August 15, 2019 – Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
The following homily was delivered in 2013 at an all-school Mass at Bishop Chatard High School, Indianapolis:
The Gospels are full of warnings to us about being vigilant, watchful, and alert. This past Sunday, we heard in the Gospel of Luke that we need to always be ready, for we never know when the Son of Man will come. It’s like when your parents tell you they are going out for the evening, but don’t tell you when they are coming home.
At St. Pius X this past weekend, Fr. John shared this story: Fr. James, a pastor in a small rural town, received a knock on his rectory door. A woman stood before him, very excited and eager to share some news. She said, “Jesus has appeared in the town square!”
Fr. James was processing this information, when another parishioner came running up to him. “Father,” he said. “Jesus has appeared in the town square!”
Fr. James asked, “Is He still there?”
“Yes!” they exclaimed.
Fr. James went to see for himself, and sure enough there was Jesus in the town square. He stayed for several more minutes as the townspeople looked on in awe. Then, without notice, He vanished.
Fr. James called his bishop to tell him what had occurred. He ended by saying, “Bishop, what should I do if He comes back?”
The Bishop was unsure what to tell Fr. James, so he told him that he would get back to him.
He called Rome and spoke to one of the Cardinals. “One of my priests, Fr. James, has confirmed that Jesus appeared in the town square. He is asking what he should do in case Jesus comes back. What shall I tell him?”
The Cardinal was unsure of how to respond as well. It so happened that he had a meeting scheduled with the Pope for later that morning, so he promised to speak with him about it and call the Bishop when he had an answer.
When the Cardinal saw the Pope, he told him, “Holy Father, one of our priests in the United States has witnessed an appearance of Jesus in the town square. He wants to be ready if it should happen again. He has asked what he should do if Jesus returns.”
The Pope thought for a moment, then leaned forward and said, “Tell him to look busy.”
We take that a step further today and say not only look busy, but be busy. Be busy doing the work of God at all times.
So why share all of this when it is a day to celebrate Mary? Because Mary is the perfect example of everything I have just said. She was always busy doing the work of God. She was vigilant, ready to answer the call when it came. Even though she was scared, and unsure of her worthiness, she said, “Yes.” At 14 or 15 years of age, around your age, this humble servant said, “Yes” to being the Mother of God.
She lived a life free from sin and completely focused on carrying out God’s plan, which earned her the honor of assumption, body and soul, into heaven. We pay tribute to her today for her readiness, for being busy doing the work of God.
Where are you in your readiness? Are you alert and ready to accept the work God calls you to do? Or are you just rolling the dice, hoping that God doesn’t come for awhile?
My challenge to you is to not only “look busy” but “be busy” doing the work of God. You never know when He will reveal His plan for you.