Fr. John Boettcher said the masses this week end while Fr. Luis is on retreat. He elaborated on today’s second reading from Hebrews 12:
“My son, do not disdain the discipline of the Lord
or lose heart when reproved by him;
for whom the Lord loves, he disciplines;
he scourges every son he acknowledges.”
Endure your trials as “discipline”;
God treats you as sons.
For what “son” is there whom his father does not discipline?
At the time,
all discipline seems a cause not for joy but for pain,
yet later it brings the peaceful fruit of righteousness
to those who are trained by it.”
explaining that the notion of discipline is not meant as something mean or punitive, but rather as the guidance and discipline one applies in child rearing. We are, after all the children of God. In the family of that time, the meaning included servants and slaves as well as family members. God invites us to be members of this family, and membership requires compliance with God’s laws. Too often we get off on a wrong path, far away from God, but God’s mercy and the prayers of the other members of our family, can save us.
Today’s gospel concerns the process of getting into heaven and Fr. John gave us some tips on how to optimize our chances. He encourages us to pray for our deceased family and loved ones, and reminds us there is a benefit to us: they pray for us in return. A person we might have helped get sprung from purgatory would be grateful and pray for our success in achieving heaven – despite our transgressions. Our deceased loved ones eagerly await our arrival in heaven – as our earthly family would say, “the party cannot start until you get here.” So discipline is intended in this very social, nurturing sense. We become better family members by understanding and complying with God’s laws, but our nature is rebellious and stubborn, and often times we need guidance and prayers. We can also offer up our tribulations on this earth to help those in purgatory, and they, in turn, will pray for our salvation.
In discussing the narrow door and the discipline required for admittance, it is important to remember God is merciful and that we have our spiritual family helping us. Don’t let the busy schedule of your life eliminate God. Start you day by just saying hello to God, asking how are things upstairs, and remember to say a prayer for your deceased loved ones. Just a moment of prayer taken now and then throughout the day can put things in perspective, preventing the worries and ego concerns of life from blocking God’s loving guidance.
In closing the homily, Fr. John encourages us to have our answer ready when we are asked where we are from: we are from God! Let us never hesitate to say that, and let us live that with a genuine commitment – we are the children of God and people should be able to see it in us.
A special treat was to have Fr. John sing and play his guitar at the end of mass. Thank you Fr. John, it is always a blessing to see you.