Archive for September 1st, 2022

Pedal 9-4-2022

Thursday, September 1st, 2022

When we start talking about being disciples of Jesus we usually
hear stories about super stars. Some time ago the Christopher News
Notes carried three stories of three regular people, each answering the
call of discipleship.
The first story concerned a youth minister in California. He built
an extra hour or two into his weekly shopping schedule to talk with his
young flock at the town’s mall. When asked about his “mall ministry,”
the youth minister said:
“Jesus went where the people were, and that’s where I must go,
too. The kids are at the mall, so that’s where I must go.”
The second story concerned a woman in Minneapolis. She ran a
downtown shelter for the city’s homeless and abandoned. When asked
about her “shelter ministry,” she said:
“I’m simply trying to do what Jesus said to do. He said we should
love everyone, especially those most in need.”
The third and final story concerned a group of Harvard law
students who were getting ready to graduate. To court them a group of
the nation’s most prestigious law firms invited the students to a lavish
banquet in a plush downtown hotel.
After receiving the invitation, the students made this request to the
law firms: “Could you hold the banquet in a more modest hotel and
serve a more modest meal?”
When asked about this unusual request, the students simply said,
“We’d like the money saved to be given to the poor.”
These three stories illustrate the first point that Jesus makes in
today’s gospel. He says:
“If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife
and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be
my disciple.”
These words are not to be taken literally yet these words of Jesus
are a provocative way of saying three things:
1. That our priority in life must be to Jesus and to his work of
completing God’s kingdom on earth.
2. That as followers of Jesus, our responsibility extends beyond
our flesh-and-blood family to the entire human family.
3. That if we want to follow Jesus, we must follow him not only
into church on Sunday morning but also into the marketplace of
our lives on Monday morning.
They are people who realize that they are going to make only a
microscopic dent in the problems of our world. But they are also
people who realize that the worse evil is to do nothing because they
can only do little. They are people who have committed themselves
to Jesus and to his work, and are living it out.
They are people whose commitment makes us ask ourselves,
1. What are the top three priorities in my life right now and are
they in the right order?
2. What am I doing for Jesus right now?
Let’s close with a poem. Perhaps you are familiar with it. It sums
up the message and the invitation of today’s liturgy. It compares our
commitment to Jesus and to his work to two people riding on a
tandem bicycle. The poem goes something like this:
“At first, I sat in front; Jesus in the rear. I couldn’t see him, but I
knew he was there. I could feel his help when the road got steep.
“Then, one day, Jesus changed seats with me. Suddenly
everything went topsy-turvy. When I was in control, the ride was
predictable – even boring. But when Jesus took over, it got wild! I
could hardly hold on. ‘This is madness!’ I cried out. But Jesus just
smiled – and said, ‘Pedal!’
“And so I learned to shut up and pedal – and trust my bike
companion. Oh, there are still times when I get scared and I’m ready
to give up. But then Jesus turns around, touches my hand, smiles, and
says, ‘Pedal!’”
I’m so blessed that over these past 40 years I have done some
pedaling with so many of you.