Ezekiel 18, 25-28, Is it my way that is not fair?
Psalm 25, Remember your mercies, Oh Lord.
Philippians 2, 1-11, God greatly exalted him.
Matthew 20, 1-16, The man who had two sons.
Homily by John Cade
Homily: I want to focus today on Jesus’ teaching that God is now and was always with us, and how we can see God. There’s that Bible verse in today’s Responsorial Psalm 86 vs.5 that says “You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in kindness.” Stack has said it’s his favorite line in the Bible. I decided to google this verse and found the same words in multiple places in the Bible. Psalm 145: vs. 8-9 has exactly the same lines. And Psalm 103 vs. 8 has the same. And it’s not just in the Psalms. The Book of Exodus Ch. 34, verse 6 reads, “The Lord is a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in kindness.” The Book of Joel Ch. 2, verse 13 has exactly the same line. And the Book of Jonah Ch. 4, verse 2 has the same.
The take-away from those verses that describe God as “gracious and merciful, slow to anger and rich in kindness,” could be that whenever we see those traits and those behaviors, we are seeing God. Jesus’ said the kingdom of God is here, and is experienced when we share mercy and kindness with one another.
On July 4th I joined a group of family and friends for the Fair Park fireworks display. At the end of the evening Leo & Freddie, seeing fireworks for the first time, said, “This was the coolest ever.”
Later I remembered some of what I saw and experienced about being gracious and showing kindness.
- I got to Fair Park early and walked around, then sat on a bench eating a corn dog slathered with mustard. I saw a woman walking with 2 children and an infant in a stroller. The little one dropped a stuffed toy to the ground. Another woman saw it and, noticing the mother hadn’t seen it happen, called out to her and pointed to it. They made eye contact and I saw them connect with a smile as the mother picked up the toy. This was a brief but gracious human contact.
- At one point after our group got together at the lagoon, my nephew Merik, offered to take Leo and Freddie on a walk around the lagoon. He entertained them for 30 or 40 minutes, and his act of kindness allowed the other adults time to visit.
- Gina, a close friend of my daughters Joey and Sam, came with her husband and 2 daughters, who are a little older than my grandsons. Gina thought about the 4 kids who would be there and brought snacks for all of them and also light sticks to make necklaces or bracelets or, like Freddie, just to wave around. The kids loved it and I took note of her thoughtful kindness.
- Most of the group had gotten snow cones while walking around. So I decided to get in line for a snow cone for myself (I was told that there were sugar free ones) and for Gina’s daughter who had missed out on one. It was a really long line of more than 30 people. After a while I struck up a conversation with a woman in line. Later another woman, also in line, joined in the conversation. At one point the latter woman, who was sort of ahead of me and the first women (line not straight but uneven), offered that we both go ahead of her. Of course by this point we had all been in line a long time and had tired feet. That was another act of kindness and mercy.
My question: when have you seen God lately? And when do others see God in you?