Friday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time



For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom,
and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
Saint Benedict
greets visitors at
Saint Meinrad Archabbey
Like many things in our Christian tradition, our approach to “human wisdom” is ambivalent. The church insists we have no real quarrel with legitimate science. We can work with the theory of evolution, for instance, without fear of contradicting the scriptures. We encourage study of ancient and contemporary philosophies and find much wisdom there, even as we discover great beauty and esthetic pleasure in the art, architecture and literature of every nation.
But we also challenge human wisdom, especially where it discounts the presence of God. Economics, for instance, is taught as a science, using principles of physics, fluidity, systems and so forth; but it’s about human beings, their contributions, effort, creativity, needs and worth. A science that purports to predict human behavior but ignores the reality of Original Sin will add little to human wisdom and much to the history of human folly.
The wisdom of post-2008 hindsight as opposed to that of pre-2008 foresight might be comical if it were not so painful. In retrospect we can watch the “housing bubble” grow to critical proportions before it bursts. We recall how banks made bad loans to desperately poor people and flipped those loans to other institutions. That should have been a crime and indeed, some people called it such at the time. They predicted the inevitable collapse; but they were “doomsayers” and there are always doomsayers.
Perhaps even more disconcerting and depressing is that we have learned so little from the experience. No one has gone to jail for making bad loans or gambling with other people’s money; banks that were “too large to fail” have merged and are bigger yet; and the legal systems remains essentially unchanged. Soon another generation of money managers will take their stations and they will suppose the crisis of 2008 is ancient history and the experience, irrelevant.
So here we are today -- the people who don't deal in millions of dollars or "large scale economies" -- still burdened with “human wisdom” which boasts like Ozymandias of its power and strength even as it lies in the dust of the earth. Billions of people search for guidance in this treacherous world and have nothing more to trust than the advice of others.
Speaking to his own disciples, a select group, Saint Paul urges us to ponder the wisdom of the cross. Though it appears to many as the foolishness and weakness of God, we see its shining brilliance as God’s wisdom and strength. We are nearly blinded by this light that gleams in darkness.
God’s wisdom and strength illuminate the foolishness, greed and cowardice that led to the fall; and, more importantly, help us to see those vices within our own hearts. After we have done penance, expunging those impulses from our hearts, the cross teaches us how to handle our money. In all humility we realize the worth of this world’s treasure and its use in the service of our own and others’ needs. Like rain water, fresh air and the blood of Jesus, no one owns it; money is only a trust given to some for a while.
With our gifts of “time, talent and treasure” in hand, we ask the Holy Spirit to guide us in the footsteps of Jesus on the way of the cross.

Thursday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time


Saint Meinrad
in the Welcome Hall
at Saint Meinrad Archabbey
He will keep you firm to the end, irreproachable on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, and by him you were called to fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Martin Luther rightly insisted that the Christian is saved by faith. He drew his conviction from an intense study of Saint Augustine’s writing and even deeper reflection on the epistles of Saint Paul. He found enormous consolation in this teaching, which he called sola fides (only faith), in part because he was tormented by doubts about his own worthiness.
But there may have been, if not in his mind perhaps in his teaching, an overemphasis on the activity of the believer. He wanted to say we are not saved by our good works but by faith, but his emphasis on the act of faith can also be exaggerated. The scrupulous person will inevitably ask himself, “Do I really believe or am I just telling myself I do?” Or, like the Cowardly Lion, he might repeat over and over, “I do believe, I do believe, I do, I do, I do believe” in an effort to make it so.
Confronted by this nagging uncertainty we do well to turn back to scripture and hear Saint Paul’s reassurance, “God is faithful.” It is, after all, in God we trust, and not in our own fidelity. I'd sooner bet my soul on a broken down nag at the race track than my own virtue; but I am sure of the Word of God.
No one knows when “the day of our Lord Jesus Christ” might come but we know we must die, and we should be prepared for that. Can anyone say where his mind will be as he dies? Will I have the presence of mind to say, “Save me Lord, and help my unbelief?” This is where I count on that "fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord" which I find in the Church, especially in our sacramental life:  
As a hospital chaplain I sometimes ask the dying patient three questions about the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit – questions based upon the Apostles Creed -- and he responds, “I do (believe)!” With those affirmations he is ready to receive Viaticum, “food for the journey,’ and to remain “firm to the end.”
Because God is faithful and because our fellowship is faithful, we can rest easy about the Day of the Lord. It will be a Great Day for God (first of all) and for us. 

