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Finding a Pony

April 10, 2016 Click on the left end of the black bar to play/pause

April 10, 2016
Acts 5: 27-32
Fr. George Smiga

Who would not want a pony? When I was about the age of the children making their first communion today, I wanted a pony more than anything. Growing up, half of the shows on television were Westerns. They had cool men riding on horses, wearing cowboy hats, and fighting bad guys. I wanted to be a cowboy. But to be a cowboy you had to have something to ride.

Now, I was realistic. I realized I couldn’t have a horse. Horses are big and we didn’t have a farm. We lived in a little house just off of East 188th street, and a horse would be too big for our yard. But a pony is smaller. I could imagine the pony being happy in our backyard. I prayed to God for a pony: “Dear God, I know that you love me. And I know you can do anything. So please give me a pony. Any pony will do. Although, if I have a choice, I’d like a black and white one. They are my favorite.

I was pleased with this prayer to God and so I went to talk to my father. He was reading the newspaper. I came right up to him and said, “Dad, I want a pony.” He looked up from the paper and just stared at me. “George,” he said, “where would we keep this pony?” “ Well, I’ve been thinking about that,” I said. “We could build a little pen right next to the garage. The pony would be just big enough to fit into that pen.” My father said, “How would the pony get any exercise in that little pen?”  “I’ve been thinking about that too Dad,” I said. “I would take him for a walk every day around the block on the sidewalk.” “No,” my father said. “No pony. We live in the city. No pony. Not now or ever.”

This was somewhat of a setback in my plan to get a pony. I went to God again and said, “You know God, my dad doesn’t want to give me a pony. I need some new ideas.” Then I thought of my sister, Margie. If she and I were both to ask my dad for a pony maybe he would change his mind. So I went and I found my sister. She was in the kitchen playing with her Barbie doll. “Margie, will you help me ask Dad for a pony?” “No,” she said. “I don’t want a pony. I want a dollhouse for my Barbie doll.” “Ok,” I said, “now we’re cooking. The two of us together can ask for a pony, and then once we get the pony, the two of us together could ask for a Barbie dollhouse.” My sister thought about this for a moment. Then she said, “No. I don’t like ponies. They smell.”

I don’t know about you children here today, but do you ever get angry with your brother or sister because they’re being so stubborn, And then do you maybe do something that you really shouldn’t do? That’s what happened to me. I grabbed the Barbie doll and I said, “Look, if I’m not going to have a pony, you’re not going to have your Barbie doll. I’m going to throw her down the garbage disposal.” “No, no,” said my sister. I turned on the garbage disposal. Whirl, whirl, it went. “Down she goes,” I said. “Stop! stop!” said my sister. Then my mother came in the room. She turned off the garbage disposal. She took the doll from me and said, “To your room.” And I went. And when I got to my room, I began to realize that I probably wouldn’t get a pony. My dad wouldn’t give me one. My sister wouldn’t help me. And God didn’t seem to hear my prayer.

So after about an hour in my room, I went out on the front porch and sat on the front steps. It was hopeless. I would never have a pony. And then, I looked up and there he was—a pony, a black and white pony, standing right on the corner of East 188th street! Even I was wondering, what is this pony doing here? Then I saw that next to the pony was a man with a camera. He was going up and down the streets seeing if people would pay for a picture of their son or daughter on his pony. I ran into the house. “Dad,” I said. “There’s a pony outside!” “I’m sure there is,” he said, without even looking up from his paper. I said, “No, no, really. Look outside! There’s a pony!” And when he looked outside there was the pony.

And I said, “Can I ride him?”

And I did. I even got a cool cowboy hat to wear as the man took my picture. Now of course, I didn’t get to keep the pony. (I didn’t even get to keep the hat.) But to this day, I believe that God sent me that pony to let me know that he did hear my prayer and that he loved me.

And that is what I want you children to understand today as you make your first Communion. God loves you, and God will always be with you, even at times when things seem hopeless. After Jesus’ death, his best friend Peter thought he would never see Jesus again. Yet in today’s gospel, he looks up and there is Jesus, standing on the seaside. Then, Jesus comes and they share a meal together.

Jesus does this for you who are making your first Communion here today. He wants for the first time to share this special meal with you, to show you his love. He wants you to know that he will always be with you, even when times seem hopeless. God may never give you a pony. But God will always find a way to show you His love.

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