What do you center your life on?

19th Sunday in Ordinary Time – August 11, 2019

St. Margaret Mary – Wichita, KS

Wisdom 18:6-9; Psalm 33:1, 12, 18-22; Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-19; Luke 12:32-48

It’s that time of year. School starts this week. Seems like summer didn’t even happen! It went by so fast. I was talking to some of our school kids, and they cannot believe school is starting. I was talking to a parent and they were honestly in disbelief that school begins this week. Summer flew by.

And it’s kind of like life, yeah? My sister who is a Dominican nun is in town for her home visit this week, and so the whole family has been in town, and so of course there is a lot of reminiscing about when we were growing up and a lot of memories about when we were younger. For example, my sister started playing this song that I haven’t heard since I was in high school, but I still remembered every word. It seems like I heard it just a few weeks ago. But then I thought about it, and I probably haven’t heard that song in ten years! Ten years! It seems like I was in high school just a few years ago (and I know some of you think that too, I get it, I look very young)—but ten years have gone by in an instant. We’ve all had those experiences: life just seems to fly by. Look at your kids; they have grown-up so fast.

The reason we have Jesus stressing this watchfulness and vigilance in our Gospel today is for this very reason. It is easy to think that we have all the time in the world, that we can put things off for tomorrow, that we’ll make Jesus Christ important later. We think that we’ll have plenty of time to get things done. But we know that’s not true. We know. We say all the time, “There are not enough hours in the day!” And this watchfulness and vigilance is not meant to scare us! No. It’s meant to wake us up! And it is meant to wake us up to a simple question: where is your heart? Or to ask it a different way: what do you center your life on?

Each and every one of us centers our life on something. Each and every one of us has our heart set on something. And what we set our heart on is usually something that we are very vigilant about, we are always waiting for it, we make sure we do it every day, we make it a priority! I have a friend—I know, very shocking, I have friends—but I have this friend who places fitness at the center of everything. What they eat and don’t eat, how much they sleep, scheduling time for the gym each day, avoiding certain things that will affect their health. Their entire life is centered on their health. Another person, centers their entire life on their work schedule. They will work crazy hours. And every decision they make begins with, “Well, let me see if that will fit with my work.”

And I think you may have guessed what I’m driving at. But especially as we begin a new school year, it’s a good time to just reset and begin again. It’s a good time to realize that time flies by. It’s a good time to ask, “What do I center my life on? Where is my heart?” Because that’s what Jesus is saying to us today. Before you know it, the master will return. What will he find when he returns? If the Lord shows up today, would you be ready?

I have told you this before, but one of the few memories I have of my grandpa is waking up early in the morning and seeing him sitting outside with a cup of coffee in one hand and his cigarette and rosary in the other. Every day, first thing in the morning, he made time to pray.

Growing up, one of the things we did every night was say the rosary as a family. Every night. And then, our dad would pray with the younger ones before they went to bed. My mom, every morning, I see her with her pray book reading the readings for the day.

And these people, my grandpa, my mom and my dad—all of them showed us one simple thing, even though they had a lot to worry about (ten kids), even with all of that, they made sure to make an effort to place the Lord at the center of their life—and to help us, their children, to place the Lord at the center of our lives.

Placing the Lord at the center of our life, being vigilant and watchful can be difficult when life is passing so quickly. And so it begins with these simple things, simple, simple things each day.

Bishop Kemme has said that one of the priorities for the Diocese, for all of us, is to renew the life of the parish and the life of your families by reclaiming Sunday as the Lord’s day. Think about that. What if we centered our entire week on Sunday? Instead of it just being another day, we planned our week around Sunday. What if we made sure that the mass was the first thing we planned each week? It sounds really simple, but it can change your life! What if you decided that Sunday was going to be a day for the Lord and your family?

Life moves quickly, life passes by. And it is hard to be vigilant, to keep watch like the Lord teaches us. But really it comes back to: where is my heart? What do I center my life on? And if my life is not centered on the Lord, if my life doesn’t revolve around my relationship with him, how can I begin?

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