Teaching from XLT
This afternoon, I caught the tail-end of Meet the Press. And as they were ending their coverage of current events, they shared some words of comfort and hope they had found trending in social media. They were the words of Mr. Rogers who once said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers - so many caring people in this world.”
That’s what John the Baptist is calling us to be in today’s Gospel: He, who is the advance spokesperson for Jesus Christ, is calling us to be helpers. Helpers to those in need in dark places and dark times.
“Whoever has two cloaks should share with the person who has none. And whoever has food should do likewise.” John the Baptist is calling us to be generous givers. He is calling us to have charitable, loving hearts. He is urging us to be attentive to the needs of the poor and the lowly.
If you want to change the world we live in... If you want to put an end to evil... If you want to being more light into this dark world... Be helpers. And remember that God helps those who help themselves; and begin with the person you have the most control over: yourself.
Speak words of love to one another and about one another; and let those words of love push words of judgment, gossip, and hatred out of your vocabulary.
Reach out to your brother or sister in Christ who isn’t included in the group. God willing, we’re all going to spend eternity together. Let’s get started now.
Live virtuous lives. Walk along the pathway that leads to the Kingdom of Heaven. Put aside abuse of alcohol and drugs which distort our humanity. Make your bodies a gift that, from this day forward, you will give to your future spouse and them alone.
And when moments come in which you fall short of being the helper God wishes you to be, remember that He restores you through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Yesterday, I saw The Hobbit. And my favorite quote of the movie comes at a point where Gandalf the Wizard is talking with Galadriel the Elf. And they’re basically talking about how to solve the world’s problems. And Gandalf is reflecting on Saruman’s philosophy on the matter. (For those of you who have seen The Lord of the Rings, you remember that Saruman is the White Wizard who eventually becomes a servant of the evil Lord Sauron.)
Gandalf says to Galadriel, "Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love.”
Let the gift Jesus has given you at this Mass: the gift of himself in the Eucharist, and your prayer in his presence, change your life. Let it change your life for the better. And allow yourself to become his helper in this world.