Homily: You May Not Get a Cookie, but You Definitely Won’t Get a Snake

March 9, 2017

The following is the homily I’ll be sharing at today’s all-school Mass at Bishop Chatard. It is our annual Senior Grandparent Mass – the grandparents of the Class of 2017 have been invited to join us for Mass and reception in their honor.

I cried a lot between the ages of four and six. I was apparently a very sensitive child. Any picture you see of me between the ages of four and six, I was crying.

I was in my cousin’s wedding as a ring bearer – I cried the whole time. A year later, another cousin’s wedding – I cried again. Picture day in kindergarten – hair combed, little bow tie – crying.

I was the youngest of five kids at the time. I had three older brothers. When I was six-years old, they were 10, 11, and 13 years old. I wanted to play with them, but I was too little and they teased me mercilessly. My sister was no help; she was a girl and what six-year-old boy wants to play with a girl?

I thought about this time of my life for two reasons that are pertinent to today.

First, it was my grandmother who often offered me comfort.

We went to her house for big family gatherings, and all of the “big boys” would be playing in the back yard. I couldn’t keep up with them or sometimes they just ignored me.

My grandma saw when I was getting frustrated or upset and called to me, “Come talk to me, Ricky.”

I ran to her and sat in her lap and told her all about it. She just held me in her lap and listened and rubbed my head. She listened to me for as long as I wanted to complain. Then we would head inside for a cookie.

Second, the Gospel message is very similar.

Sometimes we make the Gospel message more complicated than it needs to be. Today it is quite simple: ask, seek, knock – God wants us to come to Him. He is calling out, “Come talk to me, (insert your name here).”

In today’s gospel we heard, “Which one of you would hand his son a stone when he asked for a loaf of bread, or a snake when he asked for a fish?” A meal of bread and fish may not resonate with us, but for St. Luke’s audience, it would have spoken to a foundational need.

When people we love come to us in need, we don’t turn them away. We do our best to provide for them and to care for them. The same is true of God – ask, seek, knock. He wants to know what we need and how He can help.

The problem we have is not that God will not answer the door or respond to our needs. The problem is that we hesitate to go to Him in the first place.

Here is the difference between God and Grandma – you may not always get a cookie. If you knock, He will answer the door, and He will always provide unconditional love. He will provide you with what you need. It may not be a cookie; you may need to settle for a loaf of bread and a fish. But you definitely won’t get a stone or a snake.

I would like to challenge you to consider this during Lent: Is pride keeping you from turning to God? Do you view turning to God as a sign of weakness? Are you unwilling to give up control?

Put your pride aside.

Ask. Seek. Knock.

God is calling out, “Come talk to Me!”

 

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