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Homilies from Nola Crewe
26th June 2005


St Monica’s, Toronto, Canada - SERMON - 26 June 2005

Matthew 10:40-42

  1. He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.

  2. He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward.

  3. And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.

May the gifts of the Holy Spirit support me, the love of God be shared and the teachings of Jesus Christ ever be our guide.

Living in a big city, it seems that every day we hear dreadful news about our own neighbourhoods: rapes, stabbings, break-ins, beatings and even murders. I’m sure everyone in this room knows someone who has been the victim of a crime: or has been one themselves.

We walk our sidewalks and step over sleeping street people. We hear people shouting in anger and crying children when we shop. We see bars on windows and massive locks on doors. Our children are taught “stranger danger” in their schools and they no longer play ball freely in the parks.

And yet, are our times so different from the times of Jesus . . . when the traveler was beaten, stripped, robbed and left for dead at the roadside? Or when the runaway son found himself caring for pigs who were eating better than he was?1 Or dealers polluting the Temple?2 And remember, it was two robbers3 who hung on the cross beside Jesus.

The Golden Rule, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is a wonderful sentiment . . . but I’ve heard it twisted to say, “do to others as they would do to you, only get your jab in first”. What kind of world does that cruel cynicism produce? Just more unhappy people.

To-day’s Gospel reading, was one of Christ’s guides for a full and happy life: His promise that if we even give a cup of water to a thirsty person, it will be rewarded.4

And Christ does not lie. HE gave us the two great commandments: that we love God with all our heart and soul and mind. And then, that we love our neighbour as ourself.5 Christ told us that what we do for the sick, the stranger, the prisoner, the hungry, the thirsty, we do for Him.6

The funny thing is that living that way is so much easier than following the path of the cynic. It is a much nicer world when you wake up in the morning looking forward to the day and the nice things that may happen, rather than waking up to plot and scheme how to get even or hurt someone else. Putting yesterday behind you is the most positive thing you can do with your life. Whether it was a good day or a bad day, we cannot change one moment of yesterday -- we can only mess up to-day worrying about it . . . for it is just as sad to say, “I will never have such a good day again,” as it is to say “That was such a horrible day and today will be just as bad”. We need to put our planning into good things for the future, for to-day . . . not waste our passions on revenge or regret. We need to think of the good things we can do for those we know and love and the strangers who can become our friends.

Fortunately, the most precious thing we have to share is time. And, best of all, it doesn’t cost anything. Just set your imagination free to see what Christ would see and you discover that there are so many things that you want to do when we try to follow Christ’s lessons. Like,

  • Remembering to give our children a hug on their way to school, or

  • Making a phone call to a sick workmate just to say “I was thinking of you”, or

  • A wave and a good-morning to brighten the day of the bus driver as we head off to work, and

  • It doesn’t cost a lot to share a cup of tea with the old lady who lives next door, or

  • To babysit the children so a friend can have a night out or make it to a doctor’s appointment hassle-free, and

  • We can quickly send out a prayer when we hear a siren: “God, please be with those firemen in their battle against the flames, or

  • bless the driver of that ambulance and all those who ride with him; hold them close, dear Lord, Amen.”

It is amazing how good doing those little things makes you feel. And you know, it’s rather fun to smile at strangers as you walk down the street and watch the confusion cross their face as they look round to make sure you were smiling at them and not at someone over their shoulder.

And at the end of your day, you fall asleep with the happiness you gave to others, secure in Christ’s love, and knowing that at the end of all your days all those little gifts of kindness will be returned to you so many times over.

AMEN.

1 Luke 15:11-32

2 Luke 10:45-48

3 Mark 15:27; Luke 23:39-43

4 Matthew 10:42

5 Matthew 22:34-40; Mark 12:28-34; Luke 10:25-28

6 Matthew 25:34-46

 

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