A HOMILY FOR THE THIRTY THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINRY TIME – CYCLE “C” – NOV. 17TH 2019 – SMG
+ Pax et Bonum! Peace and goodness to you this day!
We all like things that last for a long time. You know, it used to be just things like our chewing gum and our breath mints, but now we pretty much expect everything: our cars, our computers, our clothes, our watches, and even our buildings – all to last a long time. Today, in 2019, almost 2020, that’s the way we build them, and that’s what we expect of them. But even today, with all our knowledge, and with all our technology, lasting a long time doesn’t always work out.
On September 25th, 2018, just over a year ago, the Salesforce Transit Center in San Francisco had just been opened for a few weeks. Its centerpiece Salesforce Tower is the second tallest structure west of the Mississippi River. Built in response to the 1989 Earthquake that destroyed key section of the Bay Bridge and destabilized the Embarcadero Freeway, the Transit Center and Tower were declared as “probably one of the safest buildings in the world”. It was designed from the very beginning to be as earthquake proof, fire proof, and terror attack proof, as any building in the world. The $2.2 Billion Salesforce Transit Center and Park formed the cornerstone of the Bay Area’s ambitious regional transportation plan, a vast, clean, efficient web of trains, buses, and streetcars, all running through this magnificent hub, that had been nicknamed the “Grand Central Station of the West”. But all that changed on Sept. 25th, 2018. That morning, a major crack was found in the supporting steel of the complex. Within minutes, a second even larger crack was found in a second beam. How many more cracks were there? Authorities in San Francisco decided to immediately close down the entire Transit Center and Tower. This happened right before the evening rush hour. Mass confusion, an epic traffic jam, and a stampede towards metro trains and calls to UBER ensued. The 2.2 Billion dollar safest building in the world was closed before it ever even got to open.
I tell you this story today to remind you that everything in this world is transitory, nothing lasts forever. Our only security is in God. This is a very important lesson as we come to end of Ordinary Time. You know, we like to pretend that we are safe. We like to think that everything is just moving along as we’d like, and that tomorrow will arrive, and next week, and next year, and that nothing really is going to change. And yet we know that our lives can change in an instant! The magnificent Jewish Temple didn’t last forever. The World Trade Center in New York didn’t last forever. The Salesforce Transit Center is clearly not going to last forever. None of our material possession will last forever. Our families and friends will not last forever. Perhaps this is one of the main reasons why when we lose something, or someone, of great value to us, that we feel so distressed. It is because we also lose our sense of self connected to that thing or that person. It or they were part of us, and part of our identity, and even part of our security.
St. Luke writes these words to us today to give us hope. St. Luke is asking us not to be terrified. And St. Luke’s audience two thousand years ago were a Church that had seen the Temple destroyed, and who had suffered extreme persecution, and who were trying to persevere in world that wasn’t very open to the Gospel. That sounds kinda familiar, doesn’t it? We need hope. We need to not be afraid. We need to persevere!
And we need to put our trust and faith in what really lasts forever, and that God and His love.
Knowing full well that God and His love are the only things that matter, and the only things that last, today, we welcome our friends from the Little Sisters of the Poor at St. Augustine’s Home in Indianapolis. The Sisters invite us this week to share in their work of love and compassion for the poor. Please welcome them today to St. Maria Goretti…