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Fr. Ben's Message 9/18/2022

God’s salvation is offered to all – it’s never too late

There is a charming little village in Ireland called Fore which, in Irish Folklore, has seven wonders associated with it: The Tree that will not burn, the Mill without a mill race, the Water which flows uphill, the Water which will not boil, the Monastery built on a bog, a stone lintel raised by St. Fechin’s prayers, and the Anchorite in a Stone. You can go online and look up the meaning of each of these “wonders” by typing in “The seven wonders of Fore.” However, local legend has added an eighth wonder, the wall that moved.

The story goes that the local saint, St. Fechin, promised that anyone who was buried in the graveyard surrounding his chapel would go to heaven. Sometime in the seventeenth century a group of disrespectful men, in order to make fun of the pious, buried a very disreputable person within the walls of the cemetery. When they observed the burial the next morning the wall of the cemetery had moved so that the grave that was originally dug within the wall was now outside the wall. No heaven for that chap. A very Irish tale!

Speaking through the Prophet Amos God calls out what He sees as the injustice of the powerful over the weak, the unscrupulous traders who cheat the poor, and the injustices done against God’s people. What God has given He has given for the benefit of all. This is true of the goods of this world but also, the goods, the gifts, the talents, and the treasures that we posses as part of our being. Is it not true that a father and mother are called to care for God’s children who have been placed into their care? Is it not true that priests are to spend their time, talents, gifts, even the resources of this world to feed those in their care? Every gift, talent, resource, we have has been given to us by God and God looks to us to use them for the benefit of His people.

Fortunately for us the Gospel gives us an insight into God’s generosity even when He has found us failing and making use of His gifts for our own benefit. The steward has been stealing what did not belong to him and was cheating his master. Now that he is found out he has little time to put things right, or, at least, make arrangements for his future comfort. Interestingly, his master commends him for at least returning some of what he has stolen.

Sometimes we fail to serve God as we should, or we fail to use the gifts, talents and the life God has given us for the benefit of God’s Kingdom and the service of others. But failure does not have to define us, who we are, or how we lived our lives. It seems to me that God allows us the opportunity to make a change, no matter how late. God allows us to change, to turn our self-serving into service and giving. He would rather have us give something rather than squander everything. After all, the goods of this world stay in this world, but the treasure of heaven lasts for eternity. If you want treasure, choose the treasure that lasts. With God it is never too late to make a difference, to choose life, to do the right thing. We may choose for ourselves to be outside the wall, but that is not a choice God makes for us. God desires to have all His children within the wall and He gives us every opportunity to choose that for ourselves.

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