There’s a modern parable called, “Creatures of Habit,” a good farmer and his wife are feeling secure and snug in their little home. But winter is coming on, and the old barn needs fixing—its roof is leaky, a few boards had rotted off the sides, and the dirt floor is uneven, so puddles collect water when it rains. The farmer is a sensitive man who loves animals and so he arranged for a new barn be built before winter time comes.
The day finally arrive when the new barn is finished and the old barn torn down, and the farmer no longer feels guilty in leaving the animals in a cold, drafty barn while he is in a snug home.
Next morning, he gets up early to go to the town for supplies, before leaving, he puts the animals out to pasture, but leaves the barn doors open in case the weather should turn bad.
While he was in town, the weather does change for the worse. The temperature drops and it begins to rain and the rain turns to sleet. The farmer feels good as he thinks about the animals taking shelter in their brand new home. When he arrives back at the farm, he goes directly to the new barn to check on the animals, but the barn is empty. He runs outside, he looks around, and sees a strange sight. There are the animals, miserable and huddled together, with a drift of sleet and snow on their backs, as they stand within the outline of the foundation where the old barn had been: CREATURES OF HABIT!
We are creatures of habits, the apostle Paul reminds us when he talks about obedience to God. He tells us specifically that, through the act of the will, we must get rid of certain habits. “Kill off everything in you that belongs only to earthly life.” He says, “kill off fornication and impurities and guilty passion and evil desires and greed; getting angry and being bad tempered and spitefulness and abusive language and lies and dirty talk—give up these things.” Paul writes in his letter to the Collossians chapter 3 verses 5 to 7.
Now if you don’t find yourself on that list of bad habits, you are a remarkable person.
However, I think there is something there for everybody. Paul is listing some destructive habits that have to go because they are blocking God’s movement in your life, as disciples of Christ these bad habits must go. Moreover, Paul says, that the destructive habits must be replaced with a constructive habits. “Put on, as God’s chosen ones,” he says, “sincere compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, .bear with one another, forgive whatever grievance you have with one another—PUT ON LOVE [Col.3: 12-13, 14]
Peace and Blessings
We had a 6.0 earthquake in nearby Napa at 3:30 am so it was especially comforting to say mass together and thank God we are all safe! Poor Fr. Luis had interrupted his vacation to come back and say mass, only to be rudely awakened by the shake, rattle and roll of the old rectory, whose foundation is weakening and is due for repair. Perched on a steep hillside, it is typical of the older homes in the area, many of which need shoring up from time to time.
Today’s gospel is Matt 16:13-20. Father’s homily drew on the penetrating question Jesus poses to Peter: “But who do you say I am?” Father pointed out that the word “question” has within it the word “quest” and that through questioning we find out not only who Jesus is, but who God wants us to be. He told a wonderful story of his neice whom he took for an ice cream at ColdStones, prior to seminary, when he was a young, worldly man. She asked him if she could ask him a question and she asked him “Are you a dad or a kid?” Funny how kids can do that – in their simple innocent way, they can ask very thought provoking questions.
Father then went on to describe how Jesus gave the name of “rock” or “Petrus” to Peter, even though at many times Peter was anything but solid. But with the grace of God, Peter was able to become the rock of our church. We took can become what God wants us to be, even though we have many failings and confusions. Father reminded us always to be kind, to understand that everyone we meet is struggling with burdens that we don’t know about. Kindness is always appropriate and wise.
Father shared with us his experience in counseling troubled adolescents. Most of these young adults are very difficult to counsel because they have no knowledge or experience with kindness or love. Those are just words, abstractions, with no memory or association in their minds. That is one example of how kindness, even from a stranger, can help some one from such a background. With the grace of God, others can perceive your kindness and it can motivate them to emulate your virtue.
This call to kindness is repeated in PASTOR’S DESK, published above. In it Fr. Luis writes:
In ending his homily Fr. Luis strongly exhorts us to face the struggles in the world next week remembering this gospel, and remembering we must resist the things of this world and stay focused on becoming who God has created us to be.
AFTER MASS COFFEE & PASTRIES
We served Blum’s Coffee Crunch Cake again and lest we break into another rant, let’s just say this is a favorite of many San Franciscans over 60. Here’s the Recipe Salmon on Puff Paste, St. Hubert’s Valencay (home made!) on Black Mission Figs, S’mores Muffins, Coffee Cake and Croissants filled with creme fraiche (home made!) and fresh blackberries completed our offerings this morning. It has been an absolute joy serving coffee and treats this summer, we have gotten to know more of our parishioners and visitors in serving. Thank you for your generous donations. We have only one more Sunday to the summer and will be thinking of other ways to have get togethers with yummy treats and good conversations!
Two important events to remember:
Have a wonderful week! God bless you all!