The Memorial of the Passion of Saint John the Baptist


http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/082912.cfm
The Seminary at
Saint Meinrad Archabbey
Blessed are you who fear the LORD,
who walk in his ways!
For you shall eat the fruit of your handiwork;
blessed shall you be, and favored.

I was surprised to discover the new name for this ancient feast. I suppose this is the title given by our new translation of the Mass. It is as precise and less graphic than beheading, and perhaps a gentler title for the gentle souls among us.
Speaking of beheading, I started my Catholic education in Saint Denis Church, on Cane Run Road in Louisville, in the church that was razed in the late 1960's. There was a wonderful stained-glass window of Saint Denis, beheaded, standing upright in his bishops' regalia, holding his head with the miter still atop it under his left shoulder. As a first grader I was awed by that picture. It took me quite a while to make sense of it. Someone explained, perhaps the good sisters who taught us, that the Bishop-martyr had picked up his head and walked with it after he was decapitated. Such is the power of the imagination on little ones. We were given to literal interpretations of religious imagery in those days. Some people still object to seeing Saint Francis worshiping Jesus in Bethlehem. "He wasn't born yet!" they cry.
Returning to the feast of the Passion of Saint John the Baptist. This story too fascinates believers and invites artists from painters to choreographers to describe it in their art. Sometimes they get carried away with the erotic possibilities of Salome's dance. I am inclined to believe she was only a little girl, perhaps four years old, but a wicked little kid who would add to her mother's barbaric suggestion, "on a platter." But that's not to say some perverts won't discover erotic possibilities even with a toddler's dancing.  Nor that King Herod and his courtiers weren't aware of it.
But, turning to a more Christian and mature interpretation, I see a contrast between Jesus' death and that of Saint John. Where Jesus was tried and convicted by several tribunals -- the Sanhedrin, Pilate, Herod and the mob -- John died by the whim of a child. Where Jesus was publicly displayed on a cross by the gates of Jerusalem, John lay in the pitch black of a dungeon. Where Jesus spoke words of blessing and compassion, John died in silence.
But both men also died for speaking the truth. John was doing something that remains controversial to this day, he was defending the institution of marriage! 
"It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife." and, predictably, "Herodias harbored a grudge against him."
From what I have read, martyrs are rarely executed explicitly for their fidelity to Jesus. It is usually something less. The earliest martyrs would not pledge fidelity to the Roman emperor, because it involved a kind of worship. Some refused military service to a pagan empire. Some were suspected of subverting the government. Some were simply executed as priests or religious. Saint Maximillian Kolbe volunteered to take another man's place. Blessed John Paul II called him a "martyr for love." Saint Charles Lwanga was protecting boys from the sexual cravings of the opium-addled king. Two Polish friars in Peru were murdered for their efforts to organize the poor by Sendero Luminosocommunist terrorists.
And, of course, not all martyrs (Greek witnesses) are murdered.  Today, people who speak in defense of marriage are accused of intolerance, as if tolerance is the only virtue in the pantheon of values. They are said to have no compassion for women who suffer violence in marriage, and gays who are not inclined to marriage. They don't respect the rights of gays, although the Catholic Church has clearly taught that homosexuals should not be subject to violence or to discrimination in housing, job employment, health care and other public services. Eventually, true martyrs will be consigned to the darkness of Saint John's dungeon and quietly, permanently silenced. 
Fortunately, it's not that easy to suppress the truth. It has a way of reappearing in public conversation despite every effort to control it.  Marriage is built upon the solid rock of faith and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matt 16:18) 
Truth will always invite witnesses to speak for it; and, like Saint John, they will continue to throw themselves into the fray.

Memorial of Saint Augustine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/082812.cfm


We ask you, brothers and sisters,with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our assembling with him, not to be shaken out of your minds suddenly, or to be alarmed either by a 'spirit,' or by an oral statement, or by a letter allegedly from us to the effect that the day of the Lord is at hand. Let no one deceive you in any way.





