Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time
November 19, 2017
One of my oldest and dearest friends is celebrating her wedding anniversary today. As it happens, they planned something EXTRA special for the occasion, and it wasn’t a trip to Hawaii. They came here to Saginaw from Washington, D.C. for their anniversary weekend. Obviously, Saginaw is not a couple’s first thought when planning a romantic getaway. But my friends wanted to be part of the group that I helped organize to travel to the beatification Mass of Fr. Solanus Casey celebrated yesterday at Ford Field.
To join in the celebration of the advancement of the cause for canonization of a man who ministered right here in Michigan to people still alive today is certainly special…a “once in a lifetime” opportunity, and they took advantage of it. But marking another year of Christian marriage is also very important and deserves a party as well. So, I called my friend’s husband to put our heads together to plan a surprise for her.
As we were scheming, he said: “She is the best thing that ever happened to me.” Now, I’ve known “the bride” for close to 50 years. I see how happy she has always been in her marriage. So, without a second thought, I fired right back: “And YOU are the best thing that ever happened to HER!”
How perfect that my friends will be sitting at Mass together on this final Sunday of Ordinary Time, listening to our First Reading from Proverbs. But, while the passage speaks in great detail about how a “worthy wife” brings joy to her husband, it tells us as well about the benefit of a good husband to his wife: He entrusts his heart to her. He entrusts his love to her. He entrusts his life to her.
And so, one might say: A good wife is the best thing that ever happens to her husband. And a good husband is the best thing that ever happens to his wife. What a perfect message for an anniversary celebration. But, that message can also be applied to yesterday’s celebration of the life of Blessed Solanus Casey.
God entrusts HIS Sacred Heart to us. God entrusts His unconditional love to us. God entrusts the Divine life to us. And a few special people, Fr. Solanus being one, respond like a “worthy” spouse, committing their entire life to the service of God.
A saint is a person in whom God places enormous value because they partner with God in furthering the Divine plan for the perfection of creation. Saints, like a loving spouse, use their God-given talents and abilities unselfishly, particularly mindful of those in greatest need. Saints do not keep locked within them the deposit of life and love which God entrusted to them. Rather, the holy men and women we identify as saints invest their very lives in others, so that God’s life and God’s love will flourish.
And, for their efforts, saints are honored here on earth as Blessed Solanus was yesterday. But infinitely more important…they are recognized and honored at the gates of the heavenly city. Saints are people who are wise enough to understand that Christ is the best thing that ever happened to us.
And the good news is…if we try our best to lead worthy lives…if we use what God has entrusted to us for good and not evil…if we work at being saintly…someday, we will hear God say: You’re the best thing that ever happened to me!
And so we end this liturgical year with this thought:
Christ IS the best thing that ever happened to us…and in turn…He asks that we be the best thing that ever happened to one another. AMEN!