Friday, May 14, 2010

Hope for All Second Stringers

I had Mass today at a local Catholic High School for the volleyball team. I thought it fit right in with the Feast we celebrate today in St. Matthias, the original second stringer.

As I started the homily, I asked who started on the bench, that they might find in St. Matthias a good example.

First, think of the criteria used to chose Matthias: he was with them the whole time of the public ministry of Jesus, beginning with the Baptism and right up through the end. What went through his mind when Jesus chose the Twelve? HIM!?!? Seriously, Lord? Do you know what he's really like? How often we might think the same thing when we get passed over for something: starting line-up, cut from the team, passed over for a job promotion, etc. We might blame everyone: the coach, our boss, the person who got MY spot, maybe even ourselves for not being good enough to be 'picked.' I wonder if St. Matthias ever went through that.... Did he ever think about leaving because he wasn't 'good enough' to get picked to be part of the Twelve?

Rather, he stayed, listened, prayed, came to know our Lord in a deep and personal way. I wonder what kind of conversation he ever had with Jesus during the Public ministry.

Then, when his name was called, when he was put forward as a potential replacement, low and behold the lot came to him.

It is so tempting to sulk in our disappointments, in our defeats, in 'not measuring up' to whatever we think we should measure up; rather we should always be ready. One never knows when the star player will come down wrong on an ankle, pop a knee, betray Our Lord and be turned away from His forgiveness; and He calls when the time is right for that particular person.

I entered seminary at the age of 19, a classmate of mine (with whom I am having dinner tonight) entered seminary at 37. Does that mean I am somehow 1st string and he's 2nd? That I am somehow better because I responded quicker? By no means! God called him at the right time for him, and me for the right time for me; but we were both ready that when He called, our response: Here I am Lord, I come to do your will!

Always be ready and prepared to give account for your faith, you never know when the 'star' in front of you will go down and you will be called off the bench to step into a starring role.

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