Saint Paul's  two letters to the Thessalonians are the earliest documents of our Christian faith, and it appears that first generation church was preoccupied with the "second coming" of Christ. There are any number of ambiguous statements about the return of Jesus in the New Testament and the first missionaries had to cope with that mysterious ambiguity. How could they encourage that sense of high, even eager expectation and, at the same time, caution against foolishness?



Ross Douthat, in his book Bad Religionhow we became a nation of heretics, writes:


Mysteries abide at the heart of every religious faith but the Christian tradition is uniquely comfortable preaching dogmas that can seem like riddle, offering answers that swiftly lead to further questions, and confronting believers with the possibility that God passes all our understanding.Thus orthodox Christians insist that Jesus Christ was divine and human all at once, that the Absolute is somehow Three as well as One, that God is omnipotent and omniscient and yet nonetheless leaves us free to choose between good and evil....
And they propose a vision of holiness that finds room in God’s Kingdom for all the extremes of human life -- fecund families and single-minded celibates, politicians and monastics, queens as well as beggars, soldiers and pacifists alike.Time and again, in the early centuries Anno Domini, the councils of the Church had the opportunity to resolve the dilemmas and shore up the fragile syntheses -- to streamline Christianity, rationalize it, minimize the paradoxes and the difficulties, make it more consistent and less mysterious... (but) they chose the way of mystery instead.

Second Thessalonians illustrates how, from Day One, the Apostles initiated friends and strangers, Jews and gentiles into this mystery, how believers welcomed it and martyrs died for it. Saint Augustine, perhaps the greatest theologian of the Church after Saint Paul, welcomed the mystery of the Church despite the rationalism of his education and formation. 


Clearly, the mystery of God remains as an invitation and challenge for us today. In the face of much skepticism and some hostility from our contemporaries, we choose to live within enigma,  sheltered only by our sacraments.

Memorial of Saint Monica


http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/082712.cfm


Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You lock the Kingdom of heaven before men. You do not enter yourselves, nor do you allow entrance to those trying to enter.



The opening words of today's gospel remind me of a remark by Andrew Greeley, during a friendlier age of the church: "Despite the best efforts of its priests, the Catholic Church continues to grow in the United States."  I've not heard many quotable remarks from him lately but sometimes a bit of humor out of the past can help the situation.


Today's readings describe two opposite models of leadership. In the first reading we hear the Saint praising his disciples and thanking God for their fidelity. Whatever his faults, and he had a few, Saint Paul loved people. He had a heart as big as the whole Church and he passed many long, lonely hours in several jails thinking about his wonderful friends. Like every true Christian, he endured  physical suffering and personal anxieties by pondering the mighty works of God, and he saw God performing miracles among formerly listless, despondent people.

Eventually Saint Francis would distill Saint Paul's formula and offer it to an international Church which had lost its taste for the Holy Spirit's  intoxicating drink. As Saint Paul had learned to endure both ease and deprivation, as he could make the most of both success and failure, Saint Francis would invite his disciples to walk in the "very footsteps" of Jesus' poverty.

Clearly this was a path the "scribes and Pharisees" and many of today's Christians never considered. In the name of  "doing good" they "do very well indeed." They go so far as to point to their big churches, palatial homes and boat-sized cars and exhibit them as signs of God's blessings.

Their "gospel of success" cannot fathom Saint Paul's encouraging words:
Accordingly, we ourselves boast of you in the churches of Godregarding your endurance and faith in all your persecutionsand the afflictions you endure.This is evidence of the just judgment of God,so that you may be considered worthy of the Kingdom of Godfor which you are suffering.
Americans ordinarily regard poverty, grief, illness and ostracism as signs of God's disapproval. Saint Paul's vision was precisely the opposite.

If nothing else Jesus, Saint Paul and Saint Francis would teach us through these readings not to judge our own success or failure. As Mother Theresa taught, "God does not call us to success but to fidelity." Faith itself puts no faith in this world's standards. It prefers the darkness of not knowing whether our efforts have succeeded or failed as we wait for the Kingdom of Heaven to appear.

Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time

http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/082612.cfm

Arras at Saint Meinrad Archabbey
Joshua addressed all the people:
"If it does not please you to serve the LORD,
decide today whom you will serve,
the gods your fathers served beyond the River
or the gods of the Amorites in whose country you are now dwelling.
As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."


