Welcome to Green Reflections, the blog dedicated to reflections on the readings from the Roman Catholic Sunday Lectionary, with particular sensitivity to the needs of the earth. Use this blog to deepen your own awareness of our Creator's desires for the planet and ways that we can appreciate God's goals for the earth,giving it the loving care that it deserves.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

March 6, 2011 – 9th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dt 11:18, 26-28, 32 Rom 3: 21-25, 28 Mt 7: 21-27

Once there was a very old man who died. Being the curious sort, he decided to stick around for his own funeral wondering what people would say about him. After communion the priest invited anyone who wanted to share memories about John to come to the microphone. When the old man heard this, he straightened up and watched a few people come up the aisles and line up by the pulpit.

“It’s would to be hard to forget, John,” one said. “He organized all the altar servers and lectors for over twenty years here at St. Theresa’s. It’s a job a lot like herding cats, but John always managed to get them lined up before liturgy, ready to go.” People smiled from their pews, remembering John’s insistence on order and promptness.

A woman with a bright purple hat spoke next. “I always admired John’s faithfulness to the rosary,” she started. “He always kept a pocket full of rosaries on him so that anyone who came to pray with the daily rosary group would have one to use if they forgot theirs at home.”

A younger man came forward and smiled as he began. “When I first came to St. Theresa’s parish, I didn’t know that I had anything worthwhile to volunteer here. But John spotted me that first Sunday and asked me to help cook for our month pancake breakfasts. Belonging to that group of men has really given me a sense of community here and I have John to thank for inviting me. I always supposed that church ministry would be boring, but John kept us laughing from the moment that we first turned on the lights to begin cooking, until the last utensil was washed and put away hours later.”

A fourth person came forward and began, “I’ll never forget John because he was on the RCIA team when I first studied to become a Catholic. He really took a realistic, man’s approach to religion. I mean he just told us how it was: obey the rules and the rules will keep you safe.”

As John listened to these people, he knew that he’d made a lasting impression on the folks at his parish. He smiled as he thought, “Well, it’s time for me to go,” and John embarked on the journey toward the pearly gates. When he arrived, John was stunned at the number of people waiting in line. Every nationality, race and religion was represented. “Huh! I never knew so many people died every day,” he thought to himself.

After a while, John came to the front of the line and there stood Saint Peter. “Name?” he questioned John. When he told Peter his full name and where he had died, Peter flipped open an enormous book and searched for John’s name. He looked back a few pages and then forward a few pages, just in case he was inscribed on the wrong page. But no, Peter couldn’t find John’s name in the Book of Life.

“What!?” John bellowed. “I have to be in the Book of Life. I was a regular pillar of the Church in my life on earth. Ask someone higher up,” John demanded.

Peter picked up a telephone and murmured something into the mouthpiece. “It will be just a couple of minutes,” he informed John.

As John waited, he saw a man approaching him in ancient clothing. It was Jesus coming to straighten out the snafu.

Jesus took only one look at John and cried out loud enough for everyone to hear, “Get away from Me you evil-doer! I do not know you.”

John was stunned. He protested, “But, Lord, I said the rosary every day. And I headed up all the altar servers and lectors at St. Theresa’s. I even ran the monthly pancake breakfast!”

Jesus responded to him, “I tell you, when I came to you in the homeless, you always told Me to get a job and be a man. Then if someone were with you, you said that I’d probably just drink or use the money for drugs. And so you excused yourself from helping Me. When I gave you fresh running rivers for people to drink, you ordered your company to dump toxic waste in the river after sunset so no one would know that you were poisoning the water. Whenever you went to the ballot box to vote, you always voted down tax increases in order to save yourself money. You never cared that I was so poor that I needed public services. And when I came on the television set announcing to you that all citizens needed to buy CFC or LED light bulbs to save energy and clean up the environment, you went on line and ordered incandescent light bulbs. You didn’t care that you were polluting My Earth or worsening climate change. You may have prayed daily, but you never heard My voice in the poor, the disadvantaged or the Earth. I tell you, I never knew you.”

Key words

Bible, Scripture, Christian, environment, ecology, lectionary, reflection, homily, sermon, Catholic, green, environmentally friendly, sustainability, the common good, the commons

About Me

The Green Nun earned an MA in theology from the Jesuit School of Theology, Berkeley and is currently completing a Masters degree in Earth Literacy from St. Mary-of-the-Woods College in Indiana. This blog spot is being done as an integration project for the MA.