Homily for 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted Nov 4, 2017, 10:28 AM by Mary Tocimak

As a newly ordained priest and being a man of mature faith, a nice way of stating that I am an older man, today's readings are a great reminder to me of what my role is to be as a priest.  Today’s readings gave me an opportunity to examine where I am in my priesthood and an opportunity to examine my heart to see what I need to do to improve. However one question I am often asked is, don't you wish you could have been ordained many years ago? I can honestly say that many years ago I would not have been a very good priest. God called me to the priesthood at just the right time in my life. Let me explain in more detail. From the early 70’s to 2002 I was in a relationship with my wife Kimberly and trying to make a living as a sales person.  My career as a sales person got off to a very slow start. When I was first starting out in sales, I would find a prospect and as quickly as possible, I would try to determine how big a sale I could make and then calculate my commission. My motivation was on how much money I would make on the sale rather than on the customers needs and trying to solve their problems. The same could be said of the early years of my marriage. I was happy in my marriage as long as my needs were being met. As my sales career and my marriage faltered, I realized that I had to change my attitude if I wanted to save these aspects of my life. I had to put the needs of my customers ahead of my needs and I had to put the needs of my wife ahead of my own. In other words I had to be a servant to them rather than them serving me.

            As time went on I also came to understand that I am an alcoholic. One of the primary symptoms of alcoholism is self-centeredness. As an alcoholic you believe that the world revolves around you and your needs. God knew that I needed to be sober for an extended period of time so that my priorities in life would be changed from self-serving to being a servant to others. God knew that if I was ordained years ago I would not be a very good priest. As outlined in today's readings as I stand before you I have tried to put God ahead of everything in my life and have tried to serve you, the people of God.  I still have a long way to go in my life in my efforts to truly be a humble servant of the Lord and his people.  I need to spend more time in prayer especially quiet prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament. I also need to do a better job of humbly serving you people.  I want to do more to invite the people that have left the church to come back. I want to help the poor and marginalized and I want to especially help all of you grow closer to Christ in a more personal way.

            So what have I learned? That I find a great sense of peace and tranquility in my life when I spend some quiet time in conversations with God. This is especially true when I am the busiest and when I don't think I can make time to be quiet and to listen to God talking to me.  The next thing is that being a servant to others is not something you do on occasion but rather is a way of life. Nothing makes me happier than helping others. This could be in counseling, in teaching the youth, giving golf lessons at the driving range, in preaching, or in visiting people in the nursing homes and hospitals, I learned that serving others is an attitude;  a way of going through life. However it has taken me quite some time to make this a reality in my life.

            Where are you in your life? Is God the highest priority and Jesus your role model? Do you have an attitude of serving others or having others serve you? We are all members of the priesthood of Christ's Church and called to love God and love our neighbor. This is not something we are called to do on an occasional basis, on Sundays for an hour or so but as a way of life. I used these readings as a way to examine my life as a priest and although I still have a long way to go I feel I am on the right track. Are you? I encourage you to take some time to examine your lives to see where loving God and serving others is on your priority list in your life.

 

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