“These are changing times” has become such a commonplace we could start every homily with that phrase. It is the ostinato of our time, “a constantly recurring melodic fragment.”

But, of course, ours is not the first generation to live through changing times. Any history of war is a history of change, usually dramatic change, and human history is rife with stories of war. 

Today’s first reading is taken from the Book of Joshua, a chronicle of the Hebrew invasion of Canaan. The Hebrew people, recently enslaved in Egypt and then nomadic wanderers in the desert, now prepare to enter the Promised Land. But before their final march begins Joshua insists upon renewing the Sinai Covenant with them. Will they worship the God who has led them through the Sinai Desert or will they take up the worship of Canaanite gods? 

The God who led them out of Egypt and through the desert seemed to be a warrior’s God. If they settled into farming and shepherding the people might turn to the fertility gods of Canaan. When in Rome, do as the Romans do! What does a warrior god know about farming? “These are changing times!” many people would say, “You have to go with the flow!” 

But the Spirit of God spoke through Joshua and he declared, “As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD." 

Joshua and Jesus might challenge us as well, “Will you serve the Lord or will you go with the flow?” There are many different, inviting flows that attract our attention, too many too enumerate. Insofar as each represents a kind of power, they might be called gods. I think of two:

The first is the god of secularity, which says the only god (or truth) is power. To survive in this world, to enjoy peace, security and prosperity a person must be powerful and his nation must be powerful. If might doesn't make right, we'll make it right later on. And so we develop powerful weapons, machines, vehicles, computers, computer programs, and so forth. If we have allies we must be more powerful than they, to insure our security. Sports celebrate power, control and domination; and which Christian church will compete with sports? 

The second God that beckons to us is Allah. Confronted by Islamic terrorists as we are, many people might think Allah is the least attractive option; but Islam is growing rapidly in the United States, and not only through immigration. Islam attracted millions of followers in Africa, Asia, eastern and western Europe during the first millennium because, like Judaism and Christianity, it worships only one God. 

A unified nation should have only one God. A single god teaches tolerance to his nation, so that everyone can get along. Whether they are black or white, gay or straight, English speaking or Spanish speaking or speak some other language, when they worship one God they get along better. The Muslim empire that stretched from India to Spain for over a thousand years demonstrated the power of monotheism. It is growing again throughout the world because it makes sense to a lot of people in a lot of ways. Allah is one God, all powerful, all merciful, all tolerant, wise and compassionate. Watch for his appearance in a mosque near you. 

Christianity is also a monotheistic religion but “Trinitarian.” Few Christians pretend to know what that means or what difference it might make. They don’t realize they are perfectly comfortable with an all-powerful, all-controlling God who might as well be called Allah. They have little appreciation for the incarnate presence of Jesus or the dynamic presence of the Holy Spirit. 

If they are content to worship a generic “God" on the occasional Sunday when they’ve nothing better to do, they may soon discover their household -- that is, their children and grandchildren -- are fascinated by the ancient wisdom and beauty of Islam. If Christian parents add the spice of contempt for Muslims to their religious opinions they will make it all the more palatable to their children. 

During these changing times when anyone can predict but no one can see the future, every Christian must decide again: 
"As for me and my household, 
we will serve the LORD."

Saturday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time


Tile image at Saint Meinrad Archabbey
Then I heard someone speaking to me from the temple,
while the man stood beside me.
The voice said to me:
Son of man, this is where my throne shall be,
this is where I will set the soles of my feet;

here I will dwell among the children of Israel forever.

