Monica’s, Toronto, Canada - SERMON - 26 June 2005
receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent
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.
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
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
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?
Or dealers polluting the Temple?
And remember, it was two robbers
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
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.
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.
Christ told us that what we do for the sick, the stranger, the prisoner,
the hungry, the thirsty, we do for Him.
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
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
wave and a good-morning to brighten the day of the bus driver as we head
off to work, and
doesn’t cost a lot to share a cup of tea with the old lady who lives
next door, or
babysit the children so a friend can have a night out or make it to a
doctor’s appointment hassle-free, and
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
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.