Letting God be the Greatest

This past week we celebrated Halloween, All Saints’ and All Souls’ Day. And I gotta tell you how I was  so very impressed with the creativity of our school kids. I saw dinosaurs, star troopers, the wolf from the Little Red Riding Hood story to the Harlem Globe Trotters and the Morton Salt girl. It was a great, fun filled morning! So Thanks to all our SAM school staff, volunteers and parents who helped with Halloween and the school Mass. It’s events like these that help to bring our families together as a community. And, after all, isn’t this what our two-day celebration of Saints is all about?  We celebrate our ancestors of faith who are one with God in the heavenly realm and we remember those well on their way to heaven, and the fact that all of us together we are all one family, one community of believers that makes up the One Body of our Lord Jesus Christ.

You see sometimes it’s easy to think of the Saints as those we’re all familiar with,  such as Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint Angela Merici, or Saint Peter. And then there’s the modern-day saints who walked among us: Pope Saint John Paul, Saint Teresa of Calcutta and Saint Padre Pio. And sometimes we can forget that we too are part of this one holy community united in faith.

So why is this? Why do we lose or forget that we’re all one family, one community? Well, do you remember the story about Muhammad Ali ? He won a gold medal in the 1960 Rome Olympics and had an amazingly successful professional career that led him to boasting that: “I am the greatest!” Muhammad Ali loved to boast of his greatness and sometimes we too can think that we’re “The Greatest” but when we do this what we’re really doing is placing ourselves over and above others, and this my friends is what causes separation in our families and our communities. And we become divided. Forgetting that we are all part of one holy community. Well it was many years later that Muhammad Ali “The Champ,” after becoming afflicted by Parkinson’s disease was seen wordlessly, even humbly, handing out leaflets with a message that began with: “God is the greatest.”  The Champ had a change of heart and discovered who was the greatest.

And that’s the simple message of today’s  readings. That “God is the Greatest”.  Easily stated but how often in our own lives do we make other things greater than our love of God. We can have our idols ─ power, wealth, fame, pleasure, independence, the need to always be right, and the list goes on. And then at the end of the day we recognize that the biggest and most widely embraced idol we face, is the image we see when we look in a mirror. There is something within us that in subtle ways struggles mightily with the notion of allowing God to be God: it’s that internal sense of arrogance that says “nobody is going to tell me what to do.”

So how do we let God be God; and let God be the greatest? One way is through prayer, when we pray the Lord’s Prayer and say “thy will be done.” Repeatedly returning to a posture of humbly seeking and following the will of God, no matter how challenging, no matter how contrary to our own will, is the heart and soul of humbling ourselves as Jesus calls us to. If we do this we will allow God to be God. And truly recognize that it is God who is the greatest!

Blessings always, Fr Dave

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