Although popular religion often imagines God up in heaven, and popular philosophers suppose he has absconded, the scriptures consistently remind us of his nearness.
In Assisi a tourist can still sense the amazement that followed the career of Saint Francis. The artist Giotto captured that amazement in his frescos.
On one wall of the Basilica of Saint Francis are scenes from the life of Jesus; on the opposite are scenes from the life of the Saint. Until that time, Jesus, Mary and the saints were usually imagined in splendid luxury in heaven, seated on golden thrones and so forth. Christians prayed to the saints as the poor prayed to wealthy benefactors in this world. They hoped for the crumbs that fell from the tables, and the drink that trickled down.
Giotto imagined Jesus and Francis in this world; and Francis in particular right there in Assisi. To this day you can see the ancient Roman “Temple of Minerva” in Assisi and recognize Francis standing in front of that very temple in one of the frescoes.
Assisian pilgrims throughout the centuries gasp at the sight of holiness right here in our streets, market places, work places, and homes. There is The Saint stripping off his clothes, preaching to birds by an olive tree and kneeling before the broken down chapel of Saint Damien. He is not in faraway Jerusalem, distant Rome or Hogwarts Academy, but right here in town. Seeing the familiar sites in the Franciscan series of panels, it is not so hard to turn around and see the other frescoes. There is Jesus living, teaching, crucified and raised up in not so distant Israel. 
Of course that was also Saint Francis’ insight, especially as he celebrated the birth of Jesus in Greccio. Though he used only a bit of hay and some common farm animals, the people were astonished by its familiarity.
God’s nearness is a constant of the scriptures. Moses invited God to “go with us” as they carried the Ark of the Covenant from place to place. (Exodus 33:15) Saint Matthew taught us as much when he recalled the “throne name” of Jesus, Emmanuel: God is with us. As he ascended into heaven Jesus assured us, “Remember I am with you even to the end of the age.”
I know of a Minnesota bishop who, when told he had terminal cancer, replied, “God is here.” 
We might not recognize God’s presence in all the frightening, reassuring and mundane events of our life, but we have only to invite him to take up residence in our hearts:
Son of man, this is where my throne shall be,this is where I will set the soles of my feet;here I will dwell among the children of Israel forever.

Feast of Saint Bartholomew, Apostle

http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/082412.cfm
"We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law, and also the prophets, Jesus son of Joseph, from Nazareth."


The Book of Deuteronomy ends on a note of sadness:
Since then no prophet has arisen in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face, in all the signs and wonders the LORD sent him to perform in the land of Egypt against Pharaoh and all his servants and against all his land, and all the great might and the awesome power that Moses displayed in the sight of all Israel.
The Lord had assured Moses and the people there would always be a prophet to lead them in God’s way:
A prophet like me will the LORD, your God, raise up for you from among your own kindred; that is the one to whom you shall listen. This is exactly what you requested of the LORD, your God, at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, “Let me not again hear the voice of the LORD, my God, nor see this great fire any more, or I will die.” And the LORD said to me, “What they have said is good. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their kindred, and will put my words into the mouth of the prophet; the prophet shall tell them all that I command. Anyone who will not listen to my words which the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will hold accountable for it.” (Deuteronomy 18:15ff)
Since the death of Moses and the coming of Christ many prophets appeared, most of them not speaking God’s word and generally useless. Only a few had been reliable and none could hold a candle to Moses.
But still, as we hear in Philip’s words, the People of God expect. Although they are sad and disappointed, their hope has not been overcome by the darkness of so many centuries.
And now, recently John the Baptist has stirred up a lot of excitement. Could he be the One? Certainly some people thought so and many people hoped so; but John killed that misunderstanding when he pointed to Jesus and cried out:
“Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. He is the one of whom I said, ‘A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.”
Philip has caught John’s excitement and has already begun to spread the word. In today’s gospel he brings Nathaniel/Bartholomew into the company of Jesus.
The episode reminds us of many things: 

  • first, our native desire for divine deliverance that comes with being human; 
  • second, our expectation of a savior that has been inspired by the Holy Spirit and the Word of God; and 
  • third, how we must rely on the testimony of others to recognize the Savior when he appears.
The Holy Spirit spoke to the prophet John; John spoke to Philip; Philip spoke to Nathaniel; and Nathaniel joined the Company of Apostles, who speak to us. Upon their testimony the Church is built:
The wall of the city had twelve courses of stones as its foundation,
on which were inscribed the twelve names
of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb. Revelation 21:14
The Church celebrates the apostles so often because we must remain grateful for their testimony and true to their witness. We dare not abandon this sacred tradition. Every age of Christianity has seen new prophets arise to redefine Christ for us; invariably they tell us the apostles got it wrong, or that the Church misplaced the truth since the Apostles. With their brilliant ideas they will set us straight.
But we are not a church of ideas. We are a fellowship bound together by the Holy Spirit, who helps us maintain our sacraments in their original spirit, the scriptures in their original interpretation, and the tradition as it is handed on. Our doctrines never claim to be original ideas; they are simply explanations of the truth as the apostles received it.
Our witness, traditions, liturgies, sacraments and doctrines direct us back to the one about whom Moses wrote in the law.

