Serve God While There Is Yet Time
In 1944 in the first year of my Priesthood I gave the shortest sermon (now called a homily) of my life – just seven words: “Serve God while there is yet time.” This took place at a Sunday morning Mass as Maryville Academy – A Catholic Charities home for 850 dependent children. With a 15 second silence before and after the sermon, I looked down at the 300 youngsters in the chapel. This incident proves how I have always believed in the value of short homilies.
My superior scolded me for my worthless sermon to children. In 2010 a man in his 70’s, Jim Erickson, called me from California and told me this message: “I have always based my life on the words you spoke that morning.”
These words of St. John Bosco have remained with me all my 69 years of Priesthood and remind me to serve God faithfully on a daily basis. We are beginning to live in a God-less nation. Strict laws forbid the posting of the 10 commandments in public buildings and the use of prayer and the Bible in public schools. This year abortion clinics will deprive one million infants their right to life. Vocations to the Priesthood and Religious life are becoming scarce. Catholic schools keep closing because of their high tuitions. In our Chicago Archdiocese, estimates say that only 25% of Catholic people attend weekend Mass.
Medical experts state that human beings reach their best level of physical health at age 30. There after a steady decline in well-being and strength takes place. All this means that Catholics must work harder than ever to keep mindful of God’s Presence in their short lives on earth. Few movies, if any, show people attending Church or speaking of God in the conversations. With new laws about marriage, its holiness has received some death blows.
Serve God today, not some time in the future. Place a copy of the 10 Commandments on the refrigerator and read them every day. Give perfect worship to God by attending weekend Mass in a full hearted way. Death, the end of life, can come suddenly in many different ways. Be Wise. Don’t take tomorrow for granted. By being a close friend of Jesus of Nazareth by prayer on earth, we will not meet him as a stranger if we make heaven. Serve God while there is yet time.
Fr. George Mc Kenna