What can I say this morning about our gospel reading that hasn’t been said by people much more qualified than I?
I’d like to share a story with you that I read many years ago, that I think speaks volumes to today’s gospel reading
It goes like this:
One day, when I was a freshman in high school, I saw a kid from my class walking home from school.
It looked like he was carrying all his books.
I thought to myself, “why would anyone bring home all his books on a Friday?”
He must really be a nerd.
I had quite a weekend planned, (parties and a football game with my friends, tomorrow afternoon), so I shrugged my shoulders and went on.
As I was walking, I saw a group of kids running towards the kid.
They ran at him, knocking him down along with all his books.
His glasses went flying off into the grass about ten feet from him…
He looked up and I saw the terrible sadness in his eyes
My heart went out to him. So, I jogged over to him as he crawled along looking for his glasses, and I saw a tear in his eye.
I handed him his glasses and I said, “ those guys are real jerks – they should really get lives”.
He looked at me and said, “hey thanks”.
There was a big smile on his face.
It was one of those smiles that showed real gratitude.
I helped him pick up his books and I asked him his name and where he lived
He told me his name was Kyle.
As it turned out, he lived right near me, so I asked him why I had never seen him before.
He said that he had gone to a private school up till now
I would have never hung out with a private school kid before.
We talked all the way home, and I carried some of his books.
He turned out to be a pretty cool kid.
I asked him if he wanted to play a little football with me and my friends
He said ‘yes”
We hung out all weekend and the more I got to know Kyle, the more I liked him and my friends thought the same of him.
Monday morning came , and there was Kyle with the huge stack of books again.
I stopped him and said “boy, you are really going to build some serious muscles carrying this pile of books every day!
He just laughed and handed me half the books
Over the next four years Kyle and I became the best of friends
When we were seniors, we began to think about college
Kyle decided on Georgetown and I was going to Duke
I knew that we would always be friends, that miles would never be a problem.
He was going to be a doctor and I was going into business on a football scholarship
Kyle was valedictorian of our class
I teased him all the time about being a nerd
He had to prepare his speech for graduation.
I was so glad it wasn’t me having to get up there and speak
Graduation day, I saw Kyle
He looked great
He was one of those guys who really found himself during high school
He filled out and actually looked really good in glasses
He had more dates than I had and the girls loved him
Boy, sometimes I was so jealous
Today was one of those days
I could see that he was nervous about his speech
So, I smacked him on the back and said “ hey, big guy, you’ll be great”!
He looked at me with one of those looks, ( the really grateful one) and smiled
“thanks” he said
As he started his speech, he cleared his throat, and began
“graduation is a time to thank those who helped you make it through those tough years
Your parents, your teachers, your siblings, and maybe a coach, but mostly your friends
I am here to tell all of you that being a friend to someone is the best gift you can give them
I’m going to tell you a story.
I just looked at my friend with disbelief as he told the first day we met
He had planned to kill himself over the weekend.
He talked about how he had cleaned out his locker so his mom wouldn’t have to do it later and was carrying his stuff home.
He looked hard at me and gave me a little smile.
Thankfully “I was saved”.
My friend saved me from doing the unthinkable
I heard the gasp go through the crowd as this handsome, popular boy told us about his weakest moment.
I saw his mom and dad looking at me and smiling that same gratful smile.
I had no idea of Kyle’s burden that day we met.
Not until this moment did, I realize it’s depth.
So, as we reflect on this story and the gospel reading, we should remember to
Never underestimate the power of our actions.
With one small gesture we can change a person’s life.
For better or for worse
God puts us all in each other’s lives to impact each other in some way
Look for GOD in others
You now have two choices to make, you can:
Take this story and live it, passing it on to others or
You can disregard it and act like it doesn’t touch your heart
I don’t know about you, but I choose door number 1.
It is said:
Friends are Angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly
There is no beginning or end, yesterday is history.
Tomorrow is a mystery.
But today is a gift
That is why they call it
The gift we will today give thanks to GOD for, our stations of the cross, a gift, hand carved by a faithful man of GOD, given to us by his wife Georgia and our friends from St. Christopher’s is one example of people’s love for one another.
Our support to the Kahn family, displaced by war, with 5 children, through no fault of their own is another example of loving our friends.
In today’s Gospel, When Jesus said “ I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."
Jesus didn’t say, if they were muslims, not to love them, he didn’t say if they are from St. Christopher’s not to love them, he didn’t say if they were different from us, not to love them.
He said, “love one another”
As our school year draws towards a close and as our world’s challenges scare us all, this Gospel reading is more important than ever.
We are all here this morning because we are followers of JESUS and we are told to “love one another”
Rev. Dr. Harvey Hill
Third Order Franciscan