The Young Man at the Tomb Holding Fast to Each Other Amen to What We Are The Lord, Our Justice Claiming Our True Name What We Expect The Comma Keeping the Demons Quiet The Dove in the Heavens Thankfulness and Generosity Speaking to Jesus A Promise to Simeon and Us A Sign for You The Voice in the Wilderness How Annunciations Work The Least, the Lost, and the Last Waiting for Christ’s Return Attire for the Kingdom The Cross in a Violent World Come to the Banquet Today Anointing of the Sick Finding the Eternal Change and Continuity Paying Attention The First and the Last Using Bad Consequences How to Talk to God Ready to Forgive Facing the Serpent Priority and Mutuality Three Meals a Day Searching for Pearls The Power of Service Why Walk on Water? The Day Jesus Was Wrong The Promise of the New Name The Two Feet of Love Facing the Hour Looking Backwards Touching the Leper Touching the Leper Misunderstanding God Doing It Poorly God’s Midwife A Name for the Holy Spirit The Coffin So We Do Not Have to Touch Being Better to Each Other Earthquakes and Galilee Lazarus as a Disciple Seeing More Learning from Peter Imitating God’s Holiness Weekly Bulletin 3/2/14 Imitating God’s Holiness Weekly Bulletin 3/9/14 Choosing a Master Goodness in Temptation A Pinch of Salt Teaching the Commandments The Freedom of the Baptist Christ’s Broken Body Faith Is More than Looking The Twelve Days of Christmas God’s Timing Resurrection and Transformation The Good That Is Gone Zacchaeus Moments God in the Smallest Things Trust and Community When God’s Commands Do Not Fit The Faith of Honeybees Choosing Hell Following the Dishonest Steward The Ninety-Nine The Freedom to Let Go Beyond Politics The Balance of Humility Not Fearing Fire The Beauty Remains To Welcome as a Samaritan A Moveable Peace Bring On the Women! The Two Sides of Bread Waiting for the Ticket The Groove of the Spirit Jesus Is Not Like Congress A Divine Partnership What Kind of Love Is This? Boston Bombings and God Fishing and Forgiveness A New Kind of Joy Letting Christ Out The Sign of Inversion Our Doodling God A Parable of Love and Jealousy Not Enough Time The Ordinary and the Transcendent The Battle with the Devil God Is Not Kidding The Power of Love We Are the Body of Christ The Arc of Life Waiting for the Final Gift Displacement at Christmas Incarnating God Presenting the Mess Red Cake and Lima Beans A Call to Serve Beyond Asking Jesus’ Commandment Being Ready to Take God in the Foxhole God Is Still Working Adjusting What Is Necessary Learning from the Prophet Amos About Jesus’ Brothers The Most Popular Miracle The Importance of Hunger Eternal Life Influencing Others Finding the Right Proportion Do What You Love Stopping for the Least To Love Irritating People Marriage, Divorce, and Children Asking for More Drinking the Cup Terror in Paris God Will Come Boundaries, Security, and Generosity Feeling Movements of Life A Place to Learn God Uses Small Things Signs of Life When God Says No Christian Optimism From Transition to Call The Long Struggle The Gate of Heaven Common Sense or Hope The Spoiled Son An Oasis for Everyone Jesus’ Last Meal The Curious Omission Finding a Pony Anointing of the Sick A New Commandment After the Ascension Sin and Love The Cross and Joy The Call to Follow A Call for Humility Violence in America Two Thoughts on Prayer Live Today with Thanksgiving An Examined Life The Narrow Gate Serving Ourselves Losing Sheep Using Dishonest Wealth The Door and the Chasm Faith and Duty Distance and More Not Growing Weary Making a Difference Inadequacies and Grace Finding God Facing Turmoil Jesus, Remember Me The Lion and the Lamb Wild Like John Let Go in Love A Wider Christmas The Last Six Miles God’s Big Plan The Remnant The Salt of the Earth Beyond the Ten Commandments Love Your Enemy Focusing Our Worry How Evil Works Our Transfiguration Re-membering Our Lives Our Story If Only The Time for Hope A Second Greeting of Peace The Eucharist and Welcoming Practicing Non-Violence The Work of Forgiveness Why Are You Looking Up at the Sky? The Mystery of Salvation Being Thankful How Is a Burden Light? The Problem with Sparrows Eternal Creation Patient Vigilance Buried Treasure Thinking Again Where You Do Not Want to Go The Courage to Speak Humility and Truth Do Something Good Knowing the Song Acting Against Evil God Will Come What We Can Say Senseless Violence Invitation as a Threat What Belongs to God Two Commands, Side by Side Burdens We May Not See Foolish or Wise Accepting the Consequences Serving the Least Watching for Jesus Camels and Gnats Becoming Smaller The Christmas Barber The Ring of the Kings The Freedom and Faith of John the Baptist Zebedee The Opioid Crisis Approaching, Grasping, Lifting Up What God Intends The Battle with Satan Following Elijah and Moses Standing in Truth A God of Love or Condemnation When Life Turns Not Fully Prepared The Wounds We Carry Selling Onions Son of Encouragement To Love as God Loves Engagement with the World Doubting Disciples Sabbath Avoiding the Diabolical Persistent Hope Speaking the Word Within Us “And Also With You” Capital Punishment I Will Go On Three Wise Choices Will You Also Leave? Show No Partiality Carrying the Cross for Whom? Outside the Lines The Camel and the Needle Ask First for Sight What God Sees Only God The Arc of the Universe Turmoil, Fear, and Dismay The Gift of the Desert A Punch for the Holidays Politics and Religion Jesus Always Understands One Body God’s Love The Call Blessings and Woes Imitating God’s Mercy The Blind Leading the Blind The Devil’s Agenda Looking Closer, Looking Beyond Accepting God’s Love Mob Thinking The Easter Egg Fishing with Uncle Mike Loving Like Jesus God’s in Love with This World

