision.  Often we come across someone suffering from depression, somehow finding life meaningless.  Perhaps it is because they have nothing to look forward to.  Children are always people with visions and dreams.  We have all experienced a small child dreaming about what they are going to be when they grow up.  Sometimes adults, who get caught up in the fast lane of life, loose their dream.


And then, without something to live for, there is nothing for which to live. “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened…and I will refresh you.”


Our scriptures today give us something to look forward to. God is telling “how it’s gonna be”. Between the current pandemic, and the political division, we all need a dream, a new vision.


Adults can have dreams just like children can; we can have dreams just like Lenny did. Perhaps this is what Jesus meant when he said that what has been hidden from the learned and the clever has been revealed to the children. 


Today, then, we are challenged to look at our own lives, Are they marred with the struggle to exist.  Are they marred with boredom, depression, or routine?  Or are they marked with the childlike enthusiasm of a dream?  


Lenny wasn't the failure the world thought him to be.  He was a symbol of hope, for he had something to live for and therefore a reason to live, a reason to get out of bed in the morning.


In conclusion, how do you answer when someone asks you, “Tell how it’s gonna be?”


Fr. Terry Hazel

Sunday Readings

Zechariah 9:9–10

Behold: your king is coming to you ....Humble, and riding on a donkey.


Romans 8:9, 11–13

If you live according to the flesh, you will die, but if by the spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.


Matthew 11:25–30

[Jesus said,] “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.”