90% of life is "showing up"

Holy Family Parish: Icon of the Presentation of the Child Jesus in the Temple

Homily for the Feast of the Presentation: February 2, 2014
(Scriptures for today's Mass)

Audio for homily

Simeon and Anna make an appearance in Luke’s gospel here today
but we never meet them again – at least not in the scriptures.
But I’ll bet most of us know a few Simeon’s and Anna’s in our own lives.

Remember Simeon’s prayer
when he takes the Christ child into his arms:
“Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace…”
Simeon’s an old man and now that he has seen the Christ,
he’s ready to go…
How many of us have heard a grandparent or an older friend say,
“I don’t know why the Lord doesn’t take me.
I’ve done my living.  I’m ready to go.

Ponder those four simple words, “I’m ready to go…”
How many of us are prepared to say,  “I’m ready to go…”
Most of us want more time, more time for living
-- and we’re not all that confident that we’re “ready to go…”
Most of us know we have some business with God
that still needs taking care of.

And how many of us know an Anna in our lives?
Someone who prays all the time…
Anna was in the temple night and day.
And very often it’s just such folks
who worry that they’re not ready to go
and they’re precisely the people that you and I admire
for their goodness and their faith.
We see clearly in them what they may not see in themselves:
humility, prayerfulness,  a real holiness that puts us to shame.
And the Anna’s you and I know, like the one in the gospel,
are often not at all bashful about thanking and praising God.
They’re not  at all slow to speak about the Lord
and of being faithful to prayer and reminding us
(gently or not so gently – you know your mothers and grandmothers!)
reminding us that we need to be more faithful to prayer
in our own lives.

Simeon and Anna showed up only once and briefly in the scriptures
but they show up in our lives much more often.
Maybe you’ve heard it said that 90% of life is “showing up “
and there’s real truth in those words -
especially when it comes to “showing up” for God.

The Anna’s and Simeon’s we know are models for us for “showing up”
for prayer and for getting to know God better than we already do.
Most of us definitely want God to show up for us
- especially when we’re in need.
But the real question is, “How faithfully do we show up for God?” 

This past week we had a program for the parents
of children preparing for First Communion.
I gave a short talk, which centered on the sacraments
(especially  Baptism and Communion)
and those sacraments as signs of our belonging:
our belonging to God in prayer, to Christ and to the Church.
Since a child’s First Communion is often the moment
when adults who have been away from the Church re-connect,
I asked the parents Tuesday night to take a good, honest look
at how they “belong” to God and how they belong to the Church
and I encouraged them to let their child’s First Communion
be a homecoming for them and their families:
coming home to the life of faith and prayer, the life of the parish.

A few days later, one of the parents who was there told me
that one of her friends, not a real church-goer,
had listened and thought about what I’d said and realized
that her family spends every Saturday night together
and there was no reason for them not to come to the 5:00 Mass
to begin their Saturday night time together.
I don’t know which family that is but I’m so glad to know
that another household in our parish will be “showing up” for God.

And that started me thinking about all the things
that all of us “show up” for every week, even every day.
We all show up:
to eat and drink
to sleep
to shower
to go to work or school
to go grocery shopping
to check our email
to read
to watch television
to exercise
to pay the bills
to text, FaceBook, Google, Tweet, Instagram and Snapchat
to call family and friends
for sports and games and dance class
for meetings of all kinds
to shop and run errands
and who knows how many other things we all “show up” for
every week and every day.

When will we begin to make more time to show up for God
every week and every day:
“Showing up” so that one day we might say with Simeon,
“Lord I’ve done my living: I’m ready to go…”
“Showing up” so that one day we, like Anna,
might give praise and thanks to God and not be slow
to share our faith with family and friends as the greatest gift of all,
the love of God.

Whether we “show up” for the Lord or not,
he never fails to show up for us.
He showed up for us when it counted the most – and cost the most:
on the Cross, in his suffering, in the sacrifice he offered there.
And whether we show up here on the Lord’s Day or not,
he never fails to show up for us,
to save us a seat and set a place for us at his table,
where he shows up, again and again for us,
in the Bread and Cup of Communion.

Icon of the Presentation: Holy Family Parish


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