Finding the Eternal

November 2, 2014 click on left end of black bar to play-pause

November 2, 2014
John 6:37-40
Fr. George Smiga

The great cathedral in Milan, Italy, sits on a wide plaza. You can enter the church through three massive doors. Above each door there is an inscription. The inscription on the door to the left reads, “What pleases lasts but a moment.” The inscription on the door to the right reads, “What troubles lasts but a moment.” The inscription on the great central door reads, “It is the eternal that matters.” The architect of this church was trying to convey that most of the joys and sorrows of our lives pass rather quickly. It is the eternal that is important, for the eternal goes on forever.

Now usually when we think of the eternal we imagine what happens after death, eternal life with God. Although this is certainly true, today’s gospel makes clear that such an understanding is incomplete. In the gospel, Martha and Jesus are discussing life in light of the death of Martha’s brother, Lazarus. Martha believes that her brother will rise again in the future, on the last day. Jesus corrects her. Jesus certainly believes that there will be a resurrection on the last day, but he insists that he is the resurrection and the life. Jesus knows that the eternal is important, but he teaches that the eternal can start before death for those who have faith in him.

So in what sense does the eternal start now? What are the actions that have an eternal quality that go on forever? I would suggest two to you: sacrifice and thanksgiving. When we sacrifice ourselves for the sake of another, when we give of ourselves in a way that makes a difference in the life of someone else, there is something eternal in our action. When we witness the way that a parent loves his or her child, the way that a child cares for his aging parent, or the way time and energy is spent to correct something that is wrong in our school, neighborhood, or world, those actions are not just for a moment. There is something in that kind of giving that goes on and flows into eternity. Sacrificing for the sake of love is one of the things that matter.

So is thanksgiving. When we truly appreciate what we have received, how we have been blessed, when we see how we have been loved by a spouse, by a friend or by our God, that kind of thankfulness not only humbles us but lifts us up. It is not a feeling for a moment, but it both anticipates and actuates the eternal love of God that will surround us forever. Thanksgiving in its deepest sense is eternal.

How do I know that sacrifice and thanksgiving are eternal? I know because those are the things that matter to those who are close to death. When I visit people in the last hours of their lives, they do not focus on the joys and sorrows that have passed long ago. What is important to them is how they have given for the sake of another and how they are loved by their family, by their friends, and by God. These are the things that are important. For those on the very edge of life, sacrifice and thanksgiving are eternal.

So today as we remember our beloved dead who we believe are already in the presence and glory of God, it is good for us to recommit ourselves to what matters. We should rededicate ourselves to give in sacrificial love to others and to live a life in thanksgiving for all that we have received. Of course in faith we believe that one day we will join our beloved dead in heaven. But there is nothing wrong in living our lives in such a way that eternity begins today.

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