27th Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 5, 2014 – Year A
Readings: Is 5:1-7; Psalm 80; Phil 4:6-9; Mt 21:33-43
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor
Yesterday we celebrated the Feast of St. Francis. We had the blessing of the animals in the commons because it was so cold outside. Usually the dogs bark at each other before the blessing, but during the prayer they always calm down. We don’t only have dogs, of course. We had guinea pigs, rabbits and all types of animals.
St. Francis is the first unofficial “animal whisperer.” He talked to birds, fish, the wolves – and they all understood him. We ask for his prayers and his intercession, and we have the wonderful opportunity to continue the ministry of St. Francis directly or indirectly.
For those of you who have not met my dog yet, his name is Brother Angel. I call him “Brother” just like St. Francis, who used the title of brother or sister for all the members of God’s creation. He is being trained as a therapy dog. He has not passed the State exam yet, but once he passes, he will be around here and I will take him to hospitals and nursing homes.
We had a sad incident – a theft – in our parish this past week. But we will not let this affect our Christian community. We will remain the best Catholic Church in the town of Bedford, Virginia. We will still be a welcoming parish and we will be a loving community. I have been here more than 5 years now and this is the second time we had a theft at the church. The first time, the Poor Box was destroyed. The cash was taken and the checks were scattered. We don’t have hatred for the person who did this. We only have compassion and prayer. During the entire month of October, I am going to silently offer all my Masses for the person who did this. He or she surely needs our prayer. So for that person’s intention, let us all offer one Hail Mary.
Today’s second reading is taken from the letter of St. Paul to the Philippians. We have heard St. Paul who is imprisoned, addressing the early Christians in Philippi, “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Anything that is not worthy of praise, like what I just talked about, we will not think about it. We will solve the problem and prevent it from happening again.
As far as our thinking is concerned, as St. Paul says, there are always so many good things happening around us. We should not allow one person, one problem or one trouble to distract us because this is Satan’s game. We will not play Satan’s game. We will play our game, because we are sons and daughters of God. We will be victorious in all the trials that will come our way. That is why Jesus said, “Look at the birds of the air. They neither sow nor reap, but your Father in Heaven takes care of them.”
Even the very best in this world will always have some failure and flaws. For the past few days, we have heard about a man who jumped over the fence of the White House and went through security doors without being noticed by the Secret Service – and they are the best in the world! This led to the resignation of the director of the Secret Service.
Last Thursday, we celebrated the feast of our spiritual Secret Service – our Guardian Angels. They are always there to protect us, from the time we are born until the time we enter into God’s everlasting kingdom. The good news is the director of our spiritual Secret Service will never resign, because he is God himself, who gave us angels to guard us in all our ways.
St. Paul knows this. He always has this in mind, that we have our protectors. If we focus our attention on God and how he loves us, how he protects us, all we have to do is, as Jesus said, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all the things you need in this world will be given to you.”
Bishop Ernest Fitzgerald used to tell about a man who lived years ago in one of the isolated corners of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Life was hard and every day, his little hillside farm was at the mercy of drought, wind or cold. Yet he was about the most serene and contented man Bishop Fitzgerald had ever known. So he asked the old mountaineer one day if he ever had any troubles and if he ever had sleepless nights.
“Sure, I’ve had troubles,” he said, “but no sleepless nights. When I go to bed, I say, ‘Lord, you have to sit up all night anyway and there is no point in both of us losing sleep. You look after things tonight and when tomorrow comes, I will do the best I can to help you.”
This man surely understood St. Paul’s message in today’s second reading. In the letter to the Philippians he said, “Have no anxiety at all, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your request known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”