Thursday of the Twentieth Week of Ordinary Time


Thus says the LORD:
I will prove the holiness of my great name,
profaned among the nations,
in whose midst you have profaned it.
Thus the nations shall know that I am the LORD, says the Lord GOD,
when in their sight I prove my holiness through you.
I asked my parents one time, “Did you get married so that you could have me?” After they stopped laughing, giggling, chortling, snorting, hooting, chuckling and guffawing; and had wiped their tears away; Dad explained they married because they were madly in love with each other.
“Oh.” I said, somewhat disappointed. That’s when I learned that my parents had not built their life around me. Nor was the universe built for my sake.  

For that matter, my salvation is not all about me, as today’s first reading makes clear. God will save you and me to “prove my holiness through you.”
From ancient times many Christians have assumed Jesus was born and died to save us from our sin. It’s not a major heresy, but it should be addressed from time to time, lest we think too highly of ourselves. The universe is here to show God’s grandeur; the human race exists to see and experience God’s goodness, Jesus was born among us to complete and satisfy God’s infinite generosity.
Our sins are egregious and tragic but God did not interrupt his creation to set us right. He went right on about his business; and then used our foolish sins and their dreadful consequences to demonstrate his goodness. Instead of an Infinitely Brilliant Light shining among brilliant lights, Jesus is an infinitely brilliant light shining in stygian darkness; a darkness which makes him all the more splendid.
If my parents didn't marry to have me, I nonetheless gave them a chance to prove their generosity, courage, patience, mercy and every other virtue, human and divine, as I tested and stretched their limits. There were days when they regretted having me, I suppose, though neither said it in so many words. But in the end they were glad I had brought out the divine in their human love for one another; as our most unfortunate sins displayed God's divinity shining through Jesus’ human nature.

Memorial of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary

http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/082212.cfm

“What if I wish to give this last one the same as you?
... am I not free to do as I wish with my own money?
Are you envious because I am generous?”

I have spent some time in fundraising and I often received hand-written complaints from donors to the effect: 

“I receive dozens of requests every week from charitable organizations. Am I supposed to support all of them? I feel terrible about throwing away their letters, especially the ones that come with sacred cards, metals and rosaries. But if I respond to them they just want more money, and I don’t have any more!” 
My short response echoes the landowner in today’s gospel , “You are free to do as you wish with your own money.” 

The longer response may be somewhat more complicated but let’s not forget that simple response. You are created in God’s own image; and, like God, you may give as you choose to give. In the ideal spiritual life, everything we do is freely received and freely given. As Saint Paul said, "For freedom Christ set you free!" 

I advise donors to choose a cause you find worthy of your support. Learn about it; get acquainted with its people; share its dream. Visit them if possible and see your generosity in action. In other words, commit yourself to this good work. And toss out all other petitions. You are doing your share and nothing more can be asked. 

If you were God with infinite resources, you might rightly feel guilty about not giving more. But since you're not, don't.

Being free to do as you wish with your money reflects God’s freedom. It teaches us an important lesson about God. Some people say, "God loves everybody" and "God saves everybody." They tell themselves, “I’m good enough and I don’t have to worry about it.” What they’re really saying is, “I can’t be bothered with God.” 

To their complaisance, Jesus says, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate.” He also says,
Many will come from the east and the west, and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the banquet in the kingdom of heaven, but the children of the kingdom will be driven out into the outer darkness, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.”
God loves everyone but owes nothing to anyone. 

As we celebrate the Queenship of Mary we celebrate her wonderful generosity to God. She and Joseph gave him a welcome, safe, disciplined home where he could learn to be a man. God had to learn to live within the straitened circumstances of their home. No easy task! Often, when he asked for more, Mary had to tell him, "There is no more!" When he wanted to do more, they sometimes told him, "That's enough for now!" When he felt the weariness of a child's body they insisted, "There's more work to do." 

Sometimes those worthy causes that represent God in our world must be told, "I have no more to give." They can live with that, and so can you.